It seems like every week another story is circulating around the industry about one photographer stealing from another. Often the theft is done to build a portfolio of images they then use to promote themselves with and gain more business. This morning, though, I experienced a first. I learned that another company has stolen a video, put their header logo on it and is sharing this video on their site to promote themselves. Amazingly this was a video we featured here on Fstoppers and even shared how the original creator and owner of the video Simeon Quarrie put the whole thing together.
The original video was created by the extremely talented Simeon Quarrie and was featured on Fstoppers back in May 2012. It was a story about how Quarrie and his team filmed a wedding and that same night put together a same day edit to share at the wedding reception. The first 5 minutes of the film show him filming and putting the whole thing together and the final product starts at about 5:18. Truly an incredible piece of work especially taking into consideration it was all done the same day and edited with very little time.
Here is the original video that includes the behind the scenes of how it was all put together on the day of the wedding.
Sadly though another videographer liked it enough that they are claiming it to be their own work. Here is the video being used without the permission. If you watch the two videos side by side you'll even notice that the stolen one has gone as far as editing a section in the middle of the highlight video where Simeon is seen and talks a bit about the whole experience.
(Edit: The video appears to have been removed from their site, but here are some screen shots of the videos playing side by side.)
(Edit #2: The website owner "CineFx.biz" has been taken their site down entirely leaving only a Zenfolio Error 404 site in its place.)
Finding stolen photos on the internet is pretty easy using some of the great tools out there such as reverse Google image search or TinEye. In fact, Fstopper's writer Noam Galai shared his story and a number of tools in an article published back in April called Five Simple Tips On How To Find Your Images Online. Unfortunately though, videographers don't have many of these tools available to them. Finding your stolen video online is much more difficult to do and really relies most on the help of others letting one another know when a stolen video is discovered.
The brazen theft in this case even happened to a video that was not set to be downloadable which means in order to capture it offline the guys had to use a third party software. Then once they had it they cut out the parts that showed the original film creator, added their logo and end credits into the film and finally embedded it into their site. Then again, maybe they were hacked! Isn't that what the excuse is every time we hear of something like this? Now please don't go grab your pitchforks and torches - that is not the intent of this article.
The moral of the story is that videographers really need to come together and help one another out to battle this issue. The more eyes in the sky there are the better off you will be. Hopefully someday soon, tools will be created to help videographers find their videos being used on other sites. Lastly, if you have ever considered stealing a video or photograph, don't. Not only will it give your business a permanent black eye once you are caught (and everyone is eventually caught) but think about how you are deceiving your clients. They see one thing and believe it to be yours. They expect to receive the same quality of work. If you were able to produce the same quality of work then you wouldn't have had to steal it in the first place. So, in the end your clients receive a product that is sub par to what you are representing as your work on your site and walk away unimpressed. That is not a way to build a business.