Well, of course they do! Right? Isn't that the correct answer? As a photographer, I own and control the rights to the photographs that I've created (with my camera,) even after those photographs have been posted online. Over the past few years, I've been a member of several online photography communities and I'm always a bit surprised to read negative comments surrounding watermarking. "It ruins the photo," is the most common.
Well, I'd rather "ruin" my photo if it means that I (hopefully) have the ability to prove that the photo belongs to me. Not only have I seen photos of kids stolen but also those belonging to professional photographers and landscape photographers. Some with watermarks. Most without. This is why I watermark ALL of my photos. And I use an obnoxious watermark for a reason. It deters thieves, just as those alarm company stickers and lawn signs do.
I want to thank my readers and other bloggers for contacting and assisting me with the FB matter that went down on Friday. Unfortunately, FB is like a turtle when it comes to these issues. Long story short, there are a TON of kids "role playing" on FB. At first, it looked like 25 or so but once I started clicking through their friends, there are at least 100. In order to role play, they needed an identity of an adult so they hit up a bunch of blogs, stole photos and set up phony FB accounts. At first, I thought it was teenagers and some of them very well may be but I had direct contact with one "girl," who was taking all of these stolen photos, re-editing them (the term re-edit should be used very lightly here), slapping her watermark on them and posting them on an open FB page. This girl claims to be 12 years old. Because her page was open to the public, I set up a FB account and started leaving comments under the stolen photo of my kids. I was actually late to the party as others had already left her comments. My photo, along with most of the others, was quickly deleted. (If you don't already read Melissa's blog Growing Up Geeky, you should see her post here with her experience. At least my kids were just listed as "models.")
The best part was a comment from one of her "friends," who is probably also 12 years old. He stated that we, the adults, were all wrong because once a photo is on the internet, anyone can do what they want with it. Say what? We were all also told to F off. Seriously?
I contacted this girl via a private message and she apologized to me and said that she didn't know that the photos had been stolen and that she hadn't stolen them. They had come from her FB "friends." I explained to her that her FB "friends" were all fake. Regardless, she's still friends with all of them. I actually sent her a friend request and she quickly accepted it without knowing anything about me. (I have since de-friended her.) What I want to know is where the hell are her parents?
So this leads to the question of why the hell am I still blogging? Honestly, some days I have no idea. My blog has evolved and changed and I expect it to continue to do so going forward. With the girls older, there is less that I share for their privacy. Although it may not seem like it, there's a lot that I haven't or won't ever share or show and I imagine that eventually, one day, this will turn into a photography/sewing/lifestyle with triplets blog.
I feel like I've made a difference, even as tiny as it may be. Just within the past few weeks, two different message boards linked to my blog to show expectant parents what spina bifida can be like. I still remember the day I found out that I was expecting identical triplets. In a cloud of gloom and doom, I searched the internet and I found other sets of identical triplets. It gave me hope that the doctors couldn't give me.
So, for now, I'm still here. Ironically, TBB reset their votes while all of this was going on and a few us were left undecided if we would stay there. I'm going to stay for now. Although, this may be my last run. (And I know that it says Top "Baby" Blogs but if you read the website description, it is for parenting blogs, mommy blogs and blogs with little kids. You don't have to have a baby. Blah, blah. No rude comments, please.)
I know it's a bit of shameless self-promotion but would you please vote for me? Thank you in advance!!
I should note that I use Photoshop Elements to edit my photos. It also allows me to type on them, which is what I do for a watermark. Just be sure to save the watermarked version as a separate file so you don't "ruin" the original photo. There are free editing programs out there too that allow you to do the same.
Per, Melissa's suggestion, here's the faker's FB profile. All of her friends are fake too. I've reported her every which way possible and left several messages. A few others have as well. If you wouldn't mind helping me and reporting her, I would appreciate it. Maybe it will help.