17 May

The Muskoka Mirror Grand Theft Photo Debacle

I recently discovered my photos showing up on a Facebook page promoting a local Muskoka magazine. How I ended up on that Facebook page is another story. They opted about 3500 people into their group without anyones knowledge or permission, very surreptitious.  Anyhow, I am honored that people like my photos and share them with friends however in this case I noticed something rather peculiar. The watermarks I normally use to promote this blog were missing and replaced with someone else’s name.  That’s odd I thought and started thinking maybe someone took a similar photo but as I continued to search I found additional photos of mine with someone else’s name.

As I dug into it I discovered many other peoples photos were being ripped off as well. What reputable magazine would operate like this I thought? Especially when the person posting and accepting comments as their own work claims they are a photographer and graphics artist. Well it continued and I ended up getting a lawyer to fire off a cease and desist order to stop this nonsense. They stopped, however the editor and owner of the Muskoka Mirror, Mr. Brian Seater didn’t have the gonads to step up and take action or apologize. We did hear reports he was “out of the country” however he continued to hit the like button, make comments and add people to his Muskoka Mirror Group on Facebook. His choice in managing this situation is to hide and hope it goes away, after all its only a bunch of photos, right? I wonder how Muskoka Mirror advertisers would feel about these deplorable tactics? Oh, I did receive several responses from the lady who’s name appears on the photos. She claims, “it was a innocent error with the photos being sent through our routine watermarking process”. Huh? I’m now responsible for ruining someones marriage, job and life turning me into the bad guy. I’m disheartened that no one took any action or responsibility in this matter.

** Innocent error = go to Blog, download photos, remove watermarks, add your name, re-post on-line, take compliments for your new work, bad mouth the original owner




In: in and around muskoka ontario, uncategorized

21 Responses
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  1. Jennifer says:

    Wow Ed. That’s shameful. And you’re so right. There is no way that was “accidental” by any stretch of the imagination. Good for you for standing up against this. What is it with people who think that if something is posted online it’s theirs for the taking (and not only taking but claiming it as their own?!) – Jennifer (formerly known as Photojenic)

  2. Cheryl says:

    Accidental my eye! Jennifer picked the right word, shameful. The universe will work it out…and your lawyer – good call. There are some pretty clear indicators these people aren’t that bright, or classy. I hope you will continue to share your photos. I was looking forward to seeing what you would capture this weekend.

  3. Amanda says:

    I am saddened to hear this and in no way can see how this would be accidentally done?! There’s a reason people put watermarks on their pics…to make it harder to have them ripped off…apparently she/they are willing to put in that effort. Sad, sad, sad.

  4. In the words of a Doctor I know : “Nothing surprises me anymore.”
    Good for you! for speaking out and taking action.

    I really enjoy visiting your site, often and whatever the season, to view your amazing talent and insights….I hope that this unexpected nasty bump in the road does not deter you in any way, or slow you down in any way…..Maybe this sunny weekend you could get out on the water and let us all have some more of your marvellous boathouse and “cottage” views?…..I hope that one day famous Muskoka “cottager” Kevin “One with the Loon” O’Leary looks in on your site and posts a comment about this.

    All The Best,

    Donald H. Worling

  5. RobertB says:

    Haven’t people learned yet that anything you do online will be found out? Sheesh!

  6. Your work is pretty unique. I often know it’s yours before I look for the credit – not an easy thing these days. This is so cut and dried, I would hope this kind of behavior puts that kind of person’s employment at risk. It makes that entire publication suspect.

    Good on you for making this public.

  7. Jenn Jilks says:

    Teach ’em how to treat you, Ed.
    I’m so proud of you for putting this up. You protect all of us from theft.

  8. Pretty unbelievable – actually, completely believable in what I see going on these days. There are people downloading books from Amazon, then re-publishing them under their own names. Entire BOOKS! They even steal the covers… This, though, is incredibly brazen, given that this is such a small community – it’s not like your photos are being stolen and then being displayed in Yugoslavia or somewhere. They’re here. In Muskoka.
    Well I’m glad you’re standing your ground, Ed. Good for you. Like Jenn says, you’re protecting us all.
    If it’s any consolation at all, I can’t blame the girl for taking your photos – they’re absolutely beautiful.

  9. Ben says:

    Glad you caught them.

  10. Nina says:

    I’ve been a long time follower of your blog and fan of your great photos. Agree with Jennifer that its shameful your photos were ripped off .. an underhanded compliment. Keep up the good work.

  11. Ed Boutilier says:

    Thank you all! I really appreciate the support.

  12. JP says:

    I have been visiting this website for many years, and admired your photography. It really is a shame to see that there are people out there that somehow think it’s “ok” to steal photos on the internet. This woman’s Facebook post provides further insight into her behaviour…her reference to you being a millionaire (in her mind the fact that you may be wealthy diminishes the severity of her actions)…the statement that it was an “honest mistake” (come on now, one occurrence could possible be an honest mistake several occurrences is blatant theft)…statements about ruining her marriage, her job, etc. (she should have thought about that before taking the photos and replacing the watermarks)…and the fact that she decided to go on the offensive instead of simply apologizing and owning up to it. Good for you Ed, please keep the blog alive!

