Jumping to conclusionsMikey 95 comments
It really is amazing just how easily people will jump to conclusions based on little or no evidence. We have all been guilty of it at some stage though, haven't we?
Single Mother and Art Student _Rebekka recently discovered several of her original photographs were being sold on OnlyDreemin.com, all without her knowledge. The photos were also being sold under different artist's names, all of which are suspected to be (and probably are) fake.
Upon further investigation, she was able to find OnlyDreemin's ebay store:
"I spent a good many days researching, going back thru their customer feedback, and was able to track back the sales of at LEAST 60 prints made from my images"
_Rebekka has a right to be upset, and who wouldn't be. Reading the comments left by her supporters I was amazed just how easily people assume the 'offenders' have deliberately done the wrong thing.
Today I have been in contact with OnlyDreemin and asked for clarification on this issue. I was saddened to learn they have received death threats over this matter, proving once again just how passionate people are, no matter how misguided, when it comes to this type of theft.
It turns out that _Rebekka is not the only one who has been taken advantage of. This is a portion of an email I received from OnlyDreemin today.
"Many thanks for asking for our side of the story rather than simply offering more death threats...
In August 2006, we were contacted by "Wild Aspects and Panoramics LTD" a company based here in London, they offered to show us some imagery, that they stated would be high resolution and we would have sole reselling rights. We were visited by a salesperson from the company and we liked what we saw
Anyway 2 weeks passed, emails were sent back and forth, basic research was done by us to enable us to resell them and then the paperwork was signed and a considerable amount of money was paid (Â£3000.00) by us , for us to start selling these images in the form of canvas prints.
6 months later we had a letter from a law firm in Iceland, stating we were using someone's images, we Googled the claimants name, lo and behold we found we had been duped!
As requested, we immediately removed the images from the internet and destroyed any copies of the images we had.
We emailed the law firm to state we had dealt with these requests and to apologise to their client.
We took legal advice, they told us say nothing more than we had, not recommending we contact the claimant and tell her what had happened, by the way we were very keen to do that, but we were told to avoid all contact.
In the meantime we started our own investigation into the above company's contacts and sources but have since found nothing more because the telephone doesn't get answered, mobiles are permanently off and emails are getting bounced back, it seems we were conned too.
As Rebekka has now decided to make this public, we can set about explaining to her why this has happened and of course, to apologise."
So there you have it, two sides as they say. That said, it is easy to understand why _Rebekka interpreted OnlyDreemin's actions as an attempt to quickly cover their tracks. I can hardly blame her. Heck, this article was originally going to be about the ever-increasing rise in online art theft. But I think the lesson learned here is far more important.
Jumping to conclusions can easily tarnish the reputation of an otherwise well meaning company. Sadly it happens all too often.
Update: Flickr have taken down _rebekka's post for no good reason I can think of. You can view a re-post of it on her blog.
Update 2:Flickr have acknowledged that made a mistake, and have restored _Rebekaa's blog.
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