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View Full Version : Fraud "photography" caught using stolen images for portfolio!


SnapsbyPoteat
21st of December 2010 (Tue), 21:47
(sorry if this was already posted)
I'm a fan of alex michele photography on facebook- her work is amazing. http://www.facebook.com/alexmichelephotography

A couple weeks ago another facebook fan found some images that belonged to alex on 'jayde madison' photography portfolio! She had been using other photographers images for her own portfolio! It's built up so much hype that it was on the evening news in Viriginia recently. Apparently the BBB is getting involved and there are 8 clients who have come forward with complaints as well. Just thought I would share. It really is disgusting that someone would do this.

Check out this video from the TV station here:
http://www.wtvr.com/videobeta/6b978ddc-41ab-42f8-b636-45afdb6ea718/News/Complaints-About-Local-Photographer

alabama1980
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 00:06
http://www.petapixel.com/2010/09/15/photographer-offers-groupon-deal-using-stolen-photographs-chaos-ensures/

Reminds me of this similar story. I don't understand why people think they can get away with that. If you could deliver that quality in the first place you wouldn't need to lift the photos....and if you can't deliver the quality then you're going to be hosed come shooting time.

dcatbagan
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 00:53
I enjoyed the customer's 'reasons' to why she was disappointed.

mdvaden
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 00:57
http://www.petapixel.com/2010/09/15/photographer-offers-groupon-deal-using-stolen-photographs-chaos-ensures/

Reminds me of this similar story. I don't understand why people think they can get away with that. If you could deliver that quality in the first place you wouldn't need to lift the photos....and if you can't deliver the quality then you're going to be hosed come shooting time.

This reminds me of something that came to mind a few days ago. I was thinking about discussions on this board about copyright, and what a pain infringement is, especially if maybe the images are not registered.

Then the thought came that it would be handy if a person using images, presented them falsely as their own. It's been said that fraud is a lot easier to deal with in regards to penalizing someone for being dishonest.

CallumPhoto
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 01:20
I enjoyed the customer's 'reasons' to why she was disappointed.

"She's not centered" was my favourite. But seriously I would love to know why she thought she could get away with this haha. Her photos and the ones she pinched are in totally different leauges.

focus.pocus
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 02:16
I have a strong feeling there are going to be more & more of these type stories going around in the near future... some locals in my area have FB pages and advertise as POHTOGRAPHERS and to be blunt their work sucks... to many people with a DSLR think because they spend big bucks on a camera and a few lenses and some family member or friend tells them they do good work then they can become a professional... and NO I am no pro and don't want to be... I do it for fun... when it becomes a job then I think the fun goes out of it...

amfoto1
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 08:03
That's freakin' hilarious! There's nothing like some good media coverage to get your name out to the public, is there?

Jayde hould write a book: "How to put yourself out of business before you even get started"

This sure isn't the first case of it's type.... We had someone post here a year or two ago that one of their images had been stolen and submitted to a photo contest... and won something.

You have to be some kind of especially clueless idiot to mis-represent someone else's work as your own and somehow think that's an okay thing to do.

Apparently there is actually no person named "Jayde Madison", either. The photographer's name is Beth something. Hmmm, identity theft, too?

Website seems to be gone... But of course, they're still on Facebook.... and even fraud charges can't stop Craigslist! http://richmond.craigslist.org/evs/2048425682.html

RDKirk
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 09:12
We teach our kids to do this nowawadays. They cut and paste off the web for their high school and college papers, presenting other people's work as their own--and it's become a tacitly acceptable practice. There is no concept of anything about it being wrong. "It's just to get my foot in the door...the work I'll do for my employer will be my work."

TopHatMoments
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 09:37
And yet Dana is still in business, thou the first three photographs ( no wait pic's ) on her shortfolio,
Ook like something from a scary movie project.

MJPhotos24
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 10:11
We teach our kids to do this nowawadays. They cut and paste off the web for their high school and college papers, presenting other people's work as their own--and it's become a tacitly acceptable practice. There is no concept of anything about it being wrong. "It's just to get my foot in the door...the work I'll do for my employer will be my work."

If you're talking about ripping off papers and such, plagiarism, that's one thing - but you can use images in educational material without permission protected by fair use in the US. Problem is nobody - teacher or parent - doesn't teach that beyond that scope it's illegal.

RDKirk
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 13:21
If you're talking about ripping off papers and such, plagiarism, that's one thing - but you can use images in educational material without permission protected by fair use in the US. Problem is nobody - teacher or parent - doesn't teach that beyond that scope it's illegal.

