Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Who killed the copy cat - II


Protect your own:
Your images belong to you and you don’t want to share them without permission. I’m with you but it’s a pickle.

First time I realised my pictures were used by a website without my permission, I was upset, mainly because they did not credit. I did all the legwork, went to the exhibition, shot the image, suffered from blisters later that night. They just downloaded it from my blog whilst sitting on their comfy office chair, no permission asked, no credit given.

So I was advised to register with Creative Commons and feature their warning on my blog. I chose “Some Rights Reserved”, meaning you can use and redistribute my work, provided you credit me and do not alter my content. A reminder of …my work being mine helped a lot.

But some were still not bothered and went on borrowing photos without crediting or linking. I started marking my photos as “Alecca Rox”. It was about the same time that Dreamville started marking hers and I remember we had exchanged comments on how we were trying to protect our work. Later on so did Fashion Paths.

The Soho Symposium, a copy cat victim too, decided to include “soho” in the names of her images in an effort to reference them and track them down. For the purposes of this post I asked her if this system worked but she was not too sure.

I don’t get it. What’s the harm in attributing credits? If one does all the work and I can have it free of charge, the least I can do is show my appreciation and say “thanks” by mentioning them. It's a matter of intellectual property as well as ethics.

You can never fully protect your pictures from this cat. I’d sum up the above experience into the following words of advice:
a) Find out what Creative Commons is and register with it. (make sure you feature their licencing widget)
b) Mark your photos with your name, trademark or username. (warnings are never enough. This will take longer on photoshop but it’s working)
c) Name your photos including your blog name. (however I’d say it’s best to keep the originally named from camera photo too, otherwise it’s gonna be harder to prove it’s yours)

(If you have any other suggestions or experience to share on this, please do so!)

>>Worst case scenario:
You come across one of your photos being used without your permission. Do not panic. 99% of these cases happen because the (copy) cat is too lazy to credit or unaware. With one of my images, I was even told they didn’t know who to credit as they had “borrowed” if from a website which had in turn “borrowed” it from me without mentioning source.

In that case, I had to unofficially prove it was mine by sending them the original link, along with previous and following shots of the subject from my camera. So what do you do if you’re faced with such a scenario?

1. As I said, don’t panic and try not to assume it was intended.
2. Contact the owner or administrator. Chances are they will correct it straight away.
3. Repeat process if the above fails, give them the benefit of the doubt.
4. If they fail to respond and take action in a reasonable amount of time, make it known. Post it, tweet it, warn fellow bloggers.
5. If you are seriously pissed off and your image is being commercially exploited, consult a lawyer. Laws tend to be different on this from country to country, but bottomline is always in favour of the owner. has a similar story to tell (Greek readers).
Michael Calanan has a similar story to tell (English readers)



ShoppingTherapy said...

megalo thema anoixes!
genika an anakalypseis oti se eklepsan (mou exei symvei me keimeno 2 fores!) k steileis mail, kanoun ligo ti papia kai i katevazoun to keimeno i anaferoun ek ton ysteron tin pigi.
to thema einai oti ego anakalypsa allou ta keimena mou autes tis 2 fores Entelos kata tyxi..

Alecca Rox said...

@stella - I hear you! On 5 different occasions I found pictures I had shot personally, featured on various big websites.

Some I discovered by chance on google + for some I was tipped off. After contacting them, they referenced those images but had I not, they would keep using them happily as their own.

My text has been copied too but that's an even tougher issue to sort out (coming up on future post). How did you deal with it? Were you copied word-for-word?

ShoppingTherapy said...

Θα στα γράψω στα ελληνικά, είναι λίγο μεγάλη απάντηση
Στην μία περίπτωση επρόκειτο για ένα site που εκείνη την εποχή έμπαινε σε όλα τα forums και αυτοδιαφημιζόταν σαν το νέο hot site για τη μόδα. Στην εβδομάδα μόδας λοιπόν είχαν ένα άρθρο όπου ο/η συγγραφέας έκανε μερικά αόριστα σχόλια (αφήνοντας να εννοηθεί ότι είχε παρευρεθεί) αλλά όσον αφορά σχόλια για τις επιδείξεις, είχε αναφέροντας το όνομά μου όλα τα κομμάτια αυτούσια που είχα γράψει εγώ στο blog μου. Ναι, όντως μεν με ανέφερε ως πηγή, αλλά είχε ανεβάσει ολόκληρο το κείμενο μου (χωρίς να με ρωτήσει προηγουμένως) και για να πω την αλήθεια, εγώ είχα περάσει ολόκληρο σκ στην εβδομάδα μόδας, είχα κουραστεί και είχα ξενυχτήσει για να ανεβάσω τα post στο blog μου, και το ‘μεγάλο site μόδας’ προφανώς δεν είχε στείλει κανέναν για να καλύψει το γεγονός. Σόρυ, αλλά δε μπορείς να κάνεις ρεπορτάζ βασιζόμενος στον κόπο των άλλων και να λες ότι προσφέρεις ενημέρωση. Γι αυτό και έστειλα mail και διαμαρτυρήθηκα, ομολογώ, η απάντηση ήταν άμεση, ευγενική και το κείμενο αποσύρθηκε.
Στην άλλη περίπτωση, σε ένα blog υπήρχε ΑΥΤΟΥΣΙΟ κείμενό μου! (χωρίς να αναφέρεται η πηγή!) έτριβα τα μάτια μου. όταν το ανακάλυψα το blog είχε να ενημερωθεί παραπάνω από ένα χρόνο (ήταν στην ουσία ανενεργό), παρόλα αυτά έγραψα στα σχόλια διαμαρτυρόμενη και βάζοντας link από το original post.
Σε μια τρίτη περίπτωση μια φωτογραφία μου από την εβδομάδα μόδας (πάλι) τη βρήκα να φιγουράρει πάλι σε μεγάλο site ποικίλης ύλης, μέσα σε ένα κολάζ (δεν αναφερόταν η πηγή). Εκεί δεν έκανα τίποτα γιατί η φωτογραφία ήταν γενική (το ζάππειο), αλλά εγώ φυσικά την αναγνώρισα ότι ήταν δική μου.
Το θέμα είναι ότι σε όλα έπεσα επάνω τυχαίως! Πόσα ακόμα δεν έχω ανακαλύψει;
Αυτά! Σόρυ για το μεγάλο ποστ (δεν είναι ανάγκη να το δημοσιεύσεις)