Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Violated

Sometimes when I wake up early, and don't have to get out of bed just yet, I'll use my iPhone to check my e-mail. Which is what I was doing this morning when I read an e-mail from a reader who said that someone had stolen photos from my blog and was using them in an advertisement.

She had taken screen shots (brilliant) and sent them to me with links to where the ad was. I was SO UPSET. It was my before and after photo, as an ad on someone's site. Following the links, there were actually three separate parties that were profiting from my photos.

My immediate knee-jerk reaction was "Ohmygod, I need to delete my blog!" Of course, that was overreacting, but I just felt very violated. I showed Jerry, and I started crying. He told me he'd get the kids ready for school, so I could start working on the problem. There was no way I was just going to let it go! And I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate on anything until I'd done what I could about the problem.

I sent e-mails to all three parties. The source of the problem was actually a Blogger blog. Some guy took my photo, removed the watermarks, and posted it on his site as "amazing transformations" or something. Then he sold it to an ad agency, who made an ad linking to his site. The ad was also on their website, stating "You won't believe how her body looks now!" to get people to click. And that ad was in their network, meaning it could show up on all kinds of blogs and websites.

The original Blogger blog owner removed it within about five hours after I sent the e-mail. The ad agency still has it up, however, and I'm pissed. I'm not going to link to them, because they earn money every time someone views their site, so the last thing I want to do is give them traffic. Same thing with the Blogger blog owner--he had TONS of ads on his site, so every time someone views it, he's earning money.

Anyway, I'm working on filing a formal complaint about the ad agency. In the meantime, I'm feeling upset that this happened. I know that it happens all the time, but it still sucks when it happens to you.



This afternoon, I decided to go to Kohl's to spend a gift card and Kohl's cash. I really needed a new bra, and while I was there, I looked at all the clearanced pajamas. They had a whole bunch of the Vera Wang collection on clearance for less than $10 each--which is super cheap! I normally only get those when my mom buys them for me for my birthday or Christmas ;) 

This isn't from the fly attack today, but I have
no pictures of it to share, unfortunately
When I got home, I saw Estelle chasing a fly in the house--nothing unusual. I watched her for a minute, and then noticed something very unusual. There were flies everywhere! Looking at the window, I counted 14 flies. I called Jerry in, and he couldn't believe it either. I went to the back sliding glass door, and counted another 10-15 flies there.

This was SO STRANGE. The windows in the house were all closed, and there weren't any flies around before I left for Kohl's. They all just came out of nowhere. I grabbed the flyswatter from under the sink, and started swatting. The flies were dropping like... well, flies. I started counting, and lost count at 30. Every time I thought I'd gotten them all, there was another buzzing around.

Jerry and I searched the house, wondering where in the hell the flies came from, but we were clueless. Our house isn't dirty or gross, so I have no idea where these things came from. We'd never seen anything like this before! Jerry and I were killing all the flies (well, I was killing, he was following with a paper towel to pick up the dead ones), and he said, "I feel like I'm on an episode of Hoarders!" Hahaha, that's exactly how I felt too.

We killed (most of) the flies, but Jerry went and got some fly paper from the store just in case. That stuff is messy. And we haven't gotten a single fly with it. It's bugging us both (pun totally intended) about where the stupid flies came from in the first place!

52 comments:

  1. I think your blog would be just as great without pictures...

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  2. We had an issue like that with flies before. My car all of asudden was full of flies. Probably about 50 flies. It totally creeped me out. Since it was in such close quarters I didn't want to get in, so I rolled all the windows down, and they were gone a few hours later. I have no idea where they came from or where they went. very odd.

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  3. That's terrible! They should give you all the money they earned off of your photos as retribution.

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  4. That totally sucks about your pictures! x-( Also, one year we had flies appear out of nowhere....and finally figured out the eggs were laid on the screen, and the full grown babies hatched inside my house. GROSS!!!!

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  5. That freakin' SUCKS! That's why I chop off our heads and watermark the heck out of our comp pic on mine because I've seen it happen to way too many bloggers. Here's a good cease and desist letter if you need it:

    http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/cease-and-desist-letter.html

    We had a problem with swarm flies (I think that's what they're called) and they are prevalent this time of year trying to come inside. Check the all around every door and window as they usually come in then infest the house. We recaulked all around every window and haven't had an issue since. Literally we had about 200 of them in our bedroom window. I almost passed out.

