Beware: Photo Theft

My eyes are being sold for thirty pesos or you could buy it now for 50 pesos! Any takers?

When taking photos for my blog, it takes me more than an hour. I can take hundred of pictures and the process of picking the pictures to be posted and watermarking them or adjusting the colors to exactly suit the shade can take forever.

Lately, I realized that photo theft online has become exceedingly alarming. The other day, I read Kris Bacani's post. Read it here:

Yesterday, Rann (an avid reader of my blog and a friend) alerted me that an online shop used one of my photos. I was used to it. Then an idea came to my mind. I started researching for pictures online and found more seller using my photos. I suddenly felt used, abused and outwitted by them. I got tired of searching online because I have seen more than enough. Enough that convinced me to write this post and to take a firm stand on this issue. 

It is very frustrating to see people make money online and take credit for something they do not even deserve. All they do is just copy paste cut and post. Some even have the guts to erase watermarks on photos. I have been blogging for years now and I knew that my pictures are being used by some resellers of NYX online. Back then, I felt that it was a compliment rather than a random act of stealing that made me feel proud that they are using my pictures. To my mind. they are using it because they see my pictures as aesthetically pleasing to them and to their  buyers. I thought that through my pictures my blog/website will go viral. Then, I discovered "watermarking" in simple language, it is placing your name or your website's url to distinctly note that such picture is yours. I thought that this was the answer to my prayer. With my website's name on my pictures, everyone would know my blog.  Who am I kidding? Myself,alone. As years pass by, there are countless of instances where watermarks on my photos would get erased or obliterated. Where's the credit that I deserved? The hours I spent pouting until my lips could look more plump than usual deserves a simple thank you or a percentage of  the seller's sales. I supposed a lot of people will tell me that's the price of putting your photos online. As I have mentioned before, I am very appalled that there are hundreds and thousands of people who think that everything they see online whether it be videos, pictures or articles are for free. Anything that are capable of appropriation in the internet cannot be owned by another by  merely click of copy and save.  These are the pieces of evidence that I have gathered. There are still a lot.  
This is copyright infringement at its finest.

According to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (IP CODE for brevity) Sec. 172, to wit:

Sec. 172. Literary and Artistic Works. -
    172.1 Literary and artistic works, hereinafter referred to as "works"are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment of their creation and shall include in particular:
      (a) Books, pamphlets, articles and other writings;
      (b) Periodicals and newspapers;
      (c) Lectures, sermons, addresses, dissertations prepared for oral delivery, whether or not reduced in writing or other material form;
      (d) Letters;
      (e) Dramatic or dramatico-musical compositions; choreographic works or entertainment in dumb shows;
      (f) Musical compositions, with or without words;
      (g) Works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography or other works of art; models or designs for works of art;
      (h) Original ornamental designs or models for articles of manufacture, whether or not registrable as an industrial design, and other works of applied art;
      (i) Illustrations, maps, plans, sketches, charts and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science;
      (j) Drawings or plastic works of a scientific or technical character;
      (k) Photographic works including works produced by a process analogous to photography; lantern slides;
      (l) Audiovisual works and cinematographic works and works produced by a process analogous to cinematography or any process for making audio-visual recordings;
      (m) Pictorial illustrations and advertisements;
      (n) Computer programs; and
      (o) Other literary, scholarly, scientific and artistic works.
    172.2. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose.  [Emphasis supplied]

    From the moment I published my photos online, my works are protected. This fact is underscored by the IP Code. However, upto what extent am I protected? I have never heard of a case on photo theft or infringement of photos in the Philippines to date. 

    Some of you may tell me that hey, your watermarks are still there. Yes. I know. Sec. 177 particularly subsection 177.1 of the IP Code are enlightening on this matter:

    Sec. 177. Copy or Economic Rights. - Subject to the provisions of Chapter VIII, copyright or economic rights shall consist of the exclusive right to carry out, authorize or prevent the following acts:

      177.1. Reproduction of the work or substantial portion of the work;
    X X X

    I am not trying to sound legalese here (Sarcastic lang). But, my rights are being trampled by these people, almost all of them I am not personally acquainted with. They did not ask for my permission nor even a simple thank you for using my photos. I remember a Sophie Martin seller emailed me that she will use my photos and bluntly ask if she could erase the watermarks on the pictures. Hello?!
Sadly, I am not interested in filing cases for infringement against these people. On second thought, this could probably be a landmark case on this matter.  It could even incite the attention of the legislature on the need to update our IP laws with regard original works published through the internet. This post will serve as a stern warning to those who uses my photos with no permission at all. I have been asked by a few readers of mine if they can use my photos and I gladly say yes. (Emphasis on gladly.. I really appreciate such gesture) 

What makes it hard for sellers to do the same? 

