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Mammoth copyright infringement by Canadian Pro Hera Bell


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19 replies to this topic

#1 the_traveler

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 15:11

http://forums.dprevi...s/post/50397989
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#2 palalaikka

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 15:30

Yes, it looks like quite clear case.

Here is what her (the thief) site looked like (before she closed it from public access):
http://petri.1g.fi/H...photo_thief.JPG

Here is original picture from Finnish photographer is his site:
http://petri.1g.fi/k..._9924_5_6_2.jpg

And this seems not to be the only photo she 'borrowed'.

#3 JohnBrew

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 15:51

These people have a lot of gall and an ego to match. She seems to follow most modern liars. Lie, lie and deny and then keep lying.

The thread was certainly interesting to follow and note how the original photographer put her in her place.

#4 FredCrowBear

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 16:06

Yes, it looks like quite clear case.


I absolutely agree.

#5 palalaikka

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 16:53

This link is from the dpreview thread: http://whotookthisph...01_archive.html

#6 Bart Willems

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 17:52

Wow. It was funny how she reacted in the dpreview thread, then the original photographer reacted with some proof and she went completely silent. And then some other photographers came up with infringement examples as well. I found the waterdrop on Flickr the most damning. After all, if the Flickr photographer did copy her image, then he went through an awful lot of trouble to pretend that particular shot was his by creating a whole bunch of other shots Hera didn't have but that fit right in with the infringed one.

Usually I object against the term theft, since nothing has been stolen; as Lew states correctly is infringement. But in this case, self-proclaimed big shot photographer claiming ownership of photos is one of those cases where I'm pretty comfortable with calling her a thief. After all, this is not a magazine or newspaper willingly swiping a photo because they don't want to pay for it, this is somebody who boldly claims these pictures are hers.

Unless this happens on a grand scale and we barely ever hear from it (except in cases like these) what makes people think they can get away with this in this day and age? Especially on the scale she did?
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#7 Bart Willems

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 18:31

...and this is why I call it theft, and no longer infringement. This is one of the posts on the dpr forum:

My Name is Dean Bertoncelj Im profesional photographer from Croatia
She stole also my picture , I found out about it the way shutterstock froze my account and send me e-mail with infrigment questions ...
I personaly have all RAW files from that shooting , model on the picture is my friend , I have about 10 witnesses and lot of more evidence (...) If someone organise some legal action, count me in


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#8 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 19:23

Sad that these things do happen.

While I feel for the photographers who were victims - the "other" people commenting on the forum have the most to say. Yes she should take responsibility for her actions - but If stealing is stealing - no theft worse than any other (?) - we should not forget the paperclips and staples carried home from work by 99% of workers. Should they be punished? - of course. But let the punishment fit the crime. And let the first one without sin cast the first stone.

While it is true that Ms Bell and her history will never be deleted and in 50 years time will still be available on the web, the same applies to anybody who comments on these kind of threads. Their comments and accusations and childish responses will also remain. Think about that.... :nono:
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#9 Ann

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 23:49

It wasn't only thievery -- what Hera Bell was really doing was attempting to gain a benefit (reputation-enhancement and attraction of paid assignments and other commissioned work) by fraudulently misrepresenting the work of others to be her own.

I wonder how well her completed assignments matched the expectations of the clients who had hired her on the strengths of what they believed to be her own portfolio?

Hopefully, they will now learn the truth and will take such legal means as are available to them to gain financial redress. I also hope that the photographers and stock agencies who were wronged by her actions will seek similar compensation.

Edited by Ann, 09 December 2012 - 01:14 .


#10 Alan7140

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 00:18

And people criticize my reluctance to put up a web site.

I did have a half-arsed attempt at it, but I guess I'm just too Photoshop-savvy to actually believe that a watermark prevents theft. Unless it physically destroys the image integrity, then it is a mere token of resistance, nothing more.

After 42 years of full-time involvement in photography, I waver increasingly between plugging away trying to justify its value in actually earning an income, or giving it away altogether and looking at an alternate way of earning a living. It seems that even stocking supermarket shelves would be more secure and rewarding financially than continually beating my head against crap like this and the overall devaluation of the actual skill in photography as opposed to the "free" iPhone brigade who get such a thrill out of being published that this alone is enough, combined with the constant and blatant thefts such as mentioned here as making the whole effort rather pointless.

