Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Plagarism!!

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    Has anyone had trouble with fauxtog’s copying their work? How do you deal with these issues?

    I am currently attempting to deal with a guy that has blatantly coppied two shoots from I project I do, but he refuses to acknowledge that he has coppied them, however badly, and wont take them down.
    We have threatened him with legal action but he doesn’t seem to care.

    If you want to see what he has coppied, these are our images:




    and you can clearly see the coppies on his website:


    He hasn’t put them up on facebook yet, although I can imagine they will be there soon:



    Feel free to tell him he is a plagiarist!!


    I don’t know exactly how I feel about this.  Plagiarism?  No.  Fauxtographer? Certainly not.  I quite enjoyed looking through their port (other than too many shots, and some not so great compared to others.  Not crazy for their weddings and events at all).
    I’m one of those photographers that loves when others photographers inquire about a shot. I give a very detailed description and have even took shots for them of my complete set up when they ask.  I have even cheered for them when they share their shot and tell them how much I enjoy it.  I find it flattering as heck, and also very interesting how different people interpret and create similar/same ideas.  One  object in particular that I regularly shoot, gets lots of inquiries.  Water beads/orbeez), and I encourage people to shoot them.  I even wanted to start a group for it for people to share their orb creations.
    How many photos of water drops have you seen?  What about landscapes?  How many people have gone to Yosemite and set up just where Adams had?  I’m surprised there isn’t permanent indents formed from tripods there.

    But, I’m not trying to make a living off my shots.  I don’t know if that would be a game changer for me, or not.

    I wouldn’t personally intentionally try to emulate anyone’s work for commercial/marketing purposes, (although it IS a great way to learn) especially if my shots barely swayed at all from the original idea.  But again I am not a portrait tog trying to sell my services.  Maybe this would change the game for me.  I mean people use ideas and emulate them all the time when selling portraiture.  To the point that’s its almost expected.  What makes this instance different than say… Clients holding up a darn chalk board, or heart hands, or a girl in a field holding balloons? Or using the very same props and backgrounds that are plastered all over the web?
    What makes it different for me is you aren’t going to reproduce this for anyone else.  Like if you had a client request it, if they didn’t look anything like your previous model, would you actually be able to recreate it.  Chances are you would most likely chose a set up more tailored to the individual.  Unlike how more family/public portrait services go down.

    In his shoes, I’d probably oblige and take the shots down even IF I felt it was my own artistic creation.  You are both in the same area I take it?  If so even more reason to oblige.  He doesn’t need them, he has plenty of nice work to fill his port, they are very similar to someone else’s work, very very similar, and it’s not a shoot that he would ever recreate for his target audience.  Top that off with you being angry about it, and it’s a no brainier.

    Maybe it’s more out of spite that he keeps them up at this point.  After reading this post I can only imagine how hostile you were in your correspondences with him.

    No not plagiarism, not as far as I’m concerned.  Besides doesnt plagiarism just apply to the written word?


    Oh, how would I handle it if I try to put myself in your shoes?  I never really answered your question.  I’d probably laugh a little, feel really proud/flattered and if I felt the need to talk with him about it, it would have probably went more like this.

    Im so happy that my photos inspired you so much that you felt compelled to try to recreate them.  Im very flattered.  Then I would have complimented my favorite shots, maybe a slight critique.  Then went on to say “if you like these shots you may love these” and maybe link to some togs in the same genre that inspire Me. I do feel a little uncomfortable with having a photographer in my area with such similar shots in their portfolio, and I hope my followers don’t come to the conclusion that it was me who emulated your shots.    It would be quite embarrassing for me, as Its very important to me, to be as original as possible for my clients.  It’s something that I take great pride in.  Or yadda yadda something similar.

    this would let him know that you know, and that it makes you uncomfortable, and it wouldn’t come off so harsh or critical.

    I know that if in HIS shoes, and  it was handled this way, the pictures in question would have a very short life online


    Just something to make you think, maybe if you watch this series, you will feel a little differently



    Ok, thanks for your feedback.


    Has anyone had trouble with fauxtog’s copying their work? How do you deal with these issues?

    I am currently attempting to deal with a guy that has blatantly coppied two shoots from I project I do, but he refuses to acknowledge that he has coppied them, however badly, and wont take them down.
    We have threatened him with legal action but he doesn’t seem to care.