Actually, it's pretty darned hard in practice to use a someone else's image legally under Fair Use.


In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
the nature of the copyrighted work;
the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Using an image almost always runs afoul of consideration #3. Unlike a song, poem, or novel of which you can quote a small portion, use of an image is almost always the entire image. That alone is normally a "fair use" killer.

Because the entire image is usually used, it will also run against consideration #4, because if the full image is available in an unauthrized source, there is less need to go to the authorized source.

Running afoul of #3 is because of the nature of the image as a nearly atomic whole that running afoul of #2 is almost always the case.

So people depending on "Fair Use" for an image are normally depending on conideration #1 alone...and the Courts rule pretty strictly on that -- a whole lot of non-profit and educational organizations have wound paying infringement penalties. Parody or editorial criticism under fair use requires that the parody or criticism be specifically of the used work. For instance, I can make fair use of someone's copyrighted image of a politician under consideration #1 only in a criticism or parody of that photograph--not of the politician.

TeleFragger
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 13:26
We teach our kids to do this nowawadays. They cut and paste off the web for their high school and college papers, presenting other people's work as their own--and it's become a tacitly acceptable practice. There is no concept of anything about it being wrong. "It's just to get my foot in the door...the work I'll do for my employer will be my work."

Sorry but MY family is excluded there.. All papers must be accompanied by source locations, etc..... we stress this heavily to our kids that it is not their work .... also anything they do MUST be written in their words... if it is taken from the book, web, they must redo it ... (he is 10...and gets A's and some B's)..... My wife and I are striving for his success :cool:

PeteA
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 14:11
Sorry but MY family is excluded there.. All papers must be accompanied by source locations, etc..... we stress this heavily to our kids that it is not their work .... also anything they do MUST be written in their words... if it is taken from the book, web, they must redo it ... (he is 10...and gets A's and some B's)..... My wife and I are striving for his success :cool:

I was thinking the same, all the way through school I've been taught how to show sources properly. One of the biggest things taught was "It's better to quote (in context) and show that you understand it, than to copy and change the quote to pass it off as your own".

I've got used to people ripping off images I've taken. This happens on a highly regular basis when it comes to retail. You just call them up nicely and ask them to remove it within 24 hours or you'll sue them for the value of each order they've had with that product. Since they can't prove how long they've had that picture legally you could take all sales from when the picture was taken and out online. Fun times.


I think it's extremely sad that people have to rip off other peoples work instead of learning how to do it them selves.

spiralspirit
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 14:35
We teach our kids to do this nowawadays. They cut and paste off the web for their high school and college papers, presenting other people's work as their own--and it's become a tacitly acceptable practice. There is no concept of anything about it being wrong. "It's just to get my foot in the door...the work I'll do for my employer will be my work."

I don't know where your kids go to school, but in both high school and university there were plagiarism 'sessions' that made it quite clear that it was not acceptable, and the punishments on those caught are quite severe.

It's easy to do, but it's inevitable to get caught because nothing gets forgotten now that everything is digital, and the punishments are pretty harsh.

It's not tacitly acceptable anywhere I've been or with anyone I know...

Dennis_Hammer
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 15:36
My daughter's school makes them wash their papers through a website that checks for plagiarism. Not sure how efficient it is but she claims the fact that you have to do it stops quite a few from trying. The results are sent straight to the educator. They also now turn in their work through a website things have changed.

shotsbysheryl
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 18:51
That is flat out CRAZY!!!!!!! I can't believe someone would stoop that low knowing their clients will be disappointed with the results.

Flores
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 19:02
That is flat out CRAZY!!!!!!! I can't believe someone would stoop that low knowing their clients will be disappointed with the results.

sarcasm or naiveté, not sure which :D

I will note that there are a lot more desperate people out there these days than normal. desperation seems to drive foolish behavior.

Red Tie Photography
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 20:04
I think her reasons why she didnt like them were funny too. And can you believe it? She got crappy photos for $125!!!!!! For that she should get a complete professional, a 30 page album and two copies of the proofs to send to her family, shipping paid for by the photographer of course. [/end sarcasm]

Billo78
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 20:20
I think her reasons why she didnt like them were funny too. And can you believe it? She got crappy photos for $125!!!!!! For that she should get a complete professional, a 30 page album and two copies of the proofs to send to her family, shipping paid for by the photographer of course. [/end sarcasm]

What she paid is totally irrelevant here.

mebuck
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 20:43
I too am a fan of Alex Michele's work and was surprised that someone would do this and think the client wouldn't notice or they would eventually get caught.

