I’m blogging on a Friday night and I feel a little ill at internet-humanity. Normally I’m an apathetic person regarding ~issues~ and I base this entirely on my difficulty to form educated opinions on certain matters. I’m not a particularly worldly girl, or wordy for that matter. In saying that when I fire up about a particular matter I’ll do so with gusto. When my friend Nikki tagged me in the above Instagram image the other day, a stolen image from this post, I couldn’t help but try to do or say something. My qualifications surround everything pixelated; I’m a few weeks away from holding a B. Digital Media so online content and digital, intellectual property make me excited to be alive. Pixels are amazing but far too easily abused these days. This post extends beyond food-blogging to photographers and producers of online content.
Enter user @creativefoods, an account with over 350,000 followers with a chronically thefty ‘author’. All photos on his/her account contain stolen images and content from well known blogs. I was amused, and a little flattered upon the discovery of my Apple Caramel Cupcakes so very kindly asked the user to credit me when the images was already sitting at around 20,000 likes. No response, I then asked them again and then once more to remove it, no response. Surprising considering her bio declared “let me know if this is your image and I will credit you”.
However it seems he/she happily allowed her hoards of fans to do the talking on their behalf.
For the sake of this post it’s a shame I didn’t capture a few other quotes, and funnily enough most comments directed towards me were swiftly deleted once shut down by yours truly. My personal favourite included “shut up and get over it any one can make your crap”. Hahahah, yes, true, cupcakes aren’t rocket science. But that’s not the point! I mostly responded for the lulz as I’m used to seeing this sort of thing (hello, Tumblr) but the responses I received from these mindless teens is what inspired further action. These people really could not fathom this is a form of theft and that’s what kept me coming back. I’m not one to troll but I felt they were entitled to an education via my instagram facade @bananasoiree (I did in fact convert a few people with my logic and tough love). Most users however fought back in droves at my initial polite request of the image removal so here was my last post before taking more decisive action.
I spent a week attempting to contact instragram. I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org only to receive this unfortunately automated response seconds later:
It was only until I found this very sneaky email form on seemingly official but barely used Twitter account @InstagramHelp I managed to report the image (their Copyright help section contains no contact details). After my email was sent I was greeted with an automated yet helpful response asking for the exact details; my username, the offender’s username, the offending image and a link to the original source. I woke up in the middle of the night to an email saying the matter was being investigated. In the morning I noticed all comments in my feed relating to the image were gone; the entire account had been deleted.
HOWEVER. The ‘author’ of the original page is now rallying fans via @creativefoodsbackup, attempting to find the catalyst to their deleted account. The monster had resurfaced. They’re trying to find me. And now this user is re-uploading all the photos that were deleted by my unauthorised content report as I type this.
Image since deleted on Instagram
To think I had actually succeeded in being “that guy” for a few hours was a little foolish. I am but one lady in this big, bad world of image-rippers. Anybody who entered the above conversation with a sense of logic about them was greeted with comments like “go pick on somebody else who steals images”, or, “you’re just jealous you don’t have as many followers”. Should Instagram take more responsibility over moderating its service? But how would that even be possible? And besides, since when was image theft celebrated on such a large scale? Why are all these people consoling ex-Instagram user @creativefoods? Why are they bent on the notion that Google image search is a free-for-all? Why are ‘likes’ all of a sudden a spectacular commodity? Can’t anybody see that if an entire Instagram account was removed then clearly they weren’t abiding by the law? What kind of mentality is this? All you need to do is visit the page to see what I mean.
So, where does this leave those of us who wish to publish online? Before this occurred I was teetering over the blogosphere edge. As suggested by a plethora of random instagram users maybe I really should watermark my images. You know, either ruin the photos with a huge “PROPERTY OF ALANA DIMOU” piece of text or keep it in the corner for anyone to easily crop out as they please. Why not slap a little comic sans on there as well? Clearly the internet is made for sharing but witnessing people’s horrendously blurred line between ideas and content has my mind absolutely blown. I’m not angry, nor am I a hater like many Instagram tweens have suggested over the past few days. I’m just really, really, really surprised.
As I speak about almost constantly these days I’m working on a book; the .PDF is complete and is with the printers so I’m almost ready to shed a tear upon touching my photos of pancakes on 170gsm satin coat. Like cool dudes who enjoy vinyl over mp3s I think I’m becoming a H-word (read: hipster) who may just require everything in print henceforth. But we can’t drop $15 per A4 photo we wish to “own”. We can’t spend hundreds of dollars for a nicely bound collection of images, either.
I don’t know.
In my eyes we have no hope.
Unless analogue blogging becomes the future, again.
EDIT: @creativefoods backup has since been removed thanks to Instagram admin, however, @creativefoodz is now up, resurrected for the third time with a fashionable ‘z’ suffix, asking for “POPULAR PAGE” from her fans. Why haven’t you learnt the from the first two account deletions you’re doing something seriously wrong, huh?
Oh, right. Ok. (LOL).