The Stolen Workshop – Adam Forgione and Rob Adams

December 17th 2013 12:07 AM

UPDATE – Please see Rob and Adam’s responses in the follow up article.

Recently, there have been some very high profile cases of well respected photographers (Jasmine Star and Doug Gordon among others) who blatantly plagiarized copy from blog posts and tweets. At SLR Lounge, we have never wanted to “slander” or call attention to people in a damaging way. While it was disappointing news, we have tried to avoid these “industry drama” centered articles that called out individuals for bad behavior as most seemed to make mountains out of mole hills.

But, it appears that staying silent isn’t helping, and this go around we felt like we had a responsibility to not be silent. After watching the video below, perhaps you will agree.

Watch the Stolen Workshop Video

Today a video was posted by Pennylane Productions, which shows a Adam Forgione giving a series of workshops in 2011. Rob Adams, a videographer, slated to speak at WPPI 2014, took Adam Forgione’s workshop and then appeared on CreativeLive with his own wedding videography workshop. The following is video clip is a side by side comparison of Adam’s workshop and Rob’s CreativeLive appearance and the verbiage is astounding. Almost word for word in many instances and rather obscure references spoken line for line.

PASSWORD = stolen

stolen workshop from Pennylane Productions on Vimeo.

After watching the video, we were quite shocked. Granted, we understand that it is possible to do a lot of “skewing” in the editing process. Video can be edited to make things appear to be much worse than they actually are. In addition, a lot of the subject matter of this workshop could be considered “common knowledge” type subjects.

But, that still wouldn’t explain why Rob happened to use the exact same microphone and drop demonstration. Why he referred to the same songs in his explanation of music timing (which he also did incorrectly). Or perhaps why the slides, and the equipment used was virtually identical. There was simply too much direct replication rather than an effort made to put it into his own voice.

Using someone else’s work as inspiration and trying to emulate with your own style and twist is one thing. We all “steal as artists” to some extent in that we are constantly borrowing and remolding ideas. Rarely is there ever something truly original. In addition, invariably, there are also the cases where a copywriter or a marketing team was hired and “they” take the content from who knows where and post it for the photographer. There are instances of “miscommunication” and so forth.

However, it appears that what Rob has done here is clearly not any of these things, it appears to be direct plagiarism. If you hold yourself out as an educator, if you put yourself in the spotlight in order to make money off of students, it is your responsibility to make sure that the content is indeed, yours.

We want to see if you agree whether things like this should be brought into the spotlight. If people know that their behavior will be made known to others, perhaps it will help in preventing unfortunate instances like this one from happening.

UPDATE – Please see Rob and Adam’s responses in the follow up article.

As always, your comments are welcome below.

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Comments [200]

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  1. _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

    I honestly don’t even know what to say…. WOW? Very sad, very disappointing. Thanks for the post Hanssie, you are right, I think we should start being more vocal about this stuff.

    • 229984_3690328329875_1371200010_n.jpg12

      Yes, maybe it will deter people from stealing. And so blatantly.

  2. 1
    John Snape

    As someone who has had to create, from scratch, an entire year’s curriculum of material, I am very disappointed when I hear of cases like this. Creating curriculum is a tedious, difficult process, with fact checking, and determining relevance, and isn’t done overnight. To have that used by someone else is infuriating. If someone wants to use my material, ask me. Don’t just take it.


    • _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

      I agree 100%. I spend 3-6 months on each of our DVD workshop courses. I can’t imagine how I would feel if the same thing happened to me. This is absolutely astonishing and infuriating.

  3. 1
    Sabah Khan

    I always felt like Rob Adams was just spitting out information like he was spitting out formulas. Makes complete sense now. It’s a shame and pitty that he himself admits in his series that he’s after making money and he did just that without any regard for the guy who taught him literally everything he knows…what a shame.

    • 229984_3690328329875_1371200010_n.jpg12

      It’s sad and disappointing for sure.

    • 1

      No offence but aren’t we all in this business to make money? And I always heard that the people that teach at Creative Live don’t get paid for their workshop. So isn’t he sharing free teachings then?

      And if a lot of the words from others stick and make sense, why not use it?

      And mostly “taught him litterally everything he knows” really? Do you personally know what’s in Robs mind? And how much of that is not his own?

      Judging people is one thing but don’t go in overdrive. Just like Jasmine, just like you and me we are only human and we try to share whatever works for us and makes sense for us. In doing so we make mistakes and don’t always credit where credit should be. So what.

    • 1
      Mike Kline

      Ray, just because you don’t get paid for something does not mean others can steal your work.

    • 1

      They definitely get paid but it’s a percentage of the class sales so nothing up front. If the class sells well they make a pretty penny.

  4. 1
    Leo Hoang

    Wow… The cheek!

    I can picture someone attending a workshop and replicating on a small scale, but on CreativeLive… can’t believe it…

    • 229984_3690328329875_1371200010_n.jpg12

      I know! How did he think that he wouldn’t get caught??

    • 1
      John Snape

      Yes, that’s called hubris!

    • 1

      they get paid. Rob and his wife get paid (TOO MUCH) to do what they do.
      CreativeLive should ditch them both

  5. 1
    Dieter Chaney

    I will admit I am a big emulator. I look to many photographers that I admire and look for inspiration and even try to recreate or emulate photos that I find very moving. I think it is a great way to practice and to learn. However, repackaging ideas and selling them as your own knowledge to students is just kind of sad.

    • 1
      John Wiley

      Emulating and blatantly ripping off/regurgitating someone else’s material are two very different things.

      The mentality through which the people who do such things “give themselves permission” to do so is becoming sickeningly pervasive and is based on ignorance, laziness, greed and a resounding lack of actual skill/talent.

      Seeing these two particular individuals do this with such a “smugness” about them makes it even more reprehensible.

  6. 1

    What was he thinking when he was doing it? Could he sleep peacefully knowing that, sooner or later, this will be revealed?

  7. 1
    LunaCat Studio – photographe mariage

    What can we say after that? I understand when you get inspired by someone’s workshop, it’s even possible to be inspired without knowing. But here it’s not just principles, it is really just plagiarism. So sad to see what is going on in this industry, how can we know who is not making a plagiat of someone’s else work?!

  8. 1

    Unbelievable! These people are only ‘sorry’ when they’re caught out.

  9. 1
    Travis Cossel – Black Label Films

    Adam Forgione is a selfless educator and just and all around great guy. I think that’s what makes this so despicable to me. Not just that someone would rip off someone else’s workshop, but that they would rip off Adam’s … a guy who has worked very hard to present education to the industry and who has been very selfless about it. Shame on Rob Adams. Shame on him.

  10. 1
    Jessica lark

    Fwiw I was GLUED to my screen during that class. I’ve never heard of the first guy, I’m guessing most haven’t, but he obviously knows what he’s doing. I was always taught there are two kinds of teachers that excel: those who have done research and those who have gotten results.

    The information is obviously good, it’s easy to follow, easy to implement. Rob encases both, he obviously learned from the class, took meticulous notes, implemented it into his very successful business, and can now speak from both what he learned, and what he knows to work.

    My father says a good teacher is first always a student, so while the information may have originated elsewhere, almost everything we know about life does, which means I ‘plagerize’ while teaching my kids to tie their shoes, and brush their teeth. Moralities, life lessons, slang words, habits, behaviors, emotional reactions… Everything we do and are, is learned from another. NOTHING is original.

    I have a book on glamour photography from the 1950s that teaches all of ‘Sue Bryce’s’ posing rules. My husband is a musician and complimented on the fact that he carried the music count into his workings and teachings because it’s an important element that people who aren’t musical by nature often overlook, but that the ‘stolen lesson’ Is basic music theory and lessons our kids will learn in middle school, and not either of theirs, so they both stole it ;). The teachers that teach our children from kindergarten to college go to school to learn to teach what others have taught and learned, not what they come up with off their own mind. Those are inventors and creatives, not teachers and instructors.

    Here’s what I know: I know that I knew creativeLIVE and knew of Rob Adams, and I got all this awesome information as a result of that, and probably never would have if that class hadn’t been taught by Rob. I don’t care to join in the witch hunts, and drama, and think articles like this are a bare minimal step above tabloids in our industry in that regard… The voice of the entire article could have said “hey! We discovered that Rob Adams drew a lot of his business savvy, and information he uses both in his studio, and his classroom from a class he took from this guy… You probably don’t know him as well, but you should check him out too, and don’t forget to honor him with some gratitude for your higher sales, as he taught it all from whoever he learned it from and so forth and so on.” Instead of focusing on something good or writing an article towards the importance of honoring our sources of success and knowledge, or writing an article on how to successfully take information you’ve learned and creatively adapt that into original lesson plans and what the correct method of crediting sources is… Or even the correct definition of plagiarism which by the way only pertains to WRITTEN works. Instead you’re just perpetuating the fame hating that society loves to do, simply because jealousy is a tribute mediocrity pays to genius. It’s one more way of saying “it’s easier for me to try to invalidate someone else’s efforts instead of making my own.”

    Learn from the people who inspire you and teach conducive to your learning styles, and implement that into your business and path. Fwiw I was GLUED to my screen during that class. I’ve never heard of the first guy, I’m guessing most haven’t, but he obviously knows what he’s doing. I was always taught there are two kinds of teachers that excel: those who have done research and those who have gotten results. The information is obviously good, it’s easy to follow, easy to implement. Rob encases both, he obviously learned from the class, took meticulous notes, implemented it into his very successful business, and can now speak from both what he learned, and what he knows to work. My father says a good teacher is first always a student, so while the information may have originated elsewhere, almost everything we know about life does, which means I ‘plagerize’ while teaching my kids to tie their shoes, and brush their teeth. Moralities, life lessons, slang words, habits, behaviors, emotional reactions… Everything we do and are is learned from another. NOTHING is original. I have a book on glamour photography from the 1950s that teaches all of ‘Sue Bryce’s’ posing rules. My husband is a musician and complimented on the fact that he carried the music count into his workings and teachings because it’s an important element that people who aren’t musical by nature often overlook, but that e ‘stolen lesson’. Is basic music theory and lessons our kids will learn in middle school, and not either of theirs, so they both stole it ;). The teachers that teach our children from kindergarten to college go to school to learn to teach what others have taught and learned, not what they come up with off their own mind. Those are inventors and creatives, not teachers and instructors. Here’s what I know: I know that I knew creativeLIVE and knew of Rob Adams, and I got all this awesome information as a result of that. I don’t care to join in the witch hunts, and drama and think articles like this are a bare minimal step above tabloids in our industry in that regard… The voice of the entire article could have said “hey! We discovered that Rob Adams drew a lot of his business savvy, and information he uses both in his studio, and his classroom from a class he took from this guy… You probably don’t know him as well, but you should check him out too, and don’t forget to honor him with some gratitude for your higher sales, as he taught it all from whoever he learned it from and so forth and so on. IMHO this is just more of the venom poisoning the industry with ‘they’ are the reason for what’s wrong with the industry, or why I’m not making money. Learn from the people who inspire you and teach conducive to your learning styles, and implement that into your business and path. Stop hunting for excuses for your mediocrity by trying to pull down those who are further in their journey, it doesn’t lessen the gap, it just lowers the overall standard of excellence. hunting for excuses for your mediocrity by trying to pull down those who are further in their journey, it doesn’t lessen the gap, it just lowers the overall standard of excellence. If you see a problem, be that pricing, or poor lighting, or plagiarism, or bad methods being taught, or poor examples being set, you don’t have to ‘call them out’ for the sake of teaching a lesson so that it stops… It doesn’t, it just makes people focus on negativity and turning their efforts and energies outwards to focus on others, you teach them by example.

