Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stop! Thief! Stop thieves!


There I was, on top of the world working on the preproduction of my feature "The Whole Truth" with a team that is turning out to be a dream of topnotch talent and skill (tell you about them next week) - when what should my wandering eyes behold?

Several photos I've taken and thoughts I've written stolen from my blogs!

Someone crediting me with the photo or quote is fine - but claiming to have not only taken the photo but owning the animal in the shot sent my Irish ire into the statosphere.

Someone with the online name of "pilar" claims the photo of the baby pygmy goat I took is the photo of *her* goat named "Jacques."

I took the photo, but the wee goat herself belongs to Dee, the president of the National Pygmy Goat Association here in Washington State.

There were other photos of animals supposedly owned by "pilar" on her impossible to reach her through it group website, so I complained to the owner of the group - who told me to jump through a billion hoops in order to make an official complaint to Microsoft.

I wrote him back that I would think Microsoft, which has lost millions of dollars from piracy, would have a simpler, direct method of reporting such thievery of intellectual property.

This is my kitten and my photo, despite others claiming to own both.

It's much easier when folks just lift photos and quotes for their personal blogs and websites where they can be reached. They're usually good about giving credit when they've been reached, too.

It made me wonder how many photos and quotes are stolen then used as if the individual claiming them is the originator and not another person's - the real photographer or writer.

This is Allie Cat, sound asleep, hanging out of her little tent bed, fully grown, a year later. Incredibly affectionate, lively and amazingly athletic!

When I don't use my own pictures, I normally use photos that are in the public domain, but if they're on a public or personal website I credit folks when it's in order.

All the work on my blogs and website is copyrighted, as are my columns and articles and everything else here.

Likewise, all work created for anything - including the web - should be considered copyrighted, that is legally owned, by the original writer or photographer.

The more personal the information, the more important it is to check with them if you can have permission to use it on your website/blog giving them credit.

When it comes to using newspaper articles and so on, I just link them so you can read them for yourself from the original source. I also credit the publication, reporters and writers whose link I'm sharing.

I guess I should be flattered that people would want to use my thoughts and photographs, but I'm not because the people using them without credit are actually telling people it's their work, their animals, their thoughts, their writing, their photographs.

To everyone who does that? Cut it out.

To folks who share my thoughts and photos with credit *and* a link? Thanks!

Edited to add: apparently stealing darling pet photos is practiced by people who sell puppies, kittens and other pets online. They grab photos from legitimate breeders and other websites that feature photos of terrific looking, cute or handsome kittens, pups, and other pets they supposedly sell.

Frequently these sellers are not legitimate, or the pets they're breeding in their back yards or puppy mills do no look good, let alone great, so they substitute another pet's photograph on their website, claiming it's theirs.

If you're looking for a pet online, it's important to pick up you pet in person, when you pay, so the pet you see in the photo will be the same - or at least see the pet on a web cam to prove it's really the one whose picture you've seen.

It's also important to make sure the animal is well - careless breeders send pets with parasites and other illnesses, leaving the unwitting victim-buyer in another state to pay sometimes thousands of dollars trying to "cure" the poor sickly pet. Frequently psychological problems also accompany a sick pet purchased from nefarious sellers who do not care at all about animals, only the money they can take from you.

Legitimate breeders always take very good care of their animals and have arrangements made in the even the one they sell to you has problems.

One of my dogs was born with a congenital hip problem. That's Seeker, seen here. The breeder paid for the surgery and care he needed before she gave him to me, neutered, to be raised as a pet.

Purebred pups who are sold as pets should be sold "fixed," and considerably less expensive than show dogs!

Today Seeker's a very loving, overly energetic, enthusiastic pup who's into *everything!*

And I couldn't be happier - he's also easy to train.

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