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Photographer Threatened With Legal Action After Asserting His Copyright 667

New submitter JamieKitson writes "Photographer Jay Lee got more than he bargained for after sending some DMCA takedown notifications out to hosts of sites using one of his pictures. One Candice Shwagger accused him of everything from conspiracy over local sheriff elections to child abuse. Since Candice is now threatening legal action, Jay has said he'll take down the post, so here's a snap shot. After reading the story, I checked for use of my own pictures and found one of them being used on a review site without even a credit."
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Photographer Threatened With Legal Action After Asserting His Copyright

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  • Re:How (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:52PM (#40110835) Homepage

    Well, TinEye [] can find pictures on the internet that match ones you upload.

  • Re:How (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @01:55PM (#40110905)

    Also Google image search now has that same function if you know where to look

  • Re:As expected... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:00PM (#40110969)
  • Re:How (Score:5, Informative)

    by John Bokma ( 834313 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:04PM (#40111023) Homepage
    Enter the URL of your picture in Google's image search and it will also find similar/same.
  • by ZeroSumHappiness ( 1710320 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:05PM (#40111033)

    Well, from what I gather of the ordeal, Jay Lee didn't want to cost Shwagger a lot of money, he just wanted to assert his copyright. He quickly realized that she does seem to do non-profit work for disabled children and he told GoDaddy to reinstate her sites while he worked it out with her.

    In other words, he went through the established legal means, was informed of a situation where someone felt unduly harmed, and did his level best to resolve the situation quickly and fairly. All in all, I like this guy -- asserting his rights without being a douche about it.

  • Re:How (Score:5, Informative)

    by ubergeek65536 ( 862868 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:11PM (#40111099)

    You can drag and drop an image from your desktop onto the Google image search. I was amazed at how fast and accurate it is. It looks like it doesn't even need to be an exact match.

    I searched for a photo of a piece of graffiti from a wall outside of San Francisco and Google found a few other people that had taken a photo of the same wall.

  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:24PM (#40111277) Homepage Journal

    Candice Schwager's blog post is still up at [] and it is hilarious.

    Iâ(TM)m still shell shocked, because itâ(TM)s pretty clear that Jay Lee was hand picked for crafty weasliness with advanced studies in computer hacking.

    Oh, god, she has YouTube channel, and has a ladyboner for Newt Gingrich: []

    It is my professional opinion as a programmer that this woman is mentally ill and should be disbarred.

  • Re:How (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:28PM (#40111333)

    Google retains your images for their own nefarious ends though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:33PM (#40111411)

    Her Blogspot site ... []

    Has the same logo as ... []

    Someone seems to have copied it from the other.

    Thanks to Google Goggles for that quick research!

  • Re:How (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:35PM (#40111439)

    Here's the woman's website, with all the nasty hateful material she posted about the photographer (who retracted the DMCA).

    Let's slashdot her: []

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:40PM (#40111513)

    And once again, I have to change my previous comment. Here's what this woman emailed privately and posted publicly about the photographer:

    Private - "Now that the issue is resolved and you have your precious image back, do not ever bother me again. You cost me thousands in billable time and I could sue you. You are fortunate it came back up because as usual, an emergency call came in from a very disabled client needing help and it is substantial as to time/effort/predicted fees. Had you not done the right thing, you would have hurt a lot of people, but most pathethically, a MR girl with the mind of a 4 year old who needs my help. Do not harass or stalk me on Twitter or FB or otherwise. I am done and you better be. Donâ(TM)t make me vomit, your lawyer."

    PUBLIC: "Jay Lee Blows It
    I do not believe this many coincidences could come together and be legit. So many things dont add up or sound the alarms, I just canâ(TM)t bring myself to buy the innocent victim role Jay Lee vomits everywhere. Jay Leeâ(TM)s skittish inconsistency, sincere, desperate, apologetic (clearly understanding nothing was knowingly done to him, after he saw all of the wreckage his wrecklessness caused), terror (induced by reading my letter? Realizing he had made a big mistake), inexplicable stalking, bait & switch images on Flickr, removing âoehot potatoâ image and refusing to sell at opportune time, with my letter thrashing him, sent the fear of God through him.

    "I do not believe in coincidence. Even if I did, the number of âoecoincidencesâ that occurred in this shameless, disgusting story, make me quite certain that Adrian Garcia and/or Alan Bernstein and his minions at the Chronicle conspired to have the Help Desk guy / techie, Jay Lee (creepy), falsely accuse me of copyright infringement and use his tech abilities to determine which website was hosting the remaining sites so that Garcia could take them all down."


  • by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:58PM (#40111855) Homepage Journal

    But oh noes! What if she sues you for defamation!?

    Someone else discovered that she stole the logo for her charity [].

    Or, maybe they stole it from her. Yeah, that's probably it. A totally sane pillar of the community like her would never do something like that.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @03:02PM (#40111919) Journal

    Its a story about some nobody who got upset because he published his photograph on the internet and someone else used it. boo fucking hoo.

    This is right!

    Clearly whoever posted this /. story did not read the article. I was thinking oh, he was probably selling some photos online and someone stole them, and he tried to email them and ask them to remove the photo but websites were being douches.

    Nothing could be further from the truth: []
    "setup my camera gear and took this photo. And as I tend to do, I posted it to my blog to show it off. No big deal. I liked the photo I took of the city I love and I wanted to share it."

    This is NOT a photo he was selling and making money off of or paid models/actors to be in, he just took photo of the city and put it on his blog. That's great... took a photo, put on blog... that's nice....

