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Author Topic: istock exclusive image stolen and scammer trying to upload it to Cutcaster now  (Read 11040 times)

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johngriffin

« on: May 08, 2009, 16:09 »
0
WOW.  These scammer guys piss me off more than anything and waste my time. 

We just had a guy from Vietnam (sorry if you are from there but I am sorry to say they have a problem with people from there using stolen credit cards or not nice things, not everyone is like that, only a few bad apples) try to upload stolen/copyrighted content to Cutcaster that he obviously either bought with a fake credit card or ripped off of istock. Istock needs to look into this person who purchased that image (use the IP address I provided below to track it if you can) and do something about catching him. I will do whatever I can to help stop this guy.  I did a search for him by the username he chose at CC using google and found that he was selling on ImageCatalogue.  IC has no idea that he is a fraud and they arent his images and is probably selling these images for the scammer.

http://www.imagecatalog.com/photographer_profile.php?pID=1930

And then we checked TinEye and saw that the photos he said were his on IC were actually an istock exclusive member AND an istock admin (http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=71254) so this scammer stole them from istock it looks like.

http://www.imagecatalog.com/image_details.php?iID=96456&icsid=255e27b2353c1faad2fce4b089d3948a
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-380844-earth-in-a-box.php

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-7185445-environmental-conservation.php

I'm trying to write to both ImageCatalogue and iStock to alert them to this thief.  It looks like they could be targeting istock exclusives because their images wont be on other sites or have the potential to be recognized as much and will most likely sell better. Any other ideas?  We checked two of the images and they were both from istock exclusives.

Here is some info on the guy who tried to upload it to our site.

Name
: Nguyen The Dinh
: [email protected]
IP ADRESS
: 123.18.232.113

This is absolutely a nightmare.  I am so pissed about this because it is wasting my time, money and stealing peoples money.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? What can istock do to protect you guys as photographers and me as an agency that is getting stolen content uploaded to my site that came from istock in the first place?


« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2009, 16:18 »
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Technology exists to put hidden watermarks in jpgs.  Of course pixels have to be altered, but  it can be done in such a subtle way that the human eye couldn't distinguish it.  This is not new and I'm surprised that IStock and other microstocks aren't doing it. It would let you filter out images that were purchased at other agencies.


batman

« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2009, 16:33 »
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perharps a bit OT but related in a way,...
wait till the nigerian scammer run out of scamming craigslist, kijiji, etc.. and you'll find them here too, JG.  the latest we've heard was they prey on ads for tutors, relay (deaf and hard at hearing), spamming and flooding calls to moms and pops store asking to place orders from encyclopedia to lingerie. one anecdote came like this, "sorry sir, this is the cancer society you just called!" . response, "so what do you sell, we like to spend about $1000 today". another from a music instructor, "have a couple of twin who needs urgent tuition for 3 months while stopping over in your part of the world. we like to reserve you as a tutor and will need your bank account so we can send a bank transfer for your special training. we are in a hurry and need to confirm this so we will gladly send you full payment ASAP. all we need is your bank account info".
i am sure very soon, you will hear from them , in one form or another. as you probably already know, similar scammer have been mailing literally everyone with faked bank links to get your password telling you if you don't verify, you could have your account frozen. as well, you get the telephone call, "this is mayberry (replace any name) calling about your credit card, there is no need to worry but please stay on the line for one of our agents to speak with you. it is very important , please have your credit card , PIN and personal infos ready".



« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2009, 16:35 »
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I'm talking about information embedded in the image pixels itself.  This technology is already used to, for example, detect image tampering.  It can no doubt be beaten somehow, although probably not without degrading the image.

http://netzreport.googlepages.com/hidden_data_in_jpeg_files.html

« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2009, 17:01 »
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Luckily a lot of these people get caught by other contributors who see the images were stolen.  Hopefully most of them get caught before they reach a payout, so they are also wasting their time.  I no some don't get caught for a while, so more needs to be done.

Perhaps the sites should state that they will do a check on portfolios of people reaching their first payouts to make sure they are legitimate?  There needs to be some deterrent to stop this happening.

« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2009, 17:03 »
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Technology exists to put hidden watermarks in jpgs. 

I've heard of this before, but I wonder if it works if an image is resaved or downsized.


« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2009, 17:16 »
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Thanks for the heads up, have reported my stolen images.

« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2009, 17:59 »
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I don't know if you already did, but I sent a link to this post to mevans via sitemail.

« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2009, 18:14 »
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madelaide - downsizing, or resampling, would very likely destroy it.  Maybe there's some black-hat stuff that NSA uses, that distributes the "watermark" data around the image.   

I don't think there's a simple answer to this problem.   

Bottom line, I think, is establishing the identity of contributors.  If I just create a login and start submitting photos by FTP, the site has no leverage on me. If they know and have verified my identity, and I submit someone else's copyrighted material, then it's a law enforcement matter.  The problem of identifying such material still exists.


« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2009, 18:17 »
0

« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2009, 18:33 »
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Thank you for alerting me to this.  I have sent a message to the compliance department at istock.  They will take care if it.

I really am sick of these thieves.  >:(

« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2009, 19:07 »
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Thank you for alerting me to this.  I have sent a message to the compliance department at istock.  They will take care if it.

I really am sick of these thieves.  >:(

I'll bet you are mate. Unfortunately it's the perk of having so many truly outstanding images in your port. Good luck with getting it sorted.

Milinz

« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2009, 19:22 »
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Yes... Digimarc... But it is expensive for authors... Maybe agencies can do some arrangements about that!

BTW, check this address too:

http://www.zcool.com.cn/


I don't understand Chinesee but, it seems many of images from many sites are there.

« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2009, 19:22 »
0
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THIS? What can istock do to protect you guys as photographers and me as an agency that is getting stolen content uploaded to my site that came from istock in the first place?
Delayed payment for new contributors.Let's say 2 months. It's enough to find stolen images and block an account. If thiefs have no chance to be payed thay will stop to do it. Then the blocked money can be given to the right artist.

batman

« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2009, 20:14 »
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perharps something to do with submitting RAW originals?
although this may be not so ideal, as i wouldn't want to give away my digital negatives. but if it's to prove that i am the creator of the images, and that the sites will not sell the RAW to buyers giving them only post processed jpgs?

not sure.  just thinking out of the box. does anyone know if it's possible to counterfeit  a RAW original?  and, can any one trust a stock site not to abuse the RAW image?

with all these incidents of some stock sites screwing contributors, (one latest that's been preoccupying most of us here... case in a nutshell: exclusives of site Xbeing boned ,,,)
it's also difficult to trust anyone.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 20:19 by batman »

tan510jomast

« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2009, 21:19 »
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Technology exists to put hidden watermarks in jpgs.  Of course pixels have to be altered, but  it can be done in such a subtle way that the human eye couldn't distinguish it.  This is not new and I'm surprised that IStock and other microstocks aren't doing it. It would let you filter out images that were purchased at other agencies.

Just having my own jab at shadows here, John,,,

 I think this may seem a crazy idea, but stockastic is on the right track. It requires a confidential agreement between each stock agency. So only you John and say Keith of Zymm, Achilles of DST,etc... know the location where each of the agencies embeds a digital trademark like the old stamp you see on diplomas of the universities . except it is invisible to the naked eye . No one knows the chosen location on the print except you guys. Each time we submit our originals, you won't see it in that spot because it is the original.
But if ScammerX bought the image or copied the images published by the sites, and then submits them to you , you will know instantly it doesn't belong to them as each of these images bears the hidden digital trademark of the agency from where they were stolen .

I think stockastic has a genius idea.  This , or a general registry of images. The latter idea is a more difficult to implement. 


« Last Edit: May 08, 2009, 21:21 by tan510jomast »


tan510jomast

« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2009, 11:26 »
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John,  Re Digimarc:   
In order to get this to work, every stock site has to implement it, not just Cutcaster. Or else, your expenditure  for this is accountingly unwise and the desired objective ineffective .

johngriffin

« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2009, 19:55 »
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i just filed a complaint with www.ic3.gov which helps to solve these crimes.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C),
and the Bureau of Justice Assistance
(BJA).

IC3's mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints
regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims
of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities
of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies
at the federal, state, local and international level, IC3 provides a central referral
mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes.

If you guys see more of this rampant stealing and copyright issues please report it to this service.  Anyone else know of any other government services you can use to stop these thieves.  Its a huge pain in the butt. 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 01:57 by johngriffin »


« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2009, 20:03 »
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wow,  John Griffin you are one pro-active CEO. Wish the others will follow suit.
 Is this a global jurisdication network? Does this blanket include China, Africa ie. Nigeria,India, Eastern Europe,Australia, SE Asia,South America,etc... or just USA, UK, Western Europe? Do you know?

Jolly good show indeed, Mr. Griffin.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2009, 20:07 by Perseus »

« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2009, 20:05 »
0
i just filed a complaint with www.ic3.org which helps to solve these crimes.



Better use this link: www.ic3.gov !
 ;)
Claude

« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2009, 20:15 »
0
I would not be surprised if other stock agencies were already marking their images in some way. BUT I would be surprised if they'd talk about it, even to the owner of another agency.  They'd use one of the more sophisticated hidden watermarking schemes that supposedly will survive resizing or crropping - so they'd have it in place in case they found someone ripping them off in a major way. 

It seems to me this is only going to get worse. Subscription pricing would let a crook cherry-pick thousands of highest-quality images that would, over time, bring in much more than he paid for them when re-posted as new portfolios elsewhere.

[email protected]

« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2009, 22:14 »
0
Great job John, lets just hope your prompt action will be able to put a stop to these thieves.


 

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