Photigy Studio Photography Where Passion Meets Profession

One day ago I’ve got an email from one fellow photographer (thank you, Paul!) about a portfolio of Dubai Wedding photographer, Sohail Nazish. (you can find him on almost any social media)

There are URLs which were sent to me:

http://www.pho2grapher.com/flash/product%20photographers/index.html

http://www.pho2grapher.com/dubai-product-photographer.html

I expect these URLs to be dead soon, so this is the screenshots:

Alex kolsokov images in dubai wedding photographer portfolio

Alex kolsokov images in dubai wedding photographer portfolio
Alex kolsokov images in dubai wedding photographer portfolio
koloskov atlanta photographer stolen-portfolio
koloskov atlanta photographer stolen-portfolio

Looks familiar, isn’t it? If not, take a look at koloskov.com food/product portfolio.

I am very familiar with situations when people take images online and use them in website design, brochures and blogs without giving any credit to the author. It is not good, but understandable (at least for me). Especially if we are talking about countries without strict enforcement of copyright laws (post- Soviet Union countries is a bright example). Such thing does not bother me much.

However, this sort of things I see first time in my photography career:  some dude took images from somebody else portfolios (he got most of my food/product) and using them as his own work!

Very fast and clever way to build an outstanding portfolio, isn’t it?

But seriously, what he was thinking about?  I see a very wide range of photograph’s work on his portfolio, Yuri Arcurs is one of them, as an example:

Yuri Arcrus image at dubai photographer website
Yuri Arcrus image at dubai photographer website

Now, check out this: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=7704406

If he was trying to become a photographer, get running business… what he was thinking? Dubai is too far from the rest of the world?
Truly, sometime people’s logic is like a martian language for me:-)

 

Also, Check out this post from yesterday on his Blog, which is lifted from Jerry Lodriguss’ Blog.  (thanks to randomised756).

One thought though: he might be a SEO guy, making money on AdSence, not a photographer at all. This type of things I do not like the most.
In any case, I’ve decided to post this here, so I can share steps I do in such situation, hope it may be useful for others. Plus, I hope to get some feedback from the readers as well.

I already have a great source of information fro photographer’s community on reddit/r/photography (Update:  I was banned  there in July 2012 :-)

I do not want to spend much time to finding and contacting the guy, but the only thing I want is to have pho2grapher.com to be taken down. It should be easy.

So far I did:

  • Filed a Copyright claim (similar to this takedown notice) to GoDady.com (here) , website host provider. This should be enough to have his website suspended.
  • Filed a Google removing content claim here, as the guy uses AdSence on his website, and uses stolen image to make money on google ads. This claim should take care of his visibility and SEO

 

Again, I do not want to spend much time on this, as the guy did not do any harm to me (like stealing my customers or not paying for my images, etc).
I think the most of the damage he did is for his reputation and career. Something which is hard to earn and very easy to loose.. forever.

Stay tuned, I’ll be updating this post as soon as I’ll get any news. Really curious to see how all this will work, this is very new to me:-)


UPDATE:

Today, 04/04/2011 I’ve received response from GoDaddy stating that infringing web-site was suspended:

Dear Alex Koloskov,

 Thank you for contacting Go Daddy’s Copyright Claims Department.  We have suspended the site in question pending a resolution of this matter. Please allow up to 30 minutes for these changes to take effect.

 As a web hosting provider, it is not our position to act as the arbiter of intellectual property disputes, to judge who is right or wrong in a claim of infringement, or to determine who, if anyone, actually owns the content in question.  We have provided the specifics of your infringement claim to the owner of the site, along with your contact information, since the most efficient resolution of this situation comes through direct communication between the two parties involved.

 If the site owner indicates they are prepared to remove the infringing content, we will re-activate the hosting account in order to allow that to happen.  If they complete a counter notification regarding the work(s) in question, according to our Copyright Infringement Policy, a copy of the counter notification will be sent to you.  The site will then be re-activated 10 days following receipt of the counter notification by us unless we receive official notice that you have initiated court proceedings.  If we do receive such official notice, the website will remain down according to the directions of the court(s) at that time.

