October 13, 2020

The Most Expensive Sheep I Never Bought

Hells bells, a month ago I got a letter from a collection agency saying that I infringed on someone’s copyright in Europe and had to cough up 12k+.

It was an image of a sheep, of all things, that I’d taken off the Internet in 2015 to add to one of my blog posts, Don’t Drink The Guru’s Kool-Aid

I was incredulous and horrified and asked for proof. I’m not in the habit of stealing stuff (not wittingly, anyway). If you have a look at the blog post, you’ll see at the bottom that I credited the photo source. If you click on the credit link, you’ll see that the photo and article has disappeared (it all gets curiouser and curiouser). By the way, the image that’s on the blog post now is royalty-free and not the one I purportedly stole.

Back to the story. The collection agency emailed me an image of the bloody sheep that I infringed upon and the name of the French photographer who took it. 

This is only the second time in my life that I’ve been sued. The first time was by my petty tyrant called Vusi. I questioned the veracity of some of his claims in public, and he felt that I’d tarnished his reputation.

My therapist loves Vusi because any time I read something about him, I vomit a little in my mouth, go into an apocalyptic rage and have to go to her to talk me off the ledge. I’m sure my sessions have put two of her children through that expensive school they went to.

Something’s Fishy

But this bloody sheep suing started out fishy. It said that if I settled immediately, they’d discuss a lower rate of 30% off the 12k+.

What am I, a Rosebank street hooker negotiating the price of getting your rocks off? Seriously, I quit the game and packed away my miniskirt and fishnet stockings 20 years ago.

Anyway, after much investigation, I managed to get hold of the client who uses this collection agency. Blow me down if it wasn’t true. I stole a sheep image. If it was an image of Salma Hayek, I wouldn’t mind so much having to cough up 12k+.

Of course, I didn’t mean to steal the thing. I thought that all copyrighted photos had a watermark over them, and I also got them off a news website that had the image on it. Note to self … check if it has a Creative Commons license before using. But, as you probably know, ignorance is no defence in the law.

Hopefully, it won’t happen again. I’ve been using Get Stencil for many years now. It gives me 2-million+ royalty free photos for life. I’m sure there’s a 100fuckingthousand sheep photos too. 

I’m hoping that this piece of text gives you a moment to pause before playing loose and fast with images off the Internet. Folks are out there trawling the Internet and going onto your website to check if you have any sheep or other illicit images.

Maybe get one of your people to check your website images and if in doubt, remove them and replace them with royalty free photos.

Miniskirt and fishnet stockings

It looks like I’m going to have to get out the miniskirt and fishnet stockings again and gird my loins to pay off the 12k+. It’s not going to be a pretty sight on a 57-year-old.

If you want to spare me the blushes, buy me a Ko-Fi and I may just be able to keep my dignity intact. If there’s change, I’ll pass it on to a charity.

PS. No sheep were harmed in the writing of this blog post

2 Comments on “The Most Expensive Sheep I Never Bought

Paul Kilfoil
October 30, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Yeh, happened to me too. In the end I had to pay because the threats were escalated and became serious. The crew that came after me were called PicRights, based in Switzerland, and they claimed to represent AFP (Agence France-Presse). An expensive lesson about images on the internet …

Jacques de Villiers
October 30, 2020 at 1:01 pm

Hi Paul,

Yup, it is the same crowd. Expensive lesson as you say.


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