By Paul Pannone
An ongoing eWedNewz poll shows 90% of respondents so far saying they disapprove of internet theft. Yet thievery on the Internet continues to run wild. eWedNewz digs deeper to find what’s behind the disparity between how people are voting– and how they could be acting.
Discussions with wedding experts in the Wedding Water Cooler gave various reason about why the poll number against thievery is so high and how people justify their actions.
Whether Christine is thinking like a bride, a wedding marketer, a web developer, or a conscientious person, she’s always thinking.
“It’s people protecting their property and not thinking twice of lifting an image, a song, an idea, etc., from the next person,” says Christine Boulton.
According to Boulton internet thievery is a growing and unsolvable problem that will continue to get worse. Like driving 56 in a 55 MPH zone or taking office supplies from work the inability to enforce every single act of larceny comes down to feasibility.
There are laws and speed limits that could be enforced. But to the greatest degree on the Internet, every thing is legal– as long as you don’t get caught.
“Eventually there will be laws; to at least guide people as to what to do and what not to do. Speeding for example; everyone does it. People speed and break the law every day in this country. A huge percentage get away with it. The few that don’t have to really be going over the limit to get pulled over or just be really unlucky that day,” says Boulton.
Similar statements and expanded thoughts from other WWC members, including David Fuhrer said the following:
“Rigid organized enforcement. Thus far only the music & film industry have possessed the deep-pockets & fortitude to pursue pirated copyrighted material. The result to the pirate is harmful in so much as the music labels aren’t looking to settle, they seek a court judgement against the pirate. They have seceded to a degree and judgement against those that they have pursued are for like $100K. This serves as a deterrent.
In almost every other industry, no organized enforcement exists, placing–in the Wedding Industry–the onus of pursuing a remedy against anything pirated upon the person or company affected or stolen from. Atop of all this is a very vague ability to meet a “burden of proof”. Internet content is accessible & housed upon so many variables, that “burden of proof” is nearly impossible in regards to who is responsible.
If a photo of a tuxedo is pirated off a copyright protected website, who does the victim pursue? The person who lifted the image, the operating system upon the device they used to lift the image, the browser that took them to the page upon which the image was copyright displayed? Add to that the fact that so many browsers, operating systems, and platforms exist…and the FACT that all of them are unified in regards to the “Internet must be kept open and free..or it is a Constitutional Rights infringement—not a copyright infringement” and you have a mess, without over-site or a Government-State-Industry enforcement body that can enforce.
The mess is only going to gain momentum…unless rigid enforcement is achieved and the general population realizes that pirating results in huge fines and jail time….and that ain’t happening any time soon,” says Fuhrer.
In nearly all discussions with WWC members the lack of governing laws and guidelines are looked upon as a green light to steal, pilfer, plagiarise with no limits. Some feel the weak attempts made are nothing more than idle warnings to the real perpetrators and abusers.
Jim Duhe told eWedNewz, “The people and companies who are being victimized by internet thievery naturally agree that it’s a terrible business practice. If you had polled the companies responsible for producing counterfeit merchandise, at least 90% probably would agree that the practice is acceptable. The thievery continues because there is no practical means to put an end to it. There is no prosecution and there are no penalties. The offending companies in illegal web-copying of wedding dresses close and reopen the following day under a different name. Because these companies are headquartered in China, it’s almost impossible to have a meaningful impact on their conduct under the current legal structure.
Consumers have had years to become accustomed to the high quality of counterfeit handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, and a variety of other products being produced in China. However, the cost of producing these items is vastly different from the cost of producing bridal apparel. Therefore, the quality of counterfeit bridal apparel is measurably inferior to the original. Moreover, many counterfeiters pirate images of the original merchandise to sell their inferior quality knock-offs. There is no way for consumers to know that these images are being used without the original designer’s permission. They assume that the images accurately represent the merchandise they are purchasing. This creates a situation in which the consumer always loses.”
In interviews and discussions with small operators to Celebrity Brand personalities eWedNewz detects the frustration, even from people with the means to prosecute. Celebrity Brand Planner, Samantha Goldberg, told eWNz;
“I have been a victim of this for so long and I have learned that while it isn’t right and should not be tolerated, in speaking with lawyers etc..I do have have a patent on whats on my site. There is no reason to have one. If it was proven that I lost work due to someone taking my information I could press charges. If I cannot prove that it has destroyed my brand, taking business away etc…There is nothing that can be done with the exception of having the industry as my back-up to fight with specific situations.
It’s dirty,it’s wrong and those who take it, have not become more successful. However, it’s a violation of what I have accomplished. Luckily for me, my fish tank look most people know it was my idea as it was on TV and published a few times. Does it stop people? No.
Even with the fabulous support from you and some influential people etc..They do not listen. The situation with Koyle Wholesale a LARGE VERY VERY well known wholesale company has my work on their site is horrible. Not only is this wrong but they snuck those photos..I have emailed and called asking them if stealing has caused them to have a better market share? How did they come up with such a grand idea? I asked for credit…I said I will allow you to use this, but you need to do what is right and give credit where it’s due…Nope.
They must have had someone working that event and took personally or they stole off the manufacturers site www.fancyfaces.com This is the worst form of stealing. Not only are they saying they are the ones who made it, but are using an idea I designed based on this company “fancy faces” and stating they can sell to the public which is not the practice of www.fancyfaces.com. This design and tools for it are for PROFESSIONALS ONLY and rentals…or buying it to use…Heck they (Fancy) could be selling on the side, don’t think FF would do that….
Bottom line, we could change a few ways so those cannot steal or copy a concept..It’s not going to end unless legally it’s shown that they have taken business away…If you could get numbers of how much business now we are talking..If you cannot, you lose.”
Blatant disrespect and scofflaw abounds on the Internet, according to victims. Some members of the WWC group say they’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars defending against thievery, only to win hollow victories.
“Not only have I been a victim of my work being used as their own, both my websites were copied with a slight misspelling in the word Caribbean. Hence if you entered the incorrect spelling all hits, visits etc would go to these thieving bastards.
Then there are those who blatantly steal in another way by flouting contractual deals when the revenues come in. I have seen it or been and still is a victim of these terrible people,” says Jacqueline Johnson of Marry Caribbean.
It’s been nearly a week since eWedNewz reached out to SnapKnot to find out what they have to say about allegations against them. So far they have not responded but neither has any photographers that may share culpability in borrowing images or creative ideas of competitors. According to members of the Water Cooler photographers are among the most dishonest when it comes to taking work from others.
“We’ve all seen dishonest people who hide their dishonesty by declaring the acts they themselves do all the time; as wrong. Just because someone says “I’m honest, stealing is wrong, people shouldn’t lie” it doesn’t mean they believe it. What they really mean is “they don’t want people to know they aren’t honest, it’s ok to steal as long as they are doing the stealing, and people shouldn’t lie to them; but they will definitely lie to everyone else”. Those people suck,” says Sandra Aaron.
eWedNewz continues our investigation into this story and welcomes your thoughts.
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