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My daughters pictures stolen and used in ad

Well, today got interesting.

Erin from This Mom Shops sent me a link of my daughter on a Chinese based wholesale company website that is using my daughter as a sample for their products- pictures that were stolen from my blog.

While I realize I accept an amount of risk with Charlotte online, it infuriates me to no end that a company, a company not even in the US, has taken my personal photo, WATERMARKED IT AS THEIRS, right clicked protected it, and is using it to demonstrate their products.

I get it. She is beautiful and you love her photos. So do I. ON MY BLOG. I’m so mad about this I cant even concentrate enough to write a good blog post.

The irony involved is that she isn’t wearing their products, she is modeling products from  Three Peas Co. in a review blog post I did with them last year. They should absolutely consider a lawsuit for someone making money off of their products and trying to pass them off as their own.

After pulling myself out of shock, I got on this companies website and talked to someone on “live chat”.

This is the conversation:



This is where they stopped responding to me.

I’m going to file a copyright infringement with Alibaba.com and then I am not sure where to go from there.

I wanted to make sure I shared this publicly as a reminder to watermark EVERY photo of your child, which I will be doing from this point on, and even with that, there is still an inherent risk of them ending up online -or even in an ad- that you didn’t authorize.


100 thoughts on “My daughters pictures stolen and used in ad”

  1. Hello! A friend of yours sent me an email notifying me that a photo of mine was also being used by this same merchant on alibaba.com.
    After several days of emails to alibaba legal dept and filing a copyright infringement complaint, I finally received an email that they (alibaba) are addressing my claim.
    My photo was stolen from my website. After convincing alibaba that they did come from MY site, I had to prove that I owned my website.
    Originally, the photo the China merchant was using showed my daughters face. After I contacted alibaba, the merchant cropped her head off. As if that made it OK!! LOL!
    As far as I am aware, there are no copyright laws in China so they obviously think they can violate ours. This is not the first China based company that has used my photos as samples of their own products. Seems like I am constantly chasing them down. My photo has not been removed as of yet but I am very glad that you were successful with getting yours removed. That is encouraging for me.

  2. Sorry, the last part of my note on proteting pictures didn’t come through. You can prevent Google from indexing the pictures on your blog with one simple line of HTML in the header section. Put the following text (inside “”): meta name=”robots” content=”noimageindex”

  3. What a mess, a few months back a site stole a picture from my site. It was a picture of my daughter on the potty. This was a site with all kinds of potty pictures, not only of kids but some rated X. I was upset as well.

    • Would NEVER put any suggestive, whether it’s cute or not, pic of a child on the internet. Do have any idea how many criminals, child predators, are on line looking at your child? They have computer access in most of our us prisons too. NEVER

  4. You know what’s sad about this? They took down a bunch of the stolen photos of the moms I contacted but NOT all of them and now they’ve taken to cutting off the kids’ heads. As if this makes it ok. I really do wonder how many Chinese manufacturers engage in this thievery but I’m glad atleast a few moms got their kids removed from this one. 🙁

  5. Hi,

    I have three kids and I understand the concerns everyone here feels. I saw a lot of questions about how to add a watermark to a photo, so I did a quick write-up on how to use a program called GIMP (free, and available for Mac and Windows) to add a waterrmark: http://www.techlicious.com/how-to/how-to-watermark-your-photos/

    Also, the best way to avoid your picture being used by others is to make it hard for them to find it in the first place. Chances are these jerks are finding the images through a quick search of Google Images (that may be the “american” company they keep mentioning). You can prevent Google from indexing the pictures on your blog with one simple line of HTML (in the header section): .

    Suzanne Kantra

    • And now i see that they are using about 30 of our web site pictures (www.lifeipettiskirts.com). Pictures that include our daughter who is our model. I have just written alibaba about infringement – and i have emailed this company – I am also trying to get telephone connection with them. Either they delete or they will be held accountable somehow/

  6. I am so sorry that happened to you. I am glad that you contacted them to protect your daughter and make remove her picture. Makes me wonder who is selling the pictures of our kids to companies without our permission.

  7. What a$$holes! I can’t believe they had the audacity to watermark them as their own. I’m glad it’s been taken down but I wouldn’t let it end there!

  8. You wonder though with the foreign companies that steal them and them remove them from one site, if they don’t just then slide them over to another site until they get caught again on the new site they are posting them on.
    Criminals are criminals and unless they are contacted by true authorities I don’t think they get super worried, just get sneekier.

