Thursday, December 19, 2013

on defamation and copyright infringement

So things have taken a dramatic turn since my last post. 

At first when I saw Jon’s picture on what was clearly a satiric news article I was amused. I figured the authors didn’t realize it depicted an actual (and pretty private) person. I contacted Nikki, the photographer, and we began attempting to contact the authors to ask them to remove it since they had neither of our permission to use it. Nikki commented on the post on their Facebook page, as did I. Minutes later, both of our comments had been deleted and either they had locked down commenting for the entire page or just for us. Whichever the case, it’s clear that they not only saw our comments but wanted to blatantly ignore them. This is also the case with the post itself--I repeatedly commented on it saying they needed to remove my husband's image/they were infringing on a copyright. Blogger allows you to see where your readers are referred from. One of my referrals was an admin on the comments (they had to approve all comments before they were posted) section of that article. They were clearly reading our requests and continuing to ignore us.

That irritated me. I thus took to Twitter to attempt to contact them, repeatedly tweeting that it was a breach of privacy and a copyright infringement. They continued to ignore me. As comments grew on the story itself, I grew enraged. When I first read the article I knew it was satire; surely everyone else would recognize that as well. Wrong. People began calling Paul Horner, who bore the image of my loving husband and doting father of my son, a pervert, pedophile, etc. This, in my book, is toeing the line of defamation. He will be graduating in May and will likely start looking for a full-time job. If someone he interviews with happens to have read that article, remembered that face, and not realized it was satire, that could hurt his chances of getting a potential offer. Jon was visibly uncomfortable by all of this—as you know, I usually don’t write much about him and when I do he has executive say over whether or not what I wrote is okay to post. Approximately three hours after I first began contacting the authors of that page, they took the image down. It felt like a small victory, albeit a bitter one. All I wanted was for them to recognize that perhaps stealing the image of a man who is real wasn’t the best decision. I would have been completely appeased with a quick, ‘sorry, didn’t realize! Will take it down right now!’ 

As of this morning, the picture has returned to their post—they just photoshopped an actor’s face onto Jon’s. This is still copyright infringement (editing a picture you do not have permission to share is still posting a picture you have no rights to). I am fed up, as is Nikki (who, by the way, has been reporting that organization/person/whoever to their Twitter, Facebook, and web hosting accounts for said copyright infringement). We are going to start exploring what, if any, legal options we have. This is the first time I’ve personally dealt with the shady side of the internet and I certainly hope it’s the last.

1 comment:

  1. In the future I would highly recommend putting a watermark on all of your photos of you and the family. Its REALLY easy to do. I would put in near a face as well. It makes it way less desirable to steal when they have to do extra work to remove the watermark. I never post a photo to my blog without one for that very reason. People are sick and I am soooo sorry it happened to you guys.