[Update] The Stolen Scream - One Year Later

Its been a year since "The Stolen Scream" video was published here on Fstoppers- and what a crazy year it was since then. In this post I will update you on some of what happened with this story. The video was viewed over 330,000 times, and the story itself was featured in many big news outlets (Gizmodo, Time, American Photo Mag, MSNBC and others), and became a case study in many colleges around the world. Its even on Wiki now.

With all the craziness around this story, I got tons (and when i say tons, i mean tons) of emails and phone calls from people who wanted to ask questions or just send me more stolen scream examples they found. I can now say that I have seen more stolen screams this year than ever before.

So in case you missed some of the media coverage about The Stolen Scream in the past 12 months, here are some of the news stories that were published after the video came out:

To see the rest of the stories click here and here and browse.

When the story came out and when I became aware of how many people saw the video and read the stories, I was sure I would recieve a lot of emails from lawyers. Someone would want to represent me in a case like this right? Surprisingly, I can say less than 3 lawyers contacted me regarding this case. On the other hand, a lot of random people contacted me to buy prints and shirts of the scream picture which is always nice. I even saw a young girl walking in New York with one of my original scream shirts few months ago, which I have to say is much better than seeing people with the stolen version. One other cool thing that happened, is that people started sending me gifts with the scream photo on them, for example a Dutch artist who sent me a painting of the stolen scream she made right before the story came out, and when she realized she used my photo she took it out of her gallery and sent it directly to me. Another example is a guy who makes pins, and sent me pins with the scream image on them for me to give out. Cool people!

Photo: Gino Depinto

If you thought that telling my story would change anything and bring and end to the mass theft, sadly you would be wrong. This year I found a huge number of new cases and uses of my image around the world. I'm actually a little proud to say it was used a lot in the Arab Spring - mainly in Egypt and Syria. It was on signs and graffiti along with handbills and facebook pages and events. Its nice to know i could help them somehow.

Other than the Arab Spring, I found my face appearing as a stage set for a big show in Argentina, in galleries in Italy and England, on signs in the Ukraine, on school diplomas in Ecuador, and to be honest if I continue with examples we'll need a new server. They are just unending.

One crazy thing that is still hard for me to process is that apparently many colleges and universities around the world are now teaching their students about me and my story. In a lot of those classes they even show the video and talk about it. Some students even told me they have homework about me. Its nice, because I never went to a college/university, but now professors teach about me. It's a great honor to know that im helping teach people about law, the viral power of the internet, or even something so simple as the power of an image.
I even heard rumors that next year colleges might even add my story to textbooks. Crazy.

And for those of you who are interested, here is a very quick update on all I've done this year that is not related to the stolen scream: I was invited to photograph some events with the First Lady in the White House; photographed Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, Christina Grimmie, Lady Gaga, Adrian Grenier and others; Was flown to shoot the Euroleague Final Four in Barcelona, Spain; and to end the year I did a photoshoot of New York from a helicopter on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This photo was chosen by LIFE Magazine and by Vanity Fair as one of the best pictures of 2011. What a great honor and a great year. Thank you to everyone for all your support!

And now, a year after Lee asked to make this video about me, I officially joined the FStoppers team as a writer. Cant thank the FStoppers team enough for all they have done for me - both for The Stolen Scream video and for believing in me and taking me as a writer.

To buy The Stolen Scream products like shirts and mugs - click here.

To get updates on new articles and photos - click here and join my page.

To see many of the uses of the stolen scream - click here.

Oh yeah, guess who asked to licence my photos right after this story came out? you guessed right. Getty Images.

If you have any questions about the story, or want to get more info about something - feel free to leave a comment here and ill make my best to answer.

Noam Galai's picture

Noam Galai is a Senior Fstoppers Staff Writer and NYC Celebrity / Entertainment photographer. Noam's work appears on publications such as Time Magazine, New York Times, People Magazine, Vogue and Us Weekly on a daily basis.

Log in or register to post comments

I was super stoked that Lee used my Music for the soundtrack......!

Amazing ending to a really crappy ordeal, really glad to read this, made my day!

Glad to see that after having been ripped off big time things are working out for you :)

Really happy you turned this in to a positive for yourself. Well done. I'm not sure I would have taken this level of infringement so well.

I'd be stoked on people used my image/illustration for their own use. But mostly if they gave you cred, and didn't make money off it.

Hey Noam, I'm very happy for you of how things turned out for you.  When I met you on the last NYC FStoppers meetup, I was very surprise of how humble you talk about your work. And when I saw your images in your phone, I was just amazed of your talent and how professional you are. Your work speaks for itself. Congrats!!!!!

Thanks you very very much! really appreciate it! 

What came out of it is even bigger than the photo it self. Keep up the amazing work...

Kudos to you, Noam, I followed this from the beginning, and the way you turned it into a positive is truly inspiring. Most people would settle for a couple of grand in infringement settlements, but it shows true entrepreneurial spirit to accomplish what you have.

Noam ...if you just had $1 for every time the photo was used without your permission you would probably be able to retire even at your age !   If the image had been stolen from a large wealthy organisation like the Getty collection or any of the photo-library services they would have sued the thieves for thousands of dollars wherever they could.  Compare your picture to the iconic Che Guevara image by Alberto Korda :

Quote from the British newspaper The Daily Mail:
"Korda once said he was glad that his photo inspired
others, but he himself sued an advertising agency for using the image without permission.
a claim filed in London's High Court, in 2000, Korda accused
advertising agency Lowe Lintas and picture agency Rex Features of
trivializing the photo's historical significance.
'To use the image of Che Guevara to sell
vodka is a slur on his name and memory,' he said. 'Drink should not be
associated with his immortal memory.'
His out-of-court settlement of US $50,000 (£31,000) was donated to the Cuban healthcare system."

Of course Korda was by then already quite well off himself and had the resources to go to court.  Here is wishing you equal success if you choose to pursue the people who have cheated you