Greater Yellowlegs and Copyright Watermarks

Which copyright watermark should I use? The small one that doesn’t detract from the Greater Yellowlegs or the larger one that would make it harder for image thieves to use?

The larger copyright watermark works okay on this image but with a busier background it might not. It would be more difficult to crop or clone it out. The small one detracts less but it is easier to clone or crop out.

Decisions, decisions.

This Greater Yellowlegs was photographed in a tidal lagoon at Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach in Florida in October of 2008. I was photographing the Yellowlegs while sitting in the warm waters of the lagoon. You can sure see why they were named “Yellowlegs”!

Mia

Photographers Beware – Another Way Our Images are Being Stolen

Stolen American Badger imageStolen American Badger image

Some of you might remember that I posted a landscape version of this American Badger image a while back, I have cropped it again to show how sneaky image thieves have gotten. I have had a rash of images used without my permission and that has gotten MUCH worse since Google made some pretty crappy changes to their Image Search in January. People can download your images now from within the Google Image Search and not even come to your site to do it. This nasty stuff Google has done by passes most protections you may have placed on your site. That stinks bad enough but it is getting worse.

I found this neat little bookmarklet though that helps me locate my images that have been infringed (read stolen) by image scrapers (thieves) and it has helped me a lot lately to find out where my images are without my permission. This is the bookmarklet: http://jarred.github.io/src-img/ you just go to that page, grab the link and put it on your Favorites Bar. Then navigate to a page with your images on it, click the bookmarklet and when the black square shows up in the middle of the image you click it and a new page opens in Google Search with the locations your image has been found in the search.

Well, I did that with my American badger image and was surprised at what I found (besides the obvious scumbag thieveries by  w a l l p a p e r  sites) when I saw “Google Play” in the search results. Now since I had not given Google Play or any of these w a l l p a p e r app “developers” permission to use my American Badger image I clicked the link.

My Badger image was stolen and used in three Badger Wallpaper Apps on Google PlayMy Badger image was stolen and used in three Badger Wallpaper Apps on Google Play

And this is what I saw. The center image is my American Badger photo, stolen and used by Android App Developer THIEF : Arata Kuroki and when I scrolled through the apps on the Google Play page using the search term “Badger W a l l p a p e rs” I found two more apps that used the same exact screen shot that this thief showed for “his” app.

I downloaded the free app to my phone (a mistake and I will explain why later) and opened it up. The app had 48 images of Badgers in it that people can save as their phone as  w a l l p a p e r and it had exactly one American badger image in it, mine.  Some of the other Badger images I have seen before on the net and they are likely stolen too. This guy jerk has all kinds of w a l l p a p e r apps on Google Play and I have to wonder if all the images contained in them are stolen.

I was furious. Livid in fact. My copyright watermark was cropped out. No licensing, nor credit. Stolen.

I filed a DMCA Takedown Notification through Google expecting that they would take the apps down immediately. I sent that DMCA Takedown on September 20th and just yesterday saw that all three Badger w a l l p a p e r  apps were gone. Eleven days of people downloading my stolen image after the DMCA was sent.

The thing is that these app developers only post a few screen shots of the images contained in them so every one of these stinking apps could have our images in them and we won’t know unless we download the images and install them on our phones.

I think that Google Play should have to have signed image releases/licenses for every image contained in the apps from the developers and if they don’t they should not allow the apps on Google Play. Ever. And when a developer is found to have infringed on ONE single image they need to ban them for life. Better yet, ban all w a l l p a p e r  apps. People can take their own images and put them as w a l l p a p e r  on their phones.

So the skanky image thieves have found yet another way to use our images without our permission or knowledge.

Oh yeah, this Badger w a l l p a p e r  app was free but there are other w a l l p a p e r  apps that are not and these thieves are making money with our images. The fruits of our labors, the work we create. That sucks.

It is a violation of copyright laws, it is image theft and it is wrong. I am glad those Badger apps are not on Google Play any more but they might be on iTunes and I wouldn’t know because I have an Android phone.

Back to why downloading that stupid app to my phone was a mistake: I deleted the app right after viewing the Badger images contained in it but this scumbag developer thief had put some other stuff in the app and the next day I realized that that nasty app maker had stuck another little present piece of crap in it that wasn’t deleted with the app and that my default home page/search browser had been hijacked and a search window came up that had ads for gambling and stupid games on it.

