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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The dirty underbelly of beauty blogging- Are you a victim of image and content theft?

Ah How I hate negativity on the blogosphere,after all beauty blogging is my favorite hobby & Beauty blogosphere is my place to catch up with like minded makeup enthusiasts, find great friends, to be creative and learn so much from fellow bloggers.
In my last 1.5 years of blogging I have always tried to steer clear of the negativity ,but after the recent chain of events I decided its very important to discuss a very serious issue-A risk all of us beauty bloggers face- Of image and content theft and also something more sinister- Identity theft.

I recently received a comment from Emm at Circular Insanity about a fake eye makeup entry she has received for her L'or Electrifying Eye Makeup contest, from a contestant-called Bidisha Banerjee.
Emm mentioned she received pictures of my 'Midweek Madness' Eye makeup look from Bidisha. I was totally stunned when I read this & I requested Emm to forward me the mail and content sent in by Bidhisha.
To my utter horror this Girl had copied my pictures & watermarked them and copied my entire post content and mailed to Emm as her contest entry!!!

Emm was kind enough to forward me the mail from Bidisha and the link to her post & her FB profile.

Here are the snapshots of the blog post hosted by Bidisha- 

She casually lifted eye makeup looks from 3 different bloggers and water marked it and then tried to enter a contest earn financial rewards from a 4th blogger. Obviously zero respect for the time, money,energy & effort put in by these 4 people.

It didn't strike her that all the three eye makeup looks belonged to 3 different people- had different ethnicity (as duly noted by Emm- one was caucasian, second oriental and third Indian!) different eye shapes and color and complexion.She tried to pass all three looks as hers!!  







After I mailed her regarding the legal repercussions of her little stunt, she was forced to take down the link to her fraud post.


Meet our young copycat blogger

Her explanation for the whole deal-

How much guts does it take to own up & say I'm sorry I made a mistake? Rather than dishing out this nonsense story about here friend sending her the images which she innocently sent as her own entry?!

This issue is very close to my heart as I feel very strongly about privacy issues.Its the audacity coupled with ample idiocy of a person who didn't think for a moment before stealing pics of my face & passing it off as hers.

Credibility Gap-Many of us read reviews online and buy products basis the recommendation of bloggers- this obviously raises very serious concerns about the authenticity of reviews being put up by many newbies who probably have never used or even seen the products they are writing about.

My second & more important concern is about identity theft, I have heard horror stories of fellow bloggers who have had their pictures being misused by some fakers to create false identities on FB.
Its incredibly easily for any random stranger to get all details about your life and have a field day with your data.Considering privacy on the web is a mere illusion, one needs to be extra careful about putting up their pictures (especially full face pics) on the web.

What Can you do to stop it?

1. Contrary to popular belief watermarking your images won't prevent theft, anybody with elementary Photoshopping skills can still lift your photos.So be cautious about which images you post on the net.
However as a basic deterrent it is advisable to watermark your images,if you don't want to spoil the look of your images you can try digital watermarking, it is invisible to naked eye but ,makes it very easy to trace if someone has copied your images.I had not been watermarking my images and I'm going to start doing it now.

2.Put up a Copyright notice on your blog- I'm posting this ASAP on my own blog.

3.Search chunks of your content on Google & other search enginesto identify if someone has copied your content.

4.Report the copycats- If you spot plagiarized content then do report it.

5.Trust reviews only from credible sources.

My message to all the people who obviously have no appreciation of the creative process, patience,practice,photography skills, writing and editing & extreme hard work and burning the midnight oil it takes a Beauty Blogger  to create original content.

Cut -copy- paste, does not a blog make.

Be original and write something close to your heart & something you believe in,not just to win a contest or some freebies, but because you love blogging.

If you feel strongly about this issue, please share this post around with your friends.
Take care Girls, stay safe !