Why didn't she just use her own images for her porfolio??? Just doesn't make sense unless her plan was to take the money and run

Billo78
22nd of December 2010 (Wed), 21:39
Why didn't she just use her own images for her porfolio??? Just doesn't make sense unless her plan was to take the money and run

Because her photos are terrible and no one would have booked her based on them.

SnapsbyPoteat
23rd of December 2010 (Thu), 10:29
Because her photos are terrible and no one would have booked her based on them.

Because she has no talent! When Alex Walker (of alex michele photography) first contacted her about the images the imposter stated that she had 3 workers under her and that one of them must have stolen the images. Then she tells the news story that Alex Michele gave her permission. Charging $300 a wedding, I doubt she has any workers under her, I was surprised to see she actually had an office!

Not only is she getting chargers for false advertisement, but also for copyright infringement and apparently Alexandra contacted the parents of the newborn images that were stolen about pressing charges for displaying images of a minor without persmission. Shes in trouble!!

MJPhotos24
23rd of December 2010 (Thu), 15:18
Actually, it's pretty darned hard in practice to use a someone else's image legally under Fair Use.

Using an image almost always runs afoul of consideration #3. Unlike a song, poem, or novel of which you can quote a small portion, use of an image is almost always the entire image. That alone is normally a "fair use" killer.

Because the entire image is usually used, it will also run against consideration #4, because if the full image is available in an unauthrized source, there is less need to go to the authorized source.

Running afoul of #3 is because of the nature of the image as a nearly atomic whole that running afoul of #2 is almost always the case.

So people depending on "Fair Use" for an image are normally depending on conideration #1 alone...and the Courts rule pretty strictly on that -- a whole lot of non-profit and educational organizations have wound paying infringement penalties. Parody or editorial criticism under fair use requires that the parody or criticism be specifically of the used work. For instance, I can make fair use of someone's copyrighted image of a politician under consideration #1 only in a criticism or parody of that photograph--not of the politician.

...and if you look at the law, and the fact it leaves interpretation up to the judge in most cases because it's so vague, do you really fricken think a kid using an image from the internet for his research paper is going to lose that battle? Even if section 107 of the US Copyright Law didn't clearly state..."...purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

I seriously don't want to live in the stick up the six world you are trying to describe.

Read...
http://www.uta.fi/FAST/PK6/REF/fairuse.html

JCOphoto
25th of December 2010 (Sat), 21:45
I don't understand how someone could do something like that either. It's mind boggling.

DigitalSpecialist
25th of December 2010 (Sat), 21:58
Plagiarism by any name is theft, and WE do not teach our children to steal. They learn to take credit for others works by not having to be responsible for their own efforts. If we would instill pride and confidence in our children they wouldn't be taking credit for another persons works.

Writing papers in college was one of the best times for me. I truly loved doing the research and learning of others opinions and finding my own opinion base on the facts. I can't tell you how many times my mind changed from doing thorough research.

This case is sad, and the photog stealing others works should be prosecuted, or at least have their name out in public for all to know! My two cents!!!!!!

jetcode
25th of December 2010 (Sat), 22:04
Someone needed a way to become legitimate. It was a gamble and she lost. I'm sure it's a good lesson for her. Is it standard rate to charge $125 for an afternoon shoot? Seems priced really low. I know of several high end photographers who charge a small fortune for their work and have wealthy clients. To be honest I think everyone learned something from this. You can't get great work for pennies on the dollar and establishing a credentialed business is not an over night phenomenon.

golfecho
27th of December 2010 (Mon), 10:10
Sorry but MY family is excluded there.. All papers must be accompanied by source locations, etc..... we stress this heavily to our kids that it is not their work .... also anything they do MUST be written in their words... if it is taken from the book, web, they must redo it ... (he is 10...and gets A's and some B's)..... My wife and I are striving for his success :cool:

BRAVO!!

TeleFragger
27th of December 2010 (Mon), 16:36
BRAVO!!

{takes a bow} Thank You ... Thank You... {blows kisses to crowd} :p

AliciaTTF
28th of December 2010 (Tue), 12:12
I call them HWC's..."housewives with cameras"

they lurk on Craigslist charging $50 for overexposed images changed into black and white using picnik. you get what you pay for :cool:

TopHatMoments
28th of December 2010 (Tue), 12:24
Does that mean all housewives with a camera? Or just the ones that use picnik?