To get rid of the code that high jacked my browser home page I had to clear my cache and delete my data for Internet Explorer on my phone. That meant having to redo all of my bookmarks and use all of my passwords on sites I have to log onto so they would be stored on my phone.

These developers thieves are scum and Google needs to step up to the plate and make sure the apps have legitimate licenses for the images in the apps or disallow the thieves from ever putting them on Google Play.

Do I sound ticked off? I am. We need a class action law suit to prevent these types of apps.

Mia

 

P.S. The image search bookmarklet works in IE and Safari, I don’t know if it works in any other browsers.

Palmlix.com’s Thieving Owner also owns A-GC.com

A while back I did a post titled More on Image Thieves: Palmlix.com Wallpaper site because of the difficulties that I was having trying to get the owner; one Muhammad Farhan, to remove images of mine that he had stolen then placed on his w a l l p a p e r site for free download without my permission, consent or authorization.

After that article was written Muhammad Farah used a service to hide his contact information called domainsbyproxy.com, but I contacted them and this email series is the result of that exchange (read from bottom up for chronological order):

Dear Mia McPherson,

As we have not received proof that our customer attempted to contact you, we are disclosing our customer’s non-public contact information for the limited purpose of this complaint. We will not cancel our proxy service unless the registrar advises us that they are in receipt of a pending UDRP dispute or lawsuit.

Registrant Contact Information (identical for both domains):
Paul Davidson
Address removed because Paul Davidson is listing a mailing address that does not belong to him, the owners of the home are distressed that he has not updated his mailing address
PH:+44.07796225022
[email protected]

Please be advised that this information was provided by the customer. As such, Domains By Proxy cannot guarantee its accuracy. If any of the information proves to be invalid, please let us know and we will take steps to request updated information from our customer.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Very truly yours,

L. Villeneuve
Office of the General Manager
Domains By Proxy, LLC

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: PALMLIX.COM::627300
From: Mia <>
Date: Fri, March 01, 2013 5:20 am
To: [email protected]

Your client did not contact me within the time period you specified nor did they remove the images from their web site that they have stolen from me. I request that you disclose the registrant’s contact information.

This person is using your services to hide from the people who have complaints about his illegal use of our images and his copyright violations which is in violation of your terms of service.

Mia McPherson

Bird, Nature and Wildlife Photography
OnTheWingPhotography

On 2/21/2013 10:00 AM, [email protected] wrote:
>
> Dear Mia McPherson,
>
> Thank you for your message concerning the domain name PALMLIX.COM.
>
> Domains By Proxy (“DBP”) provides a proxy registration service that allows its customers to register domain names without listing their contact information in the public WHOIS database. Since DBP is listed as the registrant of all domain names for which it provides service, it may appear that DBP operates or has an interest in the domain name or website. That is not the case; DBP is neither a domain name registrar, nor a hosting provider.
>
> We have forwarded your complaint via email to our customer. In this email we requested that our customer contact you no later than close of business on February 28, 2013. If our customer fails to respond to our request, we may then disclose the registrant’s contact information.
>
> As Domains By Proxy does not have the ability to remove content from any website for which we provide our proxy service, you will need to contact the hosting provider. Generally the operators of the DNS name servers and the hosting providers are the same. For your convenience, we have listed the hosting provider below. Please note this is the information from the DNS records:
>
> CloudFlare, Inc.
> [email protected]
>
> Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
>
> Very truly yours,
>
> Jeffrey Renoir
> Office of the General Manager
> Domains By Proxy, LLC

I have dealt with CloudFlare.com repeatedly about the owner of this site and find it a waste of my time to contact them, I still have never had a reply from the hosting providers that they have given me. I believe a complete whois should always be made available even when people are using a cloud service that lists the hosting provider. It is a misnomer to say a cloud service is a hosting provider when no files are stored on their servers and it is just a pass through service.

Note that the contact information provided to me by domainsbyproxy.com does not match the whois information of the screen shot I created for Palmlix.com prior to Muhammad Farhan using their services:

palmlix-whois

In case you are wondering why I am writing about Palmlix.com again I came across a referral to my site today from a post titled “Good wallpaper bad wallpaper” on http://eddyandreuben.blogspot.com that mentioned the issues I had been having with the thieving owner of Palmlix.com.

