Facebook Software Engineer Teaches You How to Steal Copyrighted Images

Facebook Software Engineer Teaches You How to Steal Copyrighted Images

According to his bio, Jesse Chen is a software engineer at Facebook and recent graduate of UC Berkeley. Jesse has a personal blog which we recently stumbled across that includes a blog post from 2012 that detailed how to go about stealing copyrighted images and removing watermarks.

The post (UPDATE: The blog post has since been removed.) starts off by congratulating recent college grads and expressing frustration about not being able to right click proofs of grad pictures (in order to avoid paying for them). But never fear, Jesse Chen and Jonathan Tien have come to the rescue with a tutorial to show you how to rip off the photographer who took them for you by bypassing the blocked right click and removing that "ugly copyright overlay" in Photoshop.


Jesse links to his own graduation images, here which he uses in the tutorial.

The article continues by detailing the steps involved to get to a high-res copy of the image (still watermarked at this point) in three different browsers. [UPDATE] in respect to Grad Images we have taken down the original screencaps and have replaced them.

Click to view larger.
fstoppers_jesse_chen_facebook_steal_full Click to view larger.

And just like that you're a master Photoshop-wielding image thief. Congrats.


This attitude towards photography is toxic and seems like it's becoming more and more pervasive. What Jesse fails to realize is that the photographer who took those images owns them- there's a copyright notice for a reason. As a software engineer, I'm sure Jesse wouldn't be cool with someone stealing some of his code for use in their own website, even though it can be done just as easily. This tutorial is not about "[taking] back what's yours to begin with," it's stealing what someone would kindly sell you (as low as $10). If you want free pictures have your family take them.

Even if Jesse is posting as himself and not as a representative of Facebook, when you work for a company and explicitly show that in your profile, your words are associated with that brand. Disappointing, to say the least.

If you'd like to see the original post for yourself you can check it out here. UPDATE: The blog post has since been removed.

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Previous comments
Brandon Larkin's picture

The worst part is this guy wasn't clueless. He was an intern for their marketing area and now works as part of the photo team. I know their marketing folks are aware of copyright and the need to get it right.

Lukasz Kwiatkowski's picture

Hey all! Let me tell you the truth - with the example shown above (transparent letters) it is pretty easy to remove them, As a student of computer science I actually had a lab exercise where we were asked to do exactly such stuff (by means of MatLAB). But the truth is - i am still with the people respecting each others rights:)

Ashley Slater's picture

I took it upon myself to send Jesse a little "you suck at life" facebook message.... :) https://www.facebook.com/jesselchen

Ed Bek's picture

The picture is mine, and mine only. The mere fact that nobody at school has given me a lousy piece of paper to sign about my consent of whether or not I want those pictures of me taken, and I never got the chance to actually tell them that NO I do not want those fucking pictures. I was already 18 at the time of the graduation. So fuck school and that company for not asking me shit.

To reply to your bullshit article - A SINGLE FUCKING PICTURE COSTS 70 DOLLARS, NOT 10. ARE YOU ALL NUTS?? 70 for a single picture?? Fuck you, I'm stealing the shit that you never even asked permission to create. Your intellectual property? My intellectual body. THIS DICK AIN'T FREE. Suck it, If you wanna charge me hundreds of dollars for a "beautiful pack" of "memories" then best believe I am finding a way around your shit.

That's not entrepreneurship, that's a monopoly and rip off. No other photographers (like I dunno, a private photographer I'd like to take picture of me) is allowed on the athletic field during the graduation. Not monopoly? Think again, those "grad images" and "jostens" got the whole SoCal area by the balls. The multi million dollar company doesn't want anyone else on the field, so they are the only ones with the good photos that they don't even ask permission to take, and then charge shit ton of money for, AND ON TOP OF THAT they get my personal information such as address, phone number and e-mail. Who the fuck gave them my email? Fuck you, Glendale High School; and Glendale Unified School District, fuck you too.