they’re GONE!

I spent most of yesterday haunting the page where my photos appeared (along with some help…Thanks Aunt Lu, Renee, and Tina!). Now the page has been removed. The sad thing is that from what I’ve learned these people often just start up with a new profile, new page, same pics. I’ll be watching though. After lots of research yesterday I’ve notified no less than 10 people who have photos of their children on that site unknowingly. It’s so, so sad. Apparently Orkut is a site similar to MySpace or Facebook that’s extremely popular with Brazilians. THOUSANDS of them are stealing photos of innocent children and creating fake lives and profiles with them. Some people say it’s children who are doing this but after looking through hundreds of the pages I have a really hard time believing that children are behind this. It’s really sick. At any rate, that’s the story. I’ll be checking that site often now to watch for my baby and yours.

Now, here’s the scoop on watermarking. If you have photoshop (any version, even elements) create a new document that’s like 300 pixels x 300 pixels. Make sure the background is transparent. Then use the text tool and any other tools you want to create the design for your watermark. Something as simple as DO NOT COPY written across the middle in block letters will work. It needs to be rather obnoxious though. After you have it the way you want it, use your elliptical/rectangular marquee tool to select around the entire watermark. After it’s selected go up to edit< define brush preset, and then name your brush. It should now appear at the end of your list of brushes when you select the brush tool. I stamp my watermark over the middle of my photo before I resize for the web...you can adjust the opacity if you don't want it to be glaring but in my opinion glaring is better. I hope that helps. Post a comment here if you need clarification and I'll try to help. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. It doesn't matter if you think you're a good photographer or not...PROTECT YOUR PHOTOS OF YOUR CHILDREN. Make that bad boy obvious too. It won't prevent everything but it will deter this. I did find one photo that belonged to a friend yesterday that had a watermark with her full name and website right in the middle, covering the whole photo and it was still used. It's so sad. Anyway, thanks for the support yesterday. Take care. Kelly, I would still like the information you have if you don’t mind. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is over. Can you email it to me? (erkatco@yahoo.com) Thanks.

Now please go check out Brent’s awesome zoo video two posts down. He spent tons of time on it and got pre-empted by my rant yesterday. 🙂

AnonymousApril 25, 2007 - 7:23 am

Erin, I am so glad your pictures got taken down. I am so thankful that someone did find your photos and told you about them. I went to look and I couldn’t find any photos that I recognized, but tons that had watermarks on them and they were still being used. I mean really pro-level pictures with a name across it in hot pink. I don’t think so!!! I am just so glad more people are on to this and we’ll be more on the look out for each-other. At the same time I wish this didn’t have to happen to you and your family.
For me I know my watermark just got bigger. If you want you can e-mail me the people or the group and I’ll keep looking too!

Sharon

TaraApril 25, 2007 - 7:38 am

Erin, thanks for the instructions. I’m going to make one soon.

I went to the orkut site, but how do you know if your pics are there? I didn’t even know where to start. Now I’m curious to see if anything I have is out there. Scary. I mean, are the photos just hanging out on someone’s profile? How do you know?

JoyceApril 25, 2007 - 8:15 am

I am so sorry that this has happened…but it does not surprise me, with the world as it is. I have seen so many changes and not for the good.
Those of us that are not in the same league as these people are, must go on with our lives, with trust and hope that there will be a light on these sickies and they will be snuffed from the world!!!
Love you…

DeniseApril 25, 2007 - 8:58 am

Thank you for this public service. I literally dreamt about this last night and was so sad thinking people would do harm with our kids photos. It is making me rethink the blog or having it public which makes me so sad too. 🙁

JenniferApril 25, 2007 - 9:17 am

You go girl! I was ready to sign up for Google and start in on her myself this morning before Lori told me it was down. Figured I’d translate it into Portuguese so she really got the hint!! I’d be happy to help you search if you tell me what to do!

BrendaApril 25, 2007 - 1:02 pm

Thanks Erin for the heads up….I tried to email the girl and she isn’t taking emails straight from the site so I emailed Orkut but I’m not holding my breathe….they really upset people the first time this happend and I’m pretty sure some girls enlisted their lawyer hubbies in on it and yet, they did nothing. The sad thing is that blog, flickr and ILP are being hit and it’s coming to a point that we can’t share photos because of them. I thought I’d never say this but paid sites are really looking good right now. =(

Thanks again for spotting Gracie, that had to take so much time….I looked some more today but didn’t find anyone that I knew. Just keeping my fingers crossed that something will be done. =)

Kathy PApril 25, 2007 - 2:11 pm

omgosh erin! this is terrible! i’m so sorry this happened to you! i try to watermark my stuff but it sounds as though the people who are stealing just don’t care anyway! there are some sick people out there!

AnonymousApril 26, 2007 - 5:03 am

Erin- Can you email me? I can’t get the watermark to go on my picture.

Thanks for posting the information. I’ve needed to do this but have been dragging my feet on it.

Thanks-
Hannah hkinney75@hotmail.com

erinApril 26, 2007 - 7:15 am

Hannah…I’d love to try to help. Ask your question here though so others can benefit from the answer too. 🙂

AnonymousApril 26, 2007 - 12:53 pm

*sigh* This is HOrrible… I don’t understand how people cant take these pictures from people and CLAIM they are there children?!?!?!
🙁 That’s why I don’t post anything with my childrens face on it!

LisaApril 26, 2007 - 5:16 pm

I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you. I’ve heard of it happening before. Why do those people have to ruin a wonderful thing… blogging!

Like Tara’s ??… I went to Okurt too, but how did you find the pics? I want to know if my baby is there!

Things like this really do make me rethink blogging all together.

LeeAnnApril 26, 2007 - 6:47 pm

How did you search for your kid’s picture? I would like to make sure mine isn’t there!!!

LOANApril 27, 2007 - 12:42 am

I’m really sorry to know this happen to you and Sarah 🙁

I always come here and have pleasure to see your great job… But I never stoll picture, I’m just a french mom, and I’ll never do horrible staff like this…

I have also a blog, with my daughter picture, I have photoshop4, but I’m so nul, I don’t understand how do the signature 🙁

I have a proposition, did you have a paypal account?
If yes, are you agree to do one for me? I’ll pay you if you want, but I really want to protect my picture…

Thanks you

French mom !

AnonymousApril 27, 2007 - 3:57 am

I am so sad that this happened! Horrible! Is this why you don’t do photo-a-day anymore? Are you making your water mark bigger? On a selfish note it also makes me angry because us beginners learn so much from you guys and pretty soon everyone will stop posting pictures and I can’t afford the paid sites. Anyways I’m so sorry that this happened to you.

AngieApril 27, 2007 - 7:44 am

How awful and scary! It makes me want to take down every picture and scrapbook page of my girls that I’ve posted anywhere ever. 🙁 By the way, I pop in here once in a while and have loved hearing your cute stories and seeing your gorgeous pictures. (I don’t think I’ve ever posted a comment.) (And I promise, promise I’m not a stalker or photo stealer! Promise!)

Harrisonsmommy1May 20, 2007 - 5:16 pm

Hi, I’ve been reading about this on the 2Peas board. I have never posted LOs online mainly because I was not confident with the finished product. Then I signed up for an online crop this weekend and I am so thankful you posted the instructions for making a watermark!!! I made my sucker dark LOL and big. I am soooo paranoid about this Orkut stuff. These people are freaks and I wish they could be stopped. I really wish they would close it down!! Good luck.

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