Now website is blocked.  So, it took goDaddy.com one business day to react on my copyright claim I’ve sent last Friday. Pretty fast, and I would  say pretty easy. Easy when you know what to do, so thank you reddit community, you first pointed me into a right direction.  Even though case is not over yet (if Sohail will decide to fight, I’d have to go to a court), I am satisfied with the result. Will see,  hope dude is smart enough to make a right decision:-)

The steps I did to make it happen described above. So far only goDaddy has answered, Google has 5 days to response.


UPDATE (04/09/2011):

pho2grapher.com is up and running. All the content belongs to me was removed. The dude took the action:-) There are lot of stolen images on his website, including Yuri Arcurs photo. I am pretty shire the whole corporate portfolio is filled with stolen photos. However, I can’t do anything to this, as I am not the copyright owner of that content.  Can only wish Sohail good luck:-)


Thank you all for valuable advices! If you think that my case can be interested for other photographers, please share this article. I’ll be posting update to the case if anything happen.

Alex

61 Responses on Breaking a copyright law: a story of how to fast and efficiently kill your career."

  1. Anas Ahmad says:

    Crazy! absolutely crazy you should sue him

  2. Jennifer Loganathan says:

    A situation VERY similar to this has happened to me at least over 200 times with articles that were copy written and posted to my company blog. Rip off artists would steal my company articles, spin them with useless content and repost and blast them all over the internet with me as the author. It is virtually impossible to fix this without paying a 3rd party firm a ton continuously monitor and fix this. I myself spend months trying to rectify it, but there never is any end in sight and eventually I gave up. I hope in the future there will be better laws to help protect people from these thieves and I am glad these pictures that were stolen are now down. :)

  3. Jan says:

    Just a question: Have you dropped Yuri Arcurs a mail about this a*holes site?

  4. Thanks for the tips on how to take action for this situation

  5. Boris says:

    I am glad your photos (at least) got removed and I hope other photographers will take similar actions. I think the best way to see this, is that your photos are the greatest this guy could find online! ;)

  6. Fredo says:

    Very elegant way to resolve the problem (including Tom Bako :P)
    great Blog Alex

  7. Anatoli says:

    …one more villain :) …I would say – shy micro thief :)

  8. Mark says:

    It looks like his website is back on line, minus a few images. There are still a few stock images I can see. Good job done!!

    Mark

  9. Howard gibson says:

    I hate to say it the safest thing to do with an image is not to publish it to the internet. No matter what you do if someone that wants that image he or she will get it. I attended a class on copyrights and the speaker had gone after 50 copyright infringements in two years. A corporate insider stated to the photographer that the reason that corporations steal images is that only 5% of all images are copyrighted so their chances of being caught are slim. In order to prevail for money “you have to have all your ducks in a row” which means you have to prove income, ownership with a copyright would be best, and you had to have gotten the copyright before they posted the image. Many corporations were found to steal the image with the watermark on it. One thing is that if you are prepared many times the matter can be settled out of court. Two of the most common misconceptions are that copyright cases will be expensive and they will always go to court. If you have your item copyrighted you will get back attorney fees. Actually the real problems come to enforcing copyrights in foreign countries. If the foreign government doesn’t assist you you are SOL. At the end of the day the best protection is not to post it. You could call it the conflict of self promotion versus post it and lose it. It goes without saying that a good adage that describes this is that f if you post your work someone will steal it and there is no way to effectively stop it but if you can find them you can use the Digital Millenium Act to remove them with a website but if you go that far make copies of everything. When MC Hammer sang “Can’t Touch This” who ever thought they he could be speaking of foreigners from other countries stealing copyrighted work without a care in the world. Your greatest strength against copyright infringers in in your own country but globally speaking it is like trying to put gum in all the holes of a leaking dike. Plug one up and three others start pouring.

