Chasing Cheerios

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I am very upset...

A reader recently alerted me to the fact that images from my blog had been stolen and were appearing on a childcare website. It appears that the woman running the daycare is using stolen images to advertise her daycare and make it appear that these activities and pictures were taken at her daycare. I am shocked and wondering if I even want to continue to have a public blog. I am very glad that I have made an effort to keep O's name and face off of this blog, and I advise other mommy bloggers to do the same since you never know who is stealing your images and how they are using them. Here is the link to the site where the stolen images appear. You may want to check it out since you may find some of your own images on this site. Thanks to Elizabeth for alerting me to the stolen images!

Update: I put this in the comments section, but thought I should add it to the original post...Thanks for the support everyone! I just feel very betrayed since I do this blog to share ideas and build relationships with other moms. I never thought anyone would steal my images and pass them off as her own. Putting a watermark on my pics is a great idea, and I'll definitely look into that. I don't want to stop doing this blog...I really enjoy it (most of the time!), and I already have about 10 posts saved in draft :) It makes me feel sick that my kiddo could be out there in cyberspace in places that I don't even know about. I need to be even more careful about not showing her face. I often show side shots, but I'll have to do better than that and maybe just show her hands. I definitely need to put a note on my blog about not using my images...I've seen that on other blogs. Uggg. What a hassle! I guess I was just really caught off guard by this. Thanks again for your comments!

Also, Elliott has emailed the owner of the daycare to let her know that we will be contacting our lawyer if the images are not removed. Maybe this was an innocent mistake on her part...maybe she didn't know that it's illegal to steal other people's images, and she really does do all of these activities in her daycare and her clients know that the images are not her own. I'll never know, but I'd like to believe that. However, I am just really bothered by my child being on someone's website without my knowledge. I don't think I would be as upset if she had not used a picture of O on her website. It makes me wonder if my child is out there on other sites...this is definitely something every mommy blogger should consider.

UPDATE: The owner of the childcare website has emailed an apology to us, and I can't ask for more than that :) She has asked that her personal info be deleted from the comments section, so I will honor this request. Thanks to all of you for your support :)

71 comments:

  1. Oh wow - I'm so sorry! I love reading your blog and hope that you choose to continue on still.

    I learned to be more careful about the types of pics I posted after I discovered that that a sicko had googled "naked little boys" and my blog had popped up due to a cute pic of my "naked" son in his diaper. It's horrible to feel betrayed like that - you're putting stuff out there and sharing bits of your life and to have people take advantage of it is just sickening. *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's terrible! I am so sorry that this happened to you:0( Maybe you could watermark your photos so that your name appears across them. That way they are not likely to be stolen. I really would hate for you to stop blogging! You would be terribly missed!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is the first time I have left a comment however I read your blog almost everyday. I am so inspired by what you do for your daughter! I am in the mist of getting my pre-primary diploma and opening a preschool out of my home. I have two girls and we use your ideas often. Please don't let one person stop your blogging. I do hope you've contacted her! The parents that bring her kids to her should be warned. Anyhow, your awesome, just keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  4. As bloggers, we all know how often images and words are "stolen" - still, it makes me so angry to see it actually happen.

    I have only been reading your blog a short while but have found it such an inspiration. My daughter is a year younger than "O" and I often go through your archives looking for activities I can do with my daughter.

    Although I certainly can't blame you, it would be such a shame to lose your blog as a resource as you have so many wonderful ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sorry, I'm glad one of your readers alerted you to this!

    I put watermarks on my pictures using the free windows live writer download - doesn't completely prevent the problem, but makes it a little bit more difficult for others to steal your images.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ick! Stealing photos from others is such an awful thing to do. I second the suggestion of adding watermarks to your photos. If you have Photoshop, it can be done quite easily. Free watermarking software isn't easy to come by (in my experience, anyway), but at the very least you could insert your blog URL or a copyright using the text tool in Paint or another photo editing software.

