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. 😦