    We don’t need all these benevolent lessons taught about what is wrong and who is wrong and why, we need people to step up and teach how to do it right. And we need media forums like this to do the same and instead of ‘outing’ shaming, and wrist slapping who you perceive guilty, why don’t you write an article supporting and noting people that are doing it well, especially the unknown ones… Far better that our industry has sources placing people worthy in front of the podium rather than those it deems unworthy in front of the firing squad.

    • 1

      TLDR x 1000000

    • 1

      I agree with Jessica. I know Rob personally and know him to be an honest, caring person who is always happy to give his time to teach others, even if it means giving up his personal time. Rob has been making wedding films for years, even before 2011, he knows his stuff, he is a pioneer in the industry and respected among videographers. While there is a lot of material that is the same, I think this is just a function of teaching about the same topic. I took a workshop years ago where among other things the use of a reflector was taught. If I teach a workshop and others how to use a reflector am I plagiarizing if the concepts are the same? I thought Rob did a good job adapting the ideas himself, using his OWN terms often enough, but some terms are going to overlap. This article is a shock jock publication and I have lost respect for SLR Lounge for not doing its research or giving Rob a chance to respond before publishing.

    • 1

      Plagiarism does not just apply to the written word. Works or art can be plagiarized. Music can be plagiarized. It applies to “language, thoughts, ideas or expressions”.

      I agree that most things developed in today’s society are done so on the back of others ideas, thoughts or works. However, that video shows an almost word for word mimicking of the original workshop. He did not take the ideas or techniques that he learned and expound on them, put his own touch on them or try and rework them in any way. He aped the original workshop and gave ZERO credit to the original (keyword being original) author. That is just wrong. In academia he would’ve failed and been shamed. As he should be shamed in the photographic community.

    • 1
      Sean Feeney

      [mass noun]
      the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own:”
      Source: Oxford English Dictionary

      Not just written works, as clearly indicated above. The onus of citing sources is the responsibility of the presenter, not the audience.

      Mr. Adams essentially reframed a print and sold it as his original work. The argument that all works are plagiarized from our ancestors is the escape of a lazy mind. As to the idea that not addressing this issue is somehow the moral high ground…well, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

    • _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

      Jessica, I agree with a lot of what you say, but also disagree with quite a bit as well. In the past we have avoided these topics for the exact reason that we don’t want to support a “witch hunt.” I personally rejected our writer’s requests to write such articles as I felt that people were making mountains out of mole hills in most cases. But, this is different.

      Many of us have seen or read articles similar to that given by Austin Kleon, “Steal Like an Artist” at TED. I agree 100% with Austin that we all, especially artists, steal from one another in the sense that we are inspired and emulate those that are ahead of us. This is not a new concept, most of us know that our “original” pieces of artwork are indeed borrowed and inspired from many others. But, stealing like an artist means that you add in your own creativity. It means that you borrow a concept, and put your own 2 cents on it. You don’t straight copy someone’s image to the detail, you don’t steal word for word, you modify and make it your own.

      What was done here was not a case of “making your own.” These were copycat examples, phrases and quotes taken word for word. This is not “borrowing” or “stealing like an artist,” this is just straight stealing without even crediting the source.

      If behavior like this was ok, then we would live in a much different world. But, the fact is that behavior like this in any other business is not only wrong, it is illegal and enforced!

      Musicians are not allowed to simply freely sample other people’s work to create new music. There are rules and laws, the music must first be licensed even when sampling to create a new piece of music.

      Businesses are not allowed to copy patents, and infringe on trademarks. In fact, here is an example. Out in Utah there was a burger joint called Chadder’s who copied California’s In-and-Out restaurants down the T. From the look of the restaurant to the uniforms to the menu itself. In fact, you could even walk into Chadder’s and order the exact same way you would at In-and-Out, and get the exact same product, “I want a Double Double Animal Style.”

      I can’t think of a product that is more “plain” than a burger. How many businesses have made a business of selling a burger? How many before In-and-Out and how many after? Based on your argument, this behavior would be legal. But, it isn’t. Chadder’s was taken to court, they were found guilty in what was an open/shut case. They were allowed to stay in business once they had changed the look of the store, the uniforms, the menu, the wording, etc.

      Like many, I make my living off of creating photos and films, and I understand that there are a lot of fundamentals that are universal concepts. Many of the things they discuss in this workshop are quite basic. The problem is using the same examples, the same wording, the same equipment, the same style and approach to teaching, and claiming it was your own without any credit to anyone else. Rob could have spent more time and effort modifying, and creating a curriculum with his own examples and content. But, shortcuts were taken, and there were indeed a lot of them.

      Hopefully, most photographers and artists would agree that pirating and distributing/downloading music, software, movies, etc is wrong as we wouldn’t want people doing it with our own work. In my mind, what was done here is far worse than even pirating/distributing copyrighted content. A hacker that pirates content generally does it under the belief that such things should be “free to all,” hence they make the content free to download. This content has been taken, repackaged, and resold in order to make money off of someone else’s work and experience and I think that is what is upsetting about this situation.

      I appreciate reading your thoughts and contribution to the conversation though, so thank you for being a part of it.

    • 1

      It’s obvious that you have never created anything original of your own. Try it. Maybe then you’d be even in a position to imagine what plagiarism means and feels like.

    • 1

      Jessica, you make some good points, but it looks like you also missed/skimmed some of the video.

      You mention the technicality of plagiarism being about written works. First, that’s not exactly true. It has to do with taking others’ ideas, concepts, words, etc., and claiming them as your own. And even if you did limit it to the written word, written *outlines* (such as the shortform blueprint that Rob Adams claims as something he designed) would be included.

      There is a section in the video (Check from about 10:40-11:30) where it speaks of *Adam Forgione* providing a formula outline to his classes — something that is, in fact, his own self-derived formula from years of experience, etc. Then it explains that Rob Adams provides “his own” outline that is actually about “95%” directly from Forgione’s outline. And then it shows Rob Adams speaking of it as something “that I put together for the editors…” (Both out of respect and for legal reasons, the video does not display the actual formula/outline, as it would be giving away Forgione’s work.)

      Not to mention MANY other specific items that Rob did not simply derive inspiration from, but quoted pretty much verbatim, without so much as a single reference, that I can recall, giving credit to Adam Forgione.

      I, too, watched Rob Adams’s workshop on CreativeLive, and I got a lot of good stuff from it. But this definitely leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. At the very least, he should have given credit before *every* specific example that he used directly from Forgione’s workshop (there were many). But he also first should have asked permission.

      I do not feel that CreativeLive was necessarily at fault for this. But if Rob Adams did not, in fact, ask Forgione’s permission to use his materials, then I would like to see CreativeLive pursue all income *Adams* received specifically from sales of his CL workshop and then redirect that to Forgione (unless it can be proven that Forgione, too, had ripped it off verbatim from someone else).

      Jessica, your points about being a good student before being a good teacher, and the fact that all we learn everything in life from someone before us are well-taken. But there are no copyright laws about oral tradition passing down lessons to our children on how to brush our teeth. (I think it’s safe to say that that falls well within public domain by now.)

      And it’s hardly a “witch hunt” to call someone out on violation of copyright, theft of intellectual property, plagiarism, etc. These, too, are lessons that *every* photographer and videographer (and anyone in *any* creative industry) should learn — that you MUST respect the domain of others’ work! Ask permission! And then, even when given permission, explain that this is the case and give full credit generously.

      I understand that “information overlap” (note to Paul, below) is a function of teaching the same thing that is frequently taught by many people. However, when it falls so exactly into the same mold (exact same methods, verbatim examples, claiming credit for himself re: short form blueprint, etc.)

      Paul (below) mentions:

      “I thought Rob did a good job adapting the ideas himself, using his OWN terms often enough, but some terms are going to overlap.”

      Actually, Rob Adams also uses a LOT of Adam Forgione’s very specific terms and concepts, exact same examples, exact same order and methodology of instruction, etc. (Attn: Rob Adams: Maybe at least use a different song than “Piano Man” for your waltz example…?)

      Jessica and Paul, I can’t help but wonder if you actually watched this video very attentively, and all the way through.

    • 1
      aaron lee


      not sure what to say.

      pretty disgusting apology for what was CLEARLY immoral and against the law…

    • 1959827_10152033687759389_1994795993_n.jpg2
      Michelle Ford

      i too entered the video with the thought process that most of what we teach and share we got from somewhere else but half way through when i saw the same jokes, the same schticks (dropping the mic) copied even.. that’s ripping off the script and throwing in a little ad lib for good measure.

    • 1
      David Robin

      I’m not sure Jessica, and Paul, watched the whole video. There is copying, and there is COPYING!!!! As i wrote on another forum “After watching the entire video I just sat there in disbelief. Disbelief turned to anger, as Adam Forgione has worked his arse off over the years coming up the video industry ranks, only to be ripped off by a smug hack who just “appeared” in a maelstrom of hype, and hailed as the “great white video hope” from every photographer there ever was. Well guess what people? Fakes get exposed, and get their just desserts. Rob Adams just got handed his creme brûlée…and its a huge portion with a dab of whip cream on top.

    • 1

      I’ve never heard of Rob before this, but have known of Adam for years and attended one of his workshops. Say what you will Jessica, but the simple fact is that it’s plagiarism on Rob’s part.

    • 1
      Mike Allebach

      Jessica, I’m not buying it. If someone stole your words, your work and your content word for word, your reaction would be completely different.

    • 1

      Actually, in basic music theory taught in elementary up through college, you learn that 4/4 time is 4 beats per measure with the quarter note getting the beat. Not “4 beats, 4 measures.”

    • 1
      Mike Henriques – Artistic Wedding Films

      I disagree with you Jessica. Credit your sources. Adam Forgione has and does. Give credit to your teachers, don’t pretend you came up with it. He’s making money from down right plagiarizing Adam and his workshop, it’s obvious!

    • 1

      Wow, the lack of integrity across the professional landscape here is ASTOUNDING. JUST ASTOUNDING.

      By the logic above this is justified because the guy is charismatic and taught the material well. I guess Lance Armstrong would also be justified since he simply biked better than the other guys.

      This is also an indicator to me that the pro photography market is SO DRY that EVERYONE is looking to generate extra income from tutorials, workshops, etc. I’m not saying that some of these workshops aren’t great, informative, and perhaps life changing for some of the takers. However, if your paid skill is creating a workshop….take some f’ing pride in it already and make it your own without using someone else’s exact examples and words.

      I addition, I’ve been turned off from these workshops for a long time. I’ll only purchase what I *really* can’t figure out on my own. Too many people are looking at these workshops as the be-all-end-all to being good at a craft and/or being successful. Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-workshop….but the sheer number of them is insane and people are completely duped into thinking they need them to be successful at their craft or their business.

      Moreover there are more and more of these internet sensation photo-rockstar types that are offering them and people are so happy to just rub shoulders with these folks regardless of the cost.

    • 1

      Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe Rob could have mentioned Adam and given him props but honestly if I took the class from each of them, I probably would have learned something different from each of them. Even if they said the same thing.

    • 1
      Jim Malmstrom

      How Jessica could miss the point so badly is stunning. SImply stunning.

    • 1

      “I’ve never heard of the first guy, I’m guessing most haven’t, but he obviously knows what he’s doing.”

      I’ve never heard of the second guy. I’m hoping most won’t because he’s a thief that deserves to go out of business.

    • 1

      You have an anarchist’s point of view. Freedom of the individual at all costs. You confuse development of ideas with blatant plagiarism for profit.

    • 1
      Oh Please

      come on. Rob and his wife are using their looks and “cuteness” to sucker so many of you. He STOLE point blank. He knew 100% what he was doing and his arrogance is sickening. People like them think they can do anything they want because they call themselves “rockstars.”
      It’s pathetic

  11. 1
    Jay Gough


    While I appreciate your sentiment, you obviously did not watch this comparison video. The one thing that is obvious, is that this “course” wasn’t a result of meticulous note taking. This was verbatim. Point for point.

