Some of you may want to review this Facebook page's gallery for your images. It is gaining some prominence in the chase community, but few seem to be aware that the page's large following has been built primarily by stealing "viral" images from others. The site is popular, but it is ill-gotten gain no different from many of the ones we often see on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube that earn the ire of chasers. Notice how many images are uploaded to the page's gallery instead of shared from the source, ensuring that all of the traffic, likes, and shares go to this page and not the original photographer. I was hit by this page back in 2012 for one of my tornado images. Notice the numerous images copied from Twitter, chaser web sites and news media:
Roger Edwards alerted me about this site (Mr. Twister per Dan's post immediately above). He has clearly used Steve Bluford's and my frame capture from Greensburg 5/4/2007 without seeking permission. I both sent him a PM and posted that he take it down but as of this morning, it's still there. Due to no response, I have filed a formal Facebook complaint. After doing some additional research, it appears FB does take copyright violations seriously although I'm not too sure how long they will take to act. Purportedly, they have snuffed several accounts that contained literally hundreds of unauthorized pictures. I encourage any of you that see your work therein to take the time to fill out a violation form on FB. It's a very quick process and will ultimately benefit all of us. These violators have got to account for their actions and it's a seriously growing problem.
More pirate Facebook pages. This first one is new, the last two have been online for at least a year (they've been posted here before). I see many chaser works stolen on these. All it takes is a few of those affected to file a DMCA report, and the page will likely be shut down:
Not sure whose image this is, but it was passed off as the Sand Springs tor yesterday....another facepalm for Facebook. The poster removed the post after I said something about stolen pics and copyright laws in his comments amongst all of the "wow" comments. Can't believe we are among people who believe crap like this.
This is a heads up regarding a network of Youtube channels (apparently run by the same individual/group) that has a long history of ripping viral tornado/weather videos from various sources. They post them to their monetized Youtube channels and send the links out on Twitter and possibly other social media accounts. The main Twitter handle I see doing this is "Nature Reporter" that posts links to videos from these four channels (there may be more):
All of the channels are monetized with ads, and all videos have the strange, broken english "SHARE this video if you want to know the people" tagline in the description. Some of the videos have misleading thumbnails of different tornadoes designed to fool people into clicking. For example, this video of a weak tornado in England has a thumbnail image of what appears to be a high-quality chaser shot of the Langley, KS EF4 from April 14, 2012.
Briefly browsing through the channels, I did not see any chaser videos on there that I could identify, but you might want to double check. Again, I did see some thumbnails that looked suspiciously like chaser photos. They seem to target videos shot by the non-chasing public. Nonetheless, I see this account getting a lot of retweets from various people and media figures that probably aren't aware of the large-scale content theft going on.
I found a particularly egregious case today. This site has mass-uploaded thousands of images on a wide variety of subjects to a blog that is connected to high-following social media accounts. The owner is even cropping out watermarks and (not that it matters) not crediting or citing the sources. The Facebook page has 425,000 followers and the page is advertising with both Adsense and Taboola.
The site has taken so many images that it's impossible to just scroll through to find one. If you search for specific storm-related terms in Google Images, you can locate images. For example, I saw chaser images using these search terms:
Of course, the user is hiding behind an anonymous domain registrar and provides no contact information. The good news is that any one whos image was taken can report the site to Google Adsense and Taboola, if two or three reports are logged, the site may lose its advertising accounts:
GIF creation sites are becoming one of the primary ways that Reddit users are sharing video content on the site - instead of posting a link to the original video, they rip it into a GIF using these services and post it:
I have been looking for a good way to deal with some of these that I receive as email messages from friends and family. I have been posting some of them on my blog, trying to determine in the photo is real, whether their explanation is real, (the "rainbow tornado" and hurricane flooded street ones come to mind), and crediting/linking to the appropriate photographer's website.
Unfortunately, when I do a TinEye search on many of these photos, I get links to Pintrest and other photodump sites. Do you guys have a better search engine for finding the proper owner of these photos?
Just remember to thoroughly document any infringements so you can take action when (and if) the new copyright laws become active. You should also make sure to document any request to remove the copyrighted material including the refusal by an individual to comply with your requests(s). Sending a registered letter is even better if you can get and address. You stand a far greater chance of success if you have a well-documented case. Don't forget to file a copyright on your work. You can submit a large collection of material from past years if you want. The new law may require that a copyright was actually filed.
Even if an infringement is removed you can still take action if the image or footage was used for profit, promotion, etc.
I just stumbled on a big subset of stolen videos by searching with Arabic keywords on Youtube and Facebook, many with hundreds of thousands and even millions of views. These never come up for me using English keywords.