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Journal Entry: Thu Sep 4, 2014, 2:07 PM
I'm really sorry that I haven't answered anyone lately. I've been spending all of my time filing copyright complaint forms and emails.  Pinterest and Tumblr have a convenient form which thankfully allows for including many site addresses for those who are using my work. They are also very quick to respond and much of my work has been pulled from their sites. They let me know by email. Google has a pretty good form but it took me some effort to find it. They state that unless they need more information from me, I won't hear from them again. I guess I'll have to check up whether or not it was dealt with. Face Book and Twitter make it kind of difficult , it seems every time I fill something out, they keep saying, things like 'are you sure' and 'don't you know this is serious'.  I filled out a form for FB and they sent me an email requesting the same information again plus why I think it's a copyright infringement and how/why I have copyrights to the photo.  The person I'm complaining about not only shows my photo on his page, but says  (in Lithuanian) that it was taken on a mobile phone and he offers it for download to anyone who wants it. He also renamed it.  Seriously?  This is not the first time someone has asked me how it is I have rights to my own work. I have decided to include the following statement with all of my work, so ignorance really isn't an excuse:

This is a signed and copyrighted photo. This photo cannot be altered, shared, or used in any capacity without my permission. Use of this photo without permission is a copyright infringement. All requests must be made in writing. 

My photo is not a public domain image. According to the Berne Convention  as soon as I press down the shutter on my camera I own the image that it creates.  The copyright is automatic and instantly mine.  I own the copyright of that photograph for a minimum of 25 years.   The Berne Convention, is an international agreement governing copyright, which was first  accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886. The United States became a member of the Berne Convention on March 1, 1989. My work is signed and has a copyright symbol. I am the owner of that photo and and no one has the right to use it without my permission. 

This is the photo on FB:

Subtle Passage by Metal-Bender


Update:
***I just heard back from FB! ***  

"Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We have removed or disabled access to the third-party or user-generated content you have reported to us for violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. We understand this action to resolve your intellectual property issue."


Also, another web designer stole my image  and used it for a coffee company and has not responded to me. I checked out her website and it doesn't list country of origin (it's all in Spanish) but the service provider is out of California, so I'm sending them an email of complaint today.

***Update: After sending emails to the hosts of this web designer's website as well as another email to her, she was suddenly able to contact me! I sent her an email on her site and she ignored me. She sent a reply to my email asking how much I'm willing to to accept for my work.*** 

This is the photo:



Coffee by Metal-Bender



FYI: A good place to find information about a website is:  website.informer.com/



I have been told that sites like Pinterest and Tumblr help get exposure for my work. I don't think it's the good kind at all. Many bloggers  and websites have told me that they thought it was ok to use my work because it was on these sites - they assumed that it was free to use. Also, a page on Pinterest had a link to an Etsy shop that was offering my work for businesses for ads and promotions. After I started raising hell, suddenly my work was no longer available in their shop. Others on Pinterest added text to my work and distributed it as if it was their own and one person colored my work , a black & white photo, a really disgusting shade of pink. 

This is the one that was altered:

Beacon by Metal-Bender

One really weird find was that I am prominently featured on a porn site. My work is identified, with my name at the top of the presentation and presented very nicely in the middle of their front page and it is surrounded by all sorts of porn. Their abuse email's only choice for topic is if any of their porn features someone under the age of 18 and their contact choice states that if you want your porn featured on their site, you have to be 18 years old. I decided that since my work is not being offered for download, to just skip that one.


Again, I'm really sorry for not answering anyone for a bit, but I will get to it very soon.

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:icondigitaldistress:
DigitalDistress Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Student Photographer
Peggy, I've been reading all your journal entries about theft of your work but really haven't had time to comment until now. First of all I'm very sorry to hear how bad this problem has been for you, I know it probably makes you feel like ripping someone's head off. Also I want to thank you for all the good information you've provided, I know it's been helpful to me and I'm sure many others have benefited as well.