    This Adams guy went on cL and made 10’s of thousands of dollars regurgitating content that someone else came up with.

    The difference between Adams and a teacher, is that a teacher has to have years of education and to be certified and qualified to do what they do. This guy, took workshops, copied almost word for word the content, then used it to profit.

    I agree that finding the lesser lights and making Them more public is a great initiative.

    But people like this need to be held accountable. This is not, as you put it, tabloid journalism. This is about awareness. The author even states that they didn’t really want to write this. But I for one applaud them for making me aware.

    Rob Adams won’t ever get my money to “teach” Mr. Forgione however would.

  12. 1
    Rodrigo Mancilla

    Tough one … but I really like what Jessica indicated here, there is a lot of truth about it. I have not seen either workshop so cannot make my own decision on the subject, and judging by the video I would be inclined to think it’s a hardcore copy of the original.

    What we do is art mixed with a bit of science (tech / business), it’s not a formula because of the human element, I agree with Jessica, that Rob is a great communicator and CreativeLive is the best platform I know for learning, I simply love what they do and can only wish I had more time to watch what they do … it’s genius.

    As a general rule, I believe we can learn “concepts” but when we take that to other people, we should put our own spin of things, I would like my art to be considered mine as an original piece instead of a well done copy of someone else’s style. Same applies to teaching, yes some concepts we pass along, because they are indeed a “discovery” that will benefit the masses, so maybe if the structure / lingo of the presentation, this whole issue would have been different.

  13. 1
    Dave Williams

    It’s obvious which comments came from people who actually watched the video.

    • 1
      Gary fong

      Jessica Lark just lost a lot of respect

  14. 1

    To Rob Adams defence I must say that a lot of this is basic filmmaking stuff – the gear, the jargon is all universal to filmmaking… so talking about it, how can that be stealing???? You are all totally overreacting, and you if you knew anything about filmmaking you would know it!

    • _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

      I agree Gideon, a lot of it is very basic stuff. It is really difficult and often impossible to make the fundamentals sound different/unique. The “exposure triangle” is, well the exposure triangle. It is tough to find unique methods of presentations for such simple concepts.

      As a film maker and photographer, a lot of what was taught was very simple and intuitive. What Adam and Rob say about finding the “hook” or the “backbone” or whatever you want to call it, is universal in creating a short-film. But, what makes it a bit crazy is the fact that Rob attended Adam’s workshop, and then later taught the same workshop to others with not 1 similar example, or 2 similar examples, or even 3 similar examples. But, rather he taught it was the same verbiage, the same examples, the same equipment, the same virtually everything and packaged it as his own content.

      Spend more time, put in more effort, and put your own spin on what you put your name on. I think that is the point here .

    • 1959827_10152033687759389_1994795993_n.jpg2
      Michelle Ford

      and he did the same mic dropping joke! really?? i was trying not to over react until that.

    • 1

      There were parts of the video where they weren’t talking about the same thing, they were actually SAYING THE SAME THING. It was like watching two actors performing the same part in different productions.

    • 1

      Then point us to other tutorials on video/audio making and editing that are as similar as these 2 in words used, gestures, body language, expressions, use of specific equipment, etc. Just give us a few good examples of how universal it is. Convince us of our sins.

  15. 1

    There is a stark difference between being “inspired” by someones work and blatantly stealing work from another and being arrogant enough to assume that you could pass it off as your own without any repercussions? AND set yourself up as “thought leader”, its utterly infuriating.

    I am delighted that Rob Adams has been exposed as the fraudulent liar and quite frankly the cheater that he is. You can’t coast along on looks alone Rob, If you going to put your head above the parapet and position yourself as a “teacher” a “Mentor” and have the balls to CHARGE people for your “time” you had better make damn sure that you present work that is your own. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • 1
      Ray Roman

      Rob never paid his dues or proved himself in the video industry. He was known by photographers, not videographers (because he did work with WPPI and was eventually given a platform) . Many wondered where he came from and how he all of a sudden became knowledgeable enough to start educating the masses. Now we know. Pure scum and a fraud. Nobody is reinventing the wheel with workshop presentations, but a lot of the content is a result of their own trial and error and figuring out the most effective techniques and workflows. Then its the delivery of the content that makes the workshop unique to that instructor. Just because you attend a bunch of workshops, take great notes and can now study the recorded content on DVDs, doesn’t all of a sudden give you the right to mimic the presentation and call yourself an educator. Rob never had my respect and my suspicions were right on point. I hope he doesn’t continue to disrespect the industry by preparing some lame ass excuse for his inexplicable actions. He’s a fraud in every sense of the word. Everyone makes bad decisions in life. I at least hope he makes the good decision to walk away from educator life.

  16. 1
    John Thiessen – ENGAGEDfilms

    While there may have been great content in Rob Adam’s workshop… It lacked three things… Honesty, Integrity and transparency… All he simply had to do is recognize AF … eg. “In developing this workshop I have taken inspiration from many and owe a lot to the past workshops I personally have taken. My biggest influence as you may hear throughout this workshop is Adam Forgione”… “Greed ruins many a good man”

  17. 1

    If you are on here defending Rob, then it can only be because of one (or both) of the below reasons:

    1.) You didn’t watch the video (or at least you didn’t watch it with the volume turned on)


    2.) You also make a habit of passing off others ideas as your own and your defense of Rob is actually a defense of yourself.

    • 1
      Dave Williams

      Don’t forget…
      #3 You are part of the Adams family

    • 1

      4) You tend to follow “teachers” as if you are in a cult.

    • 1

      5) You’re in denial.

  18. 1
    Drew Pluta

    This is a tough one if you take a moment (and have the knowledge) to really understand everything in play here.
    Yes this edit appears to expose a fraud and some of the turns of phrase are impossible to ignore. But as someone with over 20 years working in audio and video production I’d have to say this is all basic stuff and it’s all spoken in pretty standard terms.

    Almost all of this is how most of us would put it under similar circumstances. There just isn’t another way to break some of this stuff down. All the stuff about video editing to music to find the big moments, that’s about the only way to talk about it to someone who doesn’t already get it. (I’ve actually heard this breakdown before) The instruction to use a “58” is one I’ve given countless times for two decades. It’s not unique. Instructing on a true signal path is also not unique. There’s pretty much one way you want to do it in those circumstances and that’s it. If someone had asked me a week ago to talk about these same issues I’d give similar advice. If you look at the average graduate of a film production course, they would employ a similar workflow and methods.

    There are a lot of really standard things about the way we all do our work at a pro level. To claim that this stuff or the way we talk about it is proprietary could get pretentious real fast. We all learn from others and appropriate language form those we work with. Lets not confuse the professional terminology.

    • 1
      Marlon Richardson

      Rob’s course isn’t the only videography course out there. Not even the only videography based course on CL. What he did was structure his entire workshop around someone else’s. Even down to expressions used. That’s just stealing man.

    • 1
      aaron lee

      yeah… what the last guy said. He couldn’t even be bothered to find a different 3/4 song…

    • 1
      Drew Pluta

      Yeah, the song choice pretty much takes it out of debatable territory and goes directly to lazy and arrogant. There were a few elements like this that give it away without question.

    • 1

      For me, and a lot of people, it was the section around the mic descriptions (and the drop, in particular). It was a “scripted” moment that was repeated verbatim.

  19. 1
    Decatholac Mango

    In reference to the first sentence of this post, calling Doug Gordon and Jasmine Star “well respected photographers” is a bit much. “Well known” would be a better choice.

    The discovery of Jasmine Star and Doug Gordon’s plagiarism and unethical behavior wasn’t a surprise to people who watched them over the years. As with Rob Adams, it was only a matter of time before their arrogance and laziness betrayed them to the point where someone with search skills could follow the trail and build an ironclad case.

  20. 1

    It’s quite obvious one of them is a thief. Don’t let the obvious blind you, people.

  21. 1

    I can’t watch the videos currently (on a work computer without sound) but wondering… would anything change in your minds if Rob would have referenced the original presentation in 2011 before (or after??) his CreativeLive seminar? Just a thought. Perhaps it wouldn’t have looked as though he was blatntly stealing a presenatation if he would have referenced the material?

    • 1

      If he had both permission to reproduce and citations of source then yes, it would be completely different.

    • 1
      John Wiley

      Ah, the old “we’ll give you a credit” line. Without proper licensing of the material (as presented – i.e., verbatim copies of the Forgione presentation), a credit or reference means *nothing* – legally, ethically, morally and certainly not financially.

      In short, I’d still think he’s the thief he is.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      I think Rob A would owe a bit more than a reference to Forgione. He should have asked if he could use the original course materials. Forgione, at least would have had the option to say “No” or work out a license or contract of sorts or he could have said, Yes. The point being that Rob Adams knowingly copied way too many parts of Forgione’s work, without even asking! Not even a thought of a professional courtesy!

    • 1

      I would have a different opinion if he had given credit. I think I would then see it as an actual mistake and showing his ignorance at what is “proper”. Mistakes can be forgiven if the person realizes and promises improvement.

      What he actually did, however, was not a mistake. He passed off another person’s work as his own. As creatives, our professional identity is our work. Which makes Rob Adams a fraud.

      My guess, he will take the Jasmine Star route and try to write this off as a “mistake” without ever admitting what he actually did.

  22. 1
    Daniel Krieger

    Plagiarism is just wrong in any aspect. WPI should be notified and they should drop his seminar, and or everyone should boycott that seminar.

    I think this is the only way we can stop the madness.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      I agree, Daniel! It would be great if WPPI pulled Rob and had a track on copy-rats and ethics for those who view stealing others works merely as part of every day business to build a better mouse-trap! I think their rationale is something like this:
      “I’m not stealing your stuff okay? It’s mine because I learned it from you and some others. I bought it from you…so I own it! Now I’m going to teach it and sell it. It’s okay because I’m changing and adding just a couple of things, to make it my own…I’ll also charge a little less to have a competitive edge, it’s the nature of business”

  23. 1
    Don Mears

    This comment is directed to Jessica from above.

    You are very well spoken. You were eloquent in your response and it’s clear you spent time in the crafting of it. However, it doesn’t make your conclusion any less wrong.

    I have been running a studio for ten years with my wife. It’s all we do. No other income. No inheritance. No wealthy spouses or relatives. We did it through hard work, education, practice, and a little luck here and there. It was also done above board and with integrity. There’s no jealousy on my part for those that are successful. I’m proud to be financially successful, but more importantly that I didn’t screw over my colleagues and the industry in the process.

    Sure, we all stand on the shoulders of giants. Every novel written was inspired by thousands that came before it. Every artist learned their colors and brush strokes from masters before. Do you know what it’s called when an artist copies another’s work or a writer publishes someone else’s manuscript? Plagiarism. Stealing. Forgery. A scam.

    You can quibble over the thought process and the theory as to why this Rob Adams did it. You can say “he’s a good guy…generally”. But it doesn’t change what he did. Many people caught doing things like this had never been caught before. So what? It’s likely Mr. Adams will either go back to being a “generally good guy” or he’ll continue to act like a douche. That doesn’t change what he did. No one is saying he isn’t a good dad/son/husband or a great poker/baseball/fantasy foodball player. He probably is. Nope. He screwed up though and he shouldn’t have done it.

    Your other point that “if he hadn’t given this information on Creative Live then I wouldn’t have seen it” is really what gets me. So, it’s TOTALLY cool that Rob Adams lifted this material, dicked over an industry icon because you were better served by it. Is that what I’m getting out of this? Because you didn’t have to go research to find the workshop and pay the original author of the material what he deserves for teaching it…then it’s all good.


