Monday, May 14, 2007

Only-Dreemin, Fine Art Thieves

stealing IS a crime, right?, originally uploaded by _rebekka.
Well mark this down as another fine art gallery that thought that they could rip someone's photos off just because they put their photos on Flickr. Rebekka Gu├░leifsd├│ttira (or more simply _rebekka as she is more popularly known on flickr) is one of flickr's most popular photographers and a friend of mine. In addition to doing interesting and provocative self portraiture work she also does some amazing Icelandic landscapes. But that's not why she's getting some attention this morning. She's getting attention this morning because she's posted the above composite to her flickrstream and written a post about how she's been ripped off by Only-Dreemin, a London based print-selling company. They also have an eBay store here. Rebekka says that this store basically ripped her photos, sold them for thousands of dollars and now won't compensate her for what they stole from her. In my case, a friend of mine came across their store on ebay and recognized one of my prints. (this was way back in january i think) I looked into the matter and discovered 7 more of my photos being sold there. In the case of pictures 1, 2, 6 and 7, the image had been divided up into 3 vertical panels. ( Something i would never DREAM of doing myself. ) Furthermore, the images had been given new and exciting titles, like "Seraque II" and "Attica", "Dawn expander II" and " Joga" (barf). 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. These prints sold for a total sum of 2450 british pounds (around 4840 US$ ) What makes this worse is that Rebekka is an art student and single mom living in Iceland and hardly has the money to pursue this company through the legal channels. She has tried and hired an attorney but is now left stuck with an attorney bill after this company still won't pay her for her work that they stole. At least a letter from the attorney was able to get her images (which are all right's reserved) off of Only-Dreemin's website. This isn't right. Stealing is not right. To take someone's photographs and then print them up and steal them sucks. It's a violation. A while back someone tipped me off that a guy out of Israel was selling prints of my work as the "exclusive" provider of Thomas Hauk (he misspelled my last name) prints on the internet. I emailed the guy and he took the photos down. You wonder for all the people that are getting caught ripping photos off of Flickr, how many are not getting caught. Only-Dreemin deserves to learn the lesson that stealing is not right. I'm sorry this happened to you Rebekka and hope that this company in the end makes things right with you financially and publicly apologizes for the way that they operate their business.