  9. Hello
    I feel your pain. they did it to me! My daughter is on there too. And my other skirts. I own http://www.PettiSkirtStyle.com It has happened alot to me, lately with these Chinese companies. They blame someone in USA! They say USA person gave them the photos!!! What a scam. I am working on it for hours each night. There are so many companies that have stolen the pettiskirt pics. Yes, file intellectual property complaint against them with ALIBABA. ALSO..threaten them with their own Government. That will frighten them quite nicely!

    Best wishes

  10. There is a service called Fairshare (which is free) that will automatically track your content (text only, unfortunately, not pictures) and let you know when it finds others sites on the web reusing it. I have caught a couple sites stealing our content with the service. https://fairshare.attributor.com/fairshare/homepage

    And there is a good write-up here for the steps to take when you find your content has been stolen: http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/04/10/what-do-you-do-when-someone-steals-your-content/

    Many sites, even slimy ones, will respond when caught. Otherwise, you can escalate to their hosting providers and search engines which can create real problems for them.

    Josh Kirschner
    Founder, Techlicious.com

  11. OMG that’s awful, the nerve of some people, I hope you sue them it might just teach others a lesson. If it’s not yours then taking it without permission is theft.

  12. Wonder how many pic’s get stolen an used out of the US because people think they won’t get caught. I’m glad that someone new your daughters face well enough to know that and contacted you. I think I too will start doing this as well
    Keep us posted

  13. OMG! How horrible! Your Daughter is beautiful, but they still had no right. Have you checked to see if they took the pictures down yet? I sure hope they have. Good luck in pursuing this. I hope something happens so that this kind of thing won’t happen again… wishful thinking i am afraid. Wishes do come true though.

  14. The sad part is how many of our pics are out there and will not be discovered. Going to start going through my site and do repairs with watermarks. This Stinks!

  15. That is so very disturbing! I can’t believe that! I am so glad that you found out though!
    On the subject, how exactly do you watermark a photo? I would go nuts too, if I saw pictures of my child somewhere!

  16. That is awful! I hope they take them down. I also hope you find out who gave them to them in case they gave them to other people.

  17. Hi Trisha,

    I just received an email from Erin too who told me about my daughter’s photo being used by the same company. They’ve also watermarked my photo and claim it as theirs. Shocking!

    I’m a blogger too and have started watermarking my photos this year. I know it doesn’t stop people from using my photos to sell their products, but at least it’s a deterrent.

    (to those who asked about watermarking, I do it all in photoshop)

    Will contact the company right now to get my photo removed as well.


  18. Respectfully, your first responsibility is protecting the privacy of your family, especially that of your young children. You abrogated that responsibility in favor of a blog. It’s that simple. This is a choice – AND A RISK – you knowingly took. Thank God at this point it is only a picture some stranger has taken.

    Speaking of watermarking or copyrighting or lawsuits is a waste of energy and time. I am floored on a daily basis reading mom-blogs and seeing the vulnerability of families …just handed to the world on a silver platter to exploit. As a Mom, protecting my children is always my TOP priority …no compromise. Jeopardizing this for a blog is something I will never understand.

    There is no case here. There is no legal recourse against a company in Hong Kong. Looking to blame this company will get you nowhere. You cannot control their actions (or the actions of any other person on the web) …you can only control yours. I’m sorry this happened to you and as a Mom I feel your anguish and anger …but maybe this will serve as an eye-opener for other Moms out there who have chosen to make the lives of their families an open book to total strangers.

    • As I said before, I take a calculated risk when I share pictures of myself and my child. I accept that risk. This is one of the reasons I don’t share pictures of my child in the bathtub, on the toilet, in bikinis, etc. This blog isnt an open book nor does it share everything about my life-it is, however, my job and my families income, therefore making it personal is part of its draw. And respectfully, blogs are not the only places people publicly share- facebook, twitter, myspace, photobucket, flickr-the risk is everywhere online the minute you become social.

      That being said, I don’t believe that my rights should be violated and it should be accepted that its OK for photos to be stolen. That sense of responsibility is no more mine than someone who is a victim of theft for carrying a purse.

      There is no right to commit crime because of opportunity.

      And you are wrong; I do actually have legal recourse on copyright. I could go straight to the site that this wholesaler advertises the photos on. Its a meeting place for manufacturers and companies to meet (companies all over the world, including American) and they have an entire fraud department.

      As it were, once I asked, the photos were removed later in the day and are no longer on that site so the point is moot. I hope it reminds my visitors to take care in watermarking their photos to hopefully deter the most common of thefts, the right click.


  19. Amazing at what lengths some people go through ! I hope you find out if they are charging for these photos. It is so upsetting that it even happened!

