So…some ideas and thoughts

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to solve this problem with the blog and image theft.  I can’t continue to post photos I’ve taken and have to worry about someone stealing the images to try and swindle innocent people out of money.  I have to protect my interests as well as the interests of others.  It makes me so sad to think that anyone thinks this is okay.

There are photos on this blog however that I know are of no interest to anyone but fellow doll lovers.  I guess the fact that my sets are busy is a huge help in deterring someone from stealing a photo to try and sell something.  And no one really would want or have use for a photo of a bunch of dolls with underwear on their heads, right?  (at least I would hope they wouldn’t!)

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the pictures that would be at the highest risk of being stolen here would be the ones I do for reviews.  And particularly, reviews of American Girl items.  Moving forward, I’m going to try and do the following things to hopefully prevent that from happening:

All reviews of American Girl items will in the future, have photos from the American Girl website instead of my own, with a clear credit to American Girl for their photo use.  Worst case scenario is they get on my case (which I highly doubt because so many people do it and it’s free advertising for them) and I have to take the photos down.

Any reviews done for non-American Girl items (ie. My Life As, Our Generation) will still have my photos with a very LARGE and hopefully hard to remove watermark on them.  If someone really wants to see the original photo after reading the post, they can request it, but I don’t think this will be a big issue.

Reviews done for doll sized finds more than likely won’t be done with a watermark unless it’s an item that I think may be of interest to an Ebay or other selling site scammer.  I’m still up in the air on what to do with other things like stories, etc.

My concern over the AG reviews is that as a rule, AG items tend to command higher prices than other companies, plus my photos would be a great way for someone to make it look as though they actually had the item (as opposed to them just using a catalog pic).  Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be removing some of the reviews I have for AG products, particularly those that are no longer available and in high demand.  You’ve been warned!  If there is a review you remember and liked, you may want to go back and check it out one last time!  The upside to this though is it frees up occupied space here, so that keeps the blog going longer–silver linings I guess?

The good news is I have quite a few items to review/post that aren’t AG items.  I have a few items that I bought on sale last year before Christmas that are items that AG no longer sells, and I may just not bother with those at all.  I might actually get caught up!!!  I also have some doll stories yet to tell and some other ideas, so hopefully it will keep things moving along for a little while.  And a few craft things that have been in the works that I haven’t finished and/or haven’t shared.  In the meantime, my brain will still be working overtime to try and think of some new ideas as well.  I’m also hoping that maybe my readers will make some suggestions as well as we go along.

One last thing–I’m going to share a link to an article about these dog selling scams so everyone can be aware of what the heck is going on and please share with anyone else you know.  It is sickening to think of the lengths people will go to in order to rip someone off and this scam hits a little too close to home on multiple levels.

https://www.bbb.org/article/investigations/14214-puppy-scams-how-fake-online-pet-sellers-steal-from-unsuspecting-pet-buyers-a-bbb-study

 

 

This may be The End…

Yes, this is what you think it is.  I may be shutting down my blog.

This morning I found out that the breeder I got my puppy from last year had a bunch of photos and video stolen from her Facebook page that she uses to advertise.  They are being stolen so that someone can use them to scam people.  Yes, you read that right.

I’m concerned because some of those pictures may be ones that belong to me.  I had given her permission to use my photos to help her business.  She’s a small time, backyard breeder who breeds only Shetland Sheepdogs and only a few litters a year.  She is not getting rich off this, it’s a fun hobby for her and she told me that she is saving her money to buy a farm so that in a few years, she can get the horses she’s always wanted to have.  I’m so sad to find out that some dishonest person has not only stolen these pictures, but is now hurting her business.  I’m also worried that if someone who is ripped off decides to sue, I could be pulled into court if my images are involved.

You have no idea how upset I am right now.

