June 6, 2011

cool and not cool

i am with the coolest dude around.
See that dude I am with in the picture? Yeah. He is really the coolest dude around. I thought so the first time I ever laid eyes on him. Seriously. One day I will tell you the story of our first meeting, it is a good one I promise. After you hear (read) it, you will probably think I am a bit of a cuckoo, but doesn't matter cause I am now married to the cool dude and I have his babies.

What's not cool?

- This chef apple person using my pictures like they were her own and own making (notice her label attached to my pictures and her p.s. at the end). Yeah, definitely not cool. No credit link, mention, or acknowledgment that the pictures aren't even hers. Really not cool.

- This etsy seller using my pictures to sell her product. Not cool.

- And another etsy shop using my pictures again. Really guys?! Not cool.

First off, I have to say thank you to all you loyal people who alert me to these frauds hanging about in cyberspace. Some of these I have known about for months, but etsy's policies aren't exactly easy when dealing with this type of infringement, so I have kept putting it on the back burner. But honestly, I am just going to get my frustrations out here because I am a mom to three and one on the way and don't have the time to deal with legalities as much as I would love to. I just want to help educate people to beware and please be respectful.

I understand that no idea is completely unique (I am sure I am not the first person ever to stick a cupcake in a jar), unless you are God of course, and we are all merely just honing into our inner creative self, but please... respect others and the hard work they do. This poster summarizes things nicely and will help being respectful of others. But if you get an idea from somewhere and pretty much recreate it or say you are "inspired" by some place, well, good golly... give that person credit. Even if you do your own little twist on it. If you know where you got the idea from, credit that person specifically. Or if you use someone else's picture, just link up to them! No big deal. And of course I realize some things may merely be simple coincidence that someone did an idea at the exact same time another person did it, but if you really are conscientious of others and are using another idea of someone's (not for profit cause that is a whole other story), link up, it is the nice thing to do.

This doesn't just happen to me. I have seen other blogs/shops blatantly copy another person's blog/shop/designs and really, it just isn't cool. Sad to say, there are even some really "big", "popular" bloggers out there who take ideas from "smaller" blogs and act like it was their own (it's happened to me and I have seen it happen to others). Stepping on people ain't ever cool!

This is probably a touchy subject and everyone has their own views, but I think the key here is to love others first. It isn't easy and honestly, I am quite perturbed at these types of people. But if we were all being self-less, this wouldn't be happening.

At the same time, I have been reading this book (can get your own free copy here) about Christians who have been tortured and imprisoned for their faith and how still they would love and pray for their torturers. Imagine that?! Love and pray for their torturers?!! They prayed so hard and loved so much, that eventually some of these torturers gave their lives up for Jesus too. That is just amazing and totally God! So, how much more should I love and pray for the copycats or the picture stealers? Seriously. That is what is most important.

When I get frustrated with these people, I read this verse and it humbles me...
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who use you." Luke 6:27-28

Sorry to be the bearer of some negativity or frustration, but I needed to share this. I am trying to practice that verse even though it isn't easy, but I have really prayed for those people. I promise to have happy-home-sweet-home-crafty stuff in the next few days! Until then, thanks for always listening (reading).


  1. Yikes! I hope there is a way you can report the people using your pictures/ideas! That's not right at all, and they shouldn't get away with stealing and lying like that.

  2. ...On the plus side, it seems that everyone loves your cupcake jar pictures!

  3. ugh how frustrating and totally despicable on their part! it's a shame that it's so hard to get etsy to remove shops that are clearly stealing from others!

  4. I'm so sorry this happened. Some people! Argh.

  5. What the cuss?! Oy. You are handling it so much better than I would. :(

  6. This poster about HOW TO GIVE CREDIT may be useful to others: http://blog.piajanebijkerk.com/WordPress/2011/05/27/special-announcement-giveaway-giving-credit-prints-are-here/

  7. your cupcake in a jar is definitely cool... those other people, stealing your photos is definitely NOT cool.

  8. Its okay to vent on your blog, that's what it is for! And I totally sympathize with your situation, I applaud the way you are handling it.

