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Recently, there were some photographs stolen from female celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton -- nude photos. And now, people everywhere have been talking about what is essentially cyber rape.

Some people blame the victims, saying they shouldn't have photos taken if they don't want them leaked. I have met very few people who have never taken a naked photo of themselves or had a photo made of themselves while they were naked. Whether that photo is for a spouse, a prospective date, for yourself, or for some sort of industry (modelling, glamour, porn, etc.) everyone deserves the same amount of privacy. 

Some say "well if you don't want them on the internet, don't put them on the internet." Well let's discuss that. The images were stolen off iCloud. Cloud storage is something many photographers use. It's cheap, and it affords a lot of storage space. The storage there is safe from fire, flood, dropped hard drives, etc. Therefore, photographers love it. Many people in the modeling / fashion photography industry use the cloud (though, I do not unless it is for people who have consented to have their images stored there). Many photographers and models live on the road, and therefore, use of programs like Dropbox are much more convenient for photograph delivery.

In what other ways can a photo be delivered? It could be mailed through the postal service, but it could get bent. It could also get stolen through those means, scanned, and put on the internet. It could get stolen out of a safe at home, scanned, and uploaded to the internet.

You don't actually have to have nude photos of yourself to be at risk of having them on the internet. Do you remember the scandal where a French magazine published images that were sneaked of British Princess Kate Middleton?

I've also seen "well then, just never be naked if you don't want others to see." For those humans who take showers and / or want to reproduce some day, that is simply not an option. And blaming the victim for the crime is an act of misogyny that must stop if we want our women to have any thread of self esteem, and if we want our society to progress at all. So what, exactly, can be done to protect yourself from having photos of you on the internet?

The fact of the matter is, no matter what opinion you have, the display of naked photos of celebrities (or anyone else) over the internet without a model release from the star and without holding the copyright of the images is illegal. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects image theft. Therefore, if the images are selfies, the actresses have complete and total control over where the images are shared, by law. Period. 

Say the images are not selfies. That means they are not the intellectual property of the stars, and therefore, the photographer or owner of the images will have to file the DMCA violation. What happens if the photographer doesn't want to do that? I would then hope that Lawrence, Upton, and the others had contracts and model releases with the photographer where it is discussed where the images can and cannot be used. If you are new to having nude photos taken (so, if you're not a famous model or something), make sure there is a model release signed. If the photographer refuses, they are not a professional photographer.

Chances are, the photographer wants to stay in business. Therefore, if the images are stolen from them and used in a way that is contrary to how a client wants them to be used, they will be right on board with filing that DMCA complaint at the federal copyright office. I will definitely do this for any client (AND I have done it in the past for a client whose clothed image was stolen off my social media account and altered for use in an advertisement without consent.)

Here is how to file a DMCA complaint (you can do it even if it is a selfie taken with your mobile phone):
                           <<<<<<<<<<I am not an attorney>>>>>>>>>>
1) Check to see if your data is date / time-stamped. Chances are, it is. If it's not, you want to start doing that.
2) Create a letter of demand. Include the following: "This is a NOTICE OF INFRINGEMENT OF COPYRIGHT as authorized in § 512(c) of the U.S. Copyright Law under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This content is an unauthorized reproduction of the copyrighted material originally found at (insert authorized uses here). Remove the content immediately, or the owner of this copyrighted material will file an official complaint with the U.S. Copyright Office, Google, and other pertinent parties. I am the copyright owner of this law, and the use here is illegal, and my exclusive rights as the owner are infringed. (Your full name, contact information)"
3) Search by image for any other unauthorized uses. If you find some, insert your notice into any comment lines underneath the stolen work.
4) Do a whois search to determine the web host from where the pirate rents server space, and ask them to take it down immediately.
5) If they don't take it down, ask your lawyer to help you draft a letter to the U.S. Federal Copyright Office or equivalent agency.

Moreover...... you want to do something about the infringement IMMEDIATELY when you see it. Copyright Law is complicated, but (last I checked with the Copyright Office), you have 90 days after the theft of a work to register it. If your work is registered, you can collect more money than just damages. (In other words, you can get awarded a penalty fine paid by the thief.) You want to register your work as soon as possible. You can register copyrighted works online here.

 


Comments

J. Rae Chip (author)
09/06/2014 5:42pm

From my social media site. Nice to get a male photographer's perspective on this too:

Brent Burzycki 4:16 PM

+J. Rae Chip first if a female was kind enough to share nude images with me - I would not be dumb enough to screw that up... I would want that to continue. Some have in the past and those images are locked away FMEO - or For my Eyes only...

Many feel its way more important to show friends and show off.. yeh well I think i rather go home to that person and not have nobody there...

Second many are truly ruining a very fun and provocative platform for sexuality and that is a shame.. because there is nothing more fun than in the middle of the day to get some provocative sexy naughty image from someone that you find attractive and fun..

It can make your entire day turn from crap to something much more fun...

The insanity part of this equation is the auto upload feature in G+, Facebook, G+ Hangouts etc... I know my G+ hangouts that I use for SMS almost instantly uploads anything I share or in the case of photos my photos to "back them up" I would like the ability to send images vs having them auto backup for different content. So if I was to take a screenshot of something on my phone with nudity in it - for whatever reason - and the G+ app auto uploads it - I am immediately in violation of the Google TOS, that is an issue.. I rather just have the ability to upload on a move to a specific folder or get promoted to upload etc...

It's an issue I think many have no idea about - nude images on iCloud as far as I know is also a violation of the TOS - so all those images that were leaked should result in those accounts being closed down for violation of the TOS...

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