    Also, you might want to consider getting screen shots of the stolen images (open the page in your browser, hit Ctrl+PrtSc on your keyboard, open in photo viewing software and save) just in case you need to resort to more forceful measures to have the images removed.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do enjoy reading your blog and hope you will not stop because of some nut. I just wonder what was she thinking? I blog to help other's know that life is wonderful with a child with down syndrome so I share his face and name.I enjoy getting ideas from your blog and hope you continue!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so sorry this has happened! It's rather appalling that anyone would think that this is acceptable. I do hope that you continue your blog though, I am a loyal follower and your blog is one of the few that inspired me to start my own.

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is very scary, I know I have thought about that also with our blog.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm very sorry that this happened. I read your blog daily for inspiration and ideas to implement with my 2 1/2 year old, but I'd understand if you pulled your blog entirely. I understand your feelings of safety coming first.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so sorry this happened to you! It is so wrong in so many ways. First, she stole your photos. Second, she is misleading her families. Third, if she isn't doing these things, with the children she cares for, what is she doing!? Please don't stop blogging... you have amazing ideas and you are so inspiring. Keep up the fabulous work and good luck with your new little one!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I never have commented, but follow your blog daily as it is full of so many wonderful ideas for my 3 yr old daughter. I would put a watermark on your pictures as well--and try to just take pictures of the activity and her hands, maybe not of her face (even though she is so cute) I would suggest only posting the pictures of her for a private family blog.

    Also, I would contact that preschool that copied your ideas and posted them as her own.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So sorry that happened! I just wanted to say that I am another mom who loves reading your blog to get ideas. I hope you keep on blogging, although I would definitely understand if you chose not to. Hopefully you will be able to get everything resolved.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that! I hope that the daycare owner removes the pictures immediately. You could call her state's day care licensing board and report her for false advertising if she refuses.
    I, too, hope that you continue with your blog. I have been utilizing a lot of your activities with my daughter and would hate to see this great resource go bye-bye due to one idiot.
    Did you know, however, that you can make your blog private, where you have to approve each & every person who wants to view it? Might be a bit of a hassle and would limit your viewer pool, but might be an option instead of discontinuing your blog.
    I really like the idea of watermarking your pictures...I wish I knew how to do this myself.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to you. You have to do what makes you most comfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is so wrong. I noticed when I went to the site that they were also stealing images from another Montessori blog, My Montessori Journey.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm sorry that has happened to you. It's happened to me before and it certainly felt like I had been violated.

    Last year, a disturbed individual lifted my entire triplet pregnancy story. They copied and pasted segments of my pregnancy, my delivery and the six week stay that my premature infants had in the NICU. But, the person altered their story to one baby, as opposed to three. Still, they used pictures of MY babies in their posting. Fortunately, one of my readers happened to see the pictures and alerted me to it.

    I was very disturbed. I took a break from blogging for a few days, thought about going private - watermarking images, etc. But ultimately, I decided to keep my blog public because it touches a lot of lives in a POSITIVE way.

    If you haven't followed up with the person who stole your images - I definitely would. And, I'd add copyright details to your blog - if you don't already. The internet is very large - but also very small. Good people see bad people doing things - and chances are, they'll let you know.

    Best of luck in your decision.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That is just disturbing. I love your site and I LOVE the ideas you give me for activities to do with my own daughter. I would be sad to see your site go (it is one of my very favorites). But I totally understand your anger... very justified... and I think I recognize some images from another blog I read so I am going to have to let her know too! What a pain in the rear.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am furious for you. I hope she is smart enough to take the pictures down ASAP. I'd love to alert her customers.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the support everyone! I just feel very betrayed since I do this blog to share ideas and build relationships with other moms. I never thought anyone would steal my images and pass them off as her own. Putting a watermark on my pics is a great idea, and I'll definitely look into that. I don't want to stop doing this blog...I really enjoy it (most of the time!), and I already have about 10 posts saved in draft :) It makes me feel sick that my kiddo could be out there in cyberspace in places that I don't even know about. I need to be even more careful about not showing her face. I often show side shots, but I'll have to do better than that and maybe just show her hands. I definitely need to put a note on my blog about not using my images...I've seen that on other blogs. Uggg. What a hassle! I guess I was just really caught off guard by this. Thanks again for your comments!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Melissa, did you know she is one of your followers?

    http://mamaofone-naptimereflections.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  21. That's awful! As I would understand if you want to make it a private blog I hope you don't!