  9. My mom had her pictures used by Anthropologie! You can imagine her surprise when she saw that one, nonetheless she got a decent settlement from them! All they had to do was ask......

  10. My gosh!! that is WRONG, not understanding what pictures you can and cant use or how to link back is one thing, but to write a post like that... like its your own, shocking I dont know how someone can do that. Just disgusting

    Good on you for posting about it - so you should.

  11. that is such a bummer! =( you rock though! you're handling this very graciously =)

  12. wow, i really can't believe people would do that! and think they can get away with it. wow. good for you for taking a loving perspective, rather than a condemning perspective - not easy to do.

    i can understand why people would steal your idea - i'm really loving it! i think i might use it for my sister's bridal shower in august. i will be sure to credit you when/if i blog about it :)

  13. Oh man! That is SO awful! I'd cry, I'm not going to lie, if that happened to me. Way to stick it to them nicely! You are a great example.
    Good luck!

  14. So depressing for you to see your pics without mere credit ... used as they aren't yours ...... But ... you know what?

    It sounds like your pics are the best ever!!!!!!!!

    A big hug!

  15. Just add your blog name on your pictures where it would be impossible to copy it because you have your name on them!

  16. this is just depressing. :c how many people are stealing my stuff that i'll never know about?
    and how dumb are some people??

    on the other hand, it just means your pictures are da bomb c:

    they wont get away with it

  17. That sucks. Heaps of peeps totally have your back though, check out the comments at the bottom of her post :)

  18. Your cupcake jars are so pretty that they couldn't resist. Shame on them!

  19. not cool! How can you stop this though? you do have readers that alert you to the ones they have seen but what about the ones they haven't or you haven't seen on tumblr, pinterest etc?


    These are few I found after a little search. People just don't understand that IT IS theft :( shame on them!

  20. Aww..but this means it's time to make a cool watermark for all your pictures!

  21. urgh.. I can totally understand this, even more in your case when it involves actual ideas and using your pictures to sell their stuff.. I had someone use my pics I had posted for a particular destination on Virtual Tourist, without permission/credit. One of them had my MUM in it! After that I always watermarked photos on there.

  22. I cant believe that she stole your entire recipe and pictures!! I wish i could take back my page view!! You really need to make a watermark for your images!! I keep meaning to put up my portfolio site but i have yet to settle on a logo/initials that i like and I am definitely not putting it up until i do! Of course it is super easy to take a logo off if you have photoshop and you know how but most people thankfully wouldn't make the effort!

  23. @ Katyha, the second link you listed didlink did link back to cakies original cupcake post . Just to note. But you're right about tumblr and picnik...it's tough when relinking a pic to know it's original true source if people haven't given proper credit along the way...

    Read the entire first post of the "chef" who stole not only your pictures but took your whole idea as her own. IT was disgusting. I'm so sorry that there are people out there who are so low. Kudos to you for keeping your head high and ditto on the watermark so many are suggesting. Keep that chin up : )

  24. That is insane. The chef apple site that blatantly stole your photos as hers is really creepy. I'm amazed that someone has such little respect.

  25. Wow, can't believe the audacity, especially the chef apple blogger, VERY un-cool!
    I think sometimes people don't always know the 'etiquette' of using photos they find on the web, not to excuse it at all, but I think some people may just be a bit naive about the protocol, whereas others, well, just no scruples.. :(

    Love that you finished with that verse too, you really ARE cool.. :)

  26. Bravo, Ruby!

    Your photos just rock that much that they had to get a piece of it. Shame on them for their neglect and disrespect!

    And thanks for the reminder verse. =)

  27. people are so creepy, I just don't get it!

  28. Hi RubyEllen.
    So sorry to read about this. So NOT cool. I wanted to share this with you because I just read it recently and this artist in my city is going to through a similar problem that you are having. I hope the link comes through okay, there are several posts about her images being stolen and used on the internet,it starts with the post about respect.
    http://lovelife.typepad.com/my_weblog/page/2/ I think that you two would have lots in common. She may be able to offer some advice to you on how she dealt with this problem. She is also a mom to 3 girls. Good luck. Hugs.