    Your husband is a musician. Glad you brought that up. What do you call it when a band plays someone else’s song? It’s called a cover. If Rob Adams said “hey, this next workshop is a cover workshop originally done by Adam Forgione” what do you think would happen? I know that I would rather learn it from the original since the damn guy is still alive and still teaching.

    Your comments are shortsighted and naive. I’ve found the same type of opinions coming out of the Creative Live followers who defended Jasmine Star and David Jay from their obvious sins. Like you said, as long as you personally benefit from someone else’s thievery…what do you care?

    • 1
      aaron lee

      WELL SAID!!!!

      She’s like the president of “team pretty people”

  24. 1

    Adam Forgione should be able to sue for damages. Would like to hear CreativeLive’s response as well, I understand they didn’t know and it’s not their fault but will Rob’s lesssons be pulled? Do they seek damages as well? This will be one to follow

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      Yeah, but the point is why should he have to waste his time and money, involving court costs, legal costs, probably travel costs to defend what is already his? I think Adam and Rob should see if they can work this out with each other, one to one first! Then if that doesn’t work, try a mediator. Lawyers and courts should be a last resort in my opinion.

  25. 1
    Mike McCaleb

    Adam Forgione is a great guy. Very caring guy. He has always been an educator in the videography industry. He cares about people, and he is constantly giving out info to help. This information, the details of the class, and the DELIVERY was ALL PACKAGED by him.

    Rob Adams clearly only cares about money.

  26. 1
    Evan Scott

    For all concerned, let me give you kids a little life lesson. It’s one word…integrity. And the definition of integrity is this:


    For the defenders of Rob’s actions, what more needs to be said?

  27. 1

    I think Its one thing to be a teacher, but one thing most teachers do when teaching a lesson, is siting their sources. Teachers don’t take a William Shakespeare piece say it in front of their class and then say, “hey just so you know this all just came to me in my head, and the whole reason you are paying to be in my class is because I have many more stories like this, including one I call, Romeo and Juliet, btw you will be blown away by the ending.”
    Teachers teach and site their sources. Don’t take something someone else wrote/taught/photographed and then claim it as yours, at the least say hey I learned this from so and so and I have used it as apart of how I do things and its great, here is how I made it work for me.

    • 1

      It’s “cite” a source, not “site” a source.

  28. 1
    Catherine Lacey Dodd

    I think I’d want to hide in a cave right about now.

  29. 1
    craig john

    Are there people on this here actually defending this bozo? FFS people.

  30. 1

    You can almost see in both of their eyes that what they are doing is wrong. Like they know they are stealing someone else’s hard work and trying to make it their own. Just because he presents the same information differently doesn’t make it his own information. If I was the student at one of these work shops, I would have been asking “why does that method work?” or “how did you come up with that formula?”. You know… like why anyone would take someone else’s ideas for self gain is far beyond comprehension. Him and his little girlfriend planned this out and have no shame.

    • 1
      John Wiley

      Therein lies the rub – he presented the same information in the *same* way. Rote memorization and regurgitation. The basic information isn’t (can’t be) “owned” by anyone. It just ‘is’. But the way in which it is presented is an entirely different matter.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      Michael, yes I got that sense, too! Shifty eyes while teaching things without appearing to really “own” what he was saying….looking around to see if he was caught yet.

  31. 1

    This really plays out to a quote from an article I read yesterday (before I read about this situation) regarding Shia LaBeouf plagiarizing someone else’s film work. (Here’s the article link: The write wrote this in conclusion regarding LaBeouf and it totally applies to Rob Adams:

    “I’ve been a writer long enough to understand that sometimes—particularly when you’re working fast—you think you’ve come up with an idea only to realize that you merely read it somewhere before and internalized it. But to lift whole sections of dialogue? It seems like it has to be on purpose. But why would you deliberately do something where you’re almost 100% certain to get caught? That shit belongs on America’s Dumbest Criminals, right next to the lady who called 911 because she didn’t get enough shrimp in her fried rice.”

    There is a vast difference between doing something inspired by another versus directly copying them. The video clearly shows that what Adams did was copying, not creating his own work inspired by Forgione. Plagiarism comes in many forms and this is just another sad example of it in the photography industry. And, as Jasmine Star says “stealing makes me sad.”

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      “There is a vast difference between doing something inspired by another versus directly copying them. ” And that’s it in a nutshell! Is that your quote Suz or someone elses? Ha! Seriously, it’s how I feel, too!

  32. 1

    As a musician, I am intimately aware of copyright with regards to IP (intellectual property). While I can’t speak directly to Rob Adams alleged “lifting” of Adam Forgione’s material verbatim, some comments vis-a-vis copyright are in order:

    1) Unless your material is copyrighted, you really are without protection.
    2) Derivative works are just that – “arrangements” derived from another’s work (song, poem, articles, etc.) and are completely permissible under the law. How much the material is derived (i.e. different) is a matter of preference, and if oppressive, court opinion.
    3) I agree with Miss Lark who stated earlier that everything is truly derivative – i.e. derived from another.

    New works are constantly created based on (derived from) another’s work. These revisions, reworkings, “remakes”, etc. are endless (how many versions of famous movies are there? Hollywood loves to churn out remakes when they have nothing better to offer). Not original, but not necessarily illegal either.

    Great ideas have been repeated over and over – repackaged, polished, and represented as original…this is nothing new. In the jazz world, whenever a musician played a particular “riff” that was catchy, pretty soon everybody was playing the same riff…and soon the variations (derivatives) appeared, and new styles were born. This is commonplace in the art world, be it music, painting, dancing, or even photography.

    Does the copy constitute plagiarism or copyright infringement? Maybe…maybe not. Only a judge and jury can decide. Regardless, there is definitely a market for copies…otherwise cheap knock-offs would not be so readily available.

    • 1

      As a creator, your works are automatically provided with copyright protection. If they are registered with the copyright office, you have the potential of getting statutory damages in addition to actual losses.

    • 1

      A court of law does not determine if something is plagiarized. Logic does. Not sure what your copyright aspect is about seeing that only applies in a legal suit for monetary damages. What is being discussed here is ethics, morality and respect within the industry. What Rob did was not ethical, immoral and was very disrespectful to Adam, who taught him this information and to the viewers who were under the impression that they were learning things that Rob learned from his own experiences.

      And before you go on about how we all inspired from those that came before us…..this is true. But when you share things YOU learned from YOUR experiences in the industry, they should be in YOUR words. For example…..we have all gone fishing and caught a fish. But if we all tell the story about how we caught it, none of the stories will sound the same because our experiences would be different.

      Creative Live is about listening to people sharing knowledge that THEY learned from the experiences THEY had working in the industry. It’s not about getting up there and teaching people what someone else taught you.

    • 1

      “While I can’t speak directly to Rob Adams alleged “lifting” of Adam Forgione’s material verbatim..”

      Why can’t you? Are you incapable of watching the video? Why?

      Curiously yours,


  33. 1

    Only recently to this had I outed a “Professional” photographer – Fauxtographer for using images from Anne Geddes in their own Facebook page/gallery for advertising halloween baby portraits.

    What did I get for my trouble? Abusive phone calls from her boyfriend and her friends leaving negative comments on my own business page.

    The trouble is, no one will take notice as they think they won’t get caught. Those who do this don’t care. They plead ignorance. They do it to get the fast $$££ cash. Most don’t inform the tax man and most aren’t even insured.

    Unfortunately I believe the photographic world is a dying industry for professionals. Too many people are out there buying a digi camera and saying “hey, you know what, I can shoot your wedding/portrait/baby/ etc etc…”.

    Now add the price of online printers like Photobox and the local Tesco/ASDA/Boots/WalMart etc and the cost of a Canvas from these places is also causing people to not buy the pro-grade materials.

    I actually had a person question why my canvases were £350 when she could get one done twice the size from Tesco for £40.

    People do not value photography anymore. At least not around here.

    Add this mentality into the mix and the so called Pros are stealing content because they are struggling and trying to get business in by running these “workshops”. Whats worse is that they themselves don’t even know how to achieve good business in a legit manner. So they pass it off as their own and blag their way through life.

  34. 1
    Mark Eric

    I find it ironic that this video is very likely using “stolen” material from one or both workshops.

    • 1
      Kevin Wynn

      This article and its contents would probably fall under the area of “Fair Use”.

      Definition from a quick Google search: (in US copyright law) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

      Does Rob Adam’s workshop fall under “Fair Use”? Most likely not.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      You’re probably right! But I think only one presenter would be mad about this….and for all the wrong reasons! Ha!

  35. 1
    Kathy Ray

    I did watch the video and thought Rob & Vanessa looked familiar. I logged into my CL account…and yes, I had purchased this course for $99. (although I do not shoot fusion, and did not watch the entire course). I don’t know the split that CL takes vs the speaker; but I think more vetting will occur in the future at CreativeLive.

    • 1
      craig john

      I’d demand CL to refund your money for selling this hack’s garbage, and they should remove the videos from their website.

      WPPI and any other photo/video industry conference better drop this hack as well.

  36. 1

    I will say that Slrlounge has a strong following of intelligent professionals able to debate rather than argue, or throw petty insults and pitchforks, which I admire. I am not in fact in profound disagreement. I’ve never studied under Doug or jasmine so I can’t comment to anything about them. I was not familiar with Adam before today, and from what I saw in the first few minutes of the video Adam is also the kind of charismatic teacher that knows how to break things down succinctly that I learn well from. Since it seems I am very much in the minority for playing devils advocate, I will say I share much with many of your arguments.

    I’m relatively new, I only picked up a camera 5 years ago, but it is my sole income, no rich wealthy relatives or other advantages. My husband is military, frequently deployed which means I balance single mom with my career. I have a new book, and teach at the larger conventions and with American photo model shoot out tours. I LOVE teaching. And nothing makes me happier than when a student messages me to say hey I just made my first $3500 session sale, or I quit my job I hate today because I’m doing well enough to focus on photography. I am sure at some point if not already that something I said will be taken and taught by a ‘student’ of mine at some event whether a big expo or one of the retreats here at the studio, and teach it themselves.

    However… I don’t personally care. I think if you want to teach than your focus should be on the outreach of the message, and it’s potential to affect the people who encounter it. I put my heart and passion into everything I teach, and I do it because I love the artistry and want people to be brave enough to pursue their own passions and intensities and purpose with courage and conviction, and find their own definition of success and happiness, and when they have, to reach out and share what they have learned with the next wave to be able to do the same… The recognition is nice, it’s always appreciated, but not a prerequisite… And really in the age of the internet eventually someone comes across and notices just as here, with Doug, jasmine, and everyone else, my hope would be were I on the side of having my thoughts/lessons ‘plagiarized’ ‘stolen’ ‘borrowed’ whatever you want to call it, that simply everyone would go look me up and follow under the assumption that if so and so learned it from me, that I must have even more to learn as the original source.

    I’d also state for the sake of continued discussion and debate that I will set aside time to watch the video in full as I only watched the first 30-50%, but I’d also argue that you would have to see both seminars in full. Just for the sake of conversation: in order to not plagiarize you must take and adapt the majority of the content to your own view point and narrative yes? Would it not stand to reason that a 15 minute video designed to prove the case of the article would have pulled all the clips that were similar/exact, whereas if this is the full extent (I don’t know that it is or isn’t) of his infringement over the course of a 3 day class where they were teaching approx 8 hours a day that would be 15 mins of copied material over the course of a 1440 minute class. Would that still be considered no original content and a stolen course?