    ReplyDelete
  22. it's much MORE disturbing to think that this woman is being paid by some other families to watch their little ones (assumingly) on a full time basis. Chilling really.

    ReplyDelete
  23. After clicking on your link I was shocked to find that 9 of the 23 photos on the Chickadee Childcare website are directly taken from my Montessori blog. I have left a comment for the owner of that website which you can view at this link....at least until she removes it. http://chickadeeschildcare2008.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=29260506

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ashlie.....frequent visitor!June 24, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    Ugh! I'm sorry that happened :( I DO hope this doesn't discourage you from doing your blog. I check it a few times a week to give me ideas for my 2 boys!...and now I even have 2 little girl cousins that come for "activities", too! I truly appreciate your dedication & time and sharing your "journey" :) I was just commenting on how you seem to take precautions like not revealing O's name & most pics I've seen of her it seems her face is covered. You seemed to be playing it as safe as one could....but who knew?! :( Thanks for sharing that, to make us more alert to what we do as bloggers and such!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Melissa, that's so awful. Thanks for alerting us. I keep my children's faces off my blog (and their names & identifying information) & sometimes when I have awesome pix where you can see everyone clearly I've thought of the blogs where you see the kids faces all the time & *wish* I did - but I don't think I will anymore! It looks like you can "comment" on that ladies' photo's on her "childcare" site - maybe you (or all of us!) should?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I haven't been reading your blog very long. I love all of your ideas and I would hate to see you stop blogging because of this.. however, I completely understand how you could/would want to. A few details for you.. I happen to have found her blog through Tot School a while back. Per the email she sent me with a question I left on her blog about a toy her name is Starla Griffin her email address is chickadees-childcare@hotmail.com. Again very sorry that some of your wonderful ideas were stolen and used!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've never commented, but I love following your blog and enjoy using your wonderful project ideas with my own kiddo.

    I share the shock and dismay that comes from such a discovery. I'm so sorry. Although her actions were clearly wrong, maybe she is just implementing your ideas with her daycare kids like many of us moms use them at home with our own children, and she felt your photos accurately portrayed the activities. I'm not excusing her behavior, just offering a possible explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am sorry this has happened. This is why I have no face shots at all and I call him Egg. Nasty disgraceful people.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am so so sorry this has happened to you. Some people really stink.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am a reader and a fan, though not often a commenter. I followed your link and added my comments to the others about how terrible it is that your pictures were stolen, for what it's worth.

    Like most of the folks here, I just love your blog and would hate to see it go (or be made private where I cannot follow it), but you have to do what you have to do for O and Little Kicker.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I love reading your blog and get SO many great ideas from you to do with my 4 and 3 year old. I also hope you continue to blog - I think I was the 47th person to follow you so I've been here awhile!
    I'm so sorry this happened to you - yuck. :(

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my goodness! I checked over at that sight and immediately recognized some of the activities I had told my husband about wanting to do with our future children. Seriously, if she liked the ideas so much why didn't she do those activities and photograph them?

    ReplyDelete
  33. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I guess we should all be more careful! What an eye opener!!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Anon- Thanks for the info. Hopefully, she will remove the images and that will be the end of this for us. If not we may have to contact her further, and your info will be very useful. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  36. What a horrible thing for someone to do! So sorry!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I am so sorry that this happened. I hope that you will continue to blog because you are such an inspiration to me and my friends.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Oops! I was the "Anonymous" commentator above (I forgot to log in before posting). Anyway, I hope that helps!

    I had something similar happen and ended up taking the legal route, so feel free to let me know if you need anything else :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. A friend just recommended your blog to me last week and I've been LOVING reading it!

    It boggles me that someone would take pictures and use them in this fashion.

    It makes me wonder what other sorts of things she might be falsifying.

    Here are two sites where she has information and pictures (and there are more if you search for 'Chickadees Childcare"): http://www.daycarebear.ca/family-home-daycare-dayhome/3387-chickadees-childcare.html

    http://www.godaycare.com/Ontario/Toronto/Chickadees+Childcare/6112/1

    ReplyDelete
  40. Melissa,

    I am so sorry about this! You are a wonderful and inspiring Mama and I'd hate to think that your sense of trust and security has been shaken.

