Look at this headline in the screen grab above. According to the California-based website Freedom Daily, cowboys from Blaine County, Montana are traveling to the state of Texas to wage ware against illegal immigrants. That’s big news. If it were true. Unfortunately this is just another example of fake news AND an example of a dastardly attempt by an “almost anonymous” website pilfering photos online without giving credit or monetary compensation to the creator or person(s) in the photo. You can see the original photo HERE.
I contacted the website on their Facebook page, which has over 2 million followers (there are a lot stupid people out there) and by email and told them they were illegally using my copyrighted photography of cowboys without permission. Some days later someone by the name of Ronnie Martin from their “legal department” contacted me and told me the photo wasn’t mine. That’s laughable since (1) I made the photo, and (2) personally know the people in the photo. This is what “Ronnie Martin” said:
This is funny. Clearly Mr. Ronnie Martin knows MUCH less about copyright law than I do AND I doubt seriously that this two-bit website has a legal department, let alone a personnel department, editorial department, or department of photography. Funny stuff from someone who I think is a tool and total ass. What was my response? Read it for yourself:
The funny thing is that Freedom Daily, likely under the purview of their legal department, took my photograph, altered it by placing other images on top of the original photograph, and claimed it was not the same photo. The is laughable because not only did they fail to obscure the photo underneath, they altered the photograph to intentionally deceive the fact that they had stolen it, which under copyright law means they are subject to paying even more in the way of damages to yours truly, the creator of the photograph. The hole keeps getting bigger.
Once they realized they were not dealing with a buffoon and once they realized I knew much more about copyright law than they did, their tune changed, proving once again that their malarkey about having a legal department was full of shit:
I don’t like it when people steal my photographs. I like it even less when they attempt to obfuscate the truth. In this particular case the offending website were also trying to convince their readers that the Montana cowboy in the photo was a Texas cowboy. That’s fake news. They also wanted the reader to think the cowboy was roping Mexicans and not cattle like they truly were doing.
I sent an invoice to Freedom Daily for using my photograph without permission. If they don’t pay it I will submit it to a collection agency. And given that there’s a seven year statue of limitation on just such an offense I have plenty of time to sue them and collect for the original balance plus damages.
Blaine County cowboys are talented, but I don’t think they have the time to moonlight on the U.S./Mexican border.