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48 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am appalled but not entirely surprised. There are plenty of women ( and men) who unfortunately vile something which is supposed to be fun and relaxing. About credibility, yes, I can;t help agreeing again. With due respect, with blogs cropping up every now and then, the reviews etc. seems numerous, but effective help comes from a very selective few.

    Luckily I haven't had such reports yet. I'm not sure if this is my bliss of ignorance. Your post makes me think twice. May be I should start watermarking my images again, just for whatever safeguard it might offer

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    1. Totally agree with you Nivs, my blog is not a source of income for me I do it purely for the joy it gives me. Even I was blissfully unaware that my pics and content could have been stolen without me being aware about it. I'll start watermarking and putting up copyright notices. Suggest you also start doing it God knows what kind of weirdos are out there...

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  3. It really seems stupid where this girl wrote my friend sent me her two entries and told both belonged to0 her.I hope this girl has seen her friend and hop she doesnot have 2 pairs of eyes! :p Such stupid clarification! Most of my posts were copied by people and sent to rekha mohan as giveaway entry.In my international giveaway, I received 3 posts from this girl Anupama eyyunni, she had copied all 3 posts from random blogs, I trusted her and posted one of those on my blog mentioning giveaway entry, then you guess I got a mail from a girl with link that its copied and all, I was damn hurt,I mean it put my credibility in risk! I always watermark my images, but from now onwards will do it properly, i do it at the margin, which I wont do now! God knows why these people stoop so low. Anyways I am loving the incolor gloss 29 i got from you, that flomar lipgloss shade is soooo pretty! :)
    You got my mail?

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    1. I totally relate to your experience Manya even I received fake entry in my bridal eye makeup contest and the girl who sent it- Rythem bhatia (obviously an alias) sent it to another blogger's artistic eye makeup contest. I contacted the blogger and intimated that we both received fake entries and guess what the other blogger didn't even bother to reply to my 3 mails on the topic and never took down the post. I felt very upset over this and I have not hosted any contests and giveaways for past 6 months due to these fakers... Sad 'coz genuine makeup enthusiasts suffer due to these fraudulent bloggers/ contest entrants.....

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  4. just horrible!!!! stupidity+dishonesty is the most puke-worthy combination on earth! It is very difficult to keep track whether your pics and posts are being copied-who has the time man! First spend time on your own article-and then ransack the world to find that some jerk has copied it!!!Again on EOTD and FOTDs it is impossible to watermark-I guess the only way out is awareness and exposing of such thefts!!!

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    1. Thanks for your support dear, means a lot.. I'm definitely implementing watermarking and copyrighting content at least that shud help... What to do this world is filled with all types of weirdos ...

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  5. my god..this is horrible..and i totally agree with Nivedita..
    and these people's only punishment is humiliation in public..just like u posted her profile screenshot here..she deserved it.

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    1. Thanks Kuheli, I was not comfortable posting her FB profile but she left me little option if I don't highlight this other people might be buying crappy stuff on her reccomnendation..hope she doesn't repeat her antics in future

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  6. Goodness..!! And how dumb to send three different eyes from different origination..like so obvious..and ya many are copying..the newbie bloggers are even copying the PR posts now..:/

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    1. Yes just like that saying ' you make something foolproof and somebody will make a better fool' I while to see new blood and fresh insight many newbies bring to the table but blatant copy paste jobs are just tacky ..

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  7. This is so shocking, it is a good thing that these issues come up in light and every one knows. But how many bloggers are suffering from these copy issues is unknown.

    These smart people think that they can copy the content and easily get with it. They do not know how much time and effort goes into a work done by a blogger. How cheap of them to easily copy content to earn some gifts...

    Kudos to you for your efforts dear. These are just passing clouds. Don't worry. I am sharing this for sure.