    • 1
      justin element

      You know, i agree with you, which is starting to seem like something you’d get stoned for doing based on some of these previous sarcastic and angry comments. I’ve come to terms with people copying work. In our industry, your work WILL be stolen, its just a matter of when. No it’s not right, its not welcomed, but it will happen. My work, my exact photos, even my about me section on my website has been stolen and plagiarized, but i’ve laughed, moved on and used it as motivation to create something new and do better work. just my 10 cents.

      Although keep in mind the 10 cents comes from a guy who believes the internet should be free and photos shouldn’t come with large watermarks on them. Everyone has their opinion and to each their own. Respectfully. Hows that for a disclaimer?

    • _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

      I agree with you Jessica that to truly know how similar they were, you would need to watch both in full. Editing can go a long way in distorting the truth as well, which was something I considered as well. But the way he uses the examples, and the verbiage is pretty uncanny.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      While I do share much of your philosophy on teaching and letting it go.,, letting the student reteach it….maybe even granting permission to use your course materials in whole or in part as I do on many of my Resource PDFs and Photoshop Project Downloads. I made the decision to let those go forward. However my source of income is from my Photoshop Actions and Video Tutorials and the license agreement I provide for those states no duplication, derivative forms, and/or distribution without express written permission. Over the years, other teachers / presenters / photographers have contacted me directly to ASK if they could use my product and teach it and others have not.

      I guess that’s what’s missing from the Adam Forgione vs Rob Adams scenario. Rob didn’t have the courtesy to initially talk to Adam. Rob states in his so-called apology letter that Adam should have come to him first if he had a problem, which I find amusing. The perpetrator playing the victim.

      I don’t know if Adam Forgione contacted Rob Adams prior to the launch of the public comparision video. Because of a similar experience I had where I did ask the thief to pull down his version of my product and it’s video and he did not, I don’t think Rob would have done anything different. His apology letter is NOT really an apology, it was more like “I had no idea” thing. To my knowledge he has made no announcement of pulling his video course from Creative Live, and he has made no attempt to contact Adam Forgione to personally apologize, admit to his inappropriate usage of the course materials he did not pen and to offer financial restitution.

      If it’s any consolation to Adam F. he should know he must be doing a fabulous job of teaching and creating course materials for his workshop to have had a student rip off so much of it, even down to the dropping of the mic. To Rob Adams, you should stop playing dumb and re-think and re-do your “apology” instead of rationalizing. Adam Forgione’s workshop’s intent was for you to apply the concepts and workflows for your own personal videography business NOT to take it in whole or in part to RE-TEACH it!

  37. 1

    This is also ironic, posted 14 hours ago, 2 hours prior to this post –

    Stolen idea about a story about a stolen workshop? No link to original breaking story?

    • _PJ_8867-Edit.jpg8

      Thanks Porter, we got the tip from Tim Kwon who saw it from a Facebook feed. There was no link to the article you just mentioned, just the video on Vimeo and on Adam’s personal blog. Hanssie wrote the story while I got obtained permission from Adam directly. I am sure you can understand how difficult it can be to source an ongoing conversation, which is why we always go directly to the people involved to get permission to post about the topic.

  38. 1

    interesting how the photography business has evolved into extorting money from other photographers rather than capturing images!

    • 1
      justin element

      Hasn’t it been like this for many years? Alot of people lost faith in the teaching community a while back, careful where to spend their money. I know this because I had to learn the hard way. SLR Lounge has been one of the more honest avenues of education though in this industry. kudos guys

    • 1

      That’s because with so many amateurs buying cameras, a whole new consumer grew up. People didn’t want to pay for photos, so they decided to do it themselves, and instead spent all the money instead on gear and lessons.

      It’s ingenius actually. :D

  39. 1

    Rab is obviously repeating what he said while not knowing what it means. 4/4 time doesn’t mean 4 beats 4 measures. It means 4 beats per measure, with the quarter note getting the beat.

    • 1

      See, it’s obvious Rob doesn’t know a lot of his stuff innately. He just repeats it. His grasp of music theory is lacking.

  40. 1

    I’m surprised that it’s still available on CL.

  41. 1

    The thing is, Adam Forgione taught a workshop on wedding videography techniques. He didn’t teach a workshop on how to teach a workshop on wedding videography techniques. Rob Adams could shoot according to those techniques all day long and no one would give a hoot because that’s what Adam was teaching. But for Rob to take his workshop and present it as his own is unconscionable.

  42. 1
    Tyler Morrison

    Fantastic article Hanssie. This fraud infuriates me so much!!

    Without the advent of online workshops through great companies like FStoppers and creativeLIVE, I would not be a photographer – period. I’m also glad that the platform raises up some truly amazing talent in our industries; the Sue Bryces, Susan Striplings, and Ray Romans of our industry deserve to be recognized for their hard work and innovation.

    Great instructors create workshops because they value our community and want to raise the bar by offering truly unique content; however, a lot of other people seem to be chasing the education industry as a way to become famous and cash a paycheck.

    I really hope WPPI and creativeLIVE respond appropriately to this kind of blatant plagiarism.

  43. 1
    Bart Zoni

    I teach and develop workshops. This is very simple – it’s just good manners to tell people where you picked up certain techniques. I always say that a sharpening technique I teach is based on something I learned from Calvin Hollywood.

    This guy is a coward, and did something very bad. He should own up to it, apologize, and praise his teacher.

  44. 1

    I’m speechless!!! We supposed to be CREATIVE! Let’s create and not “copy and paste” :D

    Thank you for sharing this!

  45. 1
    Marvin Suarez

    I have taken both workshops and I’ll have to agree with the video above..the presentation of the material was totally ripped off from Adam, quite obvious. I understand if you want to teach the material for the sake of making a living and helping others but at least do it in a way that’s unique to you as an educator…You can have 2 teachers teaching biology but each one has a unique teaching style based on their experiences…If I wanted to learn wedding filmmaking, why on earth would I not go to the source of the material..seeing Rob Adams workshop on creative live thinking back felt like Adams workshop…Adam has extensive knowledge in audio engineering and music..Adam speaks from the heart and I met Adam at The 2013 Knot Gala..he’s the nicest guy and can’t believe someone would take advantage of that kindness and generosity..When looking back at the creative live workshop I noticed how commercial and fake he sounded..sort of like an infomercial you’d see on QVC in the middle of the night..I wish I could get my refund from creative live and give it to Adam..I was hoping that seeing Rob Adams workshop I’d gain some new knowledge but nothing new there. I don’t hate Rob and understand we do have to make a living but come one Rob…Seriously? Do it by shooting films in an original way and not by stealing other people heard working sweat equity and selling the system as your own. There I said it!

  46. 1

    Has anyone seen if Rob has defended himself anywhere? I would be really interested in what he has to say about it…

    • 1
      JJ Kim

    • 1

      Thanks JJ KIM. Now I’d like to see Forgione’s reply to Rob Adam’s reply.

  47. 1
    Mike McCaleb

    Here’s a link to the video, and Rob Adams response that he just posted.

  48. 1
    Kevin Wynn

    Classic move by Rob Adams: attack the people who exposed him and then play the victim.

    I studied filmmaking at USC years ago and worked in the industry for several years before going into photography. Yes, both Adam and Rob teach about universal concepts, ideas and techniques. But the problem I have after seeing the video isn’t that Rob used the same terminology when talking about equipment or techniques. It became obvious he crossed the line when referencing “Piano Man” by Billy Joel to discuss the difference between 4/4 time and 6/8 time. Out of all of the songs in the world, he had to use the song that Adam referenced? And then dropping the mic to demonstrate that it could take a beating? He could have hit it against the table, the wall or even just said it was hard to damage. And the worksheet is apparently 95% identical to Adams? If it were just a few similarities, I don’t think anyone would have noticed. But Rob’s content and presentation bears such a striking resemblance to Adam’s, and the fact that he had actually taken Adam’s course in 2011, makes it clear to me that Rob ripped off Adam’s workshop.

    I think the sequence that speaks volumes about this whole issue is at roughly 6:00 and they are talking about miking both the bride and groom of different heights. Rob says the shorter bride’s voice travels down. Wrong. Sound travels in all directions equally. He then says he mikes the bride lower so that there is more of a “range in front of the groom.” Huh??? What does that mean? It sounds like Rob is regurgitating an idea he fully doesn’t get. Adam, however, correctly states that he wants the mic to be as equally distant from both the bride and groom as much as possible. This makes sense so that post-production sound is easier to handle if you didn’t have one subject so close to the mic compared to the other person. And next when they talk about not messing with the settings, Adam cites Ray Roman’s technique. Does Rob do the same? Not according to the clip.

    At 10:30, we they are talking about a “walla” track, both of them refer to an outdated technique that isn’t don’t in film at all. It’s an outdated idea from the days of radio. Real conversations and real words (even if they are gibberish) is used to created a “walla” track. But the idea is easy to convey by having people say “walla”. Even in film school we didn’t do this. Instead, we used pre-recorded audio that you can license. Again, this outdated idea and demonstration is so specific that for Rob to use it as well, it just shows he can’t come up with his own ideas.

  49. 1
    Eric Sartoris

    I’m not surprised. I’m very disappointed, but not surprised. This type of IP theft has become the norm in our industry. It’s what happens when people chase dollars instead of integrity. It happens when the bar is set SO LOW that ANYONE can generate enough PR and buzz on social media to become “mockstar” legends in their own minds. Most “teachers” these days don’t have ANY real experience or talent.

    They just have a smoother sales pitch than the noobs they are fleecing. I’m no Stephen Hawking, but I can impress the HELL out of my second-grader with my awesome math skills. I’m a genius to second graders… because they know NOTHING, yet.

    So, yes, it’s quite easy to cobble together a CreativeLive seminar and impress the legions of desperate noobs out there. Especially if someone ELSE comes up with the material, and you simply repackage it…

    Jessica Lark is a perfect example. She’s bending over backwards to get in tight with the “cool kids” in the mockstar crowd… you’ll find cute selfies with Jason Groupp and stuff like that. She’s not drinking the Kool Aid; she’s SERVING it. That’s why she breezily states that she “doesn’t care” about any of this, but then proceeds to write two separate Tolstoy-length missives, basically excusing these instances of theft.

    CONSIDER THE SOURCE, people. If someone is being an apologist for the plagiarist crowd, then look for the MONEY. J Lark is trying to get a piece of this pie… there’s NO WAY she’ll ever admit that such IP theft is wrong.

    I love seeing these different attempts at justification and rationalization and excusing of unethical business practices. Someone is going to throw their back out with these semantic gymnastics.

    Theft is theft.

    • 1

      well said…the CL disciples are always first to defend these frauds. Unfortunately the noobs idolizing these photographers are just adding fuel to the money grab wild fire that’s happening right now in our industry. It’s nice to see the likes of Don Giannatti speaking out against this situation and not defending the shield.

  50. 1
    Michael Rapp

    First out: Plagiarism is bad mana. And also shows you’re either lazy or really don’t know the stuff you’re copying. If you knew, or cared, you’d rephrase the stuff in no time and be off the hook for good.

    But the real point is: since the survival of this industy depends soley on the client’s recognition of copyrights and pay where payment is due, the here projected image of a shooter having no truck with copyrights is innaceptable.

    To illustrate the point: in 16th century Europe, a trader’s union, the “Hanse”, was utterly reliant on trust. The word of a trader was good. It had to be, since most of the trade went down without any writing. So cheats and frauds were not tollerated and banned for life. Out of the sheer necessity, since one bad apple could have shaken the trust in the whole trading system.

    All through the shooting industry i hear complaints that clients don’t respect the work and its worth anymore.
    Anybody wonder why?

