Out of the blue I got an email from someone saying a person was impersonating me on a message board online. They thought I’d be amused and I should call the guy out on the forum. From what I could tell there was a guy that has pulled this stunt many times before, pretending to be some other person and posting messages in online forums. So I visited the forum and saw that they were hijacking images from my blog and pretending to be me.
Now, why anyone would want to screw around with someone who’s in the news business is beyond me. Don’t they know that news people are usually well connected to law enforcement and govt official during our daily course of assignments? And identity theft along with photo theft is a bit of a no-no. Since the SportsShooter.com workshop last year and getting an earful from shooter Rick Rickman drill into us about getting our images copyrighted to protect ourselves and about how automatic fines kick-in against violators I have sent all images I shoot into the copyright office. It’s not hard to do, just fill-out copyright form AV, send them a CD or DVD full of images and it’s copyrighted.
So anyway, my back is killing me in pain (see Oct. 3rd post) so I’m in a bad mood and this idiot is impersonating me and some others are bugging me via IM from the forum and in the forum after I ask them nicely that I want to inform the impersonator that I don’t appreciate what he’s doing. Now, I don’t know what goes through the minds of people b/c here it is, my day off, and I’m pissed so I research and dig-up the names and email addresses and work info on these jerks.
Needless to say the guy freaked and sent me this via email: just a harmless joke, no one was hurt. i’m sorry i used your copyrighted material.
I decided to let the guy off the hook and he apparently learned his lesson about identity theft is no joking matter.
I was close to asking some law enforcement types to look into the matter for me (remember I’m in a bad mood with a killer backache). It also turns out I have a friend living in the same town as this impersonator guy up in Canada and he volunteers to visit him but by this time it isn’t needed. It’s good to have friends in different places :^)
So anyway the moral is the usual saying. “Don’t put anything on the Internet that you would be embarassed to see on the front page of the NY Times” And hey, I do know photogs that work there too. Harassing someone while having information about yourself on the Internet is just dumb, it’s too easy to track information down.