Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Copyright and Product Photos

This is starting to happen more and more lately, and it's really getting to me. Yesterday someone notified me that a new shop on Etsy had used one of my product photos. I went and checked it out. Sure enough, there was my Blood Orange Patchouli photo on a listing for someone selling $75 worth of shea butter soap. Now who on earth opens a new shop and on their very first listing uses a stolen photo of someone else's soap?

I decided to find out. I contacted this new seller and she told me that she had paid $1.99 for my photo from someone selling them on Flickr. Somehow she couldn't provide the link to that person. Not only that, she'd bought about 10 other photos because "I can't take good photos." This new seller contended she had been selling soap and candles for about 10 years. It's hard for me to believe that in 10 years, she couldn't come up with a decent photo of her own products.

The seller took my photo down immediately after I contacted her. She replaced it with another one that looks very familiar. I am almost certain that I've seen it elsewhere on Etsy or on The Dish forum. So it's possible that the seller still is using someone else's photo.

I wonder what happens when a buyer orders a product based on the photo they've seen, then when the seller sends it to them, the product looks nothing like the photo? Who would take a chance on something like that? Apparently a depressing number of sellers are doing so.

And it's not just soap photos being stolen. It's all kinds of products. That's why I started this thread in the Ideas forum on Etsy. I would like Etsy to require sellers to certify in some way that they own the copyright or licensing rights to photos they upload to their stores. It will not stop all of the blatant thieves and cheaters, but it might make those who are unsure of these things think twice about it.


HannahHandpainted said...

As an artist I would be horrified if people used my images to sell their stuff without permission. I guess this is why copyrights exist...obviously.

I do think a lot of it is laziness, but laziness at another's expense is very upsetting!

A Fan of Your Soap,

Luscious Bathery said...

Very soon I will be adding products and images to my etsy shop. How horrible of people to use another's hardwork to their advantage! I am sorry this has happened to you and I feel Etsy should bar a seller who uses unethical means as a way to make sells!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for your support, and good luck with your new shop LusciousBathery!