I had my first problem with photo theft today. One of the discussion boards I frequent is UrbanPlanet.org. There are sections for cities around the US, with Greenville having one of the more active discussion boards on the site. One of the threads is the Photo of the Day (POTD) thread. I’ve met several local photographers via POTD, gotten some good ideas for my own shots, and have contributed some of my photographs to the discussion. This is where I first learned about HDR photography.
Apparently there are several such discussion boards for various cities, such as skyscraper.com, etc. Today it was brought to my attention that one of the UrbanPlanet users had downloaded a couple of my photographs, uploaded them to his own Photobucket account, then posted these on other discussion boards as his own work. He apparently did this to several of my other photographer friends. My stolen pictures are shown below:
At first I was semi-OK with this. In fact, I was flattered that someone liked my work. The guy even acknowledged to me in a private message he had done this (after being called out in the forum.) Still, I was semi-OK. If the guy had just linked to my Flickr account, that wouldn’t have been as bad, so long as he gave me credit. However, actually uploading the files to his own account is what pushed it (and me) over the edge.
I replied to the user’s private message with a stern request that he remove my photographs from his Photobucket account, and listed the conditions under which I would allow him to post my photographs. To his credit, he responded quickly, and the photos were removed.
I think back to the wild and wooly days of "If it’s on the Internet, it must be free to use." At least the next time I’m doing a workshop on digital I’ll have a concrete example of why it’s important to check copyright and give credit.