  51. 1
    Adam Forgione

    Rob Adams lets do a workshop together and invite the world to watch unedited portions of what I posted. I challenge you and everyone is waiting. Also that lame remark on Sal’s website about wanting to create drama was a weak try. Anyone that knows me knows I post things like that frequently on WCP because I’m a wise guy. I’m sure there are many that will vouche. I had no knowledge of your theft when I posted that last one you took a screenshot of. If anyone doesn’t believe it, you can ask to join and find out for yourself. Rob you should have said “I messed up and I’m sorry” the world would have respected you more and you could have rebuilt your reputation with a clean slate. Time will always heal but you had to say something stupid and piss me off even more. Now I know exactly what you are. You’ve been exposed.

  52. 1

    WELL… actually.. if we DON”T look at it that stealing.. i would actually look at him as a good learner learning from the one workshop he attended.APPLYING what he learned. WHY YOU SAY? because he learned it from a teacher. he was just sharing what he got and understood BUT THE ONLY FAULT HE MADE IS THAT HE Didn’t acknowledge Mr. Adam Forgione’s Lecture session. That is how i see it.

    • 1
      Dave Doeppel

      Isn’t that kind of silly. Would you quote and reference every book/teacher/video/workshop you’ve ever read or attended.
      I mean seriously. Everyone has to learn from someone..

    • 1
      Eric Sartoris

      I will NEVER understand the mindset of those who excuse or rationalize such blatant theft. What is this person’s agenda? Why apologize for the thief, or pretend that it isn’t a big deal?

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      Yes, acknowledging his teacher for inspiration if his course material was not word-for-word stolen from Forgione! I’m surprised he didn’t rip off Forgione’s photos and film clips, too— but that along with acknowledgement or gratitude, obviously was not done, because his agenda was to appear as the “creator” of the material. There were just too many blatant ripoffs verbatim from Forgione’s workshop, to think otherwise. Rob Adams was not “sharing” out of love for teaching or love for other videographers or photographers, it obviously was for ego and financial gain. For me, this particular incidence is a whole other ballpark that doesn’t compare to learning/teaching to tie shoe-laces or general learning. There are too many specifics, lists, methedologies that are presented word for word out of Forgione’s workshop. Could it be that some folks who are excusing Rob have the same set of ethics or lack thereof?

    • 1
      Dave Doeppel

      I am not excusing anyone. My problem with this entire fiasco is that this should be a legal matter between Adam and Rob. Rob has the presumption of innocence and yet that right was ripped away because an “edited” video was posted on Vimeo and subsequently blasted to Facebook and many other sites like this one. Pretty sure that is not the way our legal system works. The person that was hurt by this alleged “theft” is Adam. He chose to put this out in a public forum. That I whole heartedly disagree with.

    • 1

      If I get caught stealing a necklace from a jewelry store, I wonder if I could get away saying that THE ONLY FAULT I MADE IS THAT I didn’t pay for my necklace, or that I should’ve acknowledged that i came from that store?

    • 1
      Eric Sartoris

      Dave says “My problem with this entire fiasco is that this should be a legal matter between Adam and Rob.” (And yet Dave keeps discussing it…)

      Using that “logic”, NO news should EVER be reported or discussed. The conflicts in the Middle East? None of OUR business… that should be a legal matter between the countries.

      49ers vs Seahawks? That’s between the two teams.

      Abortion? Totally up to Jesus.

      Hell, we shouldn’t discuss ANYTHING. Certainly not issues that affect the industry that feeds our families. Good call, Dave.

  53. 1
    Dave Doeppel

    I thought SLR Lounge was better than to post this sensationalist crap!!!!!!

    • 1
      Eric Sartoris

      I’m actually very glad that there are enough good people out there who care enough about the integrity of this (or any other) industry.

      One person’s “sensationalism” is another person’s “ethics”.

      Theft is wrong.

    • 1
      Dave Doeppel

      I’ve yet to see anyone prove any theft has taken place. So far its all based on someones “edited” video. People are innocent until proven guilty, an accuser posting an edited video is not PROOF of theft and for SLR Lounge to post this is unethical. They are not a legal entity and apparently wanted to jump on the internet bandwagon of accusing people in a public forum.

    • 1
      Adam Forgione

      I’ll prove it to you. If you are able to get a hold of rob Adam’s full creative live seminar I will give you my short form and audio workshop for free and you can spend time looking through 6 days of workshops just to make a point. Maybe rob will counter offer his for free so you can let the world no your opinion no edits, Rob Adams?

      Is that fair Dave? If not you tell me what proof you need?

    • 1
      Mike Henriques – Artistic Wedding Films

      It seems that society loves the underdog, let’s give him another chance. BS, actions are enough to show someone’s charter and Rob Adams showed his!
      Respect your teachers, show them credit and the learning continues. Rob should try any martial art and disrespect his teacher, the entire clan would teach him a lesson and that seems to be what is happening!

    • 1
      Dave Doeppel

      It is not up to me to prove it at all. If you truly believe he stole from you then you should have pursued legal action.

    • lin-and-jirsa.jpg6

      Hi Dave .. this is Chris, Co-founder of SLR Lounge. Bringing up these types of topics hopefully prevents them from happening in the future. For all the educators out there, hopefully it reminds them to stay original and give proper credit. If this helps remind people of those two things, then I think it’s worth an article.

    • 1
      Mama Shan

      Yeah rah Christopher! Thank you for keeping this up!

    • 1
      Rodney Mickle

      Adam, I’ll take your challenge.

      I already have access to Rob’s CL Photo Fusion workshop (a friend bought it so I’m sure I can watch their copy of it) and would like the opportunity to compare the two to see how much of this is .005 percent plagiarized and if the 80% is common industry knowledge as Rob claims.

    • 1
      Scott Kuo

      I would like to see the unedited version also.

    • 1

      If, as you believe, Rob did nothing wrong and was a victim of selective editing, why on Earth would Rob go OUT OF HIS WAY to drop names from the people he was ‘inspired’ by and learned from, but leave Adam absolutely out of the conversation?

      Even if you believe the editing was manipulated to show a point; there is no doubt whatsoever that the synced portions of both videos are not only eerily similar, but point-for-point exact clones, to which Rob definitely lifted.

      To that end, why not acknowledge Adam in even a miniscule way?

      I have a working theory, and I feel fairly confident in this:

      Rob didn’t acknowledge Adan because then people might seek out Adam and his work, and then the jig is up.

      Call me a liar.

  54. 1
    Mama Shan

    I totally commiserate with Adam Forgione! While I’ve heard Rob Adams is a nice guy, a caring teacher, etc. this exterior impression is obviously a ruse and doesn’t excuse him at all after the truth has been unveiled. A greedy unethical individual riding on the coat tails of another’s hard work and originality, would try to mask their faulty core of ethics by appearing “wonderful!” If Rob Adams had any sense of right and wrong, he’d take down his creative live videos and send all monetary gains from his rip-off venture to Adam Forgione, with a humble and sincere apology!

    • 1
      Robert Kaussner

      I’m completely with Adam on this. I’ve been in the professional imaging industry for twenty five-plus years, and I’ve never seen so much blatant plagiarism by various young photographers and videographers as I’ve been noting over the past few years.

      Such people should be publicly exposed for exactly what they are; charlatans (as in: “a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud”.).

      It is likely that the advent of the internet as well as the poor economy of the past few years has induced more of these types of behaviors (as well as greed, fear, etc.).

  55. 1
    Mama Shan

    At first I was reluctant to pass judgement based on an edited video. I wondered if Forgione had given Adams permission to teach his course. The work is obviously from Forgione (check workshop dates, and the unique analogy’s and structure of the course). I emailed Forgione to see if he gave Rob Adams permission. His reply was, “Permission to steal?” So, unless you think Forgione is lying, I’d say, edited or not, the comparison video is without a doubt proof of the plagiarism.

  56. 1

    How do people live with themselves to profit so publicly from stealing another professional’s hard work????? For shame!

  57. 1
    Keith s.

    I am an inventor and photography enthusiast. His actions are extremely low while not original. Rob Adams does need to be penalized and the photography industry needs to know his name. He should be banned from all photograph trade shows.
    He STOLE from another their hard work and potential livelyhood. Hopefully Rob Adams takes responsibility. Regardless he should be held accountable.
    Thank you for posting this story

  58. 1

    It is very unfortunate that I BOUGHT Rob Adams’ video in CreativeLive … … I felt really, really bad now.

    • 1
      Eric Sartoris

      If enough people complain to CreativeLIVE, they will undoubtedly respond. They’ll have to. They rely 100% upon their reputation as a valid source for “education”.

      If they continue hiring douchebags and plagiarists, their golden goose is cooked.

      DEFINITELY demand a refund.

  59. 1
    Joe McDonald

    I find it interesting that most of the commenters here operate in the wedding / portrait photography industry and one of our goals in this industry of a good photographer is to make the subject look the best they can.
    Now I’m seeing that people assign guilt just because the person happens to be good looking. A lot of irrational jealousy around here.

  60. 1
    Sandra Guerra

    True experts in any industry or profession not only have skill from experience, they also research those that have laid the foundation. If and when ANY content is to be used that was not an original created thought must be cited, this means that if he was to use your language, scripts, images, etc, they should have been cited giving the originator credit for their works.

    I am all for expanding knowledge but to present content as your own is not acceptable if it came off of the sweat equity of another. Credit must be given and if the content was to be used, he should have sought permission from the person in which he was inspired.

    Simply, whether intentional or not, it is not right. If this Rob Adams was not educated on the concepts of plagiarism then at the point he was notified he should have corrected the matter just as those that get sued for steeling even a 4 count or 8 count beat of a song to create a new song do. Create new content or pay to license someone else’s.

  61. 1

    This is why I am out of this goddamn industry. So much happier in the medical field.

  62. 1
    Sandy Phimester

    Just don’t do it. 100%. It’s lazy, it’s theft and it’s wrong.

    Besides the million other things everyone has said above me, mostly (and rightfully so) absolutely and outright condemning the thief (because that’s what this is…. theft) what I want to know is…

    There is no use in complicating matters, and anyone defending this crap with blown out long responses is even more delusional. This is not creativity, this is not honesty, this is not integrity, and nor is it defensible.

    How does someone live with themselves as a creative individual, knowing full well that this isn’t theirs? That they did not create this, and they are passing it off as their own? I couldn’t do that, I will never even begin to understand how someone can actually not hate themselves for this sort of crap. It’s weak, very weak, and across all possible fronts.

  63. 1
    Michael Paul

    Posting an article about stealing material after stealing material for the article. Oh the irony….

    • 1
      Sandy Phimester

      That’s all you have to contribute? Really? After this entire thing…? It’s not nearly the same thing. Maybe if they copied and pasted the text… it’s not “stealing material”.

    • 1
      Rodney Mickle

      I thought the same thing when I read this article.

      I think an update to the story is need to clarify whether SLR Lounge did or did not source this story from the stopstealingphotos tumblr page.

      What would be ironic is if SLR Lounge’s reporting was based on facts obtained from stopstealingphoto’s tumblr post and they then fact checked to appear as original reporting.

      On the other hand, it’s also totally plausible that they too saw the Vimeo post and were concurrently in the process of reporting the story and their delay was due to the fact that they were doing their due diligence to make sure they had the story right and its coincidence that stopstealingphoto beat them to reporting the story.

      I think Pye addresses some of this above in earlier comments but I think the responsible thing to do keep the integrity of credibility is to clarify how SLR sourced the story as to address this potential integrity issue.

    • 1
      Michael Paul

      I’m impressed by your passion, Sandy Phimester. Not interested in a pissing match. If you check the comment section of the link I posted, you’ll see Christopher write that he posted an article on SLR Lounge. “Stop Stealings” comment? “Thanks for the link back” dripping with sarcasm.

      Maybe I was too quick to judge but as Rodney states, it would be a good idea to posts sources.