Image theft is becoming more and more of an issue everyday on the internet.  Just two weeks ago I had an ad for a product show up in my Facebook feed.  I was interested in the product, but I take all of those ads with a grain of salt because they aren’t companies that I am familiar with and suspect them as being scams.  I did click on this ad though because I was curious about the product.  Imagine my horror when I go to the website to look–and discover that the photos on their pages contain people and products I recognized!!  They blatantly stole these photos from a valid company website I was familiar with, and some of the models happen to be the owners of the company!  I immediately reported the ad and contacted the owners of the company they stole the images from.

Prior to that, a fellow photographer who also owns Shelties had her images stolen.  She has an amazing account going and she uses these photograph’s to create calendars that benefit CHARITY.  Yes, someone stole images that were created to benefit charitable causes.  Let that sink in a bit.  Then, they decided they were going to use them to make money for themselves by setting up merchandise for sale on Amazon using these stolen images!  Someone that follows this gal happened across them and let her know.  It took her several weeks to get Amazon to take the listings down and ONLY because a whole bunch of her followers went after them and she threatened them with legal action (thank heavens for an attorney friend with knowledge of copyright law).

So, you ask “what does that have to do with the blog?”

Well, image theft from doll blogs is also a problem.  I’ve not had an issue that I’m aware of but one time, and that person just didn’t know any better.  However–all of those funny Ebay posts also yielded an ugly side to the platform.  In the process of perusing Ebay, I’ve found on several occasions photos stolen from blogs I’m familiar with being used to sell items that I suspect don’t exist on Ebay.  I’m sure it’s happening on other selling platforms as well.  And no, it doesn’t matter to these people if you’ve watermarked or copyrighted your photos.  They either crop them, edit them, or as I’ve seen in many cases, just blatantly used them as is.

Let me explain why EVERYONE needs to be careful about the photos they post on the internet. They can easily be stolen. You may think “no one wants my pictures from my trip, pics of my pets, etc”. WRONG. People are now stealing photos to rip people off. Those pics you posted from your trip to London–someone is now using them to create fake travel websites to get people to buy travel packages that don’t exist. Picture of that cool chair you found at a thrift store? Someone just “borrowed” it to use on Ebay to try and sell a fake item.  It’s unfortunately a never ending issue and none of these social media platforms seem to want to address the issue.  Instead they place “disclaimers” on their sites stating that images are their property as long as they are there.  You have next to no legal recourse.

And before anyone says “well, you could sue them!”  You’d have to catch them first.  Good luck with that.  And the idea that any of my photos could be used to steal someone’s hard earned money absolutely makes me sick.  Then there’s the possibility that the person who was ripped off could end up actually suing and my photo is suddenly at the center of a lawsuit.  No thanks.  I don’t have the time or energy for that.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do just yet, but I will be sure to update everyone with what I decide.  I need some time to think about the best way to handle things, but I’m definitely not pleased with this current turn of events.  And please, everyone, exercise caution with what you post everywhere and anywhere on the internet.  You just never know anymore.  Too many selfish, opportunistic people out there who are always looking for ways to make an easy buck instead of being honest.  It’s a sad commentary on humanity in general. 😦

 

Everyone’s Head Over Heels For The New Girl! Are You?

So, last week American Girl finally revealed their new addition to the historical line (so glad they quit calling it Be Forever) and all of the speculation was over.  Courtney Moore has arrived!!!

Yes, we finally have the 80’s doll that we’ve been talking about for what seems like ages.  And I have to say, they’ve actually done a pretty good job on her and her accessories.  There are a few things that aren’t accurate, but not as many as I’ve seen on some other historical dolls.  And while I think she is cute, I really doubt I’ll be getting her.  Why couldn’t they have used a different face mold???  They haven’t done a historical since Julie’s friend Ivy with the Jess mold and Marie Grace’s face mold seems to be lost in some dark hole.  Come on AG!!  You hit a homerun with the Joss face mold, you’ve got all of these other ones now too with the boy dolls, etc.  But no, you had to take the safe way out.  YAWN.  Her hairstyle is cute, but all I can see when they come out with a doll with any sort of curls is a tangled up mess after it’s been in the hands of most little girls.  Plus crimped hair would have been better yet!