  20. Wow, I can’t believe someone did that. Good for you for calling them and asking them to remove it, hopefully they will do that. I hope there are no other pics of Charlotte out there and you find out who stole the pic.

  21. All I can say is WOW. That is balls to steal a photo then watermark is as their own. Guess I need to figure out how to watermark our photos also. Good luck and I hope you get it settled.

  22. Wow! That’s terrible, and making me think twice about posting pics. I’m sorry this happened to you! Here’s a blogger beginner question…how do you watermark you pics?

  23. Wow! That is horrible! I’d be furious too.

    BTW – How do you watermark a picture? When I post pics I use paint to put my name on on them. Is that good enough?

  24. This is one of the reasons I stopped blogging my kids photos, which is sad because they are such a huge part of me. A local ad company is using one of my photos of a flower on their commercial but I cannot get them to return calls. What is the matter with people??

  25. I would be furious (I know you are)! This really made me stop and think about needing to start watermarking my own photos. I will tweet this to help spread the word.

  26. I watermark my current photos, but when I first started blogging I didn’t watermark them. I started watermarking after I heard about a blogger who’s family photo was being used in advertisement in a Czech ad. This is crazy to use your daughter’s photo to represent a product that isn’t even theirs. I hope you get this worked out so that your personal photo is no longer used on their website. Good luck.

  27. How horrible! I would be livid too!

    I guess I need to think about how I handle my pictures. I could watermark the ones on my blog, but we have thousands in a public album. I may have to make that album private, which I have avoided doing.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  28. This makes me livid! I can’t believe they had the balls to use her picture, and watermark it too? I shudder to think about the other pictures that are on there too of children – I’m pretty sure they are all stolen like Charlotte’s was. I am sorry this happened, but thank you for letting us know. I am going to tweet this to help spread the word.

  29. I do put my website name on each of my photos but I realize that really isn’t enough to protect them. I’m upset right now and this isn’t my daughter so I can only imagine how you feel. Keep us posted and good luck with however you decide to approach them.

  30. Trisha,
    Mom-2-Mom, I can’t imagine how you feel about all of this. I would be FUMING (to put it nicely). So sorry this happened to you and Charlotte.
    I would sue. I would sue right away. Go get ’em!

  31. Wow. Looks like a lot of their pics aren’t theirs.

    FYI, I just checked, and it’s still there.
    I hope you get this resolved quickly. That sucks.

  32. OH

    are you kidding me???!!!! Wow. I’m so stunned. I’m so sorry Trisha!!! I can’t even imagine how pissed and how helpless you feel—that they even WATERMARKED photos that weren’t theirs??!!!! AHHHHH! I’m livid on your behalf chica!!!! gRRRRRRRR!!!!

  33. That is ridiculous…and the photo is STILL up on the website too. I would be so pissed. I am sorry that this is happening to you. Ughhh…she should be ashamed of herself.

  34. Please someone correct me. I might have this wrong. I believe the UK has passed laws about online ownership of pictures being available for public use. Anyone can use it. I saw an article about this & wondered at international ramifications. Do you know where the website is hosted?

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. It’s really disgusting. I always get super neurotic posting pictures of my kids just because of this & other scary stories. Thank you for sharing. It is a warning to all of us.

  35. I hope you nail ’em to the wall. Creepazoids. I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with this (I’ve heard about it once before)…and I hope you are able to get some justice and find out who is doing it.

  36. Kind of related to this…A couple of months ago, my friend was driving down a highway 2 hours away from her home, and shockingly saw HER OWN PICTURE on a billboard. It was for a hospital’s maternity unit that she has never been to, and it was a picture of her holding her newborn daughter. Crazy!

  37. That is disgusting. They should be sued. How RUDE! Its a good reminder though. On the brightside that is an adorable picture.

  38. That must be really creepy to know that someone has taken Charlotte’s photos to use as their own. I remember that Danielle Smith of Extraordinary Mommy had this problem last year with a company overseas. You might want to contact her and see what she did about it because the photos of her family were removed.

    Keep us updated.

    Take care,

  39. Watermarks can easily be removed though, it is just enough to maybe slow them down or make them look for another photo, but the things that photoshop can do can easily be removed too.

  40. So gross! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. All of the photos on the site are stolen and I doubt they’re unaware of this. As someone who does portraits as a hobby, I would be furious if one of my photos ended up somewhere but I’d be beyond livid if it was my own child.

    So sorry this happened to you and Charlotte! I hope this is the only time. 🙁

  41. so crazy. what a violation to see your beautiful child on some other website. I think I would scream. I hope they take them down.

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