Looking Back

Drifting in the wind.

I made the original image a while back. I reworked it last night.

But, that’s not what I’m going to talk about. You knew that, right?

I want to talk about Dan Dasilva. Who? What? Where?

He came to light via a photojournalist group that I’m part of on Facebook. Apparently, he lost a copyright lawsuit because he thought it was a good idea to scoop up pictures from the internet and resell them. Usually on t-shirts. Apparently, there is a big business using Shopify, to buy, sell and trade whole online stores of nothing. Some do on demand printing — so my picture could end up on your t-shirt without me knowing. Others do little more than make instructional videos about how to make money on resellers platforms like Shopify. These guys make some pretty good money not really doing or selling anything of their own. Can you say “two-bit grifter?”


Danny boy got sued. For $150,000. He settled for $27,000 and court and legal costs on both sides. He took to YouTube to complain about the malicious copyright holders who put pictures on the internet so they could entrap thieves like him. Like me. I make my living creating pictures. Yeah. That’s exactly what I do. Sure. I also have to watch my back because of criminals like him.

He was nailed on Reddit to the tune of about 40,000 posters. He tried to defend himself. His word salad video made it worse. His lawyer told him not to post either video. But, he did it anyway.

Stupidity and arrogance is a deadly mix.

I live with this everyday. I have an agency who looks for what they think might be unauthorized use. Sometimes, I even check Google Images by searching for one of my pictures. Usually, a picture that I think of as one of my signature images. To be sure, I make too many pictures and am too busy to do this regularly, but when I do it’s enlightening. Once I found an entire website using my work as their work. Google was very helpful taking them down. They were based in South America somewhere, so seeking injunctive relief would have taken some doing.

Sometimes, I get a little snippy when I ask somebody who posts pictures on their WordPress blog and I call them on it. I know the pictures aren’t theirs.  They tell me they can do what they want. I didn’t make any threats. I just complain to WordPress about them. WordPress wants “original content.” That’s the theory under which I make my complaints. I haven’t seen either poster in a long time. I doubt WordPress shut them down. After all, WordPress sells advertising based on what we do. What I think really happened is these two bloggers had nothing to say visually, or in the written word, so they just faded to black.

Bottom line.

Protect your work. No matter what form your art takes, it’s yours. It is your legacy. It doesn’t matter if it is a large selling work or something more personal. Unless you want to share it, it shouldn’t be taken from you. The underlying theory is simple. When you create it, it is copyrighted. Posting it here on WordPress and having it make its way to the internet doesn’t change that.

Oh Yeah.

The picture. I made it in the hot New Mexican sun. I helped it along. This time. Anybody knows that New Mexican skies are not green. Except in Roswell. Ha!