  29. stay strong and awesome! you are a beautiful light and i appreciate your blog so much. this verse has been a blessing to me lately, perhaps it is appropriate here:

    1 John 4:4
    "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them[evil spirits], because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

    praying for you. don't let them get you down.

  30. So sorry! I have never understood how people can just blatantly steal other's work and try to pass it off as their own… maybe it's the English teacher in me but it just irks me! So very un-cool!

  31. this sadly happens way too many times in cyberspace. thank you for the reminder of what our response should be as Christians.

  32. I wanted to let you know that you inspired me to make the garden stakes:


    Thanks for all your clever ideas.


  33. SO lame!!! that is SO not cool... use your own creativities people!!

  34. So sad that this kinf of things happen, definetely NOT cool that people steal ideas, pictures or anything else!
    I understand what you feel because I know you and I know the hard work you do on everything!
    I can't believe that the apple chef stole not only the pictures, she stole the whole idea, oh my what a lier!

    Keep strong an creative as always, I love your blog, your ideas, everything it's cool because you're sooooo cool!

  35. Ruby,

    sorry to see people take credit for your work. it's a shame to see the way some people are. but, we know you're a genuine artist. kudos!

    these are from my blog. i definitely gave credit! :)



    thanxx for sharing your thoughts & life with us.

  36. wow! just wow... so sorry this happened ruby.
    i'm hoping that chef apple will publicly apologize and give full credit to you for that entire post.

  37. You've got skills mama! Not just photography and baking and super-mothering, but compassion and forgiveness.......I learn a lot from you. So thanks.

    PS: I totally gave that Chef Apple chick a piece of my mind:)

    emily jean

  38. stealing your pictures and ideas is not at all cool, i am so sorry you are having to put up with this! i love your cupcake jars, and you should totally have all the credit for it!

    however it is cool that you are so in love with your husband :) you two are so cute!


  39. ... applauding your bravery + sending you huuuuuuuuuugs!

  40. OH MY GOD!! thats sooooo bad!!
    its bad to steal someones work!!!

    we have the same problem here with some german blogger that steel others work -.-

    really GREAT BLOG!

  41. um . . . imitation (or in your case, STEALING) is the most sincere form of flattery, right??

    bummed for you, but you're right . . . praying for the blessings of our enemies is probably the most Christ-like thing we can do.

    go you for a great attitude!

  42. Wouldn't it be cool if they had to pay you to use your pics? Or in the very least, provide a link to your blog, wouldn't that be the rad/karma happy thing to do?

  43. Tortured for Christ is an amazing book that will change your life. :)
    <3 Ruth Ann

  44. This is completely appalling! It's one thing to blog/post a person's photos w/out asking, usually I nod or a poke gets a link and a credit but to use your photos to SELL their product? Yikes! I once found an etsy photographer had used MY face and photos as her banner to sell HER photos. I made quick use of the message form to let her know my confusion as to how she could do that and the pics were immediately removed sand apology. Sigh. Thank goodness for friends.

  45. "The creative community only benefits from derivations and inspirations." Please check this article out, perhaps it will ease your mind about all of this. http://zenhabits.net/open-source-blogging-feel-free-to-steal-my-content/
    I struggle with control myself and often think people are out there just to be my enemy but are they really? Eccl 1:9 I often question is any of it really your own? I hope you find peace.

  46. i am so appalled when this happens. how they think they can get away with it when there are so many eyes/your fans on the internet! crazy, uncreative types stealing the work of amazing people like you ruby! i love your ideas...keep them coming and we'll continue to support you! xx

  47. Hey There,

    Here is a little legal information for you:

    1) You DO have copyright automatically over your images, recipes, and ideas. As an artist, this is automatically ingrained into creation and you can prove it in a court of law because you have been keeping a document such as this blog, which shows dates and times for the creation and publishing of said articles.

    2) You can send those who are using your images etc. a cease and desist letter.

    3) You can litigate. The only way you can maintain copyright on your own images is to push this forward. If you bring these people to justice (if they do NOT cease and desist) then you can get due compensation.