  10. Mark says:

    It’s amazing, you take the time to publish your work and instructions on how to create the image, and the guy is too lazy to put together his own set up.

    I am at college at the moment on a photography course; I can turn a camera on; I know my camera inside out; I have read the manuals, studied for many hours, and taken a heck of a lot of photo’s.

    I am inspired by your work; I shall be using your set up to produce my own images; also mix in some of my own ideas.

    Keep up the good work.

    All the best

    Mark

  11. Jeff K says:

    I can’t believe how stupid the thief is. But he does have good taste, your pictures are fantastic. I hope that this jerk does not make you think twice about sharing your pictures and your techniques. I only found your website recently and I really really like all the work that you are doing. I think you are wise to simply shut him down and then move on and not waste too much time with him. Keep up the great work!

  12. neal morgan says:

    I really do wonder what these people think they will gain!
    IF someone was to book this ‘photographer’ on the strength of your work what would they get?
    I’m sure the ‘photographers’ invoice would remain unpaid if he wasn’t sued.
    I’m reassured that GoDaddy took the site down within 24 hours, not so impressed that Google is slower.

    Kind Regards
    Neal

    • Neal,
      It was a weekend, I’ve sent notice to Godaddy Friday, and received response Monday. Was not bad, I do not even mind if it would be 2-3 days.
      As for the gain, he was probably earning some money on google ads, I’ve seen on his website. Not much though…
      Thank you!

  13. Tom Bako says:

    VERY NICE ALEX, JOB WELL DONE. THE SITE IS TEMPORARILY DOWN. CONGRATS.

    http://p3nlhclust404.shr.prod.phx3.secureserver.net/SharedContent/redirect_1.html

    TOM.

  14. Judi bumstead says:

    I respect the way you are dealing with this and your work is beautiful.

  15. Alex, I am shocked by this discovery!!! I looked at this photographer website and it is a complete copy of your portfolio! You put time, talent, knowledge, and effort into these images and someone thinks that he can just take it and claim it is his?! Hate things like this, it is plain stealing.

    I would not agree with the post above that photography is not an art, it is art. It is an interpretation of the reality that surrounds us by a photographer. Yes, I agree, with the similar set of equipment and settings the image may turn out to be similar, but in order to get to the actual shooting of the subject, a photographer is creating the image – the look, the posture, the atmosphere, etc. This is part of art, not the technical aspect of it. This is what one learns in an art schools and that what differentiate that photographer from the crowd. Every image Alex and his team create he has a separate approach. If it would be that easy everyone would be Ansel Adams or Philippe Halsman.

    • Vadim Stain says:

      @Nataliya Volosovych,
      Learning art in school? How many artists and photographers you see in museums actually graduated from art school? Probably one Picasso and even him was trying to forget what he learned . I do not know if two guys mentioned above ever finished high school.

    • Natalia,
      Most likely he was building a google-traffic machine, not a portfolio.
      In commercial product photography it is possible to get very similar look of somebody else photograph, if such thing will be needed. We see many similar to what I did images posted here and on a facebook by my readers, they are learning photography by trying out the techniques I am showing on my articles. This is very cool, and I can only like such things happening. I do not need any credits for this:-)

      Regarding photography is an art or not: it is just a label, honestly I do not even ask myself this question, as i do not care how others will see my work.
      Thank you!

  16. Hi Alex,

    Sorry to hear that. Some people want a quick portfolio but have no talent to produce it so stealing is the easy option.
    I wonder/say, Alex why don’t you just put a slight watermark over the images, sure we would not mind, and future clients can still see the work and understand the reasons. Clients can always see the portfolio when you meet up.
    Please guys, this is my opinion don’t hung me for it.

    • Manuel,
      I do not like watermarks, even a small signature on a portfolio is not considered. However, I have “www.koloskov.com” on all my blog images.
      I want potential client to see clean images on the portfolio, nothing should take their attention from the image itself. Usually we meet after I was already selected as a photographer who will do the work: I do not want to waist our time.
      As such cases of stealing.. really, they work for me, bringing attention to my work:-) The only victim is the thief.

