What better time than election day to write about stealing and illegal activitiy: more specifically, stealing photos from websites.
I’ve been noticing on my stats that there is a tremendous amount of hotlinking of "celebrity" photos that are on my server — most notably the popular-for-some-unknown-reason Nicole Richie. I don’t really care that "ana" sites use these photos — after all, I stole them myself from other places. But when I steal, I outrightly steal. I right-click and press SAVE. I don’t steal the person’s bandwidth. Those who don’t steal the photos outright are just plain wimps.
To be honest, I’m not proud of my stealing. I do try to give credit to the photographer, but sometimes I forget in my race to get the post over to Sophia for checking. I guess I’m such a small fry that nobody really cares yet about my stealing, but I have a feeling it will bite me in the ass at some point.
In real life, I’m a very law-abiding citizen — a real goody-two-shoes. Why do you think it is called "Citizen of the Month?" I do not litter. I have never shoplifted anything — even a piece of bubble gum. So, my stealing of photos is very special to me. It is probably one of the most "wild and dangerous" acts of my life. It makes me feel like I’m on a Harley zooming down Route 66, sneering at the domesticated locals.
Talk about being a rebel with a photographic cause!
Today, I happened to read David Simmer’s blog, Blogography. He had a post about some "web thieves" that blew me away — and made me feel like an amateur:
Back in February, I got an email from my friend Dave++ telling me how somebody had taken photos and content from his web site and created a new fictional person based on his life (you can read the fascinating story here). Something similar had happened to me the previous summer, so I could relate… a reader had sent me an email telling me that somebody had stolen most of my travel photos (like these) and then blogged about the trips as if they were the one who had taken them. I was curious more than upset, and fired off an email telling them that they should either give me credit for my photos or remove them. Instead, they removed the entire blog, which was okay too.
But that was not the end of it. I still get emails from Blogography readers pointing me to other sites that have stolen my stuff. Sometimes it’s just a photo or two, which is no big deal (though I do wish they would give me credit, as specified by my Creative Commons license)… but other times it’s much worse. They steal entire entries. They steal cartoons and erase the copyright. The steal photos and claim to have taken them. They steal my site layout. They steal my web feed. They steal EVERYTHING.
What really burns my ass is that many times these thieves have money-generating ads on their blogs, meaning that they are PROFITING off of my work. Do you see any ads on MY site? No? That’s because THERE AREN’T ANY! If I am not making any money off of Blogography, why should anybody else get to??
I felt conflicting emotions after reading one. First. I felt anger at those who were stealing from a fellow blogger, especially such a talented one. But more importantly, I felt my image as the rebel photo-stealer quickly crumbling. My Harley turned into a Schwinn bicycle and the locals on Route 66 were yelling at me to get off the road.
These web thieves were way more devious than I was. They didn’t just steal the photos. They actually stole someone else’s travel experiences. They stole other people’s lives! How many times have I had nothing to blog about? Think how easy it would be — I could steal some photos of the Eiffel Tower from someone else’s blog and write about "my trip" to Paris!
Why didn’t I think of that first?
It’s an eye-opening experience to realize that there are those who are more committed to blog-stealing than yourself. But I don’t give up easily. I depend on my "bad-boy" image to keep many of my female readers returning.
I had an idea.
Last week, I was jealous of many of you as you displayed your Halloween photos. Some of you went trick or treating with your families, your cute costumed kids in tow. Others went to wild Halloween parties.
I sat home and did nothing. I bought a package of "Hershey’s Assorted," but not one kid even rang my bell. It was tedious and frankly, embarrassing.
But do I really have to tell you the truth about my boring Halloween? Not anymore! Why — it’s just as easy to go onto Ashbloem’s site and steal her Halloween photos — and say that they are mine! Who would ever find out?
So, here is my latest post on:
My Rockin’ Halloween
I got to the private Halloween party in Hollywood around 10PM. It was wild. Mucho celebrity action. Drinking. Drugs. You name it.
Here I am in my "Fidel Castro" costume with my pals Diego and Sara Lee.
The fun really began when the "Sushi Sisters" showed up. They were totally wasted. I flirted with them and asked them if they were "dunked" in soy sauce. One of them said that I would need to "taste" them to find out. All five of us went into the "private" back room for a little "private" sushi feast.
Tensions rose when Sophia showed up, without a costume, still wearing the business suit she wears as a Russian dialect coach. She wanted to know if I was there. My friends tried to cover for me, but Sophia heard the laughter in the "private" room.
All hell broke out at the party after Sophia entered the room. The cops had to come to break it up.
What a night!
(all photos stolen from Ashbloem, except the last one, which I don’t remember where I stole it from)