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  6. You're not alone in the fly thing. It happened to me and my husband as well. Some time last year we left to go to the store for some milk and when we got back there were a few flies flying around. Within minutes of being home, we were surrounded by what seemed like 50 flies. It was terrifying. We quickly left for the store again to buy fly paper (that stuff does NOT work at all), fly swatters and soap (because I had the heeby jeebys). When we got back home again, my husband went all genocide on those flies while me and my son hunkered down in his bedroom (after my husband had "cleared" the room of course). We searched high and low for the source but never found it. Like you and Jerry, we were dumbfounded. Come to think of it, it was about this time last year that it happened to us.

    Don't even get me started on our millipede invasion, ick.

    I wish you luck in trying to get the stolen pictures thing taken care of. It's horrible that other people don't care about causing unnecessary stress to others. Your blog is supposed to be your happy place (it's mine as well!!). Internet hugs!!

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  7. If you have really lively flies & need to kill a bunch of them, turn your thermostat down really, really low. They get sluggish & are a lot less evasive than at higher temps.

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    1. That's a great tip Suzy! My husband had though of it when we had our out of nowhere fly invasion this time last year. They didn't do so well when we turned our apartment into a meat locker. It made it so much easier to catch them and kill them.

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    2. Suzy's right, flies don't like the cold. When you turn the thermostat down, they'll perch on your ceiling. Great time to get them. Thankfully, we've only had a few flies in our house at any given time.

      Sucks that the idiot (I'll stay PG) stole your pictures!

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  8. be careful with the fly paper...we had some out once and our kitty ended up getting stuck to it and it was kind of hilarious, but it was also a HUGE mess and poor kitty got pretty traumatized!

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  9. the fly thing happened to me earlier this year right before friends were coming. Every time I killed one, more appeared! I actually turned off all the lights but one so they'd all come to me. It was so gross I felt like our house was dirty! They've been better since, so I have no idea what happened but it was very hot out at the time.

    That's really unfortunate about pictures. Keep on them until they take them down!

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  10. A few weeks ago I bought a live basil plant at the grocery store for a recipe and immediately noticed that all the annoying flies that had been buzzing around our kitchen were gone. Googled it, and found out that- indeed- basil plants repel flies. Don't know if it will work with an infestation but it's worth a shot:)

    The picture thing would completely bother me too. That's terrible!

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    1. Geeze, I'm going to go buy some basil plants today!

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  11. The fly thing happened to me as well! Out of no where about 20 flies were around the glass door in the front but since then i haven't seen a single one.

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  12. I'm so sorry that happened to you! Something similar happened a friend of mine. He had a photography page and people were stealing his photos saying they were theirs. I know he was pissed, but I can only imagine how much worse it would be to have your own pics stolen. Especially since we all know how private you are. I hope you are able to get it resolved.

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  13. Katie, I'm so sorry that happened to you. Your letter must have stung pretty badly for the Blogger blog guy to take his down so quickly (thank goodness). My husband has Googled me a few times and I am always amazed at where my name or my blog's name shows up - places I never even knew existed. Someone actually created a blog with the exact same name as mine, wrote one post and it's been sitting there empty ever since. What on earth THAT was about I do not want to know. But it is creepy and you have every right to feel violated. I hope this ad agency gets on the ball and shuts everything down. Big hugs to you. Keep us posted.

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  14. Will love your blog without pictures as well, if you ever decide to delete them.

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  15. OMGosh, the freaking flies! This is how I handled them: http://sublurbanmama.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-one-plans-on-growing-up-to-be-serial.html

    Also, did you see October's Runner's World? There is a whole terrifying article about dogs vs. runners and I thought of you.

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  16. The fly thing just happens sometimes I had that exact problem about 6 weeks ago and there was no source. The cat and I chased them around and killed them for about 2 days and then they were gone as quickly as they appeared. Definitely creepy/gross but hang in there because you won't have to deal with it for long.

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  17. Unbelievable. It might be worth getting in touch with a lawyer -- I'm not (necessarily) saying sue the jerks, but you'd be amazed at the power of letterhead + a threat or two. If you have family or a friend with their own practice, they might even do that much for free =)

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  18. The flies are just bad right now. I'm in central IL, and they are everywhere. Just started a few days ago as well.

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  19. That is so crappy, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this shitty situation. Hope you can sort it out soon!

    Eew re: the flies! I thought they might be cluster flies, but not sure if you have them there? Also, they're usually pretty sluggish.

