This is what happened: I was notified by a kind soul that she had seen photos of my Moxie on Orkut. I freaked out, wrote a post, reported it to google and the group named "Moxie" was shut down. It is no longer there. This kind soul has since written back to me with the scary-as-all news that a lot of other bloggers have photos of their kids lifted and displayed on Orkut as well:
It most definitely seems that this is more than one person and that the "Brazilian" is not necessarily male.
These photos were taken and used without permission, that much is clear. And this needs to be stopped. Please "report" along with me to Orkut, have these sites closed.
Please share any ideas you have on how to stop this from continuing to happen on Orkut and other sites.
It seems to be a sad truth that there is no steal-proof way to post photos online. We can copyright, disable right-click saves and embed with code but ultimately, these are merely cogs in wheels. If someone really wants a photo, they can get it. Screen printing and new software make it virtually impossible to completely protect any and all photo that goes online, so the choice becomes one of having an open or closed blog. Or to blog at all.
Plenty of people have told me since I wrote the original post on disabling right-click saves that they stopped blogging because of this very issue. Others have forged on, mindful of the risks and yet passionate about the advocacy and support that is happening on our blogs. It's a tough choice and it doesn't seem fair: why should I have to decide whether or not to share the delight that I experience as I live my life because some pervert in Brazil (or elsewhere) is asshole enough to steal it? Pardon my French, but really. It's not fair.
Mulling more on that, I know it's not just my blog that is fodder – it's anything. It's Moxie's photo in the local Down syndrome Connection newsletter, it's her photo being a part of a group photo that is posted online. It's everywhere, it's anything. It's your child's photo being posted on your church site and that site being hacked by an anti-Christian pedophile. It's just living in a world that's gone wrong in some places.
I'm not going to stop blogging, I'm not going to stop posting images of my kids. But I will try to raise awareness on this, I will take the precautions to throw cogs in the wheels of would-be thieves. Let's be like the Neighborhood Watch Committee on this, vigilante for the photos of all of our kids online.
And Katie – I thank my lucky stars you are a part of our neighborhood! Thank you.