  13. Wow. This is disgusting. I’m always shocked by this, no matter how often it happens. I freelance for magazines and I have found articles of mine lifted and reprinted in magazines and web sites, and when I’ve challenged the thieves I always get the same stupid non-arguments: it’s a compliment! or it’s “free advertising”. Once I found an antiques magazine out west had lifted a whole series of articles from an Ontario-based magazine. You can imagine that the editor of the Ontario magazine (who had originally commissioned and PAID for our articles) was not pleased! I guess you have to expect this kind of reaction (including the one you got from Ms whatshername) from someone who would have the gall to steal someone else’s work in the first place though. “No honour among thieves…”
    It’s depressing, though, that even watermarking doesn’t protect your photos. I was thinking of watermarking my photos on my web site but it’s just one more hassle and if it doesn’t protect them, then perhaps it is not worth the time.

  14. Richard says:

    Imitation,they say, is the highest form of flattery. In this case, however, it is blatant theft. And, frankly, stupid. It is too bad that the publisher did not take the high road and just ask permission to use your photos. They are great, and I am enjoying your blog.

  15. Amanda says:

    Just curious what’s going on with this. I of course went to Twitter about this because I was so disgusted (had problems with Muskoka Mirror back when I worked for Swift Canoe) and two weeks later they commented about my tweet. Asking me to remove it because it was slanderous. I have no intentions of removing it…especially considering it took them two weeks to even think about commenting.

  16. Sadie says:

    What a mess. Their use of your pictures seems pretty deliberate to me too. It’s ridiculous that they’re now trying to make you seem like a horrible person when they’re the ones that stole the pics and took credit for them. Thanks for the heads up on this. I’ll be going through their site to see if they used any of my pics too. I’m glad that you’re standing up to them.

  17. Jason Mallette says:

    That is brutal but typical these days. Would I ever do that? No way Hose ‘A’…heheh….. but would I use the picture and make sure the originator is recognized… most definitely because the pictures are beautiful but to steal them….ahem….very bad taste. Trust me tho, Karma doesn’t loaf around, the offender will be punished accordingly… her boss will see the pictures somewhere else or something similar and the Chit will hit the proverbial fan…. no worries mate, keep doing what yer doin’ and let Karma take care of it…. it truly will. Very nice pics.

  18. C A says:

    Hey Ed, Just wondering if anything has come of this yet? They seem pretty belligerent…

  19. Ed Nelimarkka says:

    Love your photos! and yes – I’ve used one as my screensaver as it is incredibly relaxing when I need a 1 min stress break at work. Let me know where to make a donation – I gladly will. I’ve left the watermark of course – it’s my reminder to check the blog to see what you have updated.

    I think that your photos are incredible – Art that should be printed and framed. Have you ever thought of doing that or publishing them in a book? There are some that I would love to get blown up and framed.

    It’s unbelievable that someone would remove the watermark, claim them as their own and put into a publication without your consent. Good for you in standing up against this.

    Ed N.

  20. Ed Boutilier says:

    Hello C A
    – small update – After this post went up I did receive threats by email and calls to my house and office. No apologies and nothing heard from the owner of the publication whatsoever.

    Hi Ed N.
    -Thanks so much for your kind words. Please use the photos as you wish, print and share with friends too. I throw them out to the universe for people to enjoy. I’m really not that protective of them and that’s how Creative Commons Non Commercial use works.

    I just don’t think its cool that a business takes someones property and uses to promote themselves without first asking for permission. There has been a few upstanding publications like Cottage Life or House and Home Magazine that have paid for the use of photos. Every single penny I have received has been donated to charity to help kids.

    I do get lots of inquires where people would like to purchase prints or a book. Honestly I just don’t have the time to work on something like that. There are some fulfillment websites that have services to look after this kind of thing and I may pursue something like that in the future. Heck if I can sell a few prints and generate enough to send some kids to camp it might be worthwhile.

    Yo Everyone
    – I would like to thank all of you for your generous support. I received many private emails, phone calls and have even bumped into a few people that have read this post and were appalled and concerned with what happened. I feel the love – hehe.
    Moving onwards and upwards .. Happy trails to you from our beautiful Muskoka 🙂

  21. Not my real name says:

    Congratulations on finding your stolen work, and thanks for telling us about it. It’s frustrating when cheaters get away with what they do, and it’s satisfying when they get caught.

    You posted her pathetic rambling at http://www.cottageblog.ca/wp-content/uploads/noelleRant_1200.jpg, Of course, if she were sincere, she would apologize before making excuses, and if she were honourable, she wouldn’t make the excuses.

    She says that she “will never take a photo again”. She doesn’t say whether she has ever taken a photo before.

    As she says, you have been “revealed for who [you] are”, as has she. You seem like a decent person, and I hope it doesn’t burden you too much having ruined her “life, marriage, job and life”.

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