However, Courtney’s collection–TOTALLY AWESOME!!!  I’m not even sure where to start, there are so many cool things.  So…I’ll start with the two sets that are cool, but do have flaws in them.

Courtney’s Accessories are super cute, right down to her Bonne Bell lip smacker!  The bracelets are pretty, but I do worry about them scratching the dolls when you go to take them on and off.  The little cassette is too cute and I guess it will actually play in the boom box (which we’ll talk about shortly).  HOWEVER–the pink cassette player is not accurate.  Walkman type cassette players did not come in a variety of colors until the 90’s.  As a general rule, they came in black or silver and if you bought a waterproof version of Sony’s model, it was yellow.  I had a white one with wild colors in the early 90’s, up until that point, they were really pretty dull…but I still think this set is cool and I definitely want it for my collection.

Courtney’s Sleepover Set is also incredibly cute–and already on backorder!  I like everything in this set and I can’t wait to see this in person to see how the itty bitty cassettes actually work.  But again…the color thing.  Much like the cassette players of the 80’s, “boom boxes” were also pretty dull in the color selection.  I actually bought one almost exactly like this for my husband when we were dating…and they too only came in black or silver except for Sony who made one that was available in a pale pink and a pale blue.  I think they might have done a waterproof-ish one in the yellow too.  Other than the color issue though, this is actually a pretty good replica.  If they were shooting to duplicate the Sony version it’s a bit too boxy, theirs were more rounded, an almost “retro” style.  (I think the one I bought my husband was a Magnavox and this is very much like it was, just all black.)

The other things that were standouts for me were the Pacman video game (which is only available as a preorder at the moment), the Caboodles makeup case set (COMPLETE WITH CAN OF HAIRSPRAY!!) and the Pacman lunch box.  These are all on my want list–they even did a can of cheese balls!  A shame they couldn’t have made them Planters brand, but the can is close.  I suspect they blew all their licensing money on the Lip Smacker, Care Bears and Pacman stuff.

 

The clothes are cute and I think overall they did a really good job of trying to duplicate the feel of the era.  The only thing I wasn’t wild about was the shirt and tie, I don’t ever remember seeing anything like this on anyone I knew.  If a girl was going to wear a tie, it was generally a long narrow one with a white shirt.  This looks more like something Zack Morris would have been sporting on “Saved By The Bell”.

Pieces that I will definitely be adding to my collection from the clothes–the high tops (I had a pair very similar to these, Reeboks to be exact), the cardigan (which rocks a Benetton feel/look) and the jeans with the foldover top.  And they even made the jeans acid washed!!

 

One thing that I will point out in the clothing department is that the “leggings” aren’t 100% accurate either.  If you really want to catch the era (which from what I understand is supposed to be 1986), they should be stirrup pants.  Just sayin…

I really think they did a fantastic job overall with Courtney’s initial collection and apparently a lot of other people think so too as there are multiple items that are already backordered a week after she was introduced!  I love the fact that all of her clothing is sold as separates too, you can mix and match to your heart’s content and not have to buy a set to get a specific clothing item.  If I remember correctly, this is the first time they’ve ever done this with any doll’s collection, up to this point I only recall seeing it in the Truly Me line.

Since they did such a great job with her introductory line, I’ll be anxiously awaiting new items that will be added to her collection.  What would you like to see them add to it?  Her bunkbed set is very cute and I’m thinking about trying to come up with my own version of it as I already have a set of pink bunkbeds I picked up several years ago off Craigslist.  Hmmm…  I would love to see them come up with a doll sized Commodore 64, especially since she seems to be interested in video games and creating her own.

Do you like Courtney?  What is your favorite item from her collection?  And is there anything you don’t like or something else you see wrong that I may have missed?  I was very excited when I saw this entire collection, and this along with some other recent additions to the whole American Girl line are starting to restore my confidence in their products.  I hope this new commitment to quality continues.  Courtney’s collection is TOTALLY RAD!  Thank heavens I still have $100 in rewards certificates coming thanks to my purchase of Joss’s Surf Van…