    *****

    Vibrant Skies,

    You are one heck of an investigator. May I email you about a similar issue I'm having in hopes that you can find me some more info?

    ReplyDelete
  41. It is one thing to use the photos (with your permission, of course) with a caveat that they are simply examples of great Montessori activities and quite another to pass them off as actual photos taken from her daycare. I am appalled that someone would blatantly steal your photos, but am SICKENED that they would use photos WITH O in them!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I hate to see things like this, but sometimes people do this because they are just clueless and want to share. However, taking images of children is going way too far. I hope they are removed, and you will continue your phenomenal blog.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Shizzers!!! This is really shocking. I am so sorry for you and your family (esp O)

    I am now considering removing all photos of my girls face on my site and giving her another name. I wish I though of that b4!!!!. Does anyone know if by doing this it means all subscribers will get sent the new posts - that would be a bummer.

    BIg bloggy hug to you. Its awful.

    ReplyDelete
  44. so sorry about all that, thats horrible. I cant believe it. Someone alsays has to stomp on our mommy fun!

    ReplyDelete
  45. You should be upset! We always want to think the best of others but stealing ("borrowing") images from another site is unconscionable. if she really does these activities then she should document her own children and students doing them. It is really worrisome to think of the images of our children out there, 'unsupervised'. I love your blog! My son is 14 months and I love to mine your archives for ideas of what to do next with him.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I just started reading your blog a few months ago and became so ablsolutely inspired that I just started my own. I did think about how it would be "open" to the world and anyone could see pictures of my daughter. I saw so many other moms blogs with pictures of their kids that I thought it would be ok. I only have a few followers and the other day some random guy became a follower with no kids or Montessori interests. It got me worried and now this. I'm not sure what the answer is but I know that we can't be scared away because this is such an amazing vehicle for learning and sharing. You inspire so many people. If you do go private I hope you allow all of us moms to still follow you.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I love your blog, you inspire me! I am so sad that someone would steal your photos and claim them as her own:( It really makes me think about my own child's photos on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  48. You should be happy to know that the website is no longer available. i guess they got the point.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Wow, how creepy. It seems that all of the sites have been removed at this point, so that is a relief I am sure. But it does make you wonder who is looking at pictures of our little ones! It is wonderful that one of your readers alerted you to this slimeball.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'm crazy angry!

    It is possible to disable the right-click function on pictures. However, if people left-click on them they can still steal them once they open in their own page. Here is a tutorial on how to disable each picture individually as you compose your blog. You have so many posts you may not want to go back through and do this, but you could do it for all future posts.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.designsbyrs.com/2009/01/14/blogspot-101-keep-your-photos-from-opening-when-people-left-click-on-them/

    and here's a link on how to disable right-click:
    http://www.designsbyrs.com/2008/04/08/blogspot-101-right-click-disable/

    I have to go fix my blog now!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Melissa,

    I am one of the many mommy bloggers out there who check your blog daily for inspiration. My LO is a little bit younger than O, but that just means that I have a little bit of extra time to prepare activities for her as she grows. It's so awful that someone would take advantage like that. I completely understand if you want to limit public access to your blog because of what has happened, but please know that you would be missed! I also think that it's so awesome that so many of your readers are looking out for you (and your family)--great job, people! I, too, checked out the links that they provided and was *very* happy to see that those sites are gone. Good riddance!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Thanks for the wake up call. I've been more lax lately and been posting more clear pics of my kiddos, but this has made me realize that this is the not the route I want to go. I deleted a lot of pics..

    Thanks a lot and I hope everything gets resolved soon!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hey it looks like you managed to get that ridiculous site YANKED! goood job...that was crazy!

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am disgusted. People are downright mean. You're nice for giving her the benefit of the doubt but as an educator SHE SHOULD KNOW BETTER!

    Picnik is an easy and free photo service that lets you edit photos. I use it. I know other blogger who use it and put a water mark on their picture. It makes it a bit more time consuming.

    I love your blog. It's so inspiring to see what you do with O. I really hope you continue publishing here.

    thanks for all the effort you put in to this. I tried opening up the link but it didn't work. I would like to e-mail who ever did this and give her a piece of my mind

    ReplyDelete
  55. Melissa, I'm very sorry that that happened to you. Interesting to see that the link you posted (and also from My Montessori Journey) cannot be reached anymore!

