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All posts for the month August, 2012

Mushroom

D800, ISO400, 1/250 sec @ f/3.5, Tamron 90mm, off-camera SB-800

Mushroom

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 50mm

Mushroom

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/3.5, Tamron 90mm

That’s what happens when the weather gets (or has been) wet(ter) the whole summer. But it makes for some interesting sceneries…

I’ve got some more bugs coming up for you, but this one I wanted to share first.
We were up in the wilderness again, and the weather forecast was dreadful. As usual one should never trust the weather forecast. Those forecasters couldn’t even predict the entrance of an elephant if they were riding in on it…
It turned out to be probably one of the best weekends of this thing we call summer in this country. Absolutely gorgeous!

Kuhmoinen panorama

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm.
Panorama stitched together in Photoshop from 7 pictures

Sometimes I complain… It’s usually about the Finnish weather. Or the Finnish people. And I think in a lot of cases I do have the right to complain *grins* But this post isn’t a complaint. It IS about the Finnish weather, and about Finnish people, though.
We spent the weekend in the summer house in the Finnish wilderness, on the border of civilization. I love that. I love to go back to basics, where all the luxuries of today’s society stay behind, and you get to relax without all the stress of the city in your head. The quietness, save for the buzzing of the insects, the chirping of the birds, “old-fashioned” wooden sauna (for which you have to chop some wood into small pieced first, because the big logs don’t catch fire out of the blue), mowing the lawn, violently letting yourself go on the man-high weed with a scythe and of course the cheers from the Olympics coming out of the TV.
Owwait… Hang on…
Right… The TV… Ok, in the time of the Olympics we’re allowed that little bit of luxury. But really, usually the tv stays off. There are better things to do :D

But this is not really about that either. We were talking weather and Finnish people.
We were visiting the Better Half’s relatives in that area. She hadn’t seen them in many, many years, and it was my first time, I’d never met them before, and they’d never met me before. Complete strangers to each other, that’s what we were.
See, if you are that to someone down here in Helsinki you’re being avoided like the plague, basically. But up there, on the border of civilization, people are actually much more civilized than in the big city. It almost reminded me of home, where you greet people in the street, even if you don’t know them. Where you can look at each other, look each other in the eyes on the street, without getting a look back asking “What the f**k do you want from me?”
We were invited in as if we were living there. Got the grand tour around the house, were to stay for dinner AND sauna (and a swim afterwards in the lake, about 40 paces away from the sauna), but before all that we were taken out onto the lake to catch our own dinner. Now THAT’s the kind of unconditional civilization that I like. No questions asked -well, of course, a lot of questions asked, but you get my point- and you’re showered with hospitality. The kind of hospitality that has seeped away into the sewers of individuality in the big cities (plural here, because it’s not just Helsinki in which you find this kind of behavior).

And the place… Oh my dear… That little piece of paradise. And that with the weather we had during the weekend…
If I’d have a dime to spare I would be gone from here in an instant, press the pause button on time and stay in it forever…

I’ll say no more…

View over the lake

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 14-24mm

View over the lake

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 14-24mm

There was a reflection, and it was a peaceful place for reflection. Let’s leave it at that.

Forest casting reflection in a small lake

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

I’m thinking a seasons series like the one I did a few years ago would be really nice… :)
I’m thinking I just found myself another project…

Seasons

Seasons in Finland

So a couple of days ago I wrote about someone using my picture as their profile picture on Facebook. I dropped the person a few messages, to no avail (of course).
But that wasn’t the end of it. I wasn’t done with my reverse search, and lo and behold, I ran into another profile on Facebook that was using another picture of me as their profile picture.
I put a status update about it on Facebook, after which a whole number of my dear friends reported the particular person and the profile. As did I myself (since I didn’t get any reply to my messages from this guy either).

Facebook profile

The Facebook profile which is using my picture

I thought that Facebook had already removed the other account (the one I wrote about in the previous blog post) and I praised Facebook for its effectiveness. However, after today’s mail from Facebook I started doubting if it was really Facebook who removed the other profile, or if it was the person himself who deleted it or took it offline after my message(s).

Here’s the mail I got from Facebook. It’s called “Follow-up about your recent report to Facebook”:

Hi,

Recently you reported a profile on Facebook. We did not take action on the profile you reported because it did not violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

If, after reviewing the Facebook Community Standards (https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards), you think we’ve made a mistake, you can request that we review the profile again here: http://www.facebook.com/report/appeal.php?report_andthensome….

Please note: If the profile does not violate our policies, your ability to report may be limited in the future.

Thanks,
The Facebook Team

Give us feedback to let us know how we are doing:
http://www.facebook.com/survey/take.php?survey_id=130787177018977&cid=139834556156963

I sent a few reports yesterday, not only about these two profiles, but also about something else (which I’ll tell a bit further on) so I wasn’t quite sure which report this was. So I clicked the appeal link and came to this:

Facebook's appeal page for denied reports

Facebook’s appeal page for denied reports

So there you go. They wouldn’t take any action on my report (or any of the reports my friends did?), because it didn’t violate Facebook’s Statements of Rights and Responsibilities.
I mean… WTF???
Of course it doesn’t violate FACEBOOK’s Rights and Responsibilities. It’s not f***king Mark Zuckerberg in the picture. It’s ME in the picture, so it violates MY rights!
And since when is it allowed to
1) use someone’s picture without that person’s consent?
2) use a picture of which you don’t own the copyright without the consent of the rightful copyright owner?
So how does this not violate Rights and Responsibilities?