Lastly I'd like to make a suggestion as far as DA only. I tried some ugly watermarks (which I still have to fix on many of my images) and I also tried sizing the images small enough that they won't work for any reproduction. But I found that they images end up looking like crap. The solution I have found for this site, and it may work for others is to upload the full size and resolution image, of course including a copyright watermark somewhere on it. By uploading the full resolution image what viewers see will still be high quality. Then to prevent misuse of the image I make sure the box for download, premium content, and prints are all unchecked. This way the only way to download the image is from the page it's displayed on. I then select a small display size like 900 pixels wide or smaller. This way if someone right clicks to download it, they are only getting the watermarked, very low resolution image which is not suitable for prints and such. I found that if I actually sized the original down to 900 pixels and upload that version, it looks terrible, but if I upload the full size version then only allow the small size view it looks much better while still protecting someone from getting that full size image. Just my 2 cents worth.

Best of luck with dealing with all this, I truly hope you're able to stop the theft and hopefully get some compensation as well, you deserve it!
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Thank you so much Rob. Thanks - that's all helpful. I don't think I can stop the theft completely but I'm changing the way I do everything. This is a hard lesson.
Reply
:icondigitaldistress:
DigitalDistress Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Student Photographer
I hear you there, and I thank you for the good info you've provided. Unfortunately after using the google and Tineye searches I'm coming across allot of my own work that's been snatched too. And in really odd places and uses. It sucks that people can't go about doing things the right way, but I guess it's better to learn of the problem now and learn how to deal with it before it gets way worse. Again, best of luck to you and I hope it doesn't discourage you from posting your awesome work, there are still plenty of people who appreciate it and won't abuse it :)
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014   Photographer
You're very welcome Rob. I'm very sorry to hear that. I know - some places I've come across have been really strange for sure. Unfortunately, it's very common and a real shame. It really is, I'm looking into measures where I can protect my work. I can't undo what was done to me, but at least I can prevent more of it happening in the future and lessen the impact. Well, I'm really uncomfortable with doing that - it looks like all of my work was stolen from DA. Thieves don't like FB because of the poor quality of the images and images on Redbubble are even too small for google search. Thank you so much! It's going to be low resolution and ugly watermarks if I post at all and be that way until I can find measures to protect my work and have them in place.
Reply
:iconelephantis:
Elephantis Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Peggy you are incredible and its a compliment to your talents that your work has been ripped off and misappropriated so frequently, but if it were not for the efforts of you and others to make life difficult for these sites and the thieves using your work without permission or compensation then nothing would change so good on you!

Its a real shame people don't just ask if they want to use your images and negotiate a reasonable price.
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Thank you so much Phil. I figure it's all uphill but if I can get some of it back, it's worth it. I'm changing the way I do everything - hard lesson for sure.

Yes it is - the amount of ignorance, stupidity, and greed out there is really disheartening. 
Reply
:iconelephantis:
Elephantis Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Such a shame your work was always best viewed in full screen, with such clarity and intricacy the watermark is a sad reality but i like the way you have done your new signature. No matter what sphere if life you are talking about there are always a few idiots out there ruining things for everyone else. Your work does deserve its own site though with great rights protection and a place to take commissions for great money for yourself.
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014   Photographer
Thank you Phil - it really is. I really prefer to show it at it's best but that's too risky. Thank you! Yeah, that's life I guess. Thank you so much - that's what I want to do for sure.
Reply
:iconmoonbit22:
Moonbit22 Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Hobbyist
I'm so sorry this has happened to you, it is really sad that people asumme they can use every sngle image found on internet. I hope these people can deleat your artworks from their websites as soon as possible. It is a really sad reality that artist have to deal everytime with these kind of stuff. 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Thank you very much Raquel. That's the attitude that I've been finding and it's shocking for sure. Well, I have been getting my work deleted but there's just so much of it and is a full time job at the moment. It's a hard lesson and has changed everything for me.
Reply
:icontrippy4u:
Trippy4U Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014
I'm proud of you for your tenacity in pursuing these matters, Peggy :clap:
I don't think you should allow your name to be used on a porno site...I would want that nipped in the bud.
How much did you tell that woman who asked how much do you want for your work?
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Edited Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Thank you very much Richard!

I don't like it either but it appears to be an Asian porn site and I'm kind of afraid of getting a virus just dealing with them. It kind of freaked me out just trying to find out how to contact them - I had to be subjected to all this really gross porn and I just wanted to leave that site.