AliciaTTF
28th of December 2010 (Tue), 12:27
Does that mean all housewives with a camera? Or just the ones that use picnik?

the ones who do zero research, don't even TRY to learn the business side. they just pick up a camera, put it on auto and snap snap snap

rgrebby
28th of December 2010 (Tue), 13:06
This is such an amazing way for alex michéle to get great publicity! Genius!!

kona77
28th of December 2010 (Tue), 13:15
I am sure this happens more often than we realize.

I would also like to take the opportunity to comment on the atrocious lighting and camera work by WTVR. What a pathetic attempt. In one interview it looks like they lit the subject by the fireplace with headlights from a car in the driveway.

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 10:58
Just heard on another board (PPA) that Alex herself has been using copyrighted music on her website with out permission. She has taken the music down now.

MJPhotos24
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 15:53
Just heard on another board (PPA) that Alex herself has been using copyrighted music on her website with out permission. She has taken the music down now.

Do you know how many times on THIS site I've seen people complaining about people stealing their work only to go to their site and hear the latest Coldplay or some other big musician/band playing unlicensed? The answer is a LOT!! Hypocrisy at it's best, they steal the music but don't want anyone stealing their photography.

RDKirk
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 16:11
Do you know how many times on THIS site I've seen people complaining about people stealing their work only to go to their site and hear the latest Coldplay or some other big musician/band playing unlicensed? The answer is a LOT!! Hypocrisy at it's best, they steal the music but don't want anyone stealing their photography.

Even on this forum they will come out with the torches and pitchforks if told they can't steal someone else's music for their websites and slide shows.

JeffreyG
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 16:15
Even on this forum they will come out with the torches and pitchforks if told they can't steal someone else's music for their websites and slide shows.

Taking us off topic just a bit.

Do you guys know if most bands will sell versions of music that can be used on commecial websites? Is there like, some kind of 'Muzak' source for commercial background music?

Or do you have to pretty much know somebody in the industry?

I'm just wondering if I can assume that any common and popular music I hear on XYZ website is ripped off or not.

MJPhotos24
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 17:07
Taking us off topic just a bit.

Do you guys know if most bands will sell versions of music that can be used on commecial websites? Is there like, some kind of 'Muzak' source for commercial background music?

Or do you have to pretty much know somebody in the industry?

I'm just wondering if I can assume that any common and popular music I hear on XYZ website is ripped off or not.

You can license the song and pretty cheap in some cases from their PRO (Performing Rights Organization) like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, other smaller ones to that are usually a sub-division of one of them. It's pretty easy to start your own publishing company and start representing bands you work with if you're in the industry.

There are some players out there that you can legally install on your site as long as you don't alter the player and violate their terms (some are for personal sites only, not commercial). Most however don't even bother looking to see and just steal the song like people steal images. There's some companies that license the background music pretty simple, others that original artists can upload their stuff cheap - all original.

I'd assume all popular songs on a photographers site is stolen personally, never found a one that actually licensed the music for their site and they run away when called out on it. Though I'm sure some do, it seems a vast majority do not.

RDKirk
2nd of January 2011 (Sun), 17:28
Taking us off topic just a bit.

Do you guys know if most bands will sell versions of music that can be used on commecial websites? Is there like, some kind of 'Muzak' source for commercial background music?

Or do you have to pretty much know somebody in the industry?

I'm just wondering if I can assume that any common and popular music I hear on XYZ website is ripped off or not.

Go to BMI.com or ASCAP.com--they both offer licenses that allow you to use anything in their catalogs on your website for about $350 a year--which is quite reasonable for professional business use. You can actually do it all online at the BMI.com site.

This is for website use only--not use on a CD. That's an entirely different affair called a "synchronization license" which is usually exceedingly expensive--like $20,000 per song (twenty thousand dollars). That's based on the fact that once they give you a sync license, they have no idea how many copies you're going to make that will cut into their own sales--so they presume the worst.

You can figure that photographers who actually do or who are big enough that they might do business with record industry people (or their friends) will have carefully licensed their sites. Most tom, dicks, and harrys playing popular music probably have not.

However, you may well be able to strike deals with local musicians and bands to use their own work. Be aware, though, that a local musician can give you permission only for his performance, but not the music (if it's copyrighted). You would still have to get permission for the music as well.

(As a trivial tidbit, that's why all those old Warner Brothers cartoons used so much classical music as backgrounds--the classical music scores are in public domain and the studio already had the musicians on contract.)

You can also check the web for "garage music" sites, find something you like, and contact the author to use his work on your website. Many of them will allow it for no more than credit or a link to their sites.