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Where do Pics on the Internet Come From

Yesterday I received a legal notice about a photo on Holy Taco.  Some gentleman apparently owned said photo and was not amused that we were hosting said photo.  We didn’t have permission to use said photo.  It was illegal.  Copyright infringement.  Remove it!

We get these noticed from time to time.  Some are pretty standard and business-like. But every so often one comes in that was penned by a complete dick face who wants you to know that you’re being sued for $7,000 for every day the picture has been on your site, compounded quarterly with a 4.6% shithead fee calculated annually.  You ignore those emails and just delete the picture.  The polite ones you can ignore too, or reply to with a quick assurance the pic was deleted.

But where did those pictures come from?  Am I stealing shit from people’s computers?  Do I creep through the night and abscond with memory cards and cell phones, uploading the precious memories of other people to my computer whilst laughing and masturbating in a sinister fashion?  Do I trawl Facebook and punk whatever tickles my fancy, my whorish, ticklish fancy?  No.  No!

Generally when I need a picture for an article, I Google it.  I bet you do the same thing when you need a picture for any reason at all.  If I’m writing an article about Waffle Tacos, guess what I Google?  Boobs.  Then, 7 minutes later, I Google Waffle Taco.  Yes, I used caps.  Then I take that Waffle Taco pic and use it in my article.

By and large, this process works wonders.  But some of those pics out there are private property.  It’s the problem with the internet.  You can have anything you want, you just can’t always use it.  There are ways t search for things that you can be guaranteed are free – creative commons licensed stuff and whatnot on sites like flickr or wherever, and I use that when I can.  Sometimes there are even services you can pay for that give you access to a veritable pantload of stock photos.  I use those too.  But sometimes you just find a hilarious photo, and it’s everywhere – all over Facebook, twitter, reddit and who knows where, an you use it, and then it turns out to be the property of Lord Douchenbagger and he demands satisfaction for your trespass against him.  He’s a cock nob.

I have some pictures on Facebook somewhere I think – I try to avoid that shitty website, and I sometimes wonder how I’d feel if one day I saw a picture of me drunk being used in an article on CNN or something.  I’d certainly wonder where they got it, because that’s weird, but would I care?  I put that shit on the internet (actually no I didn’t, nearly every picture of me is one someone else uploaded, but it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m Dorian Gray or some shit).  I know how the internet works.  If you put something on the internet and expect it to stay in your corner of the internet, you may be a moron.  The internet is not a vault.  It’s not a scrapbook or a photo album.  It’s a giant swamp full of crocodile shit and parasites and monsters and flammable gas.  When you put shit here, expect that it will get dirty.  It will find its way to China before you find where you left your keys.

I’m not saying you have no expectation of privacy, but you really don’t have one on the internet.  Is the internet yours?  Is Facebook yours?  Hell no.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have a “right” to anything on someone else’s website, or in social media, or anything like that.  The internet is the place where good sense goes to get high in a screaming nightmare of insanity, titties and role playing games.  Put private photos on your harddrive.  Email them to important people.  Don’t post them everywhere.  It’s not my fault if I find your pictures when I Google something.  Stop busting balls and put your big boy pants on if you find your pics on a hilarious site like mine.  Consider it a compliment.  Word.

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