This is my house not on Pinterest!


This is my house not on Pinterest!

Living room window. I love the late afternoon sun and how it makes the room light up with a soft pink glow.

Do you use Pinterest? Frankly, it annoys me. It is like a collection of what people like. I feel frustrated most of the time when I am on it. It makes me feel like I need to get busy cleaning or crafting or being inspirational.

My friend and I have thought about doing a Pinterest board of our messy homes. We are both moms to young children. At best, after my house has been thoroughly cleaned, it looks nothing like a Pinterest photo.

I guess I don’t like Pinterest because it induces so many feels of inadequacy in me. No thanks. I already am way too hard on myself as it is.
Anyway, it is a great place to get ideas. I always wonder who these people are that live the Pinterest life. Like who does their cleaning? Is it a maid? Housekeeper? Husband? And what motivates them to be so crafty? Are they distracting themselves from a real problem? Then I realize there is no way to really find out who is behind the pin that has me thinking all these deep thoughts because it is repinned so many times.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I am distracting myself from grief. I recently had a birthday and instead of being happy on my birthday, I was incredibly sad. It took me the whole day to pinpoint exactly why. It was because this past birthday was the first birthday without my mother. She passed away on Christmas Eve. The reality of her death and the fact that she is really gone has hit me hard this month.

We shared a birthday (her a birth day) for almost four decades. I miss her so much and there is so much I want to know about her. So many stories I kick myself for not recording or writing down that she told over and over and I barely listened to them because she told them to me so many times.

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend's house.

This photo was taken in 2003 on Christmas Eve. My father passed away in December of 2003. This photo was taken at my best friend’s house.

I’ve been looking out my windows a lot lately wondering where she is. Where can I access her? People are so kind to me about my grief. Sypathetic. Some empathetic. I know in my mind I am not the only woman who has lost her mother. But I feel very isolated in my pain.

I am thinking about starting a Pinterest board on death. Yes, seriously. I often post my blog posts to StumbleUpon and I always wonder why there is isn’t a topic for grief or death. I guess it is something people don’t classify easily. I still can not classify what I am feeling.

I am reading books with the theme of loss and death in them. They give me comfort. I recently read “Still Point of the Turning World” by Emily Rapp. This is what I wrote on Good Reads about it:

I was fortunate to read an ARC of this book. This book was beautiful. The author is a Wyoming native so I enjoyed reading about references to my home state. Her son, Rowan had Tay-Sachs disease. He recently passed away. She has a popular blog (Little Seal) about her journey with her son.This book came into my hands shortly before my mother passed away. It was a serendipitous gift. It provided me such comfort as I often read it under the covers with a flashlight in my own cocoon of grief. Emily Rapp is a talented writer who is able to immerse the reader into her story without being overly sentimental or completely grief stricken. I recommend it highly. It is not just a book about loss, in fact, it is quite the opposite; it is a book about love and life.

I also just finished “The Long Goodbye: A Memoir” by Meghan O’Rourke.  I enjoyed this book. The author’s name is Meghan and my name is Megan; her mother died on Christmas day and my mother died Christmas Eve. I would recommend this book as well.

I am currently reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  I love this line in the book: “Just as I’d seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.”
I love this memoir. Cheryl Strayed makes writing a memoir look effortless. As a writer, I know it is not effortless, but a skill and a craft.

View from my living room of my porch

View from my living room of my porch

Copyright Infringement Makes Me Buck Like Bodacious


Buck like Bodacious. I Want to Buck the Muck out of Copyright Thieves.

I recently deleted my Pinterest boards with my watermarked images.  I also deleted all my boards until I can honestly know that each image I have repinned links back to the original website, artist, and that I have permission to use the photo.  It is more of a headache to get into this party at Pinterest.  I really should have read the fine print on Pinterest.  Instead, I just wanted to get into the big raging party going down at Pinterest.  After all, it was an invite only bash everyone was talking about.

I binge pinned and ended up getting sick, so to speak.

I have read the fine print (well, I read several blogs that explained Pinterest’s legal Latin) and Pinterest protects themselves, but puts all the legal responsibility on its 10.4 million registered users.  (That’s one big ass keg party!) Anyway, the fine print says that Pinterest users are responsible for all legal ramifications if there is a copyright infringement and lawsuit.  It also says that if you upload an image to Pinterest, it can sell your photo and it is public property.  And even if you request to have it deleted, it will still be available to the public in its server.

F#$%balls, I f$%&ed up again.

I created a Pinterest account to reclaim my photos that I have seen all over the internet, from a gay guy’s cute faces website, to a Southern Romance Writer’s Guild website, to a facebook fan page for women who love cowboys, to a Russian mail order bride website advertising a “Wild West” party, to multiple Photo Bucket users, to a professional bull rider’s Facebook profile (it’s a portrait photo I took of him) and fan page profile, to the pop culture website — Zimbio, to a Deviant Art user that had the audacity to copyright my images and sell them.  I think I am more pissed she copyrighted the images than selling them! That is just a sample; there are more unfortunately, and so many more I don’t know about.

Here are some photos that have been seen all over the internet.  I have added watermarks in on them, using this free, easy, and right brain friendly site: http://www.watermark.ws/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In fact, it this blatant copyright infringement makes me about as mad and mean as a rank bull!  Chicken on a Chain and Bodacious, I’m channeling you! And I want to buck the muck out of these careless, disrespectful copyright thieves.

This is a video of the legendary bull, Bodacious.  Caution — kind of scary in the fact that this badass bull did some serious damage to bull riders. He shattered Tuff Hedeman’s face pretty much. So you have been warned!

Maybe I am old school — maybe I went to high school and college without the internet, but I know, thanks to my high school English teacher, Mr. Anderson, that you better damn well find the source of something you are going to quote or use, or it is OUT RIGHT PLAGERISM and copyright theft. Period.

Ever heard of the DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT? (This is a link to the official PDF from the 105th Congress Report).

© means something!

I have been thinking about how I feel like I am spinning my wheels in thick mud, and I’ve been thinking about Pinterest and if it was a mistake to start using it (since you can change the URL website on images and it is such a copyright infringement fest).  So I did what most people do when they need information  and are obsessing on something — I googled!

I googled, “Pinterest and photographers copyright,” I started reading this article first,  Is Pinterest a Haven for Copyright Violations which was linked to, among many others, very informative articles about Pinterest, copyright, and the law. I highly recommend reading and bookmarking this article, as it has many helpful and informative links.  I read this article too, Pinterest Enables Copyright Theft on a Global Scale, written by the owner of FineArtAmerica.

And then I read this article, Why Photographers Should Stop Complaining about Copyright and Embrace Pinterest, which is completely on the other side of the issue, with a stance of give your best photos away in high resolution, without any watermarks and good karma will come your way.  The person that wrote the article, Trey Ratcliff, also has the #1 photo blog on the internet.  With the income he generates from his website alone, he can afford to give away photos.

My friend, who is helping me with the legal stuff, made a good point:

memomuse: Well, at least my name got credited on this website (at We Heart It). But it got credited to the website I had to take down. (www.meganoteri.wordpresscom)

Friend: When the electric bill comes, you can’t tell the electric company, “I will credit your name to pay for the bill.”

So I ended up staying up until 1 am last night, reading about copyright and Pinterest and outraged photographers and photographers taking the side of Trey Ratcliff, and going with the give your photos away and good karma will come your way. Then I ended up at Living Locurto‘s website.  I read this article on her site first, Information for Bloggers and People Who Use Pinterest, which linked to another one of her article’s, Pinterest Is Changing the Way I Blog, and left this comment (in italics below).

I hate watermarks for this very reason (they look cheesy), but go ahead and try stealing this photo!
Megan Oteri © All Rights Reserved

I used to have a website dedicated to all things rodeo and cowboys (and I don’t have to remind anyone how attractive cowboys are, especially when they are ready to get on a wild animal, in fact, cowboys are beautiful and so are cowgirls and I really believe rodeo tells beautiful stories).

I logged some serious hot Wyoming Julys documenting with old school 35 mm film the biggest rodeo in America (Cheyenne Frontier Days). I had photos from 2001 – 2009. I uploaded high-resolution photos and created a right-click dream. I have had to take that website down because of the photo piracy. I have had my photos stolen and reposted on all kinds of websites. It is really disheartening as an artist to see my work posted on other people’s website and not have even my name credited. It’s funny how people will take credit for other people’s work. I follow a hard core artist code — blood, sweat, and tears and a lot of heart, produced and created those images.

I literally had bullshit slung on me and my camera lens to get the photos I took. Since I have been finding the photos all over the place, I actually thought I could reclaim them by putting up watermarked images on Pinterest (from my online print on demand gallery — http://www.artflakes.com/en/shop/megan-oteri). It was my big dramatic shout in the crowd — these are mine! Since I am still learning how to put a watermark on, I used the watermarked images from my Artflakes gallery.

The whole thing has taken time away from my family, trying to track down photos and contact people to take down the photos and made me a jittery basket of nerves and depressed. I am usually very upbeat and I like to use my photos to inspire people.

Samantha’s quote from “Sex and the City” to Smith Jarod, came to mind — “First comes the gays, then the girls, and then the industry.” I thought something positive would happen since my photos were stolen and posted on a gay guy’s cute faces website, a Russian mail order bride website advertising a “Wild West” party, and a bunch of other ones. Heck, a professional bull rider is using my photo that I took of him in Wyoming, as his facebook profile photo and for his fan page.

I am waiting for the industry to contact me! I actually have a whole advertising campaign for Wrangler!

Is my name credited on any of these websites? NO. I thought Pinterest would help me. Now I have another headache to worry about now that I found out Pinterest owns all my photos now and can sell them and even though I deleted my boards of my photos, they are still available in a public server. It is such a nightmare. What I think it totally wrong with Pinterest is people can change the URL site. They don’t have to keep the original source. It’s like an honor system gone bad, real bad.

It makes me want to take my toys and go home. But it makes me think about how can I benefit from this? I feel like I am missing something?? Am I? Or is the new internet fueled by the non-renewable resources of artists’ hard work. Does artists’ work just get burned up in a Pinterest sharing fest? What would Picasso and Monet have to say about this if their paintings and works of art were being shared without their name. They had enough smarts to sign their paintings.

I think I should just cut and paste this comment and make it my next blog post!

The final kicker for me was seeing two of my photos posted on Deviant Art  and she actually copyrighted my images as her own and is selling them! Talk about salt, lemon, lime, tequila, alcohol, and a scorpion bite all to the wound.

I don’t know if I have the left brain skills to sort through all this nonsense. I do have a friend (thank goodness) who has legal knowledge of copyright to help me through this internet nightmare.

The ironic thing, is I posted the photos with the intention of sharing my art, visually, and trying to make a name for myself as a rodeo and cowboy photographer.  My photos went viral, without any credit to me, and the people that pirated them were the ones who got the credit (like in the Photo Bucket users).

But that is my art. I created it. Anyway, I do have my photos posted at talenthouse.com/memomuse, where the site has flash so people can’t copy it. I sure hope people can’t copy it. I guess they can with screen shots these days.

I am rambling on. Sorry. This is a hot button topic for me. I have deleted my Pinterest boards with my photos (even though they had watermarks from Artflakes), And I am deleting all photos that I am not sure I have permission to post. Pinterest kind of sucks by putting all the legal responsibility on the users. I think the people using the site have no idea what they are doing and the repercussions for the very people that are providing them visual inspiration (the photographers who take the pictures). In the meantime, I am sticking watermarks all over the photos I do put on Pinterest. Thank you for this post and I am sorry if I rambled on too much about this. My facebook community is sick of hearing me whine about this. I hate it when people say, “Well, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet then.” Thanks for letting me share.

***

This is a favorite photo many people love to claim as their own. It was taken at Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming at the PBR nightshow.

Cowboy with Rope Photo © Megan Oteri ~ All Rights Reserved
This photo was taken with black and white film with a 35 mm camera you have to develop the film! Imagine that. I love old school black and white film.

So, I continue to try to deal with this issue.  I am trying to see the bigger picture and use my Aries tenacity to make the best of the situation. I read this quote today that made me feel better:

“Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

But the truth of the matter is, I am spending way too much time worrying about this.  And maybe good karma will come back my way (magically).  In the mean time, I haven’t made any money from these photos that have gone viral, nor have I sold any photos in my Artflakes gallery (why pay for them when you can get them for free, right) and I have spent countless hours trying to track down people to tell them to remove the photos.

I am not one to just give up easily when I am passionate about something.  And I do have some issues with a need for justice, as well as, a need for validation.  So the combination of these issues and the blatant disrespect for photographers and their artwork, in general, in our culture — well — it has been a sucky time of it.  I know I am going to hear a ton of people, say — just let it go Meg.  Really, would you just let it go, if your employer decided to say your pay check just wouldn’t be coming because of circumstances out of your control.

PBR Bull Rider, Brian Canter — Photo © Megan Oteri ~ All Rights Reserved
I don’t like watermarks. Unfortunately, they are needed. I really do believe they take away from the art. This photo I have to let go and let it find its way. In fact, it really did find its way — back to the bull rider. So I think the bigger picture is art finds a way. Cause, no offense to Brian Canter, but most of the pictures of him out there make him look like he’s twelve. I think this photo does him justice!

But as you know, memomuse really isn’t one to stick my head in the negative mud.  I like to get out in the sunshine and see the beauty of life.  And I love to share the photos I take.  But now I have to worry about watermarks and all that, which really stops me from sharing the right brain magic.  I really suck at left brain technical stuff.  I wish a left brain fairy godmother would come to my rescue.  I need a benefactor to help me pay for an art show.  That would be cool. Now, we are talking — the dreamer in me is dazzling already — an art show at a gallery.  Heck, I need to be my own fairy godmother.  In fact, my friend, Javaugn, sent me this grant information today to apply to for photographers. So I did get my left brain fairy godmother.  Thanks Javaugn.

I got to stop this ramble.  I am even hesitant to post it (in fear of seeming like a whiner, but why am I feeling this way — I didn’t do anything wrong!  I keep blaming myself for not putting up a watermark, when I copyright the photos individually, in each photo’s caption).  But I know there are other people out there trying to figure out all this copyright stuff, so I will share this post, as it has really informative links to well written and easy to understand articles and blog posts about copyright law. It even has a direct link to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The bottom line is I have to let go of the cowboys and the bull rope.  Life goes on.  I have learned to watermark.  Lesson learned!  Maybe that is the only positive out of this.  Nah, I think there are a lot of really good people who have passed these photos forward, and they are giving some old cowgirl some joy.  Or even a cowboy (hopefully the cowboy himself or cowgirl) because as an artist, rodeo is my Montana; it is my muse and my wide open Wyoming space, where I see such beauty and such story.

Let er’ Buck“,” they say.  Sometimes you don’t have to quote every source.  Sometimes greatness speaks for itself; no signature required.  Maybe that is the lesson in all of this.  (But don’t worry, I am still channeling Bodacious and ready to buck every little copyright thief on their little greedy backs — just kidding.  I’m exhausted.

I have to move on.  This blog post is my white flag.  As much as I hate to admit defeat — hard lesson learned — I’ve got some darlings out their in cyber land who have found new homes.

Just tell me I’m awesome and I think I’ll be OK.  🙂  I still have my sense of humor and a lot more f%$^ing film and rodeos. And I’ll always have Wyoming in my heart.

This makes me think about: What did artists think of the forgers who forged their work and sold it?  My parents had a painting by one of Picasso’s forgers.

What do you think about copyright and the internet and social media sharing sites like Pinterest?

Monday Museletter April 16


Happy Monday Muse!

I hope you all had a great weekend doing the things you love and spending time with loved ones.

Talenthouse Voting Opens Today

Voting opens at 10 am PST, so that is 1 pm EST.  Here is the link:  photo of Chris LeDoux.  I will be posting a creative nonfiction story Tuesday, about meeting Chris at Cheyenne Frontier Days in 2003.  So tuned, it’s a really cute story.  The title of the story is, “Just Happy to be Here.”

Blogging Award

I have been nominated for the Kreativ Blogger Award by R.T. Dickinson.  I will be posting my nominees and 7 things about me on Wednesday.

Sesame Street

My son has been watching Seseme Street.  He has started counting.  Not like 1, 2, 3, 4, but he holds up both his index fingers to show us he knows what 2 means.  He also lined up his bath toys in the tub and was counting in his toddler language. It was adorable.  He loves Elmo!  And he loves to sing and dance.

New Camera

My husband bought me a new camera for my birthday.  Yippee! It has two lenses. Oh yeah.  I love it.  I still haven’t figured out how to put a watermark on, using my own software.   I don;t really care if the photos I post today get pirated.  I am still getting used to the camera.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pirated Photos

The Facebook website that had pirated photos uploaded by some if its fans, took down the pirated photos of mine.  They also put up a link to my Talenthouse portfolio, saying this: “Looking for more cowboy photos, check out the awesome shots by Megan Oteri!”  I think I had to have this happen for me to force myself how to figure out watermarking.  I have uploaded watermarked photos (with Artflakes watermark) to my Pinterest page with links to my Artflakes online art gallery.

Gardening

My garden is starting to look amazing.  I love how it feels when a seed sprouts; I feel so empowered.  Gardening also helps me practice patience.  I am not a patient person by nature. I want it NOW. In fact, I want it before now! We are growing spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, beans, blackberries, strawberries, carrots, oregano, basal, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and peas.  What a beautiful sight to see a garden grow.

Spinach growing in my garden

Brain Tumor Thursday

I feature a brain tumor survivor every Thursday on my blog.  I thought Liz’s story was incredible.  Featuring these people, sure puts things in perspective.  My mother has non-cancerous brain tumors.  You can read more about that here.  You can also find out about how Brain Tumor Thursday got started.  I do tell my readers about Brain Tumor Thursday in the Monday Museletter so they have a head’s up.  I know some people do not want to read about that.  I can respect that.  I think the profiles are inspirational — there are so many people dealing with serious problems.  It humbles me.

Chapter 2 – My Memoir

I hope to get chapter 2 to my memoir revised and edited by the end of this week.  Here is the story of meeting an agent at the South Carolina Writer’s Workshop:

I actually met with a literary agent at the 2011 South Carolina Writer’s Workshop, and after two rejections of my gift book, The Original Journal (see tab above if you are not familiar with that project), I decided the third pitch needed to be something else, or my ego would literally strangle me with its wounded limbs.  So, I pitched my memoir.  The agent put her business card on the table.  I had no idea what that meant, having suffered (cue ego sad music) two rejections from other agents.

She said, “My next appointment has cancelled, so do you have questions about the publishing business and process?”

I searched my mind and had one thing on my mind, “How did my pitch go?”

She smiled, she is from the Mid-West, and so down to earth and said, “I gave you my card.”

I was like, “Yeah, OK, what does that mean?”

She laughed kindly and looked me dead in the eye (this time I wasn’t about to cry like after the rejection from the last two agents), and said, “I want to see the first 30 pages.”

I think I could have hugged her.  I really wanted to.  I was on top of the world.

Have a great week ya’ll and hopefully I will see you here tomorrow for “Just Happy to Be Here,” to sing for my supper — to get your vote for my Chris LeDoux photo.  I really love Chris’ music and country music in general.  I am in the process of putting together a photo story book about the rodeo in Cheyenne.  You can view (Pinterest) or buy (Artflakes gallery) some of those photos here: my Pinterest page and my Artflakes online art gallery.

This is my favorite photo I have ever taken of a horse.

I took this photo, Eyelashes on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.