Stolen images

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.

See the Dreamstime image on @FuckJerry feed here.

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.

IPhone 5s with mobile application for Instagram

Image credit: Denis Vdovichenko

Photo credits: Denis Vdovichenko.

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April 11, 2016


Great job Jennifer!!!

April 10, 2016


Hi Larry, thanks for your comment. It's good news that you found your image and had the support from Google to have it removed. The generous side of me thinks that actually we should be thankful that somebody thinks our photographs are good enough to want to steal them. And, maybe, just maybe, some people don't understand what's wrong with right-clicking and saving images without downloading them properly and crediting the photographer. But what is most frustrating is that there are millions of freely available creative commons images, and lots of artists categorize their images to be free downloads. And in this particular instance, the people who re-posted the meme (it wasn't one they made, just to be clear) have recently been featured in Forbes magazine as the next big social media marketing company. In my mind, they need to be more cautious than most others in ensuring the stuff they post, or share is legitimate.
That's just my two pennies worth :)
All best,

April 10, 2016


Hi Olena, It's nice to hear that you enjoy reading my posts! Hopefully my next one will be a little more cheerful and helpful. I couldn't let this slip by, though, and felt compelled to write something on this blog. It's a shame that not everyone can use these wonderful images responsibly. The only thing we can do is keep on being vigilant, raise the issue regularly and keep an eye out for our fellow photographers. All best, Jennie

April 10, 2016


Hi Jennifer, i too hate when people use out works without permission,compensation or renumeration.

I found one of mine on a web site from South America ( Venezuela) and filed a complaint with Google as it turned up in their image search. The EXIF info had been stripped out but I had the original photo and it was posted on another site, so Google got them to take it down.

So many people think if it's on the internet it's theirs for the taking.

I'd like to meet some of these people in person. They would change their minds by the time I was done with them.

April 10, 2016


Hi, Jennifer, thank you for the post. Usually I enjoy reading your blogs as they are actual and very sincere. But this time I’m something sad because about a year ago I also saw the DT illustration with watermarks on one of social media sites which earns millions on advertising but most likely did not pay for the picture.
There is the link to this watermarked illustration and it still works as I checked prior to commenting

I had applied to the DT support and I know that after that this site was put into the list of the media using stolen content. Hope the DT contributor was reimbursed.

Related image searches
Dreamstime; related image searches