Pirates Have Stolen My Cowboys

5 years ago

The internet is fueled by images and Google seaches.  We are living in a visual media culture.  

Have you ever thought about the person behind the image?  Have you thought about the photographer who took the photograph or the artist who created the illustration or the designer?

I have really changed my view of googling images to place in my blog posts lately, as I have been the victim of photo piracy and there was no Jack Sparrow about this pirate ship! The internet can be an ugly, greedy ship, where many of the shipmates will just as much tie you up and have you walk the plank.

I am currently dealing with an online photography piracy nightmare.  Many of my photos have been stolen and reposted on the internet.

This image has been pinned on Pinterest (with my name and website given proper credit).  

But the same image is on this website advertising a Wild West party for Russian women.  I did not give this person permission to use six of my photos to advertise for her "Wild West" party or her website for that matter.  The six that I can see on her website that are mine are:

You know what adds insult to injury is the fact that you can "Like" this on Facebook or Tweet them out on Twitter (giving the pirate and her website more advertising and I am not even sure what this website is advertising.) As the creator of the images she is using, I should have the right to where my photos end up.  This is ridiculous!
I do not want my photos on this website.  I have contacted the owner of this website to take them down (through the website and through the Facebook link) and she has not responed to me or taken them down!! 

Back to Pinterest, I can't even get a request answered from Pinterest from their invite only thingy deal. Why am I on the outside looking in at my own art when it starts from the inside of me?

I don't really understand Pinterest, but you can right click and copy all images, which I think they need to fix.  It isn't fair to the artists who are working so hard to do their art.  I have not been paid one dime from any of the images of cowboys. I want to publish these photos in an elegant coffee table book about rodeo.

This photo has also been pinned on Pinterest with my name properly credited, or at least my website where it originated from.  But how many of my photos are out there without credit or credit given to some random website where they were stolen and reposted on?  

Again, I did not give anyone permission to pin this and I did not get notified it got pinnned.  I am glad I got credit for the photo, but it seems wrong that I am justifying and saying, "Well at least, I got credit."  What is wrong with this picture!

What is wrong is we are so greedy and self-asbsorbed that if it is there we think it belongs to us.  I know a toddler who thinks that way!  Aren't we a little bit more evolved?  I know there are people who are ethically about crediting artists and asking for permission before they repost.  But more often than not, you can't even find out where an image originated from.

Like this one, for example. This is a photo of Brian Canter, a professional bull rider.  He actually uses this photo as his Facebook profile photo.  I don't mind -- I am flattered, since he has access to many photos taken by professional photographers hired by the PBR, Inc. to take profile photos for their website, www.pbrnow.com.  I would like to have my name on the photo, though.

I am in the process of contact each website I see my photos on (there are so many dang it) and learning how to put a watermark on.  

Should I be blamed for not putting a watermark on all my photos? I thought it was just my job to be the artist -- the photographer!  I guess I have to spend even more time out of  my busy schedule protecting my images.  At my core and root -- I just want to share my art with the world because really, what good does art do if nobody sees it? 

How would Michealenglo feel if his art was not credited back to him?  

I am slowly taking care of the steps to protect my photos on the internet, but it is a huge pain in the butt.  And not as much fun as looking at this cowboy butt! 

But if you Google " Brian Canter" for images, you can see this photo.  Brian is a professional bull rider from North Carolina.  I took this photo of him.

The website it says it originated from is: stelizabethnkoowe.com, which is an all girls' school in Uganda. Yes, Uganda.  The URL address associated with the photo of Brian Canter says the name of an all girls school with Canterbury Tales and Caymen farmers in it.  What?  What does this photo have to do with Canterbury Tales or a girls' school in Uganda.  Do you see how frustrating this worm hole is for an artist trying to just get proper credit for their art?  

I am a right brain woman!  This left brain nonsense is really frustrating.  (OK - I am done feeling sorry for myself -- which is why I am writing this BlogHer post, when I should be spending the morning with my toddler.  Thank you Seseme Street.)

This same photo and many of my other cowboy photos have been reposted (without credit to me or permission) on a Southern Romance Writer’s website, a cute faces website (I asked this website to take down the photos -- he did and then put them back up the next day), Photo Bucket, this Russian website, and a bunch of other websites.  These are the ones I know of.  

Images are passed around the internet, without a second thought to giving the individual artists any credit for capturing and creating the image.  I may not have ridden a bull or wild horse for 8 seconds, like these awesome cowboys, but I logged many hours taking these photos!  I had a lot of bullshit (literally) kicked up on me and my camera capturing the images.  I took time away from my family to go to countless rodeos.  I am passioante about rodeo as I truly love the sport and I believe in the integrity of the Cowboy Code.

I am so mad! (This was the first line of the this post originally.)

Actually, I started mad when I first started writing this.  Now, I feel empowered I am writing about it and speaking up for other artists who have had their work pirated (this includes artists, bloggers and writers on the internet.)  Here is a link to a great article, titled, Online Piracy: Trusting the Good of the Community, by BlogHer writer, Eileen Van Tyne.

You can view the my photos at my portfolio at Talenthouse.com/memomuse.  They tell a story.  In the words of my artist friend, Jennifer Pick, "I love your portfolio....I feel like we went on a little trip, in a truck, to concerts, with a dog, and friends..."

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.






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