    "I tried searching to see if this photo might be being used without my permission and was pretty stunned to learn the results.... this did not sit with me too well so I contemplated my options. I decided to file a formal Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down notice with the providers of any site I found using my image without permission..... in less than a day, the site was down."

    W......T..............F.............. "I found a mouse in my house so i contemplated my options. I decided to nuke it from orbit, only way to be sure."

    How crazy do you have to be to file DMCA take-down notices with the website providers over your blog photo as your FIRST option? No attempt to email, no attempt to resolve situation or extort money, just pull down their website! This photographer is clearly a nut case!

    I hope he doesn't issue a DMCA to /. because I quoted his blog.

  • Re:Candice side (Score:5, Informative)

    by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @03:39PM (#40112389)
    Watermarking is only good when you control the source. However, when a customer buys the non-watermarked image and uses it, it can then be lifted by anyone else.
  • Re:How (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @03:39PM (#40112393)

    Har. What a paranoid rant.

    Also, not only did she use that picture of Houston without permission and fail to find one with a free license (is it THAT hard to find a nice picture of Houston?), but she's used this image from the BBC [] without credit too. I wonder how many of her other website images are used without attribution?

    For a lawyer she seems to understand the concept of copyright rather poorly. Fair use might cover some things, but it isn't at all clear in this circumstance. Obviously it's all a conspiracy if somebody points out that she's probably violating copyright. You would think a lawyer would know better than to explode when they are caught in a violation by the copyright holder themselves. But no, it's everybody else's fault for bringing it up, not hers.

  • USE != ABUSE (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joe U ( 443617 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @03:41PM (#40112423) Homepage Journal

    Thought we hate DMCA notices, and really hated people that abused the system.

    We do, as soon as he abuses the system you be sure to let us know.

    Use is not abuse. It was a little strong, but it's not out of line. If he started mass sending DMCA notices without checking to see if it was his image, that is abuse. If he used DMCA notices to shut down a site for the sole purpose of shutting down a site, that is abuse. He filed a notice using the tools given to him, GoDaddy are the ones that overreact to DMCA notices.

    Would you rather he went straight to a copyright infringement lawsuit? He could have done that. Then the first notice she would have gotten was, 'hi, I'm suing you for using my pictures commercially, see you in court'.

  • Re:Ludicrous (Score:5, Informative)

    by kjs3 ( 601225 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @04:27PM (#40113167)
    You don't know that the person didn't get it from another website which claimed the image was under a different license. Or hell, the person could even have paid somebody else that had copied that picture and included it on a batch of stock images they had no rights to.

    Irrelevant. All off those are possibilities, but they are NOT get-out-of-jail-free cards. "I didn't know it was a stolen image" doesn't follow with "so I can keep using it" any more than unknowingly buying a stolen laptop on Craigslist mean you get to keep it if the police find it.

    Basically, you can't assume that the person knows they are infringing copyright.

    Irrelevant. There's nothing in here about intent. People were using Jeff's images unjustly. He followed the law that covers how to deal with that. Period. They how have to stop using them. Period. One sociopath has a problem with that, and that's why we're hearing about it.

    Once again, not a lawyer, but it's my understanding that for any civil disagreement, if you show up in front of a judge without first having tried to negotiate and resolve the conflict amicably, the judge is going to be very angry at you, and tell you go try to negotiate first.

    Irrelevant. Jeff isn't suing anyone. Jeff isn't taking anyone to court. Jeff is following the law when he issues a legitimate DMCA request. If Jeff ends up in court through some travesty, that's what the judge will care about. The only person talking about going to court is the nutjob who stole his image. And if you want to see a judge get mad, let me assure you that "you used an infringing image, the plaintiff filed a legal and appropriate injunction, and you're suing him because you don't like it, and you're a lawyer" will result in a full-blown melt-down, if not a formal sanction and request for disbarment.
  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <joham999@gmail.cTIGERom minus cat> on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:13PM (#40113915)

    He used the DMCA as it was designed to be used - specific targeting of websites who are infringing on your copyright. He even did it himself (rather than farming the job out to a lawfirm).

    He did exactly what you're meant to do - and as he said, the vast majority of those he contacted either took the image down or asked him about licensing it. It only went wrong when Tea Party Crazy Fucker decided to go on an assblasting entitlement rant and threatened to sue him because she was doing something illegal.

    How else would you have suggested he go about it? He contacted the owners of the site via DNS lookup or via a provided DMCA form for those hosts who have one.

    I have a very hard time how he's "abusing" the system when he is:

    a) actually has a valid claim for every single DMCA notice he sent out
    b) only sent them to sites that were actually infringing
    c) made an effort to reconcile with the party in question rather than suing them (ie, stop using the picture or pay a small amount to license it)

    If that's "abuse" then I really don't know what the MPAA/RIAA's blanket "oh just send them to everyone, via our lawyers, I don't care if there's actual infringement - just assume they are and send a notice" could be described as.

  • Re:How (Score:4, Informative)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @05:50PM (#40114361)

    You can /. her facebook her too.

    Pretty crummy thing to threaten/slander a guy just because he sends a DMCA that reads, "Hey you took my photo. Please remove it." She kept using it on facebook upto a few hours ago. She was TOLD she was infringing on copyright but kept doing it anyway! []

  • by gmford ( 880174 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @06:02PM (#40114513)
    I believe you are referring to barratry [].

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard