Earlier this week I posted about a beautiful but unusual website that I had come across. We were all perplexed a little by the English/Korean layout (Here's the best translation of the site that I've gotten yet. Thank you Anne Marie!) but then it became obvious to myself and many of you that the website has "borrowed" images from Flickr.
So a few of us did some investigating. I found 7 of the photos used on that site at 5 different Flickr accounts and the pictures most certainly did not belong to dress-form.co.kr. It was so obvious in fact that most of you would recognize the true photographers names immediately. Then a friend of mine tried to place an order from the site to see what would happen and the site requested her social security number! Use caution when you're ordering online from this or any other site. There should never be an occassion where a retail site needs your social security number!
If your Flickr photos have been "borrowed", typically you could send the site a cease and desist letter if you can find contact information but this particular site is out of the country so it's not likely anything would come of it. Since Flickr can't do anything if the abuse is taking place outside of Flickr, I did a little online research (keep in mind of course that I'm not a lawyer)... You can report it to the Yahoo copyright and intellectual property Agent. Flickr is part of Yahoo so they might be able to help. Here are the details for how to do that. And you can file a DMCA Complaint with Google to have the website removed from the search engine results page. However in this instance, as you would guess, when you google "dress-form" a bazillion results come up and the website in question isn't in the top couple pages anyhow.
Although it doesn't seem like there's much any of us can do, I felt compelled to at least post a warning. And to ask you who have helpful advice or who have been in this circumstance before to leave a comment. Please tell us if you know - what can be done to prevent online photo theft? And is there an effective reporting agency to contact if your photos are stolen?
Let's have an old fashioned townhall meeting...