So I will appeal with exactly the text above and see what Facebook says to that. They may limit my ability to report if they still think it’s no violation.

And then the other thing…
When I did the RMSP photography course in the US in 2008, we had a great class (RMSP2008 forever!!! :) ). We had so much fun together!
One of the courses we did was studio lighting and we stood model for each other when we did portraits.
One of the guys modeling for me at that time is probably one of the most hearty, friendliest, radiant and goodlooking guys I’ve ever met and he’s got a smile like no other. I swear, if I hadn’t been heterosexual, I would’ve jumped him *LOL*
Anyway… The portraits I took of him came out really nicely, and he was nice enough to sign a model release for me, so I could use the images. One of the images is in my portfolio:

Portrait of a handsome young man

The portrait

When I found another one of my pictures used as a profile picture on Facebook, I decided to check all the people I shot images from and which are in my portfolio. And guess what (can’t really blame them, in the end, but still), this image came up on two different Facebook profiles and on one corresponding Twitter page.

The Facebook profile of Jacob Mems with the portrait I shot as a profile picture

The Facebook profile of Jacob with the portrait I shot as a profile picture

The Facebook profile of Matt with the portrait I shot as a profile picture

The Facebook profile of Matt with the portrait I shot as a profile picture

Coincidence wants that my friend is also called Matt, but unless he has changed his last name and went from the most peaceful guy in the world to a streetfighter, these two Matts are not the same (if they are, then I sincerely apologize). And I know Jacob isn’t Matt, because according to Jacob’s profile, he’s studied in the UK and Matt hasn’t.
I sent both of these guys a message asking them to take down the profile picture, because it’s not them and they have no right to use the image without my consent and I left a tweet with the latter. I haven’t received any reaction, any sign of life from either.
I filed a report on both profiles with Facebook, but the problem with that is, that Matt isn’t on Facebook to my knowledge, and the only way to report an impersonation is if you can refer to the person on Facebook. So I had to go through the process of reporting abuse of intellectual property. That came up empty-handed sofar, but if the idiots at Facebook won’t even acknowledge a report by me and by a bunch of my friends of an impersonation of me than I don’t think they will go for the intellectual property thing.

So what I want to do now is make this go viral. And prove once again that Facebook only SAYS that they have privacy as priority number one, but really they don’t give a shit.

Read this, share this and put it out there.

Once a month (or so) I sit down at the computer and go through my portfolio with Tineye and Google image search to back track my images on the net. It doesn’t always come up with something, but sometimes it actually does.
Yesterday and today I did my routine and at this point the counter is on 20+ non-commercial blogs and 3 commercial pages. Typically I don’t mind if people use my images on their blogs, as long as it is -indeed- non-commercial. I do require a credit line and/or a link back to my page, and if a blog doesn’t have it, I write the blog owner a mail to kindly add the credit line / link or remove the image. Usually they add the credit line. Sometimes they don’t. If they get wise on me I’ll write the host / provider a mail and then the image will be taken down in most cases by the host, but usually I don’t let it go that far, nor does the blog owner. Usually it is -still, can you believe it??- the blog owner thinking that “whatever’s on the internet I can use for free, since it’s public property”. A little bit of kindness and education goes a long way.

With the commercial ones I’m less forgiving.
Before I do anything I make screenshots of the websites / pages I find my images on, and, depending on the kind of commercial website, I check the Internet Archive to see if I can find out how long the image has been on the website. If you fail to do the first, which I did in my first few times, there’s always still the option to go through the Internet Archives, but it’s better to have a fresh screenshot of the website BEFORE they take down the pictures and start denying things.
Then I write them a mail, very friendly, very informal, to start with, asking them to kindly send me copy of the license they have on file for the image used, since I can’t find it in my archives. There’s always the possibility that they actually purchased the image through one of the agencies I’m with and that -for whatever reason- the sale never came through to me. In that case it’s not the fault of the company, but of my agent and I know I have to pull someone else’s hair.
Usually there’s a bit of tugging back and forth; denial (we didn’t do it, our web designer did, etc. etc.), ignorance (we didn’t know, we thought that [insert one of 10,000 excuses I’ve heard]), or just plain brutality (it’s in Google image search, so I can use it for free). In the end I mostly manage to settle. Until now (knock on wood!) I’ve only once had to step up with a lawyer, and of course, me having the raw file and all, it was a no-brainer. Can’t go into details, since they made me sign a gag-contract, but I got better off it. A lot better. And it would’ve been settled for a lot less had they not gone so idiotically Homer Simpson on me.
Anyway… After having done this for a couple of years now I thought I saw pretty much all the surprises.
But then again… Facebook hasn’t been around for THAT long.
So today I was at it again, and you can picture my surprise when one of my images, watermarked and all by one of my agencies, came up as a profile picture on a Facebook profile:

Facebook profile

Screenshot from the Facebook profile that has my picture

So this is an image that was ripped straight from Photographer’s Direct. The image here:
Man in a dark tunnel

This is a self-portrait I did a couple of years ago, so you can imagine that -even if I’m not recognizable in the picture- I don’t like it at all that someone’s using this particular image as a profile picture on Facebook. Sure, the image is for sale, but this wasn’t a sale, and the guy in question didn’t ask for permission to use this image.

So that’s the story of today…
Now I’m pondering whether I should contact the guy myself or should I ask Facebook to do the work for me…?
What say you, crowd?