Sunday, July 06, 2008

Are Your Photographs Being Stolen and Misused?

Your shots may be getting stolen more often than you think. In his article "How Every Flickr Photo Ended Up on Sale This Weekend" Jim Goldstein provides several examples of how everyone's photos on Flickr get exposed to possible theft. Joy Elizabeth Effie's comment #94 after the article provides the additional example of how some creep stole her child's photo and used it for their online profile.

Congress is about to make someone stealing and misusing your photo of your children perfectly legal, as long as they can say that they made a reasonable attempt to identify you. The examples in the article clearly show that photos are increasingly being automatically shared among Web sites and that your identity and other key information will often get stripped out in the process, so the Orphan Works Act will simply reclassify your work as "orphaned" and make any and all use of it perfectly legal.

Here are some sample photography industry statements opposing the proposed Orphan Works Act:

Please pass on news of this pending legislation and encourage family and friends to contact their elected representatives by email. The easiest automated form to accomplish this that I've found so far is at this link:

If you fail to contact Congress, don't be surprised to find your child used for the profile photo of some swearing, drug-using MySpace or Facebook user advocating illegal sexual acts, and there's nothing whatsoever that you can do to stop it.

I was shocked to learn that several of my representatives support the bill. I will be letting them know that I will be doing everything in my power to educate other voters in their district that their re-election should be vigorously opposed.