    • 1

      PYE had posted earlier –

      Thanks Porter, we got the tip from Tim Kwon who saw it from a Facebook feed. There was no link to the article you just mentioned, just the video on Vimeo and on Adam’s personal blog. Hanssie wrote the story while I got obtained permission from Adam directly. I am sure you can understand how difficult it can be to source an ongoing conversation, which is why we always go directly to the people involved to get permission to post about the topic.

  64. 1

    Using tips and tricks from fellow filmmakers is one thing. This is textbook plagiarism. Rob, you’re a douche.

  65. 1
    Vanilla Ice

    It’s similar but not the same exact thing.

    • 1
      Eric Sartoris

      More “Milli Vanilli” than “Vanilla Ice”, actually.

      Rob lip-synced his workshop.

  66. 1

    For Rob Adams this is like…
    Re-gifting something and than expecting the person receiving the gift to also pay for it as well.

    • 1

      Excellent analogy, Sam.

      How are there people actually making excuses for these jerks?

  67. 1
    John Woodward

    I spent 26 years teaching photographers on the PP of a circuit. Nearly every state regional and national. When you answer a question from attendee; what starts as hey question becomes a drawing in the beginning, on chalkboard. After 15 or 20 students ask you the same question it becomes a handout. My workbook after 26 years was 2000 pages of handouts. most of the instructors who followed me at least acknowledged where they got the information. As an instructor I can’t worry about people who copied and repeat what I had taught them. That is expected. What is wonderful this to hear that you were right now as the person who created the information to begin with. All this could be avoided by just saying who your mentors are. You don’t have to explain every nuance of what you learned. I am fortunate that past and present speakers I have always acknowledged what I taught them. That is the satisfaction of being an instructor.

  68. 1

    The video speaks for itself. Guilty.

  69. 1

    If anyone is interested, here is Rob’s response:

    • 1

      AAANNNNNNDDDD deferred blame, angry accusations, and then begging for forgiveness (although he isn’t sure why he should). Sounds all too familiar.

      Is there a script these facetious individuals are given as the story breaks?

  70. 1

    At school I was taught that 2 + 2 = 4. Nowadays when I tell someone that 2 + 2 = 4 mean I stole it from my math teacher?

    Rob stolen “Adam” name and add a S!

    Oh my God!

    • 1
      Phil Wakowski

      No, you [edited] simpleton. Your example is nothing close to what is happening here.

      I’m calling you a “fucking simpleton” because you either KNOW this example is lame, and posted it anyway… OR you honestly cannot see how your example fails.

      Either way: fucking simpleton.

    • 1

      LOL! So many idiots in this world!!! LOL WaKOwsKI!!! :)

      You make me laugh … Answers me again and I earn my day!

      The world is simple, he is dominated by the smart people …

      And when I say smart I do not mean with higher IQ…

      How many here have already copied the photo of someone and called her a source of inspiration …

      I do not agree with theft but it happens all the time …

  71. 1

    I worked for a company who put on photography workshops. I was brought in to do a basics of photography class once every two months. I was encouraged to go buy a basics of photography book, photo copy it and hand it out as the written material for the class… Things like this make me cringe.

    • 1

      But to be fair, a lot of the concepts seem to be very simple in that world and there is more then one way to skin a cat but only so many ways…

  72. 1

    Bad behavior has been allowed and increased since no one wanted to be the bad guy and just cause a ruckus. Shine a light at it honestly, allow both sides, it will diminish.

  73. 1
    Jeffrey Shaw

    We’ve seen a few photographers lately getting blasted for plagiarism. There are some things not being said that I would like to share because quite frankly, I don’t necessarily see it as plagiarism. Hey, as a photographer I hate the thought of my images being stolen as much as anyone else. But as a coach encouraging personal growth in individuals and changes in our world, I struggle to agree with some of these accusations. Let’s make an important distinction first. We live in an information age. It is pretty new issue to deal with the “stealing of content” to this degree. One comment on a blog recently called the actions of a teacher accused of stealing content like, “stealing someone’s photo and re-matting it”. That’s not what it’s like at all. A photograph is a tangible, easily recognizable item. Stealing a photograph is black and white. The prove is there or it’s not. “Stealing” content is full of shades of gray. Is it verbatim or the essence of what was said? Haven’t you ever heard someone say out loud EXACTLY what you were thinking or believe? I know I have– many times. Finding people who believe what you believe is an exciting thing! No thought is ever original. Whatever stroke of brilliance you think you might be having, there are thousands of people who have had that thought or are thinking the same thing. There’s a business lesson here too. That’s the whole point of a successful business. To call forward the people who believe what you do and are excited to share what you believe and share it together. That’s why 250,000 people showed up to hear Martin Luther King give a speech. He shared what he believed and people showed up in masses to say, “I believe that too”. That’s how you have a successful business.

    Humans have been story-telling and passing on content since the beginning of time. It’s critical to establishing history and it is CRITICAL to cultures moving forward. If you are inspired by someone’s words or beliefs and share it, is it plagiarism? If that’s the case, what becomes of the role of teacher and student?

    A few months ago, I reached out to my coach who I have worked extensively with for the past few years. We have created amazing growth in my life during this time. I reached out to him to express my concern that I have learned so much from him and have developed so much content myself in a relatively short period of time, that I am no longer clear which thoughts are his and which are mine. I’m not even sure what words are my own. Being the gracious man he is, he thanked me for the compliment. As he saw it, he had done his work as a teacher so well that I, as his student, had internalized all that he offered to such a degree I could no longer distinguish which were my original thoughts. He went on to say that should I use any of the written content that he has created without his permission that would be a problem. But the sharing of what I learned from him to pass on to others was a beautiful thing. He called it The Positive Escalator. He teaches me, I learn, I pass it on to others, they learn, they pass it on….etc. A positive escalator where we are all advancing and raising the collective consciousness of the world we live in.

    I hate to think that we live in a time where we can’t allow the inspiration that we receive from others as a teaching tool. That we stop telling stories and passing on information because we might be accused of plagiarism. This is how we grow. This is how we add to the collective consciousness of the world. This is the ride of the positive escalator.

    I understand it’s a fine line. And we live in a different time when content has value and people are paid for what they think more than what they do. These are issues we will have to work out as a society. I thank some of those that are taking the heat on this issue right now. Let’s sort these things out together in the spirit of understanding instead of setting up witch hunts and destroying careers and lives. What could be lost is far greater than the satisfaction of “calling someone out”.

    • 1

      Might be worth stating the obvious — that Jeffrey uses the word “content” in an ambiguous way, and that, legally speaking, IP and patents aside, you can only claim protection for form, not content.

    • 1
      Jim Malmstrom

      With all respect Jeffrey I know your type; everything is so nuanced and complex. Well I got news for you pal, it’s plagerism, flat out theft when you appropriate the thoughts, words, ideas and work of others and represent it as your own. To those that would, like you do, point to “fine lines” shame on you. The lines are very wide indeed and the Rob Adams of the world know full well that they are stealing!

    • 1

      Jeffery, That was lovely! Congratulations, you have integrity! You had the moral compass to reach out to your mentor and discuss the osmosis of thought that occurred with your learning experience. You gave the coach the opportunity to define the boundaries. Had Rob Adams been genuine rather than sneaky, (my opinion) he would have done the same prior to this carbon copied venture used for his own financial & personal gain.

      Even now, to my knowledge Rob is not reaching out to Adam to properly apologize, compensate or explain, he’s in denial, which I’m sure exacerbates Adam’s anger and our anger and disbelief. I would hope that Adam would properly forgive Rob if he actually received a genuine apology. It would be inspirational to see folks working things out with one another without having to involve courts, lawyers.

  74. 1

    Some quick thoughts.

    1. If you’re a teacher, what Rob did is very easy to do — if you’re teaching Latin or algebra or first aid or history or whatever. Teachers will often use the same mnemonics, gags, jargon — because they’re focused on “What’s the best way to get this idea across?”, not on the provenance of the technique. If a particular example seems to be most helpful, then they’ll reach for it (eg: everyone reaches for “Roy G Biv” to teach rainbows; everyone reaches for “Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore Socrates is mortal” to demonstrate syllogisms; and many people reach for Lennon’s “Imagine” to start to talk about communism).

    Note: This is an explanation, not an excuse; and perhaps there’s important differences, anyway, between the rarefied world of big-bucks video workshops and the everyday primary school classroom.

    2. There’s two important questions here: was Adams at fault legally, and was he at fault morally? They’re not the same question.

    3. Legally, I’d suggest the matter is not at all black and white, and that the division of opinion in the comments above (albeit swayed towards Forgione) does reflect this. Forgione has an actionable case; any reasonable viewer of the video would agree. But does anyone here also believe it would be a slam-dunk win should it come to court?

    Whether he intentionally copied is up for grabs. Unless there’s some witness or document somewhere that says, “I, Rob Adams, am going to copy Forgione”, then Adams would argue, “No, it’s just that I internalised the ideas, and many of them are basic ideas anyway”, and call people to testify to his good character.

    Whether he was in breach of copyright laws, intentional or not… Well, Adams would argue that both quantity and quality of similarity were not great enough for him to be liable, and also play the “There’s only so many ways to skin a cat” card.

    How much merit do such defences have? Well, is there any objective legal test in any jurisdiction to decide what degree of similarity (at least in terms of quality) counts as too similar? The eventual finding that he’s liable or not liable would surely be a subjective decision.

    4. Morally, it’s even more grey, and also depends on which system you’re judging with respect to.

    Assume Rob Adams intentionally copied in the worst possible way. Well, if you’re a consequentialist, as Jessica above seems to be, then maybe you’d believe the good of spreading knowledge justifies the means, no matter what dodgy tactics you employ to get there, and no matter if there’s the side benefit that you also make tens of thousands of dollars en route. (Compare: “The good that Gates created by spending money on immunisation justifies any backstabbing at the start of the journey.”)

    • 1

      Adrian you pose some very good points but the conclusion is flawed–
      ““The good that Gates created by spending money on immunisation justifies any backstabbing at the start of the journey.”) Does it? Do those who have been stabbed believe this?
      Are you actually comparing Rob Adams to Gates? Are you implying Rob Adams is a philanthropist, spending the financial gains from this workshop on the needy?
      This “the end justifies the means” doesn’t even fit in this situation.

    • 1
      Adrian Tan

      Hey Mama Shan, just to clarify, I’m not defending Rob, and not even defending consequential ethics! But I would want to claim that it’s possible to look at the situation through consequentialist-tinted glasses and end up with a thumbs up for Rob. (Of course, there are many other ethical systems through which one could look at the situation and come up with a thumbs down.)

      Note that such a perspective discounts Rob’s intentions. Obviously some good did flow from Rob’s actions, whether or not he intended them. For instance, goods like spreading knowledge, creating more beauty in the world, making brides happy, etc.

      So I’d want to claim that “end justifies the means” fits ANY situation, as long as you don’t give a narrow interpretation to the word “end” and require that the results of an action be intended. Surely you’d agree that any situation can be analysed in terms of good and bad results?

      As to whether consequentialist ethics is something one should even be thinking of in the first place, whether the end ever justifies the means, etc. Well, that’s a long discussion for another time.

  75. 1
    William E. Lantz

    It is plagiarism, plain and simple. If you cannot see and/or hear it, then you too are a questionable example of a human being with A FUNCTIONAL BRAIN! :) seriously though, plagiarism.

    • 1
      Adrian Tan

      I wouldn’t want to defend Rob, but I would want to claim that asserting something is plain and simple doesn’t make it plain and simple, and that the fact that people are discussing the issue at all seems to show that it isn’t.

  76. 1

    How many different ways can you teach the exact same subject matter? I don’t see plagiarism here.

    • 1

      Exactly! Common knowledge is not plagiarism. Seems like most photographers don’t realize how easy it is to manipulate video.