I had not checked the site in some time because I have been extremely busy but after reading the post I went on a search for my stolen images on Palmlix.com and found that all of my images were removed, the pages either go to a generic IE error page or to a “404. Whoppppss NOT FOUND :(” page on the site itself.

However; in my search I found another site using some of the same images stolen by Muhammad Farhan, who had changed the files names on my images to names which always included “mia-mcpherson39s”. That site is A-GC.com and when I did a whois to find out who owned the site this is the result I found:

a-gc.com-whois

Note that the Administrative contact and Registrant are exactly the same for the whois on Palmlix.com and A-GC.com

Registrant:
arkana
maguwo
bantul, Yogyakarta 55198
ID

Administrative Contact:
dzifa, shofa [email protected]
arkana
maguwo
bantul, Yogyakarta 55198

This person, whether they are Muhammad Farhan as he claimed in his first email to me or if he is dzifa, shofa, or the name Paul Davidson given to me by domainsbyproxy.com this person knows full well he has stolen my images and used them illegally on Palmlix.com and now he has several of my images on his other scraper site, A-GC.com.

a-gc.com-stolen-owl-image-mia-mcpherson

This image is mine, it even shows my name in the file name and it was one that this thief had used before on Palmlix.com and was removed the first time I wrote to Muhammad Farhan due to his infringements.

burrowing-owl-copyright

This is a close up of the “downloadable” version stored on the A-GC.com website ILLEGALLY. It says my name, it lists my web site so the ignorant statement on Palmlix.com of:

All wallpapers and backgrounds found here are believed to be in the “public domain”. All of the images displayed are of unknown origin. We do not intend to infringe any legitimate intellectual right, artistic rights or copyright.

Is quite frankly a load of Horse Manure. My images are not “Public Domain” he knew where he got them and as such purposely infringed on my rights.

And on his other scraper site A-GC.com disclaimer:

Please do not ask for permissions to use these images in your projects, as we do not own the copyrights for them. All images displayed on the site are provided only for personal use as w a l l p a p e r on computers, cell phones and other personal electronic devices. In case of an error where you are the owner of an image and feel it is used unknowingly, please contact us so we can immediately remove it from our website. We do not intend to display any copyright protected images. a-gc.com is an online service provider as defined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We provide legal copyright owners with the ability to self-publish on the internet by uploading, storing and displaying various media utilizing our services. We do not monitor, screen or otherwise review the media which is uploaded to our servers by users of the service. We assume copyright violation very seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of legal copyright owners. If you are the copyright owner of content which appears on the a-gc.com website and you did not authorize the use of the content you must notify a-gc.com in writing in order for us to identify the allegedly infringing content and take action. For any problems or questions please email to: [email protected]

Color emphasis is mine to make points about those statements.

Muhammad Farhan admits that they do not own the copyrights (for these images) – Yet he used MINE again even though this infringement crap has been going on since November of 2012.

feel it is used unknowingly - Muhammad Farhan KNOWS he has used my images KNOWINGLY and he knows he is using the rest of the images knowingly too.

We do not intend to display any copyright protected images. a-gc.com is an online service provider as defined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. - They do use the images on this site without the authorization of the copyright owner and they do not give a damn about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

We assume copyright violation very seriously and will vigorously protect the rights of legal copyright owners. – Vigorously?? That is freaking laughable, they are doing quite a lot of vigorous THEFT. Protect?? What a stupid statement when NONE of the images on Palmlix.com or A-GC.com belong to Muhammad Farhan.

All images displayed on the site are provided only for personal use as w a l l p a p e r on computers, cell phones and other personal electronic devices. – Muhammad Farhan does not have my permission or authorization to OFFER any of my images for download for ANY reason or device. It is an infringement of my copyrights, it is THEFT.

And this statement: We provide legal copyright owners with the ability to self-publish on the internet by uploading, storing and displaying various media utilizing our services.

This is patently false. There isn’t a place ON A-GC.com to register to self-publish, upload, store or display images. This is just crap put on the site to mislead people into thinking that the legitimate owners of all the stolen images have uploaded them to this server themselves and it is a damn lie.

