I remember one night around 11pm, a hairstylist friend of mine alerted me of this one Facebook photographer page where someone has been showcasing various fashion and glamour photos under his own name. What was alarming was not that I recognized some of the models in his collection, but that I recognized some of the photos as photos belonging to other photographers. Moreover, this “fauxtographer” had diligently taken out the watermarks from these photos and put his own watermarks. Turns out, as my friend pointed out, that every single one of those photos belonged to someone else.
I instantly went to work and posted up the offending page to various different Facebook photo groups and on my Twitter. Within minutes photographers, including myself, started leaving negative comments on the photos and the wall of the faker. He responded (in broken English, being from a very different part of the world) that he just want to show the web these wonderful photos. What’s perplexing was that he doesn’t understand the concept of copyright violation, especially in regards to him masquerading the photos as his own with his own watermark. He erased every single complaints and negative comments that all of us were putting on his site, and refused to remove the stolen photos.
I helped escalate it to Facebook and within two hours, Facebook closed down his Facebook fan page for good. Victory!
I brought this story of mine up because of the The Examiner’s article on how the social media slapped down a wedding photo faker overnight.
Meagan Kunert, a Conway, Arkansas, wedding photographer, went to sleep this past Tuesday night. Around that time in Vancouver, BC, another wedding photographer, Amber Hughes, has just found out that entire sessions of her work has been posted by Meagan as her own work. Turns out that Amber was not the only victim of Meagan’s theft as news of this spread throughout the Twitterverse and Facebook.
The next morning, Meagan was so bombarded with so many negative and lawsuit-threatening messages that she was forced to shut down her business’ homepage, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Flickr, and LinkedIn. Pretty much every social media that she was on, the virtual lynch mob found her.
She managed to reach out and apologize to Amber and several photographers that she stole from, and by the end of the day, posted a public apology on her Facebook page. Predictably, the comments on that status update reflect the majority of the readers who are not as ready to accept her apology.
Sad thing is that her actual photographs are pretty good. Rather than concentrating in improving her craft and taking care of her business, Meagan Kunert managed to severely damage her reputation amongst her client and the photography community at large. How do you feel about this?