    • 1

      You can teach the same subject matter in countless ways or just about. Teaching is or can be a very creative concept.

  77. 1
    John h

    A craftsmen uses what he is taught to become successful. when he is successful, people look to him to learn the craft that made him thusly. Where he has learned his trade is unimportant. There are now two successful craftsmen doing wedding workshops instead of one, this is a good thing.

    If Rob Adams wasn’t successful in the wedding video industry Then he shouldn’t be teaching others how to do it.

    Adam Forgione’s didn’t invent any of the techniques that both men talked about, and god forbids if he stops teaching. There will still be Rob Adams.

    This is very one sided, Why is this an article?

  78. 1

    I am confused by all the Adams in this tale …..can’t one of you change your name?

  79. 1

    That’s the danger of letting everybody know your business, imagine if Apple held tutorials of how they go about making their billions and Google and Microsoft were in the audience recording the details. What do you think will happen?

  80. 1

    Perhaps the issue itself is not being fully understood by some. Let’s use this example:

    There are 1,000’s of motivational speakers around the globe. They all basically give the same messages. Now, say you’re Tony Robbins. You’ve invested years gaining the knowledge, developing your system and it’s delivery. Your seminars are THE PRODUCT — it’s delivery, it’s words, it’s music, it’s agenda.

    Now, Joe Smow is the last row is thinking ‘man, this guy’s incredible, he must be making more money in a day than I can do in 2 weeks (read Rob’s own bio on his page, or in his Rangefinder article — does this line sound familiar?) — I can probably do this better.’ So Joe diligently takes notes, buys the DVD’s, and he’s off to the races. He is now teaching Tonys PRODUCT — the delivery, the music, the agenda, and, most of his words.

    That is the issue is here. No one disputes that the information has been around forever, but Rob stole the PRODUCT!! And at times, word for word, action for action. It was like watching a cheap imitation of a master.

    I’ve taught business accounting for photographers, creating the course from my 20+ years business experience (in my ‘other’ life I’m an accountant). What I learned early on in the class materials development was that if I couldn’t fully explain a concept in my own words, I didn’t really know the concept. So besides ripping off the Product, Rob, by not being able to express what concepts were in his own words, was ripping off the students.

  81. 1

    I don’t even know that the whole ‘miscommunication’ defense is justifiable. Especially if your brand is so ‘high-profile’ and clamored to that you have to hire someone to do your posting and public media presence for you, don’t you at least bare the responsibility of ‘checking in’ occasionally? You cannot hand over free reigns to someone and assume anything. You still have to have a hand on every facet of your brand.

    And more to the point, if you are that ‘famous’ that you are too busy to run your own social media accounts, is your consumer being a tiny bit defrauded? If you assume the words you’re reading are from the appointed deity, is it facetious to believe that you are getting the information from the actual source, or no? And in that same vein, if you argue that the person appointed to do your media work is someone who knows you well enough to speak for you, then wouldn’t it also stand to reason that this person would know that your moral compass points due north, and would never allow for plagiarism?

    I’m just not buying the whole deferred blame defense. I cannot believe for one second that you aren’t approving and at least occasionally reading the script to make sure it sounds like ‘you’.

    And it seems to be the ‘go-to’ defense right out of the gate. And what infuriates me even more are the excuse makers that see nothing wrong with the actions. Whether you’re stealing an image, verbiage, or an entire workshop repertoire, it’s still stealing. I don’t care how ‘busy’ these poor little famous people are, if you are that busy that you cannot be bothered with getting your hands on what is going out in your name, then you’re going to risk it all going up in flames.

    Lastly, if you’re going to defer blame, and put an anonymous, faceless assistant on the clothesline to swing in the breeze- why not demand a written, verifiable apology from this person who clearly destroyed your life, to give credibility to your claim? If I were in their position, and had so much to lose, you bet your sweet ass I would 1) demanding a public apology 2) fired 3) calling my attorney, and in that order.

  82. 1

    My question, right now to Adam Forgione would be:
    What would it take for you to publicly exonerate Rob Adams? What does Rob Adams need to say and do for you and probably most of us to be satisfied ?

  83. 1
    William Bert

    Is same presentation done by another, plagiarism? I think so it would like someone giving the same speech on a topic, that another person made instead of creating a new speech on the same topic.

    At least you can say Rob Adams is lazy! He did not spend the time to create and present the information he learned from another photographer. How dumb is that? And it is really dumb for him to do Creative Live and not be aware that he would be discovered! But from reading other photographers that would give him a free pass what he did, I can see why. A free pass because he is a nice guy? I sure he is!

    At least when I explain to other photographers that I learned “direction” from a pro photographer when I took his fashsion photography workshop. Then I add my own spin on what I learned from him on direction but credit go back to Bruce Smith when I talk to others photographers.

  84. 1

    It’s obvious Adams is trying to make it different but he’s not trying hard enough. It’s blatant that it’s a forgery and it’s sad when you have to resort to low tactics like this to make money. It’s the fact that he’s making money out of someone else’s material that really gets to me. When this gets viral and it will, this guy’s reputation will be ruined. His attendees will feel like complete fools also. He will have no choice but to pay them all back. So to answer your question: Sure things like this should be put in the spot light. I think it’s essential. It happened here in Montreal recently. A guy was posting other famous photographer’s wedding photos as his own in order to have more couples book wedding shoots with him. He got caught and all references of him as a photographer have been taken off the net.

  85. 1

    I´ll admit, at first I jumped to the conclusion that the video was an accurate portrayal of expropriation. Upon further critical examination (damn you frontal cortex!), the facts may be very different than the conclusions many of us seem to have initially jumped to.

    I have over ten years of film/video experience and have written extensive formal curriculum on the subject. Hopefully the following helps other photographers, who may not have extensive video experience, better understand why this video appears to be edited out of context. In other words, intended for all the photographers, with no formal/informal training, who don´t know jack about video and simply believe the video function on their camera makes them an expert in all visual media. The differences between photographer and videographer/cinematographer go far beyond similarities of what is produced by either. For video, it may take truckloads of equipment and several hours or days to set up. Of course, the photographer´s job is just as difficult: show up with a small bag, fifteen minutes prior, then find a strategic location between the videographer and essentials. OK, fortunately these asshole photogs aren´t the norm, just wanted to establish that my video experience, at a minimum, qualifies me to point out a few things I noticed in the ¨stolen¨ video.

    The video is taken from two video workshop instructors, one by Adam Forgione and one by Rob Adams.

    1. Anchor (00:12 and 00:23)

    Everyone has heard the term News Anchor. What does it really mean? ¨Anchor¨ is a common video/broadcasting term meaning dominant.

    Context: Furgione and Adams are talking about having an underlying theme. Like a book or any other ¨story¨, video works best if it has an underlying theme. If you have no video experience and your friend gives you three hours of her wedding video, what would you most likely use to try and create a story with? It just makes sense to put B roll of the wedding over the A roll of friends and family telling who the couple is and why they are special (i.e., their wedding ¨story¨).

    2. 4/4 time signature (00:34 and 00:40)

    ¨Most songs are in fact 4/4 time¨…yep, sure are. Also referred to as ¨common time¨…because it´s so common! BTW, from now on you can no longer say: f8 and be there, use the rule of thirds, move in closer, the sky is blue, etc.

    Context: common musical reference.

    3. Waltz (00:51 and 01:11)

    Context: Seems like they are both trying to relate to their audiences with common references. Tom Waits or Fiona Apple may have some 3/4 songs but are a little more abstract in comparrison. Off the top of your head, can you name one waltz or example of 3/4 time?

    4. Song Climax (01:32 and 01:38)

    ¨the song will grow and climax.¨

    Context: Yeah, songs tend to do that. From now on musicians are not allowed to instruct other musicians on any of the following:

    ▪ Breaks create a tension that lead power to the next section
    ▪ Have most elements come in and repeat every 8 or 16 measures
    ▪ Have the breakdown around 50% in the track
    ▪ Have the climax after the breakdown or around %50-%60 into the song
    ▪ Create change and interest in your song by breaking it up a little with melodic changes or drum breaks
    ▪ Most pop songs are 3:30 and electronic songs can be any length, but to keep a really tight song that keeps interest try and keep it on the shorter side.
    ▪ There is a difference between the dance floor and the bedroom. On the dance floor and live take out mostly intros and have songs last around 5-8 minutes to keep the beat and audiences attention. Bedroom is much more fluid and shorter attention span.

    So that´s why music is awesome! Dance floor.. bedroom…climax!

    Work Cited: Parts That Make a Song Structure,

    5. Emotional Moment

    ¨those are big moments and that´s what I´ll put on the chorus ones.¨

    Context: Ever made a photo slideshow and noticed the timing was off with the photos (cuts) and music? Once you have that process down, the next thing you might notice is how crappy pics at musical peaks are pretty annoying too. What ARE the best shots to accompany musical climaxes in a wedding video? OK, not a fair question since there are just tons and tons and tons of great highlight clips available to a wedding videographer. Maybe drunk uncle instead of the bride on the peaks.

    6. Ceremony Audio Grid

    Audio is a key area that many photographers just don´t understand. If anyone thinks this is an indication of ¨stealing¨, then the basis for saying so is extremely ignorant. In photographers terms, a source, mic and recorder is like saying a camera, a light and a subject. Hey, let me rephrase that camera(™), a light(™) and a subject(™). Use these terms in your workshops at your own risk!

    There´s a lot more content that I would address in the same way. If you are ignorant about audio, video, music, editing, etc. then don´t be so quick to judge. Oh crap, I just noticed they both dropped the microphone in a similar fashion. Oh wait, is that a Shure-58 which has a reputation of repeated demonstrations on how tough it is? It Shure is! ( Shure SM58 – the world’s toughest microphone? )

    The ¨stolen¨video is simply edited in a way to make it look like Rob Adams stole the ¨product, delivery, agenda¨, etc., as stated by Adriana above. The bottom line is that neither of these videos address anything other than common practices among experienced videographers. Show this to your friends with extensive video experience and ask their opinion on this ¨stolen¨workshop video.

    • 1

      So by your point is that every single video workshop teaches exactly the same thing? Just like every single cooking class teaches the same thing, every photography class teaches exactly the same thing, every dance class teaches exactly the same industry standard stuff…etc etc.

      You’ve wasted time making your case. It’s all a red herring.

      One or two similarities may be understandable, but there’s too much similarity to make it defensible.

      I challenge you to put together another edit comparing Adam’s workshop to another video workshop, let’s see it. Oh, and what about the checklist? Is that given away at every video workshop too? If so, let’s see them so we can compare.

  86. 1

    Sadly this happens more than we realize. The same thing happened with Jennifer Rozenbaum. She attended the Boudoir Divas workshop, then turned around and did a workshop on Creative Live just a year or two later. Now she is speaking at WPPI. Very sad.

  87. 1
    Phil Wakowski,32616

  88. 1
    Gary Fong

    Here is the video interview I did with Adam Forgione, where he explains his feelings, emotions, and perspective about this situation:

  89. 1

    Just an FYI he is scamming people out of thousands of dollars in Gear groups on Facebook. He states he has lenses, a 6D etc that he is selling. As soon as he gets the funds he says that he has to offer a refund which never comes. It has happened to myself and at least 6 others. I have tons of information and screen shots. Please beware purchasing anything from him or his aliases Jason O’Briend or James Shorter.

  90. 9S3B3492 Panorama-Edit copy.jpg7
    norman tesch

    i just had one of my photos put on a buisness site. it was on facebook. it could have been shared so i get credit and it wouldent have been a problem but it wasent. it was just put up with people to think it was theirs. tomorrow i will go offer them to buy the image or we can go to court and they can really pay for it. i dont think most people put a value on photography well i will help them