Watermarking my images - West Sussex Photographers

Good Morning Folks,

It is with great sadness that I am going to have to revert back to watermarking my images in such a way that they cannot be reproduced without my authorisation.

Last Friday I was alerted to the fact that one of my newborn images was being used on an individual's Facebook account. Sure enough when I looked it was there but even worse and I still cannot quite believe this; the individual had defaced the image further by alleging this baby was her own baby boy and placing his name on the image. She also claimed that this baby was born on 14th February, 2013. I know this little baby was born last July and she is the most beautiful little girl. I believe this image was reproduced by the individual taking a picture of the screen on her mobile phone, she was then able to crop out the very clear copyright assertion and full written assertion of my copyright.

This image had never been posted on my Facebook Personal or Business accounts nor that of the baby's parents. This image was stolen from my blog. Now I believed that Facebook had good measures in place to deal with this sort of thing and I immediately reported it as a stolen image as per the channels they recommend. I was very clear about what this individual had done, not only was it a breach of copyright but also a misuse of identity. I foolishly thought that as a child was involved they would take the matter seriously; not so I am afraid! I had to report the issue on four separate occasions over a 68 hour period along with numerous report person and image requests. The reporting of a person and image was dealt with promptly and I cannot quite believe it but they deemed this image as quite acceptable and did not take it down.

I really was not sure what to do next and I am trying to bring this issue into the public eye but finally yesterday afternoon they took some action and removed the image from her account. They did not however suspend her account, which I find abhorrent. I have sent yet another lengthy e-mail to them to try and stress the gravity of the situation and claiming a baby to be your own is just not acceptable. I don't think I will be getting a reply any time soon and I will just have to continue to pursue the matter.

Facebook do not provide any way whatsoever in being able to contact them on the telephone nor do they treat requests with any sort of urgency and I am quite frankly appalled with them. I have not been posting many images to my personal or business account as I find the spurious copyright statements too flexible for my liking. It seems we are never far away from individuals who will do just as they like regardless of the very clear written statements in front of them.

So where does this leave photographers; I now have a dilemma about showing any images of children or babies. Mine is a very visual profession and in order for people to see what I am capable of I show samples of my work, so how do I tell the lovely stories of the many wonderful babies and children I photograph now? I am not sure and this is something I am going to have to ponder over.

My other work will have to be more heavily watermarked from now on and I am so sorry that I have to do this but recent events have left me with no choice.

One last thing before I go, be very careful what you post in Facebook or any other social networking site.

Claire