Some of you wanted an update on the progress of The Case of The Stolen Picture, so here you go…
I posted last week about finding a picture from my blog (of our nursery) on a store’s website. The picture had been used without consent and did not give any credit to me or this blog. It was a weird feeling - violated, flattered, annoyed, and funny.
On Facebook it created quite a conversation: they had some nice stuff… I should get store credit! Was this an outrage or a compliment? Someone’s 4-year-old daughter rightly concluded that they were pirates.
My own son was infuriated. He told me we needed to “tell them to give that back! That’s our condo! Give our picture back!” ;)
First thing I did was e-mail them politely but firmly telling them that the picture was mine, was obtained without permission, and they needed to either remove it or credit it. And I waited until the end of the week… there was no response. So I tried phoning the store on Monday. No answer. Left a message on the machine. No response. I was beginning to wonder if the store was even still in business.
That’s when I contacted Lindsey (from Little House Blog) and Jennifer (from Rambling Renovators) via Twitter. They’re like the big sisters of Canadian design bloggers, giving tips about blogging and planning events like BlogPodium. And they’re awesome. Within minutes they responded with some great advice on what I should be doing.
Lindsey pointed out that if they didn’t respond I should get ahold of their website host. Good call. And Jennifer pointed me to this helpful article about what to do when your content is stolen. I was glad to have a variety of options on how to proceed.
I decided to give them one more try - I sent a much more firmly worded e-mail then called the store again. This time someone answered. I can’t say the conversation was the most pleasant. The woman on the other end seemed rushed, annoyed, suspicious, and awkward (I mean, how awkward to realize you’re a skeezy pirate!). I tried to be firm but polite… but it was strange. I felt nervous being so confrontational. She hurriedly told me they’d take it down and hung up.
Wait a second! No click! I wanna’ know: were you oblivious to the fact that taking my picture was wrong a la Judith Griggs? Or were you evilly plotting this scheme with ill intent?! Where did you find my picture? Why did you take my picture!? I felt very unsatisfied.
By the day’s end the picture was still up. And after the very brief and none-too-happy phone call I decided to hit “send” on my e-mail to their web host.
Then, yesterday I received a phone call from the store owner. She told me that she was aware of a phone call I’d had with her employee and just wanted to know more. I once again explained that the picture was mine and was taken without permission, and that I’d tried several times through e-mail and phone to notify them of that. She apologized and explained they have trouble with that e-mail address and that the picture had been taken down. She also told me that she’d spoken with her lawyer who’d informed her she was not in the wrong because I didn’t have any kind of watermark on it (um… sorry, but that is not the case. In Canada, once a person creates an original work in compliance with the Copyright Act - blog writing and photography included - it is copyrighted. I own the rights to it. Period. ) She assured me that no malice was intended but that they found the picture and really felt that it fit the look of what they were going for. Overall she was professional and polite (even though she did try to put the onus on me for not marking my photo) and I was feeling better. I told her that I had given them permission to continue using the photo as long as they gave me proper credit and referred her to my original email.
So… I consider the whole matter dealt with. I won’t be posting any rage-filed attention-seeking complaints on their Facebook page now. ;)
And let this be a lesson to us all:
- Bloggers, stand up for your original work, and
- Pinterest is not a source. Go find out where a picture is from and credit it appropriately.