When Photo Thieves Get Caught, Photo Thieves Get Mad — REALLY Mad.

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I created Photo Stealers as not only a way for photographers to protect their copyrighted works and their clients’ rights but also to protect consumers from these photographers whom are misrepresenting their body of work.

Thus far, there has not been a single photographer listed on Photo Stealers by mistake. Often, those outed on Photo Stealers fight back, some more than others, but one of my latest cases has created a whole new level of fighting back.

In January, I received a submission on a photographer named SJK Photography based in Delray Beach, Florida. As with all submissions, I started my own research into the photographer and discovered that there were quite a few images on their Facebook Page that were not SJK Photography’s original works.

A photo taken from photographer Leah Robinson.

A photo taken from photographer Leah Robinson.

A photo taken from babyasart.com

A photo taken from babyasart.com

In the end there were about a dozen images posted to the Facebook page that I was able to source back to the original photographer. These images on SJK’s page had original watermarks removed and replaced with SJK Photography’s watermark along with stories about the session or the children in the images. I published the submission on January 21, 2015.

Initially, SJK Photography blamed hackers as the possible reason the images ended up on her Facebook Page with the SJK Photography watermark.

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However, there was an ad on a local Facebook Group that was placed by Stacie Klein, owner of SJK Photography, with two of the images from Frosted Productions in the ad for SJK Photography. I added this to the post on Photo Stealers to support the story I had posted.

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Eventually Stacie and her fiancé Bill (who claims the business is registered in his name) discovered who it is that runs Photo Stealers and they both left 1 star reviews for my photography business. In their review, they claim that I am unlicensed (Note: she was looking me up in the Florida registry, not the state where I am), made claims that people had attacked the looks of the children on her Facebook Page and stated I was psychotic.

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I have yet to see any proof of these alleged comments about the looks of SJK’s clients, despite asking for them. Two other reviews also popped up from friends of Stacie’s but both of those accounts have been deleted by Facebook.

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Stacie then copied her review and pasted it to many posts on my Facebook Page, including pasting it in reply to clients commenting on their images on my page.

I shared Stacie’s review to the Photo Stealers Facebook Page and Stacie replied in the comments again mentioning that I am unlicensed (I posted proof that I am) and stated I was jealous of her Loubotin shoes when I pointed out that the image in her cover photo was in fact, stolen from another photographer as well.

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Bill came in to defend Stacie, along with an account that has since been deleted from Facebook, using name calling and claiming that they were being bullied without showing evidence. Many people who commented on the thread also got messages from Bill on Facebook as well as 1 star reviews on their Facebook Pages.

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At this point I had a Cease and Desist sent to both Stacie and Bill. Around this time the reviews for my business were removed.

Meanwhile on the Photo Stealers Facebook Page, their lawyer friend came in to defend Stacie, stating that Stacie had all of the original RAW files for the images I claimed were stolen. These RAW images have yet to be shown.

A Ripoff Report entry soon appeared for my business with Stacie’s original review as the text of the complaint. Commenters supporting me on that page have been threatened with their own Ripoff Report.

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The photographers whose work had been stolen in the beginning soon began to receive emails stating that they were being given one chance to ask the owner of Photo Stealers (me) to take down the SJK blog post or they would be receiving their own Ripoff Report listing stating they hired cyber bullies to harass a person they claim to have stolen their work.

There has been two Facebook Pages created against Photo Stealers claiming that we are cyber bullies. Facebook has removed one of the pages but the second still remains. They have also created a Change.org petition against Photo Stealers claiming that they were wrongfully outed as thieves and have been attacked and suffered emotional distress as a result.

I have not once commented on SJK Photography’s Facebook Page. I have not left a single review for SJK Photography. I have not emailed, called or sent any communication to Stacie or Bill during any of this.

So be warned: when photo thieves get caught, photo thieves get mad.


P.S. You can find an even more in-depth documentation of everything that has happened on Photo Stealers and on Bullshizer.


About the author: Corey Balazowich is a photographer based in Northeast Ohio and the owner of Corey Ann Photography. She’s also the founder of the website Photo Stealers.


Image credits: Header photographer by Tambako The Jaguar

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