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    1. Thanks for your support Indu it means a lot :)

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  8. thats a very serious issue Pooja ... and as far as i remember and have seen you ... you have always maintained a long distance from all the hatred amongst bloggers and all the controversies as well ...
    bad things happen to good people only and again is this is proved ...
    thanks for this post and making us aware what can be done in this blogging community if we do not pay attention :(

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    1. Thanks Rashmi really appreciate your support! I don't want to play the victim card but Its scary what people can do with your images and I think I learnt a lesson from this experience. I strongly believe that we should all take a firm stand on this kind of blatant plagiarism.If we don't then these trolls won't even bat an eyelid before walking all over us.

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  9. OMG!!! This is atrocious Poo..am really shocked..how can someone do this??From the pictures, even I can clearly say that these are Pooja's eyes..:)..For a new blogger like me, this is an eye opener Poo..thanku for warning us..Jus forget it and focus on ur work..:)

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    1. Thanks Preetha I'm not going to let this distract me, of anything I intend to be more conscious going forth.thanks for all your support :)

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  10. Jeez louise! People are not only stupid enough to copy and paste but also make excuses about it! I was sent these pictures by my frend" still proves that you intended to cheat!*rolling eyes*

    Once it was brought to my attention that a newbie had taken some of my earlier pics and posted on her blog as her own.After writing to her, she removed her blog entirely.Does that mean you can't write an original thought at all?Theres plenty for everyone to cover in the world of beauty.I started placing a logo on my pics.It can be circumvented as u said Pooja, but hopefully it will deter the amateurs from "borrowing" ideas when they see they will have extra work to remove it.
    I really suggest that we all start placing logos, copyright marks, watermarks etc. on our pics.Its simple to place them.

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    1. LOL yes one needs brain to even cheat!! Guess our little miss copycat didn't think about using her grey cells! Lesson learnt put watermark and copy right your content. I wish these copycats would put fraction of effort in creating original content than they do copy pasting..

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  11. oh dear this is shocking..its completely illegal..I don't understand the need to do such things nwaz I guess for beauty bloggers its a lesson to be more careful

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    1. Yes Parul, we all need to be very careful while putting up our pics online...

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  12. It is getting crazy no?

    I have had my content stolen many times - once a reader alerted me, someone had copied my review for uses of lactocalamine word for word on mouthshut, then of course, a blogger who runs style & fashion etc blog copied one one my posts word for word on lip balms.. I have had so called "reputed" bloggers also steal my content. They cry when others steal "PR" posts which are not their copyright in any case, since they didn't write or create the images with it, but will copy content from my blog without so much as a mention or acknowledgement.

    Am glad you wrote about this. I hope this serves as a warning to future imposters that you can't just get away with it. And also kudos to Emm for being alert about these things. :)

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    1. Yes Tanz this blatant copying is getting too rampant... And it's very disturbing trend, I stewed over it for 4 days and i was not sure posting about this and details of this Girl who stole my pics, but I realised someone needs to take a tough stand on these else it will just embolden other copycats if I don't report this. Thanks to Emm who is very vigilant and took time out to report this. Couldn't have done it without her help..

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  13. Thats a really serious issue.. and thats why I never had the heart n faith to to FOTD on the blog, the fear of fake profiles creeps me out :(

    But you can regularly check copied contents using http://www.copyscape.com/ and as soon as possible get a copyright.

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    1. Yes Divya exact same reason I don't post FOTD or outfit posts, u never know who lurks on blogosphere and what they do with your pics. I'm implementing this copyright note asap

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  14. I hate when this happens..Some idiot copeid my naked palette dupe from inglot and posted the entire thing word for word..I had google take down her blog. Google responded very swiftly..and I m glad they did

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    1. Oh gosh, I so loved that post, still have it bookmarked in my favorites
      Good you reported it, no point taking this nonsense lying down

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  15. oh my god!!! This is horrible. Its such a shame that ppl can stoop to this level. We put in so much effort & time and this is what other people do in the end. Good that you posted about this. Kudos to Emm for finding this and
    mailing it out to u.