    He doesn’t seem to care because case law is on his side.  If you proceed, you may find you are paying his legal bills.

    I didn’t find similar photos to your second link, the girl with over-done blue eye make up.  I see similarities between your first link of the girl with the glasses and his version.  Similar make up, similar glasses, his girl looks like a real red head, yours has the wrong colour eyes and her hair appears to be lightened a lot.  He has more photos up from his shoot than you do of yours.  So you are claiming you have total rights to shoot some girl in extra large lens glasses, who has reddish hair, green lip gloss, purple eye shadow and possibly no cloths.  Since I took a photo of my wife sitting in a lounge chair, reading a book, does that mean that no one else can ever take a similar photo?  I don’t think that will fly very well.  Is there any proof that your photos were posted, and seen by Stolk Photography before their shoot?  Are you sure their photos weren’t taken first?  They don’t have to have published them first, just to have shot them, and immediately the question becomes did you take their idea.

    I can’t find a link, I think I may have seen it in PhotoPro magazine.  A photographer sued another over a photo of a woman’s legs, high heel shoes, and panties around her ankles, she was sitting in a toilet cubicle.  Much like you are claiming, the claim was that the idea was being stolen.  I forget the details but the end result was that the judge decided there was nothing particularly unique about a woman’s panties around her ankles while wearing high heels and sitting on a toilet, regardless of the various colours involved.

    In another case, it went the other way.  The case had to do with a tin of biscuits in England.  The tin had a red double-decker bus, Big Ben, and the House of Parliament on it.  Someone else created a very similar picture and the second person was sued by the first.  The judge in that case found in favour of the first person because of the way the elements were arranged in both photos.  I believe the reasoning was that the photo was a composite and you could not simply place your tripod in the same place and release the shutter when the bus drove past.  The second aspect was that the second person admitted to seeing the tin’s picture before creating the picture that resulted in the law suit.

    Looking at the gallery you pointed us to, I definitely do not see the work of a fauxtographer.



    OP: Copying a style is not an infringement (unless that person has previously shown to have committed an actual copyright violation). That happened in the UK, where a guy who had previously stolen images from a photographer started copying his style instead, and was slapped again with infringement. If you’ve already shown to be an IP thief, you need to keep “arms length” from the victim or it shows bad faith, which cannot be construed as coincidental. (That’s the red bus case in the above post.)

    There are exceptions to styles, such as trademarks, but that’s really unlikely to stick regarding a style of photography… plus you’d have to trademark it and have a product… and I just can’t see it happening in reality.

    The only real solution you have is to own the style better and produce a better product … and an attitude adjustment would help a lot. When I say “own the style”, I mean that you should produce copious amounts of work in that style and make sure all keywords searches will find your huge portfolio first. As far as attitude adjustment, see it as a compliment. Don’t rake muck, but if anyone asks about the other guy you should happily (not angrily) reply that he’s been copying your style for X years. Add something funny like “When people started copying my style, that’s when I knew I was a real photographer!” The more bitter you are, the more of a turnoff it is for potential clients.


    But make sure you actively do something to own your style. If you don’t, it could be lost. As Picasso said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Don’t let him become a great artist at your expense.


    i watch america’s next top model, mostly to see the end pictures they show of the models, and a few years back they did a shoot where all the models were in water with pretty much only nose up of the head was shown(a few had hands/arms or legs also in the shot). so based on what you are saying about the copying ideas, i could say that you are copying that photoshoot with your picture of the girl with only nose up showing in the water. people get similar ideas and not much you can do about it. it’s like hair styles, there was once a person to be the first with a Mohawk, so should that person be allowed to sue anyone else who gets one? i’m sure that person is long dead, but i find the point still stands.


    i do say that the big hair and colors are too close for my liking if it was my pictures, but comes down to like what was said, what proof is there they saw your pictures before they took theirs? but i do see the flattery in it, if they really saw your pictures first then took the pictures, just means they liked the idea so much they wanted to do their own set. but the poses aren’t exact, so aside from how the model looks, it doesn’t look like they were trying to copy the picture.


    i’m probably about to ramble, so i’m just going to leave this topic now.


    I’m sure if I look far back enough in the annals of photography, I can find images that look exactly like yours. Does that mean you copied them?


    Everyone in the history of fine art photography has copied someone in some way and especially in fashion photography. To say that you’re work is completely original would be ignorant, this person did take a lot of ideas from you, I agree, but there’s nothing that can be done aside from be flattered and move on.

