I have been recovering from the flu, as I am sure many of you out there have been as well, or at least know someone who has been. It was NOT pleasant, especially since my whole family (including my poor little 14 month old girl) got it at the same time. There's nothing like everyone laying around together for three days wallowing in each other's misery.
This morning, as I am forcing myself to get up and moving in hopes that I will improve as the day goes on, I decide to conquer my inbox....two days of not checking emails equals a daunting task when that time comes to open it up. I received an email from a fellow Etsy shop owner and it was brought to my attention that some of my pictures were being stolen and used by someone else, claiming that she makes and sells these items! WHAT??!!! Do people really do this? The shop owner left the links of all the locations of my products, and lo and behold...there were MY PRODUCTS! In her picture captions, she writes "these are some of the items I have made in 2013." I could feel the sickness coming back...So maybe I am being naïve. I know that photo borrowing is out there. I don't have a copyright logo or anything on my pictures. I take pictures of my products, and post on Etsy, my Facebook page, and occasionally here. I admit, I have been known to use a general photo from the Internet to support a cause or enhance a point, without the owner's permission. But haven't we all? Never a small, private business owner's picture of course. And NEVER have I EVER taken credit for someone else's work! I see that as stealing. I don't mind people using my ideas, and recreating something similar. That's why I post things on Pinterest and elsewhere...to share! But taking my actual photo and claiming that you made that item yourself? Am I wrong in freaking out over this?
So the reason for my post is what the heck can I do to prevent this from happening again? I privately messaged her on Facebook asking her to remove it, saying that I did not give permission for her to post my photo, but have not heard back yet. I realize I am going to have to go through and watermark all of my photos and that will take sooooo much time. But it will be worth the time. I put a lot of hard work into creating and maintaining integrity in my business and it stinks that sorry, lazy people have to go and ruin it. Have any of you ever experienced anything similar? Please share what you did!! I need advice!