There’s little recourse for those whose photos are stolen. When Jenny contacted Instagram for help, the company seemed not to understand the problem. “I explained that this private user had stolen photos of my infant daughter,” she says. “Their response was that this was impersonation of a minor and I should be reporting that a minor is using Instagram. I wrote back and said this is not a minor using Instagram. She claims she’s 14 and she’s using a picture of my baby and other babies. They never responded.” (Instagram didn’t reply to a request for comment from Fast Company.)
Wow. This is still a thing?
So this is where I get confused. The DMCA is supposed to work for people like Jenny. We can have a long, drawn out discussion about ownership of ideas, but there’s no question that Jenny *ought* to be able to file a take-down notice with Instagram, just as easily as Disney can. She ought to be able to call Instagram up and say “someone is stealing my photos” and be immediately routed to the DMCA compliance desk, where someone can walk her through the relevant law (not “theft” but copyright infringement) and her recourse.
I don’t understand how Fast Company can run a whole story without ever saying that, but I love the comments (“When you email, message, upload, etc. a digital image you just placed it in the public domain. It no longer belongs solely to you.”)
“It’s contradictory,” she says. “The selfie isn’t just a portrait. It has its own codes and rules, and the main one is that a selfie has to have been taken by hand. An authentic selfie should show it was taken with your arm extended—that’s a sort of signature.” And, she explains, the use of a selfie stick removes that particular element from the frame.
Meanwhile, when I finished my jury service, everyone insisted that we needed a “jury duty selfie” by which they meant they we would grab a stranger on the courthouse steps and hand her our phones so she could take a group shot of the ten of us.
She can testify against her father, or not. She said she felt fine about her decision, but spent 45 minutes weeping over Hello Kitty silly bands that won’t lie flat. I wish I knew how to fix it.