You may have heard of the social media sensation @FuckJerry, or perhaps not. I hadn't until I had just read a Forbes magazine interview with the man behind the FuckJerry handle, Elliot Tebele. He seemed like just another guy who is making some waves across well known social media platforms.
I was intrigued, and so searched for him on a well known picture sharing site. His account was instantly recognizable, especially since it now has a "verified" tick on it. I scrolled down the posts, mostly memes, until I came across a familiar watermark - the Dreamstime watermark.
I was astonished to see that Elliot Tebele, a man who had claimed in the Forbes interview to charge around $30,000 for a social media account takeover, and whose new clothing line is set to make around 1.5 to 3 million dollars in the next 12 months, was re-posting memes that contained what is essentially a stolen photograph.
Worse still, there is no credit given to the photographer at all. Credit is only given to the people who created the meme originally, which @FuckJerry had simply re-posted. There is likewise no credit given by the meme creators.Given that the @FuckJerry account has 8.5 million followers on the popular photo sharing site alone, that kind of exposure would be priceless to the unnamed, unaccredited photographer whose work has been (mis)used.
I've called Elliot Tebele out on this, which will no doubt cause some backlash, but I know how difficult it is to make any money in stock photography. See my tweet to Elliot here. Dreamstime contributors work hard and adhere scrupulously to laws and moral guidelines. We are extremely talented, and hard-working. Many of us would dearly love to pursue photography as a full time career, managing only to squeeze in a few hours a week around other professions and commitments. I do not know who the photographer is that this work belongs to, but I hope that they would also take a stand against the unauthorized use of our work. I hope also that Dreamstime may intervene and try to recoup some of the revenue owed to that photographer.
Image credit: Denis Vdovichenko