I also feel sorry for other bloggers whose works are being used without their permission too. 

Spread the word.
It is time to educate these people. 


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A blog of young Filipina lawyer and Professional Makeup Artist who found interest in makeup and blogging during her law school life. Peek into her blog to get a dose of ramblings about life, beauty and everything in between.


  1. online thieves! go get them atty!

  2. I know how you feel and I so hate people who steal pictures from blogs or other sources. We put our time and effort in taking good pictures and they end up using it for other purposes, wala man lang permission or thank you. I've had my product photo taken and posted by a beauty brand on their FB page, without asking for my permission first and removing my watermark at the same time. Crazy. :\

  3. You're welcome, Don. I'll keep an eye out for such photo steals pa din. Haay naku! I think most sellers won't ask kasi they're too afraid to be told, "No". Pero it doesn't give you an excuse not to ask permission, at all. Have you tried sending these sellers private messages, Don? I think that would be a good way to start something. Ask them nicely. Document your messages and their replies as well. :)
    God will bless you in ways that these sellers will will not have. :)

  4. Hay. Saw my posts for a couple of times on different blogs. Grabe, Magtrabaho nga kayo for your own pictures!

  5. I don't understand these people. Why not just take the pictures themselves? Is that so hard to do? Geez!

  6. I don't understand bakit minsan ang daming tamad na seller. one of my friends who sells make up really makes time to take pictures of her products....talo pa nga ako kung mag pictorial! kahit nga pictures nya from her site ninanakaw din...tsk tsk! please try to be conscious of your actions sellers!!!! :(

  7. Thanks for posting this blog post! I was also a victim once (or maybe even more than once). The annoying part is that, I politely sent a message to that online seller than it would have been nice if she asked permission first but she took it in a very negative way. Parang sya pa yung matapang! Nakakainis talaga sila!

    1. that's their initial reaction. they act so repulsive na parang ikaw pa yung mali!!!!!!

  8. In fairness, ang gaganda ng lip swatches mo kaya siguro pina-pirate. A little acknowledgment could have sufficed. This are clear acts of copyright infringement, I'll support you if you'll ever push through with the case. =)

  9. *UGH* I am so frustrated for you but can't say that I'm surprised that people would do this. I have to say the only thing I'd recommend is placing your watermark completely over your images (even if it takes away from the main image itself) so as to ensure that it's difficult to photoshop out.

  10. I kinda am ok if people use my photos on their blogs or whatever it is I wrote. Feeling ko sila ang nawawalan. Writing makes you a better person and it keeps the brain sharp. So kung tamad sila, iniisip ko, sooner or later, mapupurol ang utak nila dahil di nila nagagamit. And kahit kelan di nila mananakaw yung utak ko.

    Pero kapag for selling purposes (including mga websites who farm content para kumita yung ads nila). IBANG USAPAN NA! I won't tolerate that because super taas ng chance na scammer sila. Kung tunay na seller ka, at kung totoong meron kang tinitinda, ano ba naman yung picture-an diba? And kung mag tatayo ka ng business online, wala kang excuse, dapat may sarili kang camera, kung wala, manghiram.

  11. Of all the people to steal from, they steal from a lawyer. Hahaha this is beyond ridiculous! Good thing I watermark all my photos

  12. haynakop bad trip yung ganyan! i totally feel how annoyed you must be feeling. it's unfair bec taking photos for a beauty blog isn't simple! omg esp swatches! sana if they would sell, they use their own!

  13. Maswerte ka pa rin Atty ksi you managed to add ur watermark.. I saw swatches of one blogger na walang watermark niya.. kaya ayun.. pinagpiyestahan ng mga NYX resellers at nilagyan pa nila ng shop watermark nila! here's the blog of the other infamous 'NYX lip swatches'..

  14. :( ang hirap controllin ang mga taong ganyan! :( No matter how good you place your watermarks, they really can find ways to crop it out or blur it out! grabe lang! :(


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