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I was working on a photography project and finishing up some work for the day. In the corner of my screen I was occasionally scanning message alerts which would pop up when I have twitter turned on through my instant messenger program.

I saw this message from Scott Beale a twitter contact:

So for some reason this guy thinks it’s ok to just upload other people’s photos to his Flickr account:

Sure enough, Amit Agarwal a “well known professional blogger and personal technology columnist for national newspapers” had stolen my photograph of Seth Godin as seen below. He did not simply embed the photo on his blog, he re-uploaded my photograph, and then marked the photo as Creative Commons (CC) which means that he is allowing others to use, share and re-mix a photograph which HE does not have rights to. :-(

*Update* If you want to check his flickr account to see if your photo has been stolen, click here.

Seth Godin - Tempe Arizona

Then a few minutes later, Lane Hartwell a San Francisco Photographer and online friend through flickr said:

hey, look, one of my shots stolen! let’s tell the guy he’s a douchebag! (to which many people did!)

If you are looking for photos to blog or use for a project, you must look at the Copyright status of the photo. If the photo is marked as © All Rights Reserved on the right under the “additional information” section, then you must contact the photographer to ask permission, or see if there are any notes on the photo about usage.

Now for the ironic part!

I went started poking around Amit Agarwal’s flickr account and then goggled to find his blog.
Here is what I found:

I do believe that with all the articles this “Professional Blogger” has written on the subject of copyright infringement, that what he did was no “honest mistake”…. I will give him credit for promptly removing the photos from flickr and also providing photo credit on the flickr pages as a referance. While I don’t expect everyone to be as educated on photography as a professional photographer, one should expect a professional writer (who has written on THIS subject matter several time) to at least be able to follow his own rules. Is this a fair standard?

This is NOT the first time that someone has ripped of Lane, Scott, or my photos, howver I’m going to start featuring some more of these people. If you are not an Internet junkie then you may have missed some of the previous Ripoff’s from my fellow photographers.

More reading – Here are a few blog posts from previous infringements.
Why Lane Hartwell Popped the ‘Bubble’ Video @
SF Examiner Uses Photo without Permission or Attribution @

I will be featuring a few other infringerd in the next week. Stay tuned to see what other “Professional Bloggers” are dropping down a run on the ladder by ripping off photos. I will also give you some TIPS for contacting photographers and turning photographers form “Photo Usage Nazi’s” into your friends.

Believe me, we can play nice, just remember that it is a a 2 way street. I have to go now to pick up some blank DVD media so I get these NetFlix movies copied and then posted to eBay and craigslist. ;-)

Adam Nollmeyer
Phoenix Arizona Photography

Posted by Adam, filed under Articles. Date: April 3, 2008, 12:10 am | 11 Comments »

11 Responses

  1. Caledonia Says:

    Well said Adam!

  2. tyson crosbie Says:

    It is getting pretty complicated in the copyright arena. I wish there was an easy solution.

  3. Jim Goldstein Says:

    Last nights developments were alarming. This instance was exactly the type of situation that Dan Heller has warned about… copyrighted images being stolen and uploaded as Creative Commons licensed work. It’s great to hear that he responded by removing the photos, but the general trend is extremely alarming. All photographers should take note and more importantly Flickr should put policies & technologines in place to help photographers better protect their work. I’ll have more on that topic in the very near future on my blog.
    Great post!

  4. John_from_CT Says:

    Awesome catch, Acme. Don’t let him get away with it. ;)

  5. Cheryl Colanch Says:

    Adam, I hope you’re reporting the one who reposted your photo to Flickr with a CC license attached to Flickr. He should have his account yanked. Or they could at least remove that image and give him a warning. Don’t just blog it, take action.

  6. Raoul Says:

    He may have removed your photo and Lane’s photo, but the little thief from India has tons of other photos stolen from other photographers posted to his account. What’s he going to do about those? Remove them? Or is he going to wait until he gets asked to do so for each and every single one of those photos?

  7. Chuck Reynolds Says:

    Go get em Adam! You’ve got to keep the “reputation management” going.

  8. francine hardaway Says:

    Flickr also needs to put a warning about appropriating someone else’s work in a more prominent place. Hasty bloggers looking for stock photography are not all aware of what they are doing. Maybe this guy should have been, however.

  9. Notional Slurry » links for 2008-04-04 Says:

    [...] ACME Photography | Blog Archive » Flickr – Free stock Photography for Bloggers? (tags: creative-commons FAIL plagiarism copyright infringement Flickr blogging) [...]

  10. monkeyleader Says:

    Okay so browsing his photo stream it seesm CNN had one of mine?

    Here is the photo on his link

    And here is the original

    Even though its all rights reserved ..



  11. ACME Photography | Blog Archive » Kineda Steals Image to Promote votes for Publishing Award Contest Says:

    [...] This week I’m talking about photos and how they can be used appropriately, as a win / win situation between photographers and bloggers or online publications. Sometimes one or both party can cause a failure. This is the second post on this subject. [first post here] [...]

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