Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stolen Photos: A Cautionary Tale

Those of you that are on my Twitter or Facebook probably know most of this story, but if you haven't heard it, read on.

The other day I was on Etsy, searching for things using keywords that were similar for some of the prints in my shop.  As I'm scrolling down I see one of my prints, but it isn't in my shop!  A bunch of emotions went through me at once. Shock and anger being the two dominate ones.  As I investigated this particular Etsy shop a little further, I realized that not only were one of my prints in the shop, but there were two. Both of these prints were from my Paris trip and both of them are in my own Etsy shop.

I wanted to contact the seller right away and rip him a new one, but I thought it best to contact Etsy first and see what they had to say. Let me just say that I'm pretty disappointed in how Etsy managed this whole situation. It was over 24 hours until I heard from them and I also sent two emails. Then all they had to say was they didn't like to get in the middle of disputes like this and couldn't be the jury. So they gave me links to Copyright Infringement which basically gives the instructions that I'd have to send a letter to their corporate office and jump through a bunch of hoops. Really Etsy? When I offer to show you the original print unedited that has all the photo info and you still won't get into the middle of it? Whatever.

In the meantime I used TinEye on some of the other listings in the seller's shop to see if he had stolen from anyone else. I found a large number of the prints in his shop on Flickr and on DeviantArt, where I promptly emailed the artists and told them the situation.

After hearing back from Etsy, I decided to contact the seller. I told him he had two of my prints in his shop and I did not appreciate that he stole from me without my permission. I also got an email back from a couple of the people on Flickr telling me that their prints weren't stolen and they actually had a contract with the seller to use their photos and get a certain percentage from his sales.

The next day I heard back from the seller (who happens to live in Madrid). He apologized and explained that he had bought the photos (in full-size) from a former co-worker who was a photographer. He took the prints down from his shop and I've enlisted his help to get the info for this photographer friend of his. Normally, I'd call BS on that story, but after hearing from several of the other photographers that they actually have contracts with him and he has permission to use their photos, I thought he might be telling the truth.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. Those photos are also on Flickr, which is where I'm assuming the guy got them. However, I have downloading disabled on my pictures and when you right click my pictures, it doesn't even give you the option to save as. So...I'm not sure how this guy got the full-size version of my picture. 

In the meantime, I've made my Flickr private and I honestly don't know if I'll ever share my photos on there again. I've also been going through my Etsy shop and watermarking every photo. Honestly, I hate the look of watermarking and that's why I've put off using it on my photos. However, after this little debacle, it appears I'll be putting it on every single picture that I upload to the web.  I know this probably isn't the first time that someone will steal my photos, but it's really eye-opening. It just shocks me that people would steal from others and then try to pass it off as their own.

Seriously? Get some talent of your own.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Snippets

Since I'm lazy and feel more like enjoying the last few hours of what looks to be an actualy sunny/warm day here in Italy, I'm just going to do a short list of what's going on instead of boring you (and me) with a long drawn out post of what I've been doing the past 16 days.

  • Went to Dublin, Ireland for 3 days. Enjoyed the friendly people, delicious food and sights. I did not enjoy the downright chilly weather we encountered or getting up at 3:30 a.m. to make the flight home to Italy.
  • Have been a total slacker in the workout department for the past week and a half. I'm to a new low with my weight and body image. No  matter what I do, I'm not losing weight or even toning up. I think a lot of it has to do with my eating, so come Monday, I'm revamping and going back to the eating plan that helped me lost 20 lbs in the first place.
  • Had to visit the doctor twice. Once for a yearly womans' exam and when that exam showed abnormal cells, I had to go back in for a colposcopy. That just happens to be my second procedure in 5 years and quite frankly, it sucks. I hope not to repeat it again anytime soon.
  • Canceled my trip to Paris to see a friend I haven't seen in 6 years, because the trip to Ireland was more expensive than we both thought and we had to replace a broken laptop. I could have dug out of our savings, but being responsible, I didn't feel like that was the best idea.
  • Woke up with vertigo on Thursday morning. I pray if you haven't experienced vertigo, that you never will. It's awful. This is the second time it's happened to me in a year and I think I'll be going to the doctor soon to see what they can do for me so in the future I don't have to wait 3.5 hours to stop feeling like I want to puke my guts out.
  • Still have not heard a peep about when we are leaving Italy. In the meantime I am planning possible locations for us to go if there is a long weekend in May. Prague, Lisbon and Athens are on that list.
  • Our electricity went out today as we *gasp* had our indoor grill, dryer and PS3 all on at the same time. Now...due to that our water heater is not working and flashing some sort of code about a broken sensor. Our maintenance guy is coming by this afternoon. I'm praying he fixes it, as the thought of no hot water for the rest of the weekend is more than I can bear.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: Intro to Army Life

Awhile back I was contacted about reviewing a new book, Intro to Army Life by Allison Mewes.

I was pleasantly surprised with this book.  It's concise and gives useful information without being overwhelming. This book is broke down into short chapters detailing various aspects of the Army and Army life. A few examples are: Military Structure, Pay and Benefits and Deployment and Emotions.   There are a few things in my own Army experience that are different than listed in the book, such as living on post and some of the rules that go along with that, but overall it's a great guide for a new Army spouse.

Honestly the thing I liked most about this book was that it included pictures. That might sound a bit funny to some, but when you are new army wife, photos of the different types of rank, an LES statement and the various types of uniforms can be very helpful.

Because I've been married to someone in the military for the past 5 years, there wasn't much in the book that I wasn't at least aware of, but I will say that the military discounts and resources page included some information that I wasn't familiar with. 

Overall I'd recommend this to anyone who is new to the lifestyle or even a veteran spouse who would like all this info at their fingertips.  You can find the book on Amazon in book form or even for your Kindle.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Have You Been to Dublin?

Sean and I have will be taking a trip to Dublin in a few weeks and since I know my blog readers are so well-traveled and helpful, I thought I'd ask you guys for some advice.

Now, we don't have time in Dublin. With the way our flights worked out, we have about two and half days to spend there.

I do know that we want to see Trinity College and the Book of Kells and I think we'd like to take one of the tours out to the countryside to see some of the places away from the city.

So, if you have tips on where to eat, drink, things to see or any tours, let me know. I don't need any recommendations for accomodations, as I've already got those booked.