      Thank you.

  17. Vadim Stain says:

    Hi Alex
    This is the dark side of sharing everything with everyone. actually you should stand against copyright law. I understand your feelings: stealing is bad, really, but on the other hand photography is not art, it does not create a subject. say, if someone have all your equipment and use your settings it is going to be very similar, if not the same image. so what to worry about?
    it is like celebrities suffering from paparazzi. Enjoy!
    Vadim

    • Vadim,
      Well, I did not “share” my portfolio images, but in general you are right: I am more against copyright law then with it. Such cases just give more understanding of this.
      And yes, I already enjoying the popularity :-)
      Thank you.

  18. Simon Martin says:

    Our mutual friend Paul put me on to this story – outrageous! Sohail Nazish you should be ashamed of yourself, apart from your fraud, you’re lazy and insulting of Alex’s intelligence not to think that he wouldn’t pursue you! I wish you best of luck in closing this guy down Alex

  19. Paul McCabe says:

    Alex, This guy should be hung… In the Middle East they take theft very seriously and the punishment is very harsh by any standard. It’s a real kick in the face for a guy like you who offers his techniques openly. I think the actions you have taken so far are a step in the right direction..

    Regards

  20. Milan says:

    What was he thinking ???!! He must be completely out of his mind ! And Alex, don’t worry, your style is already established… If I saw these shots somewhere else than the first thing that would come to my mind would be: Hey, it’s Alex Koloskov !
    Best Regards
    Milan

  21. Jeff Colburn says:

    I’m glad you found this guy and shut him down. I hate when people steal work from others. I just had a website shut down for stealing one of my ebooks and offering it as a free download. Over the past several years I’ve lost over $1,000,000 in ebook sales due to illegal downloads, so I know how it feels when your work is stolen.

    I hope your work won’t be stolen again, but it probably will be, so stay vigilant.

    Have Fun,
    Jeff

  22. George says:

    Here’s another tool (for text) you may want to keep bookmarked, http://www.copyscape.com

    I ran his site through it, of course he has copied text from other sites too. The guy is a piece of work.

    http://www.copyscape.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pho2grapher.com%2Fdubai-product-photographer.html

  23. Anas Akkawi says:

    I’m very angry to see such day light theft and even worse from someone claims to be a photographer. He’s a big disgrace. But i’m confident that any one that enters his website can very easily discover that the whole thing is a big lie! It looks like a big spam website.
    Hope he gets the lesson of his life soon.

  24. Tom Bako says:

    Plagiarism versus copyright. Be happy don’t worry, we all do it in some form or other and that’s the truth.

    The 18th century new morals have been institutionalized and enforced prominently in the sectors of academia and journalism, where plagiarism is now considered academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics, subject to sanctions like expulsion and other severe career damage. Not so in the arts, which not only have resisted in their long-established tradition of copying as a fundamental practice of the creative process, but with the boom of the modernist and postmodern movements in the 20th century, this practice has been heightened as the central and representative artistic device.

    Plagiarism remains tolerated by 21st century artists. Plagiarism is not a crime but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence. In previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to “copy the masters as closely as possible” and avoid “unnecessary invention.”

  25. Tom Bako says:

    Hey Alex, Charge usage fees and make some money out of the deal.

  26. Tom Bako says:

    WELCOME TO REALITY FOLKS! DUH! Are you all really that naive? It happens every day all day long. Take it as a compliment and make it work for you don’t cry like babies.

    • Tom,
      It is not about crying or being naive. There are an easy to use and powerful ways to effectively take down websites like this. I created this post only after I’ve discovered those ways, and understand that information about my finding will be helpful to others, as such things happens all day long, like you said.
      This is a sort of a case study for me, where I’ll have all the steps and outcome from them documented and analyzed. Meaning next time I’ll spend 10 minutes to take down infringement website.

