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Rich Lafferty's Journal

(mendelicious mendelusions)

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Ok, this is creepy.
I was playing with Yahoo's new SiteExplorer last night, browsing through its list of incoming links to my website. All sorts of interesting and less-interesting stuff, and one creepy thing: some guy in Kansas city is using a picture of me as if it were a photo of him on his Blogger profile and on his blog.

I noticed this last night and responded the way I respond to every 16-year-old who hasn't figured out that things on the Internet aren't free for the taking; I used mod_rewrite to replace the image with a picture of Hitler when the referer matched his pages. (I find Hitler sends a better "I better be careful" message than Goatse does because random people looking at the page won't automatically assume it was unintended.) He responded by getting a copy of the picture, hosting it on Blogger Photos, and continuing to use it.

What's particularly strange about this is that he's not some 16-year-old who hasn't figured out that things on the Internet aren't free for the taking; he's a 30-year-old psychologist at a Kansas City AIDS charity, married to a professional photographer, and he grabs pictures off of the Internet and pretends they're him.

I sent him mail noting that it was not only infringing but pretty creepy, and asked him to stop using it. We'll see what happens.

Edit: Ah, good, he took it down already. That was easy enough! Thanks, Doug. (Boy, it's hard to find DMCA information at Blogger. You have to go to Google's help pages to get the details. Not that I needed it this time.) Still weirded out though.

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How can you be sure Doug Weinbrenner isn't just an alias or yet another persons stolen identity?

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

I dunno if there's much you could do about his own personal blog short of suing him, but I'd totally file a DMCA complaint with Blogger.

He took it down when I requested it. I guess that's the difference between the 30-year-old and 16-year-old infringers. :-) DMCA is step 3 for me anyhow, after a friendly note and a less-friendly ceasey-desisty request.

The thing that always kills me about people using my images (other than pictures of me) is that I usually license under CC if that works for the person that wants it, or under a nonexclusive license in which I get credit and a copy of whatever the photo was used in, if they just ask me first.

(Oh, and his blog was a Blogger blog. It was just that while the picture on the blog was kind of creepy, the photo labeled "Photo" on the profile was way creepy.)

Funny, I just found a bunch of myspace.com people using my images as their avatars or backgrounds. Have a look at
for one such picture leech.

Hah, I put in mod_rewrite rules to rewrite *any* image requests from Xanga or Myspace ages ago. That's a striking background, though.

The best part about that sort of thing is that it won't be until one browser-cache-lifetime from now that he notices anything's wrong!

When I did it to a guy on a Nine Inch Nails web forum, he thought he'd been hacked. That was amusing. But you knew about that, since you commented on my blog post about it.

It turns out that this guy thought that Blogger had hitlered him, not me, so he didn't make the connection at all. I wonder if your approach would've helped.

You rock.

That's pretty damn awesome.

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a "psychologist"? Just looking at his blog, I note that he's misspelled "deservedly" as "deservidly" and "due" as "do", and that's reading like...one paragraph of text.

I'd figure you'd at least need a BA or something, jeez.

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