    ReplyDelete
  56. wow I'm so sorry that happened! I've been a reader of your blog a long time before I became a blogger.. and followed your lead to keep my daughter's name and face off my blog.. maybe adding a watermark and a copyright notice on the blog is a good idea too!

    ReplyDelete
  57. All links to her daycare are now gone so hopefully she has learned her lesson. I am so sorry this happened to you. I had another friend that found her child's photo on a Craig's list posting offering him up for adoption. It is scary what can happen.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I heard about this same thing happening about a week and a half ago to one of my friends. I have not updates either of my blogs since then.
    I love reading your blog, and I love posting on mine, but I was so upset that I am not sure what to do. The links by "My Boys' Teacher" are helpful, but I am not sure it is worth all the extra work for me.
    I support whatever you decide to do, although I will miss your blog VERY MUCH if you stop!
    You are an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  59. That's awful. I'm hearing more and more about this though. A family member of mine had pictures taken from her blog from a family reunion we had and put on the lodge's website that we stayed at without her knowledge.

    I've been following your blog for a while so when I started my own blog I tried to not take pictures of my LO's face because I saw that is what you do. I've been a little lax lately though and so I'm going to go remove some images that have more of her face in them. I too am one that loves your blog and your ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  60. How awful of that woman. I understand if you choose not to blog any more, but I hope you continue. You give me so many ideas to use with my sons. You are also help me keep thinking about my dream to become a school psychologist.

    ReplyDelete
  61. How horrible! I just wanted to let you know that I clicked on the link to check it out and the page no longer exists. She must have realized she was doing something wrong and took it down. So sorry this has happened.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I am so sorry that this is happening to you. You are completely justified in your feelings of violation and wanting to make your blog private. I selfishly hope you will not because I find your blog to be a great inspiration. I have gotten so many ideas for activities from here and have even been encouraged to start my own blog. You have to make the decision that is right for you, but I just wanted to let you know what an inspiration you have been to me and what an amazing thing you are doing for your daughter. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  63. I am so sorry this has happened to you! I know I would feel so violated. The page no longer exists that you link to, so at least that's a plus. I didn't want to watermark my pics, but I guess I'll have to seriously consider it now. You're such an inspiration. I hope this doesn't make you stop sharing your ideas with the rest of us. Hugs and prayers for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hello, I'm just a silent reader (not sure if I've commented before). I have a blog at xanga.com and I know on there there's a way to protect your pictures. If someone tries to right click (to save it) a pop-up appears that says some custom message like "You can't save these pictures!". Not sure if blogger has anything like that, but it's worth checking out along with the watermark suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Gosh i feel terribly upset about this! It's unfair and just honestly wrong to have your photos used!
    I really enjoy reading your blog, you have inspired me in so many ways to be a better mum and to be creative daily. For this i thank you and hope you can choose to continue, when you figure out the best way to protect yourself and family.

    thank you again. carm

    ReplyDelete
  66. oh no!!!!!!!!!!
    how unethical!
    thanks for the warning..i need to watermark too.
    sorry for the hurt and fear

    ReplyDelete
  67. Seems she has taken down her daycare website, personal blog and facebook page. She's been shamed right off the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hi there,
    So sorry to hear of your experience.
    I read your blog every day, as I have a little child of my own, and can't wait to follow some of your amazing ideas. I would feel very very sad if you decided to stop posting your amazing experiences with O.
    Thinking of you.
    xx00 J

    ReplyDelete
  69. HI there,
    So sorry to hear of your experience. Wow, it makes me really angry too!
    I love your blog, and read it every day. I can't wait to borrow some of your amazing ideas when my baby is bigger!!
    It seems like you do a wonderful job with O, and I know other Mothers like me adore you blog. I would have major withdrawal symptoms if you decided to stop sharing your wonderful experiences.
    Hugs Jackie

    ReplyDelete
  70. I am very sorry this happened to you! I follow your blog when I have time to do so. I am a family child care provider in Modesto, CA and I too have had item taken from my website by other providers. It is those provider who give all providers a bad name and I just wish they would stop.

    ReplyDelete
  71. thanks for informastion greats http://bit.ly/oApRG

    ReplyDelete