      I am taking this as a compliment, true. But my clients whom products I have in portfolio may not like such “compliments”, and it is my responsibility to take care about my images.

      • Tom Bako says:

        @Alex Koloskov, It’s not about you protecting your clients, it’s actually about you being protected from your clients misuse of the images. Read my personal email to you and forget about Sohail Nazish.

        I guess calling a person a ‘douche bag’ is not derogatory and okay with you even if it is about Sohail Nazish? If Debbie thinks I have a mental problem that’s her decision to make. Character assassination on the other hand is good for a libel lawsuit.

        A false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. Making a false or malicious statement about a person.I didn’t malign Debbie I was basically saying if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

  27. Jesus says:

    hI I,m so impressived about this. How can we protect our works from this kind of people. But… my other thought is if you love photography, you may feel really bad just copying other’s works. it evidence you are death in your profession. thank you

    • My take on this: I do not need to physically protect my stuff from a stealing. All these watermarks, copyright offices, etc is just makes your images ugly and takes you time.
      The best way, IMO, to make your work so much remarkable that no one will be able to use it without being noticed and reported in a minute. Annie Leibovitz images as an example; they are all over internet, free to “save as”. But no one can use them as their own:-)

  28. Steve Bracci says:

    It’s bad enough the general public knowingly or unknowingly uses our photos without permission but for a photographer to pass off your photos as his own really pisses me off- and they’re not even my photos! He’s also passing himself off as a Certified Professional Photographer with PPA. I’m a PPA member and Certified and I looked him up on the database; big surprise- he didn’t show up. He’s not even a PPA member. I’ll make sure PPA is notified of this doosh bag.
    Good luck Alex- at least he picked a great photographer to steal from…

    • Tom Bako says:

      @Steve Bracci, I think it’s a great compliment for Alex and if he can make a buck out of it the better. What everyone is forgetting here is the delivery, the guy may not be able to deliver the goods especially if the client wants to see a hi-res version of one of the photos and if he can deliver then he can shoot just like Alex or any other guy out there. Doesn’t Alex encourage people to copy his stuff, so why not just use the real thing and save some time. Joke folks.

    • Yeah, strange guy. I would completely understand when people make fake websites to earn money on Google Ads. its is all fake, all about traffic to a your Ads links.
      But in this case this is a real guy, with real profiles on a social media… Not much Ads on his website too. I am polite, so I’ll call it “being ridiculously strange”:)

      Thank you.

  29. Debbi says:

    It’s disgusting to me that anyone would steal images like this!
    The only thing that I saw right off, is that none of mine were there! LOL
    What I mean by that is, he only copied from really good photographers! You are right up there with Yuri and he makes over one million a year!
    Debbi

  30. J says:

    I wonder if there is a way to prevent image “borrowing” online without putting a huge “Property of Alex so bugger off” watermark all over it. I’m afraid I know little about web design.

  31. Randi Scott says:

    I’m a huge fan and I love your work BUT I would never steal it.

    This guy needs to exposed and made an example of.

    I find my work all over the internet stolen as well.

    Cheers
    Randi

  32. Alla Koval says:

    Oh, Alex! I’m so sorry about that and I do perfectly understand that you do not want spend your such precious time for this really NOT deserved person. I really hope your steps you did already – will be enough to resolve the situation!

    …I’ve had an another story with “helper” – is where one Korean girl used the pictures of my designs and offered them custom made at her site. But MOST crazy was that she gave them my email and I was really overwhelmed with emails why “my customs” orders they received looked nothing the same as pictured? … just wonder – why she did not gave them also my PayPal address?! If seriously – what is wrong with people? Do you think I can be proud of myself that I would never to do things like that?! ;)

    Hugs,
    Alla

    • Thank you, Alla.
      And your story of another “helper”: I never stop wondering about people’s world. What processes happening in their brains is unknown, bit outcome sometime is so ridiculous to me that i feel like I am martian:-)
      All the best, hope you’ve already met spring in Seattle :-)

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