Oh for crying out loud…

Last night I was at my desk, busily working away, when a message popped in from my friend Lindsay. Lindsay had been browsing eBay looking at false eyelashes, and you’ll never guess who happened to be modelling the ones she found?

Or, actually, you probably will guess:


Yes, that’s me! The picture is a small one, but that’s my face you can see there, being used to sell someone’s Kimberley Wash false eyelashes: and to advertise them falsely, too, because I’m not actually wearing Kimberley Walsh false eyelashes in those photos, I’m wearing the Cheryl Cole ones.


I have to be honest – I was more amused than anything else by this one, because hey, at least the person wasn’t pretending to BE me. You know, like they normally do? I’m not going to allow people to use my face for commercial purposes, though (Well, not unless they want to pay me for it, obviously.), especially when they’re misleading people into the bargain, so I emailed the seller and asked her to remove it. She did, but said in her response to me that she’d found the photo on Google images, and that the photos there are ”for public use with no copyrite [sic] on them” so she hadn’t thought she was doing anything wrong.

*headdesk again*

I guess if people genuinely think Google images is essentially a free image bank, and that you’re allowed to use the images you find there in any way you like, we have at least one explanation of why my face keeps popping up in unexpected places.  I think next time it happens, though, I might just send the person an invoice…



If anyone’s particularly interested in the law relating to copyright of images on the internet, there’s a good article here which may be of interest.

  1. This is just too funny!!

    I do not really believe her story, but it cetainly does pose a good question, one that we often discussed on the fourms, if you are only showing the picture again, and discussing it, what harm is there? You put pictures on the internet to be seen, so unless its being used falsely, why shouldnt someone use it again.

    I read someones description of the web the other day, they said no one owns it, and no one is in charge, but there is just the Way of the Web that everyone follows anyway. Could it be that this Way has changed?

    1. Well, it’s not really “just showing the picture again and discussing it” – in this case it’s someone using the image commercially (not really much different from sticking my face on a billboard, and also misleading, because I’m not even wearing the product they’re trying to sell), and in the other cases it’s been people posting the image and saying that it’s a photo of them. And sure, I’ve been lucky so far in that the use of my image hasn’t been harmful, but what if they decided to use it to advertise something I don’t want to be associated with? Or someone posting on a message board for the Ku Klux Klan says it’s a photo of them?

      In the case of people reposting celebrity images for the purpose of discussion etc, well, that’s a greyer area and there are fair use laws in the US at least. I guess any “harm” is caused to the photographer, who does the work but doesn’t get any credit/payment for it from the people who steal the image. I know I don’t like it when people steal my writing and repost it (why should they profit from my hard work?) so I would imagine photographers probably feel much the same.

  2. I sell on ebay and the general ignorance of the law (not just on there, I hasten to add) is shocking. From copyright to the Distance Selling Regulations, there’s no end of transcretions with ignorance usually touted as the reason for flaunting them.

    People who steal my product images now get an invoice and a soliciters letter of intent. There’s only so much “I found them on t’interweb, so I can use them” a girl can take.

    Takes me ages to get my photo’s just so, grrrrrr

    1. I know, it’s amazing. I use images every day on my blogs, so I’ve had to learn what the law is and how those images can be used – as a business owner I just can’t afford not to know. A awful lot of people just seem to work on assumptions, though, and then use “Oh, I didn’t know any better!” as an excuse. Which, of course, won’t work when a hefty invoice drops through the door for use of copyrighted images!
      .-= Amber´s last blog ..How Heart Internet web hosting almost destroyed my business =-.

  3. October 29, 2009 at 11:39 am (Quote) I have used other people’s images on my blog before but i ALWAYS give photo credit unless they state free to use and i don’t post pictures of me anywhere so it’s less of an issue for me.

    Why does it keep happening to you though?

  4. That would freak me out too. If they weren’t used with permission, then (in most countries), that’s technically illegal. I don’t know if it’s worth any kind of claim here simply because they’re not making much money; the cost of a lawyer is probably a hundred times more than whatever profit they’re making. But there is the issue of using a public personality (which is what you totally are) and potentially harming the reputation of that person. In this case, not much, if any damage, will be done. But if a lawyer that specializes in image copyrights will talk to you for free about this for free, it won’t hurt.

  5. People really, really like your pictures, don’t they? Maybe that’s why that little kid freaked out in your earlier post. He saw your picture somewhere else was confused when he saw someone from the internet in the real world.

  6. I’m sorry but this would wind me up too, I read your other posts about people pretending to be you and it’s just wrong! I cna really relate because people steal product images off my website, images which I have spent hours taking, cutting out, enhancing etc only to use them on their own site to sell the same product on their site for a cheaper price! Everything on the net is not free for all and people need to learn that!! x

  7. You know Amber, I finally decided to Google your images as your imposters claimed to find the stuff there, and GUESS WHAT? The Kimberley Walsh lashes do NOT show your picture (you are NOT the father). Surprise, surprise. But guess what does? A Cheryl Cole one does. What a shock – she lied. My guess is she simply needed a picture of a real girl wearing false eyelashes. But can I just admit to something? I am constantly cooking recipes from some famous blogs, i.e. smitten kitchen and pioneer woman, and they are so good. As I eat whatever it is, I think to myself, this stuff is so good. My little collection is quite perfect. what would happen if i just went ahead and opened a restaurant where I cooked all of my favourite stolen recipes? From the bloggers, martha stewart, chefs, random people on the internet. I mean what would happen? Is it really that important to not do these things? The bloggers aren’t running such a restaurant. Why not simply feed people the way I feed my family? I feel like the internet is one of the easiest things to use to question what should be paid for and where your ideas are allowed to come from. Thinking about the internet makes all my old assumptions invert themselves.

    1. I know – as I said, I did point out to her that the advertising was false (as well as in violation of my copyright) because I wasn’t even wearing the product she was selling – she still genuinely didn’t seem to think she’d done anything wrongt though, and I think a lot of people are the same: it’s easy to break various laws online, so people just assume it’s fine to do it. Or say, “Well, everyone else does it…” My motto is that just because you CAN do something, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it – there are ethical considerations too.

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