My June 2014 Photo of the Month is Blue Hen Falls and Alcove, taken of the picturesque waterfall in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. Continue reading
While Pashadelic did not reply to my inquiry about why they were using my 500px images without authorization, I am happy to report that they did delete the “profile” I did not sign up for. I only found this out by manually looking for it and getting a 404 error. It would have been nice had they replied to let me know they had removed the images. Heck, it would have been even better had they not scraped my images from 500px to begin with.
This is no commentary on the value or usefulness of their website, which I have not used. It may very well be a valuable tool to some photographers, but I am disappointed at the way they chose to build their user base.
This type of image scraping (and occasionally, outright image theft) is very serious business on the internet. My good friend Jeremy Long still has several images being used by other websites without credit or attribution. It is important to regularly search the internet on your name and user names to see who is using your work.
Lenstag has a new service that will crowdsource image theft via a Chrome browser extension. In the future, that may be effective. Unfortunately, a more robust service like Digimarc is more expensive than most people can afford. Reverse image searches can also be effective, but seeing your work passed around on sites like Tumblr don’t leave much you can do.
It is important to make this part of your normal creative workflow without being too obsessive about it. Pashadelic’s initial actions frustrated me, but they did do the right thing in the end.
Yesterday, doing a cursory search on Google on my name, I found something I wasn’t expecting. I apparently had a page on a website called Pashadelic. The site included some of my images from 500px, and was presented like I had made this page myself.
I had not. This data was scraped from 500px, and set up on a new website. My guess is that this was a way to build their website, since people would search for their names and user names on Google and come across the Pashadelic website. Needless to say, I did not authorize this. One website suggested that because 500px was a sharing website, one could not stop your images from being shared across the internet (I suppose this is Tumblr’s rationale?). While I haven’t scrutinized 500px’s terms of service, I suspect Pashadelic is not doing something that most photographers appreciate.
The website purports to be a resource where people can log in and find great photographs in locations from other photographers, including the day and time to shoot it. Honestly though, it basically is not much different than any traditional photo site like Flickr, 500px, or others, crossed with a copy of The Photographer’s Ephemeris. This isn’t something I really want, and if I needed information on images to make somewhere I was going, there is probably an Ebook available anyway.
I have given a feedback message to the website in the hopes that they will take down the images I did not approved to be scraped from the 500px website. I am hoping I receive a quick, positive response. I will keep you up to date on what happens.
Below is the feedback I posted from the website. I am interested to see if I receive a response.
Question: Why are my images being taken from 500px?
While doing a Google search, I found my 500px images scraped and posted to the site: www.pashadelic.com/en/users/1295-tmschultze.
The images I posted to 500px were for that website only and I am frustrated to see that they have been used on another website without authorization. I would like to ask that my images please be removed from the Pashadelic website, as well as having this profile that I have not set up removed.
Please reply as soon as possible to confirm.
In about six months, I am planning to co-author my first book, the
Photographer’s Guide To Joshua Tree National Park. My co-author and lifelong friend, Jeremy Long are extremely excited to bring this project to fruition.
Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to finish this guide for artists and photographers everywhere to enjoy. I am also quite nervous. Good artists are endlessly creative, but good artists who are smart also know how to bring a project to completion.
This goes against my perfectionist nature. Left to my own devices, I have no doubt that I would spend an eternity writing, rewriting, rearranging, redoing, starting over, and spinning in circles. Putting this guide together with a partner gives me a person who can push me to do my best work, but also work toward a defined result.
Partnering is very important. Nobody really makes it on their own. Even Ansel Adams had Alfred Stieglitz and Ed Weston. Ask any successful photographer and artist, and they will tell you that partnering and networking are crucial to being successful in their field.
This isn’t my strong suit, and I need the help. I can write pages and pages about carefully planning to shoot a scene in the best light, but thinking about networking with others and building relationships is lost on me.
This book makes me ponder my personal strengths and weaknesses. One of the keys in partnering with others is to find people who can help you with your weak points. Ideally, your strengths can then be a source of inspiration and mentorship for others as well. Don’t go it alone. Make the success of your friends and colleagues part of everything you do.
If all goes well, the Photographer’s Guide To Joshua Tree National Park will be the culmination of the efforts of two people with different expertise and strengths. We will seek to build a guide that provides the motivated photographer some tools to begin building a strong Joshua Tree portfolio. The book will not be exhaustive, because that is impossible. We are excited to bring this project to you and hope it is a welcome addition to the photography field.