#11 Rags

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 16:41

And people criticize my reluctance to put up a web site.

I did have a half-arsed attempt at it, but I guess I'm just too Photoshop-savvy to actually believe that a watermark prevents theft. Unless it physically destroys the image integrity, then it is a mere token of resistance, nothing more.

After 42 years of full-time involvement in photography, I waver increasingly between plugging away trying to justify its value in actually earning an income, or giving it away altogether and looking at an alternate way of earning a living. It seems that even stocking supermarket shelves would be more secure and rewarding financially than continually beating my head against crap like this and the overall devaluation of the actual skill in photography as opposed to the "free" iPhone brigade who get such a thrill out of being published that this alone is enough, combined with the constant and blatant thefts such as mentioned here as making the whole effort rather pointless.


Well said... you grumpy old man... I can relate..... :rolleyes:

I'm considering a dedicated website and this issue has me thinking.

Will posting 72dpi images on the web diminish the ability to faithfully reproduce full resolution images?

What do you think?

Rags

#12 Elsa Hoffmann

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 16:46

If people want to steal - they will steal. We dont like it - but if you dont want your images stolen - dont put them on the web. The minute your upload, you create an image that may be stolen. Much like music. The minute you record something - it can be copied.
"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." Philippe Halsman

#13 Ann

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 19:41

The dpi has no significance for web-posted images -- it is only the actual pixel dimensions which count. However, it is also extremely easy for someone to up-rez by as much as 200% and get a sufficiently good result for web-use.

Pasting a Copyright mark over the image and embedding the info. In your metadata can be useful if you catch someone stealing and removing your marks because here in the USA, they have then committed a crime and your damages can be a lot higher.

Otherwise simply be as vigilant as possible and perhaps see if TinEye could provide a watchful eye for you?

#14 Rags

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 19:56

So far, not much to be concerned about, since my stuff has little to no value... :)

Thanks for the responses

Rags

#15 afx

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:51

So far, not much to be concerned about, since my stuff has little to no value... :)

Thats what I thought too and the I see small zebra images of mine popping up on safari sites....

cheers
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#16 Rick Waldroup

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 10:51

She is/was a member of a micro 4/3 forum that I am a member of. I remember commenting on quite a few of her shots. We had also conversed by PM, if I remember right. I went back and looked at a prominent thread she had started about her portrait work, which spanned several pages, and all of her shots in that thread have been deleted. The thread is still up and running, but no photos.

What a bummer. I liked her. She was witty and charming. No one likes to he hoodwinked..... :no2:

I am always amazed that people think they can get away with this. :nono:

Edited by Rick Waldroup, 11 December 2012 - 10:54 .


#17 Ann

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 17:48

The owner of Micro 4/3 has deleted all of Hera Bell's Galleries and images from his Site but apparently some of the images are being linked from elsewhere.
She has apparently blocked her own sites from public view but their content can still be viewed via Google Caches.

26 of the images which she placed on her Sites (and to which she added her own Copyright marks and notices!) have now been identified and have been found to have been photographed by someone else and it seems highly likely that even more of the images which she used will be found to fall into the same category.

Edited by Ann, 11 December 2012 - 17:54 .


#18 black_bird_blue

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 17:56

Sometimes it's more elaborate but no less wrong:

http://lizzelizzel.t...-art-basel-this

Sigh.
"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

#19 Ann

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 18:39

Tumblr.com have posted this "Wall of Shame" :

http://stopstealingphotos.tumblr.com/

It seems that the Weddings Photography business is particularly prone to this sort of deception so anyone who is thinking of hiring a Wedding photographer needs to be particularly careful to check credentials before hiring a photographer.

If any NG member finds their photographs are being used unlawfully, it might be a good thing to add the the name of the culprit to this Wall of Shame.

#20 Anthony

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 18:51

I'm not sure which is the most gobsmacking:

1 The original copyright infringement, which can be checked easily;

2 The bare-faced cheek of some infringers in maintaining the work is their own despite the clear evidence to the contrary; or

3 The defence that they thought they were using stock images to demonstrate the quality of their work.




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