Nice images, aren’t they?
Other than the fact that these are images by artists with some serious (and most likely hard-earned) chops, what do they all have in common?
They are among scores of digital works that are being illegally peddled on eBay by a seller named bellasmomgodsway (for the sake of brevity, we’ll just call her GodsWay). She has them listed in an eBay section called ‘Direct From the Artist.’ Yeah. Not really the kind of ‘artist’ that the good folks at eBay had in mind.
Here’s one of GodsWay’s listings:
Pro photographer Stephen Oachs, who got that shot, wasn’t asked. He didn’t license the image to GodsWay, and doesn’t get a penny from the eBay sale. The same is true for all the other high-end image makers whose work GodsWay rips off.
You see, GodsWay scours the Internet for quality images, copies them with a click or two, and makes them “hers” by putting her watermark smack dab in the middle. Then she lists the stolen works on eBay, and delivers them (sans watermark) to the buyer, digitally. She’s done it hundreds of times, netting as little as a dollar for each sale.
The watermark she applies (it reads ‘bellasmomgodsway’) is an especially chutzpah-filled touch, because like all watermarks, it says “this is mine, respect my copyright.” Wow.
It goes without saying that this thievery is both immoral and illegal, but we’re supposed to think it’s OK, maybe because she has a seller name with the word God in it. And the word Mom. Oh, and the name of a little girl, her future adopted daughter. Is that enough apple-pie schtick for you?
How do we know about the adopted daughter? Because GodsWay tell us in the auction description. In all of her auction descriptions, actually.
I’m not a grinch, and I’m well aware of the monetary difficulties that adoption can inflict on a family of modest means. In the past decade, my wife and I adopted two absolutely awesome girls. They mean everything to us. With a good deal of financial pain (which we knowingly brought upon ourselves when we decided to adopt), we paid all our adoption-related expenses — get this — without resorting to petty crime.
Maybe an all-powerful Creator could get GodsWay to reflect on the fact that some of those expenses were paid thanks to my work as a professional photographer. I work hard to create my images; then I sell them, and I provide for my family with those sales. As a result, I find it ever-so-slightly galling when people invoke the Almighty to screw actual creators out of enough of our livelihoods that it may well affect our own chances of adopting another child — or of buying our existing kids meals, books, toys, an education, and so on.
A friend sent GodsWay a message via eBay, asking if she’ll teach her future child that the Bible says it’s cool to steal other people’s stuff.
No reply yet.
Postscript: The image guidelines that we apply on this blog are here.
Update: GodsWay’s eBay listings all got pulled Thursday evening EST — whether as a result of multiple complaints about her thieving behavior, we cannot say.
[Big thanks to Michelle Grove for the editorial tip]