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  20. Sorry to hear about the photo stealing...not cool. I would take the advice of sending them a letter from a lawyer, might make them take you more seriously!
    I mean no disrespect in anyway by this, and it depends what kind of flies they are, but we noticed a lot of flies in our shed (a closed and insulated storage shed) we couldn't figure out why and it turned out an rat (ew, I know) had died in the wall. Obviously you have a lovely and clean house, just throwing my personal experience out there! Hope they go away soon :)

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  21. Do you have a fireplace? We had flies coming in from tiny gaps in the fireplace door. Turned out that a bird had died in the chimney and attracted the flies- ew!

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  22. Did you buy any indoor plants lately? Maybe they hatched from that?

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  23. I'm sorry about your pictures being stolen. About 14 years ago I had a blog with pictures of my family (my husband and I, and our new baby), more for relatives than anything else. I found out someone had taken my pictures and created a whole... world with my pictures. I cried (completely freaked out) and I realized on some level it felt like they were trying to steal my life. I got the site shut down, but in the end I realized that I'm still me. They have pictures, but I have the reality. You're OK. You'll get them shut down, they can't do what they did. I'm sorry it happened. Just remember that in the end, you're still OK (and it really goes back to the one blogger who sold the image in the first place. What a slimy thing to do!)

    On the flies: This time of year we have to deal with cluster flies, they like to come in from the cool air (they're a nightmare in the spring too.) It's not about having a clean home, just the tiniest spot where they can get in! So, maybe you're in an area with that (I'm in Vermont. I had never seen this sort of thing before I moved here!)

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  24. That sucks. They should give you the money they made off of your pics!

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  25. so sorry!

    but this makes me think i need to get to kohl's!!

    http://www.shilohstaste.com

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  26. We had a similar problem with flys getting into our house. The AC was on, all windows were closed but they were still managing to get in. Turns out they were getting in through the stove vent pipe on the roof. We have a strange looking cap(?) on ours with vents. My husband bought some screen and wrapped it tightly & ever since we have had no more problems!

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  27. We had that issue w/the flies before, too! All of a sudden TONS of them appeared in our dining room. They were there for a few hours, maybe a day, then nothing. My colleague has had that same problem as well, and she says they are called cluster flies. They're slightly smaller than regular flies and they swarm briefly, then disappear. It's been I 2 or 3 years since this happened and it hasn't happened since, so hopefully it won't for you, either!

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  28. So sorry Katie for the violation. I keep seeing stuff about weight loss on Pinterest, with before and after pictures. I never click on any of them. Will your picture show up there next? Scary.

    Good deals at Kohl's! That Vera Wang stuff is expensive there. I like the Lauren Conrad collection there--it's so frilly and feminine. I'm way too old to pull it off but I try. The J-Lo collection is just too form fitting for me. I need something that will hide my belly roll. I like to think it's just excess skin, but I think there's some flab there too!

    Flies are awful at our house too, especially this time of year. Part of our problem is the garbage can that we keep right outside the kitchen door in the garage. The flies gather there and then everytime we open the door--in they come. YUCK!

    Hope you can get all your pesky annoyances taken care of!

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  29. Wow. I would definitely file a complaint, and even talk to a lawyer, especially if the took of your logo from the picture. Who knows who else is using the pictures!

    I think the flies are doing this because of the changing weather.

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  30. We have the fly issue too. I am in the middle of packing to move, and not only do we have large flies, but we have what I call sewer gnats (because it seems like they come out of the drains) everywhere. Like I sat my starbucks coffee down the other morning, walked away, and came back and they were swarming in/on it. Grossed. Me. Out.

    It sucks that someone is leaching off of you! Give em HELL, Katie!!!

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  31. I was recently educated by a lawyer regarding stealing of pictures (part of a class I took). You need to contact a lawyer and get those pictures off that company's site. What they are doing is ILLEGAL, pure and simple. They knew they were someone else's pictures and used them to profit....very illegal.

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  32. So sorry about what has happened w/ your pictures. I hope that things can go through quickly and you can get your rights observed.
    We have had gnats here like crazy! My husband said that because of the mild winter that we had they are really bad. We're even having a problem here in IL w/ the gnats biting the deer and causing the deer to hemorage and die. There have been hundreds and hundreds of deer that have died from these gnat bites. I'm praying that we have a colder winter this year...we need to kill these bugs!

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  33. Wow, that is SO so violating! I'm reaching my 100lbs lost (99.6 to be exact) and I'm not sure how I'm going to post photos, maybe with watermarks, maybe with silly cartoon faces over my face.. but then they can't see my face change.

    Anyways, I hope it gets sorted out!

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  34. I have seen this happening a lot on Pinterest. There is some spam with before and after pictures. It's why I am so careful about not putting pictures on my blog.

