Stolen: Our photography images

  • 3
  • May 16, 2011

UPDATED AS OF: 17 May 2011, 1:05am

They say that copying is the best form of flattery. But not in this case.

Thanks to one of our Stories’ readers (Cecilia Loh), I discovered today that a fair bit of our work has been copied by another photographer in Indonesia and claimed as his/her own. Our watermarks were removed, replaced with this photographer’s logo, and fake blog posts were written about the shoot experience… The amazing thing is that it’s not just one image, but a whole series of images from multiple clients of ours.

I am a little sad to see things like this happening. It has happened to other photographers I know, but I never thought the day would come when it would happen to me. Enraged? Violated? Of course, but at the end of the day, how am I do react to such a situation? What do I do to bring justice?

It’s interesting to see how many photographers have banded together to help support me and make it known that plagiarism has happened. While I am somewhat thankful, I would also like to hear what Yuda Photography has to say first. Everyone makes mistakes, and the key is to learn from them. I’m sure this serves as a shock to them, knowing they can be found out.

Should they reply to my email and apologise, I am more than willing to forgive, as life is too short to hold grudges. I always recall the words from the bible that say…

You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

Matthew 5:43-47 (The Message)

I have yet to hear a response from Yuda, but rather, I see their blog posts and Facebook pages disappearing quickly, as if it is more important to cover their tracks first, before responding to me. To all our clients who are affected, I am truly sorry this had to happen. I am taking measures to make sure this is rectified.

I feel sorry for the clients that have booked this photographer, with the assumption that these images are theirs. I wonder what kind of images they got in the end. Here are just some of the screenshots I’ve saved based on the plagiarism.

All of these thumbnails below are our images.

I find it funny how the words on the Caution sign were edited from the original. Original image below.

The most amusing are the fake stories behind some of the blog posts, and the changing of names to more local Indonesian ones. Below are the images from the pre-wedding of Amy + Warren, now known as Dita + Roy?

All of our images below…. and more on their website were copied – too many to include here.

Even their Facebook page is based on images of mine.

{UPDATED: 17 May 2011, 1:05am}

Yuda has since emailed me with the following response:

I apologize profusely, I am not a professional photographer, I am still learning and hobby photography. I was very surprised to see information on the website, to be honest it was not me who create and maintanace my website, but there are my friends who do it, even I have never seen or check the website.

and I do not know and thought she was taking a photo your work to be placed on my website, even he also replaced the watermark.

I had confirmation on my friend, and he admitted his error. and I also apologize to Stories.my, for what happened.

now all I have to delete your photo from your website / blog / facebook, even I’ve switched off the facebook. Once again I apologize profusely, and the bear will not happen again.

I also asked for help to Stories.my, to delete the files / information about this problem.

apologize for this incident.

Yuda, thanks for replying. I do not entirely understand the rationale behind your response, but as promised, I will forgive and move on. However, I will not be removing this blog post, as it is part of the history of Stories. I do hope all photographers out there will realise through this experience, how serious plagiarism is and will never do it.

For those who have posted sweeping statements about Indonesians, I beg you not to generalise, as there are many ethical Indonesian photographers, some of whom are my friends. It could have been done by a fellow Malaysian too.

To all my photographer friends and blog followers, thank you for your support. All of you rock. Let’s all go to sleep tonight with no ill feelings, for tomorrow will be a better day. Good night.

59 Comments

  • Johan Sopiee says:

    awesome!

  • [...] unduly suspicious but accounts of new photographers building their portfolios by filling them with pictures swiped from other photographers aren’t entirely unknown. A client who is paying $30,000 for a [...]

  • Adi J says:

    Wow, what a story…

    Thanks for sharing, this is a great information for professional photographer

    now i need to be more careful… and think a way so nobody can copy my work in the future without my permission…

  • Grace Tan says:

    Hi Adi, Yeah it’s a learning point for all of us. Anyhow, it’s always difficult to make sure nobody copies our work. I think at some point in our lives, we have been inspired by other photographers and want to shoot like them too.. (in a sense, ‘copy’ their style). So nothing is really original anymore. But something as blatant as this is not acceptable.

  • thank you for sharing the story….

    i have never been cautious about posting my photos on the internet, nor i have ever thought of putting watermarks in them… but now i am thinking about it…. After reading your blog here, now i know it’s important to protect our works. Even though watermarks can be erased, but i am sure that it’s a step of guarding our rights.

    thank you.

  • max says:

    hi grace, thank you for sharing …
    but i think you should bring an yuda to the law. coz
    from there, it can prove who did it, yuda or his friend did it
    because of the words of apology yuda that many are very unreasonable.
    so it would be wise if you bring him to justice

  • Sari Musdar says:

    wow…I also just learn photography but I put only my pics on my website from my own camera.

    Funny if you let someone design your website with other photograper’s picture while you call your self a photographer

    at least gallery in my website is from my hands

  • Grace Tan says:

    Thanks for your suggestion, but it’s always difficult to have a court case especially internationally. I have weighed the costs and decided to just let it be.

  • Laila says:

    I’m an Indonesian and not a photographer but I feel so ashamed and so angry of what Yuda did and his email response was unbelievably ridiculous and unreasonable.

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