    In fact, when looking at your portfolios, I discovered your Week 35 Album and was immediately reminded of something: Sinead O’ Connor’s album cover. Did you have that in mind when you made the pictures? Maybe, maybe not. Does that mean that you stole the idea?

    Album Cover: http://img.noiset.com/images/album/sinead-o-connor-fire-on-babylon-album-cover-19989.jpeg

    Your Image from Week 35: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=375178155934562&set=a.375178122601232.1073741833.263848790400833&type=3&theater



    We are Stolk Photography.

    Looking at out webstats, I suddenly saw a back link to our site and so I found this forum.

    And now I remember your offensive language again.

    For all to read: Once we did a model shoot with a few models in a Health clinic. All nice and fine. One of the models of that session told us she wanted to another session with us. All good. We set a date and we had the idea to use water. Our neighbors have a pool which we could use. The model brought her own make-up artist. So, let’s make this clear… her make-up artist applied the make-up she wanted and we were not involved in this. For us, make-up doesn’t really matter. The model indicated that she had this idea but was refused to do such a session with another photographer. We used several props included some glasses, sunglasses, reading glasses, etc. We completed the shoot and a release form was signed. next we processed the images. We gave the model the agreed shots and of course, we own the copyright and are free to do whatever we want. Weeks later you contacted us, calling us names, threaten us with court, demanding we took the images down, etc etc.

    Mate, if you would have explained the whole thing in a normal tone, we would have been happy to delete those photos because we have thousands and really don’t need those. But you kept going, threatening and the whole thing became very, very unpleasant and unprofessional.

    We were happy it stopped although we did made some legal inquiries ourselves and as other already are telling you: you don’t own the exclusive rights on models with red hear and green lips wearing glasses. You would indeed have no case at all. Again, we followed the models idea and we learned later that she had that idea for a long time but you rejected her.And she is free to run with her idea.

    But… here is the thing now. Buy accusing us of plagiarism, you have hurt us and now we will seek legal assistance how to handle your campaign.

    For others: feel free to contact us to discuss this issue.



    Old thread but interesting nonetheless.  Personally, I am of the belief that (you may have heard this), there are no new ideas.  Everything new is simply something old rehashed, repackaged, glossed over.  Something is “new” when someone has gone to lengths to convince someone else that it’s new and ta-da, it’s copyrighted!  Now, this isn’t the same as taking a pic and having someone else claim it as their own.  We all know that’s wrong and would not do so, other than the people with no morals who do so.  Imitating or taking pics “in similar circumstances or that look similar” is not theft or plagiarism.  There have been cases where some people have been able to convince others that their pic is sooooo unique that any other pic that’s remotely similar is forbidden.  Please.  I know I wouldn’t be too pleased if someone took a pic that was exactly like one of mine that makes money, thus cutting into my income but pics of similar circumstances or elements?

    As a wedding photographer, not only I but most any potential bride has and can see that all photographers in my area (plenty of us) have similar shots at some point.  Are we all suing each other for theft?  No.  Sooner or later, in the same venue, park, church, street and so on, we will end up taking similar shots.  Our portfolios and styles differ but at some point, some photos will be similar in pose, lighting and location.  Got a unique idea for a shot?  Guess what?  So did someone else and lo and behold, it happened to be quite similar.  That doesn’t make it actionable.  I guess if you have enough money and can convince people that it somehow “belongs” to you, you could and that’s unfortunate.

    The OP might want to cruise the internet.  I would not be surprised at all if you find thousands of women with red hair, googly glasses and green lipstick.  They aren’t your pics though.



    This forum never stops to amaze with some of the stuff that comes up here. Yes the images look the same but so what? How many times have we seen the girl in a shawl since McCurry did it? He’s not out to sue anyone, take it as a compliment.

    Your attitude does leave a lot to be desired though.


    No artist exists in a bubble, all art is either inspired by something previous or a reaction against something previous. Every single artist, photographer, musician whatever, is standing on the shoulders of everyone that ever came before him or her.

    To take an existing idea and make it your own is what art is all about.

    It’s debated if Picasso actually said it or not but Steve Jobs certainly did, and that is:

    “bad artists copy; great artists steal” which is a very interesting quote indeed.



    my bad. it’s “good artists copy; great artists steal” 🙂

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