This is theft, pure and simple. Below are two more of my stolen images that are being used without my permission on A-GC.com

a-gc.com-stolen-pelican-image-mia-mcpherson

a-gc.com-stolen-se-owl-image-mia-mcpherson

I have had several people email me asking for this thief’s contact information because he has used their images without permission and that is why I felt it was important to write yet another post about copyright infringement on Palmlix.com and now A-GC.com so that the owners of images used without permission on these two scraper sites will have the information I have about this copyright offender.

Administrative Contact:
dzifa, shofa [email protected]

When I find out who the original hosting provider is I will post that information too on every post I have mentioned Muhammad Farhan, Palmlix.com and A-GC.com in.

I have added a WordPress plugin called “iQ Block Country” to block Indonesia which is where Yogyakarta is located to prevent this infringer from gaining access to my images, the images he has currently posted on A-GC.com he had downloaded before and must have stored on his computer.

I will pursue every legal step I can to get my images removed from A-GC.com.

In case you hadn’t noticed, scraper sites like these tick me off. Our images are copyrighted the moment we take them and they are not to be used without our permission or authorization. This is theft. This is copyright infringement.

This thief is making money through advertisements on those sites and the ONLY reason people visit them is for the images, that is money that he does not deserve because he does NOT own our images.

And that is disgusting.

Mia

Standing up against Google’s new Image Search and the copyright issues involved – Class action lawsuit

No photo for this post but it is important to any one who photographs and posts their images to the web. It is important to artists and  graphic designers.

Please feel free to pass on the link to anyone you know who is a photographer or an artist.

Since Google made changes to its Image Search on January 25th many photographers and artists have voiced complaints about the drop in visitors to their sites, for those that have ads they have had a drop in income from those ads and one of the other complaints is about Google hot linking to the full sized version of the images which allows infringers to easily illegally download those images to their computers.

I have written two posts about the changes Google made to their Image Search and many other photographers/webmasters have too because Google has over-stepped with their new UI.

Is Google’s New Image Search Violating Their Own Policies? The Law?

Google needs to remove the hotlinks on Image Search to our files immediately, remove the “View Original File” button and stop facilitating the unauthorized distribution of our Copyrighted work. Anything less is criminal.

Google has become the biggest image scraper of the Millennium

You might wonder why I have used this title but since the 25th of January changes have been made to Google Image Search that have infuriated webmasters, photographers, artists and many more.

From a friend and fellow photographer’s blog: NOT cool, Google!  Google Stealing Online Photos

NOT COOL, GOOGLE. I have no doubt there will be a legal challenge here, as I simply can’t understand the legality of Google itself effectively distributing CONTENT from other people’s websites.

I’m still riled up, I’ve been searching out other blog posts, following a thread that Google started themselves on Google Groups and watching the traffic to my blog and web site drop while seeing the rates of infringement of my images increase. Last week alone I sent in over 100 DMCA takedown requests to Pinterest. That is JUST Pinterest.

WE have to stand up to Google to make this stop.

I said I would be happy to take part in a Class Action suit against Google and due to a recent conversation with an attorney I realize that class action suit is entirely possible and I want to inform as many photographers as I can about it.

I had a very interesting conversation today with attorney William R. Restis of Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP that was very informative about the possibility of a class action law suit against Google with the focus being on the copyright issues that their new image search raises.

What do we need to do to become involved with a class action law suit against Google for the changes they made to their Image Search?

Contact William R. Restis of Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP. This is the same firm that filed a class action law suit against Instagram in December of 2012 for their change in Terms of Service, a suit that forced Instagram to reconsider those changes to their TOS.

I urge you to contact William R. Restis and hear what he has to say.

William R. Restis
Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP
The Koll Center
501 W. Broadway, Suite 1250
San Diego, CA 92101-3579
Email: [email protected]
TEL:  619.238.1333, Ext. 25
FAX: 619.238.5425

We do have to stand up against Google on this matter to protect our copyrights.

  • Have visits to your site decreased dramatically since Google made the changes to their Image Search?
  • Have you seen a decrease in revenue from ads on your site since Google made the changes to their Image Search?
  • Have you seen an increase in image theft and copyright infringements since Google made the changes to their Image Search?

Please send this URL to other photographers, let’s join together and let Google know we aren’t taking this laying down.

Mia