    There are lots of free law services, and you can also register yourself with Artists Rights Society, who will automatically keep track of your images etc. and their usage. This also means that if someone wants to use your images etc. you can maintain your rights over them.

    You have lots of options. Best not to get mad, but to create a respectable boundary around what is yours so you don't get taken advantage of.

    My best of luck,

    Arts Administrator, New York City.

  48. nope, that's not cool at all.

  49. Great advice @ illana. I just found another site today called reputation.com
    not sure if it's worth using but it's worth looking into. They also have something called uprotect.it for FB. Best of luck with this.

  50. Oh it's so terrible when people steal!! I've had that happen too and it's so hurtful. I read around online & learned how to draft my own cease & desist letter (basically legal talk for this is copyrighted, stop using it or I may press charges) It's not too hard to do & I've had good results with emailing those out along with a screen shot of the plagiarized item. In all cases the people have apologized and removed them!

  51. Funny that I was reading a quote by Oprah today saying that the true key to success is being genuine. These copycats are just creating more damage for themselves.
    Good luck with these legalities....but am glad you know who the super cool people (big & little) in your life are! :-)

  52. totally not cool..i am shocked that someone can use your photos for their etsy shops and blogs..

  53. Honestly it is so sad that they just stole your pictures - how did they think they would get away with it?
    Shocking and in such bad taste. LOVE your blog by the way! New reader and follower :)
    Meagan, row house nest

  54. totally NOT COOL. such audacity. it's 'passing off'! yes this is enforceable, breach of copyright.

    also encouraged that you try so hard to remain positive. takes a load of effort.

    hope these people will apologise and be more respectful in future...am sure they wouldn't want the same thing done on them.

  55. Oh wow! That sucks! Shame on all of them. So not cool at all, as a designer myself I know how you feel.

  56. Did you contact them and tell them off?

  57. This makes me angry for you! As far as I know, nobody has ever lifted my images, but I used to re-post my entries on BlogHer, and one time I found all these people who retweeted my posts as if they wrote them. It bothered me enough that I stopped re-posting there. It's sad, too, because I like the concept of BlogHer, and felt like I was reaching a different audience there. Have you contacted those people at all? The worst is definitely the chef who watermarked your photos as if they were hers. The nerve! I'm sorry Ruby! Feel better.

  58. how very annoying..yes you are right that no idea or design is completely original, pretty much everything has been done before BUT to literally take pictures or copy a design to the very T is annoying, frustrating & wrong. it really sucks, people seriously need to ask permission before taking, give credit and/or use their own creativity from within!

  59. I know your life is busy enough that you might not want to do this... but you have to think that once your pictures have been posted on someone else's blog without proper credit, other bloggers or photo agencies might give the wrong credit for the pictures, therefore continuing the awful chain of events.

    When I started blogging, I didn't understand the importance of crediting people for their work: I have since started over a new blog and make sure to give credit where credit is due. It does take extra time, but it helps everyone in the end. My only thought at the moment in that either chef Apple wrote the article, or someone else in her team did (which is plausible) but it is still very disturbing. You need to email them/contact them to explain the situation. They might be very open to fix the issue, who knows?

    Hope all goes well!

  60. Hmm... there's an error with the apple lady's blog post... I wonder if she got our messages? ;)


  61. Send a cease a desist letter as it is illegal for them to use your images to make a profit without paying you a license fee. Usually the cease and desist letter is enough for them to take the images down. This is specific to those who are making a profit w/your images. I work w/image licensing w/my occupation which is why I'm familiar w/this.

  62. My blog is all about highlighting the amazing crafts (including yours!) to the rest of the community - I wouldn't dare dream of posting something without giving credit where credit is due! The one thing I don't get - if you're sellin something, why would you not use your own images?! Surely your customers will realise that they have bought something else when they receive their package? Unfortunately, it's incidents like this that stop people like yourself from sharing their talents with people. Don't let it dishearten you - karma is quick moving!

  63. Thank you for sharing your insights on this! I'm sorry it had to happen to you. You are an amazing blogger and such an inspiration to many people. I think you've got it right, though....loving others is all we can do :)

  64. Not sure if you know about this one yet but I found the same picture on this website:



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