Well, it turns out it's a guy. He told me he would pay me and take the promo down and asked how much I wanted. I told him $500 USD via paypal. Well he replied that he had to eat and  never had any intention of paying me and that was the end of the matter. His reasoning was that it was just a demo (I don't know how true that is) and he didn't make any money with it. I replied that I had to eat too and  he used my signed and copyrighted photo without permission and by his own choice to promote his business. I told him his answer was not acceptable. His portfolio shows that he did work for a business in LA so I've sent an email to the San Fernando Valley Bar Association requesting advice as to whether this is worth pursuing and how much it would it cost.  I asked for $500 and a copy of the promo to put in my portfolio as an example of my work used in a commercial application. I really thought, especially given the circumstances, that the amount I asked for was reasonable.
Reply
:icontrippy4u:
Trippy4U Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014
I hear ya on that...just the fact that they have their own genre of porn is frightening enough :lol:
A totally reasonable price considering how much they stand to lose in a lawsuit. I hope the SFVBA hangs his ass out to dry. Such a moron...he had a chance to do the right thing but instead decided to be a prick and put himself in the crosshairs of Karma's wrath. I wonder how it is that they can lay their heads on their pillows at night and fall asleep.
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Oh I guess there are all sorts and it's all online. I found a way around going on these gross sites (I found another one)- I'm going to send an email of complaint to the host of the site. It kind
of works better than contacting some of these sites directly. 

I thought so  and hope the SFBA can give me some ideas at the least.  Look, he stole my work to begin with so he's obviously a jerk. They really don't care - they're just hollow people.
Reply
:icontrippy4u:
Trippy4U Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
I hope you saved the text messages in which he admits to having used your work without permission and more importantly how he was willing, at first, to pay you for its usage.
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014   Photographer
Actually they're email exchanges and I have them all! He wanted to skype and I told him I didn't skype and only wished to discuss the matter through emails. I figured emails would give me everything in print.
Reply
:icontrippy4u:
Trippy4U Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
Bingo :highfive:
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014   Photographer
For sure!
Reply
:iconmomentspause:
momentspause Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I'm sorry this has happened to you. You are certainly tackling this head-on - you are kicking ass. 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014   Photographer
Thank you so M. Well, it's the only way I know how to deal with things. I'm trying but all of this is coming at a high price.
Reply
:iconmomentspause:
momentspause Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
From your posts, the cost is very apparent. Sadly, I'm learning a lot about this topic through your experience. 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014   Photographer
It really is M - hard lesson for sure. Well, that's why I've been posting so many journals - hopefully creating awareness and preventing it from happening to others.
Reply
:iconmomentspause:
momentspause Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I've been neglecting to create a copyright and use it for my own work, but I have been feeling unprofessional for letting it slide. I'd like to know your thoughts on the "invisible" water mark that people create and hide in the blue channel - I've been thinking of that as an option. 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014   Photographer
Well that's great M but I think an obvious copyright symbol might be good as well. While it isn't required (in the US) to mark your work with a copyright there are advantages such as it can defeat the defense of  "innocent infringement". People could claim they didn't know it was copyrighted when they stole your work if you don't have one. Of course a simple google image search could provide them with that information but we both know they aren't going to bother with that or even care. I've seen that blue channel technique and it isn't completely invisible. I just made mine in photoshop as a layer with an invisible background that I can adjust in size and opacity as it suits me. This method doesn't appear to be as versatile to me. If you're worried about it appearing unsightly, you could just make it small and place it in a corner of your work. I have a small signature that I've been using for quite sometime. Unfortunately, based on my horrible experience, no one seems to care or notice it. At least it is obvious and they really can't claim innocent infringement. People on Pinterest said they saw it but discounted it as they got the work from a blog on Tumblr and assumed it was ok to use and share.
Reply
:iconmomentspause:
momentspause Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for all that wonderful advice :) 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014   Photographer
You're very welcome M!
Reply
:icontrebornehoc:
TreborNehoc Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014   Photographer
curious - how are you finding your images on all these sites?  are you searching by your name, name of work, a description, or are you just randomly looking around? 
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Edited Sep 4, 2014   Photographer
Hi Robert. I'm using google image search. Just right click over an image and a menu with things like copy image, copy image url, print...and so on appears. Choose 'Search Google for this image'. It will take you to pages on Google that show where the image is posted online.
Reply
:icontrebornehoc:
TreborNehoc Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
thanks, looks like I'm safe...
Reply
:iconmetal-bender:
Metal-Bender Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014   Photographer
Awesome!
Reply
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