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11 April 2015

When Busted for Copyright Infringement -- Let's Go Crazy!

Photo by Oreo Photography
It happens all to often that when those lacking talent  are caught out taking photos from other photographers and using them as their own, they go on the attack. I have received more than my fair share of nasty emails in reply to DMCA notices, but one perpetually evolving story that was first reported on Photo Stealers is beyond the pale. There are all manner of disturbed people roaming the dark corners of the interwebz. If you spend enough time in this minefield, you are bound to run into a few of them. Such is the continuing saga of SJK Photography in Delrey Beach, Florida.  Photo Stealers first reported copyright infringement by SJK Photography on January 22, 2015 and since that time, the  infringers have been on an internet rampage which might be the most epic load of crazy ever. If you want the whole sordid story, you can start with Part 1 of 4 on Bullshizer's Blog. The two characters in this tale immediately engaged in a campaign of bullying, threats, and making fake Rip Off Reports in an apparent effort to intimidate photographers to bend to their will and demand that the owner of Photo Stealers (preserved here in PDF format)  remove the post about SJK Photography and to silence people who called them out for copyright infringement. I will spare you the details, but you can read all about it on Photo Stealers, PetaPixel,  and Bullshizer. 

The latest efforts to intimidate photographers by trying to embarrass and humiliate them are the creation of a series of Facebook pages where they share images from the Facebook page of any person who ever commented on any post about them. They have even attacked photos of babies with the flag and pulled photos off personal Facebook pages to harass people. While we cannot know the identity of administrators of a Facebook page without intervention by law enforcement (which may eventually happen) or the administrators identifying themselves (by inadvertently outing themselves), it is quite obvious who is behind the bully pages. I have been hit a couple of times by them on Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer. A new page went up a few days ago and after stalking the commenters on Photo Stealers, they shared screen shots of comments made by me and another follower of the blog. Despite their feeble protestations that the pages are not administered by them, affiliated with them, or administered at their direction, it seems rather suspicious that the page tends to focus on bullying and attempting to humiliate people who commented on the original Photo Stealers blog or commented on Facebook posts about the blog. Another page, Selling the drama, went up a few days ago, on or about April 8, 2015, and immediately the page started posting images in an attempt to humiliate and embarrass people who comment on the Photo Stealers blog. 

After they hit me on the Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer page, I warned my friends who commented on my post that they too were opening themselves up to bullying by that pair, and sure enough they were hit too, thus demonstrating the purpose of the page is to bully and harass. The Selling the drama page posted screen shots from Photo Stealers comment thread on the SJK story and then Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer immediately shared  posts from Selling the Drama to their page, evidencing a close  link between the two pages.

Since Facebook often refuses to remove public posts that are shared, absent violent, insulting, or blatantly bullying language in the description, photographers and others who find their work shared on these pages have taken matters into their own hands. They have been changing the description of their work to include a "thank you note" complete with links to the Photo Stealers' post about the couple suspected of running the pages. As many of the "thank you notes" have been removed by Facebook after being reported and as Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer  has boasted about getting links removed and people banned, it is probably safe to assume that the administrators of Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer  report the "thank you notes" as harassment. This begs the question, if the story on Photo Stealers is not about the administrators of Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer, why would they bother to report the post and have it removed? When Facebook removes the photographer's photo because the description violates the TOS, the photo is also removed from Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer's page as well. This means they have to go trolling Facebook for new photo victims. It would be adverse to the purpose of the page to report photos they have shared for posting a link that does not have anything to do with them, therefore, hello Billcie. If the two pages are not connected, why is Selling the drama creeping the Photo Stealers blog post and screen capping comments to share on their new Facebook page?

If the administrator(s) of Selling the drama are not the people outed by Bullshizer, Photo Stealers, and others, why are they stalking the comment section of Photo Stealers and posting screen caps to their page? Hmmmmmmm? 

Below are several screen shots taken from the Ha, So You Think You're A Photographer and Selling the drama pages demonstrating the harassment that photographers and non-photographers alike have had to endure. I suspect that this situation will not improve any time soon.

Oh and it probably isn't a good idea to bash any image of the United States flag. Just ask Vanessa Hicks

Photo by Heather Ann Photography
Photo by Roy Barry
Photo by Christopher Hoffman Photography, LLC
Photo by 3Photography
Post by About You Photography
Unedited Version of Original Post Naming Me and Another Person
Whinging About Links to Photo Stealers
Example of the "Thank You" Note Photographers are Posting
On their Photos Shared by ha, yadda yadda
Post by Selling the drama evidencing they
follow PS Blog comments
Cross-sharing evidencing a connection
between the two Facebook pages.
False blogs about "us"? Hmmmmm


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