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  35. Just wanted to say when I wake up the first thing I do is get my phone and read your email(blog). Its something I started doing a month ago. I feel like you are such an inspiration to where I want to be in my weight loss quest. Reading your blog is a great start to my day :)

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  36. I think there is a fly infestation in the Midwest! So much so that all the stores around here (western Illinois) sold out of fly paper, fly swatters, etc! Weird and C-R-E-E-P-Y!

    ~~ Aundrea ~~

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  37. Being an Information Technology major I realize that each and every image online is covered by copyright. Katie, you don't have to put a thing on your images to cover them by copyright. A lot of people are under the impression that you have to pay for copyright and you don't. All you have to prove is that you had the image first. I would contact an attorney about copyright infringement. Make sure that you you contact an attorney that will only charge you if you win your case and sue the ad agency. It doesn't matter that they paid somebody else for the work. They will then have to sue the person they bought the illegal work from. That is why it is so important to know who you are buying things from online. I'm so sorry this happened to you, but make a statement and get this fixed. Also, if the ad agency replies to you save the source code of their message. The police can trace it back to the offender by their ip address. This happened to another lady with her Persian cats - I contacted the offender and told him I was reporting him. I also contacted the breeder with all the information she needed - ip addresses, location, etc. She went to the police and they solved the problem quickly. Wishing you all the best.

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  38. Katie, it is me again - I wanted to share proof for you. Read page 3 most importantly. A lot of people misunderstand copyright and any blog owner should understand it:
    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

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  39. Katie, that Cease & Desist letter sounds really good!

    Demand "damages" from the Ad Agency. Starting at 3 times (or more) the amount already paid to the thief as of this date.

    If the Ad Agency says that they can't now take back or fully control wherever the photos have gone/are being used, ***have them send all payments for future use of the photos TO YOU.***

    Take these steps to make your existing & future photos MUCH harder to steal.

    http://webdesign.about.com/od/graphics/a/aa102406.htm

    Complete protection's not possible, but you sure can make it too much work. :-)

    Good luck, and keep us posted!

    ~Lise from Indy

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  40. OMG, I am fired up for you, Katie! That is just wrong! I've LINKED to your site a few times on my site when I'm talking about my favorite healthy blogs and how I stay motivated, but for someone to use your PHOTOS for personal gain is just WRONG WRONG WRONG! I'm so glad your reader tipped you off to this.

    I have a friend in Portland who has an adorable daughter that she posts pictures of on FB. On several occasions she has found out that advertisers have taken her daughter's picture from her page and used it in their advertising!!!!! There are just no limits to what some people will do.

    Please keep us posted.

    In other news, HOW CRAZY ARE THOSE FLIES?!?! We've had our fair share of fruit flies, but I gather you're talking about the big ones here. OMG that would have totally grossed me out, too.

    Keep us posted on that, too! :) This is what you get for telling us so many interesting things - follow-up! :)

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  41. The fly thing happened to me not so long ago too! Same scenario as well, so I imagine you guys running around just like I was. Totally grossed me out!

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  42. That sucks about your pictures. I have seen a ton of the lose weight fast before/after pictures on pinterest. Some are bloggers I know from blogland and I know they didn't authorize the pictures to be used. I wish people would quit pinning them. I keep reporting them as spam but don't know if it's doing any good.

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  43. "Violated" says it all. That is really rotten. The internet is great but not when people are such a**h***s and steal from others.

    The fly thing is weird and gross. I would be freaked out like you were. It sounds like lots of people have had it happen to them, though.

    It is a good thing to have the "Jerry support system." He's a keeper!

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  44. I found your blog via pinterest, but (obviously) it was linked back to her, and not some random diet plan or system just using her pictures.

    Keep us posted on what happens with the ad agency, ok? Good luck, we'd all feel violated by what they did if we were in your shoes!

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  45. Oh my goodness! "Violated" is right! What a turd!

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  46. Just today I noticed Pinterest is LOADED with these before and after pictures, (I did NOT see any of yours) and I knew it was some sort of sham. I am sorry that happened to you, I feel violated FOR you. Pinterest is full of crap that everyone keeps repinning and not checking out first! I would be so sad if you shut down your blog. I would definitely let you know if I saw your articles or pictures where they didn't belong. Don't these people know you have groupies who have your back?!?!

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  47. Katie, so sorry someone used your propery without your permission.

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I'd love to hear from you! (Sorry about the word verification... the spam comments were just ridiculous!)