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    1. Yes Ammu, some people will stoop to any low for a handful of makeup :( so thankful to Emm for reporting this

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  16. its just so shameless of her......there was that other case also which u told me in metro....god knows how many times it might have happened!!! luckily u got hold of her....maybe the fb profile is also fake and the dp is of some other girl!

    btw which software are u using for digital watermarking?

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    1. Honestly with trolls like these one can't be sure of anything...I wasn't watermarking till now but that's my next weekend blog project, will research an let you know the options available

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  17. OMG this actually happened? Wow! what audacity this girl has... unbelievable! I can imagine the shock you must have had... Its a shame really! WOW! I am still reeling from this utterly fraudulent act!

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  18. cooking up stories , to cover ones fault......its pretty evident!...Blogging is something light and stress busting, why do people induce bitterness into it!! I am only 2.5 months into blogging, and hearing about such demeaning things, makes me wonder, how can people be so much lacking in integrity ....
    will take the necessary precautions ,.........you also be happy, that originality rules ....

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  19. Blogosphere is full of Cheaters n liars and dis is d proof of it. How shameless these creatures are! dey steal our work n pics and dis shows dey are Losers.... We put our efforts and time and Cheaters just copy and paste

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  20. Is winning a contest is more than one's self respect? I think people out there think 'blogging' is a joke . These incidents are shocking

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  21. happened to me too... a girl sent me a guest post and it was copied from a blogger.. and that blogger was so furious that she mailed me calling all sorts of names and dhamkis... I felt so bad- tab se I've stopped press releases also :((

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  22. This is totally insane Pooja! blogging has lost all its charm and beauty :( I was shocked to see my blog post photos stolen and posted by couple of ebay sellers! And once I received blog post entries for my giveaway copied from Mehak's and Tapaswini's blog and the girl gave a reason that her friend downloaded it for her by mistake and she didnt know about it!!! I was like "excuse me!! you are sending me an entry and on top of that saying that you copied it from another blog!!" Man seriously just look at her guts!!

    Good that you wrote this post! I am definitely with you!

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  23. OMG that's terrible!! I was thinking about watermarking my photos, but I felt dumb because I just started blogging -____-

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  24. This person is taking part in my giveaways too.. Her entire Facebook/ Twitter is filled with nothing but contests and giveaways. No friends, no life, nothing. Talk about desperate. :/ It sucks that this happened to you, we all really have to be more careful from these losers...

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  25. thnx for the post...she is in my giveaway also

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    1. Hi Smita, welcome to my blog :)
      Plz be careful about this girl's entries and if possible avoid her coz you might not even know when somebody has sent in plagiarized content.. all the best!

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  26. Oh my! I had seen a lot of bloggers putting copyscope on their blogs but never thought such acts of content theft were so prevalent. Thanks a ton for this post as it will help a lot of us protect their own content now!

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  27. very nice sharing regarding beauty find out more how celebrities maintain her self and looking younger then her original age get complete beauty tips

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  28. I can give you aa advice that just disable the right click and edit option in your blog so no one can copy your material.

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  29. How to do that Piu? I have added random photos taken from google search, to put in my posts about general topics but I always give image courtesy at the end of the post. Is that alright? For products reviews I give my own pictures.

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  30. I am so horrified to read this!! You have done the right thing by exposing her. I have also seen her entering several contests and giveaways. Could you please tell me how to do digital watermarking? I am new to these things and I am now worried about the safety of my personal pics.
    Regards,
    Oindrila

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  31. I just began my beauty blog and was googling "plagiarism beauty blog" when I found this. Thanks so very much for sharing your tips! As a former journalist, I can't tell you the number of people I have seen land in deep trouble for plagiarising. I think I'll stick to product photos I myself take, rather than face-tutorials, until I learn more. Apart from the legal stuff, isn't there some kind of action you (and other bloggers) can take? Such as banning her from entering contests or following or posting comments or something? Mass blacklisting by all beauty bloggers?

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