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Photographer Called Out by PhotoStealers Threatens Defamation Lawsuit

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Many of you are familiar with the website PhotoStealers, which acts as “a wall of shame… dedicated to photographers that feel that it’s okay to steal others work and post it as their own.” Photo theft is expertly weeded out and exposed by the site’s creator, who has taken on some big names including Jasmine Star and Doug Gordon.

The most recent PhotoStealers post, however, might reach even more epic proportions than the Star/Gordon shame-fest. It involves one Christopher Jones of CJ Photography and, before long, might involve a defamation lawsuit as well.

The entire saga began on December 20th, when PhotoStealers pointed out that many of the photographs posted on the CJ Photography website were, in fact, composites made using stock photos. Captions such as “I would say the sunrise at 7:30 with the storm moving in was pretty awesome … This was actually a test shot” adorned photos that, it was showed, were never actually photographed by Mr. Jones.

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That’s when things began to get confusing. Jones removed many of the offending photos and responded to the allegations by admitting that they were composites, lamenting that he hadn’t been more transparent about this, and explaining that he also mistakenly licensed the stock photos incorrectly, although he did pay for them. He also said that ONLY the 9 images exposed by PhotoStealers were, indeed, composites — the rest were his own work.

PhotoStealers wasn’t satisfied, neither with the explanation nor the claim that only those 9 were a problem. In short order, more photos were shown to be composite images and CJ Photography’s excuses were made to seem less-than-adequate.

That brings us to the legal chapter in the story. In copyright disputes as in grief, it seems that denial is followed by anger and bargaining. PhotoStealers received a long Facebook message threatening two lawsuits: one for the defamation caused by the site AND its commenters, a few of which, according to PS, have also been contacted and threatened by Jones or his lawyer; and another if PhotoStealers dared to post the content of the threatening message online.

As you might imagine, given that we’re reporting on it, PhotoStealers dared.

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With that, we have arrived at the present moment. Of course, every story has two sides, and we’ll leave it up to you to decide which side has the right of it or if the truth sits somewhere in between. You can find all of PhotoStealers’ accusations and proof here, and Jones’ long-form detailed response to the accusations (which includes receipts and correspondence with Shutterstock) here.

You can also visit CJ Photography’s Facebook and website by following the corresponding links, although both have been stripped down substantially since the ordeal began.

And, finally, once you’ve done your due diligence, don’t forget to drop us a line and let us know what you think about the whole debacle. Whatever the case may be, it seems Mr. Jones’ photography career is essentially over. Does he deserve this? Was it all an overreaction? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.

(via Reddit)


 
 
  • bsuted

    My comment with photo is awaiting moderation, but there is a screenshot going around with this number for the correct quarter of the donation period. It’s posted on photo stealers wall.

  • busted

    It was to prove he made money so you would take his make money class.

  • Mark

    $99,000 was a figure in the screenshot of a paypal account, I don’t think there is anyway it can be attributed all to donations as he has been selling classes his other services as well. The $99,000.00 figure was for the “recent quarter” according to the screen cap.

  • guest

    He was also selling franchises at this time, there is no way to say that 99000 was from donations only.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    @disqus_UKfYt6x2Es:disqus Thanks- missed that. Agreed – I doubt that it’s all attributed to donations, but its sad that’s he’s made almost $100k selling any services from work that isn’t his…

  • Guest

    He was bragging about making 750k in 2013.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    lol – that’s pretty believable (not).

  • carl frederick

    Well, so long as he “prayed and prayed over it” then it must have just been a huge mistake. Does this clown think we’re all low intellectual functioning or a bunch of idiots? It’s remarkable how similar his lengthy response to getting caught mirrors the explanations we’ve heard over and over from politicians who get caught doing something shocking. What a sleaze.

  • Alethia Rains

    Hi! This was mine :) She was going through a hard time. I have since deleted it. I was trying to help a friend. I have no issue discussing this. Just let me know if you have any questions. ~Alethia

  • Alethia Rains

    Hi! Sadly these guys got sucked into the whole thing. They are all innocent. I have been very up front with my feelings on him from the start, he knows. I didn’t and don’t trust him. Never have. They are good people giving a person the benefit of the doubt. A lot of people are hurt because of this. Really hurts my heart.

  • peaceetc

    There are a number of people who seem perfectly happy to accept his excuses based on the god thing alone, no questions asked. It’s basically a get out of jail free card. They don’t want or need to know the details (several said as much), they just tell him “god bless” and forget it ever happened.

  • Jesus walks

    God bless them.

  • Chris Jones

    We will all pray for her.

  • Chris Jones

    but we learned our lesson on donations.

  • Chris Pickrell

    School doesn’t necessarily shield you. I know people who made serious mistakes who were expelled from school simply because they were inexcusable mistakes.

  • Alethia Rains

    I agree. I shut it down after finding out another person posted it as a scam. Everyone who helped her out did so personally in private. :)

  • Alethia Rains

    No not at all. She need some personal help. I felt that since she had such a presence in the photography community I should ask there. :/

  • Lin Mankuang

    My village are vely happy when I came back with you camela!

  • Chris

    They have a gofundme going on right now to donate money to World Vision. To be safe, just go to world vision . org and donate directly. Merry Christmas!

  • Joseph Philbert

    Here is a screencap of all the supposed winners

  • Alethia Rains

    LOL Its all going to World Vision. I’ll make sure a confirmation is posted. I’ll talk to the fund organizer. You can stop now. :) I donated myself. I’m not about to donate to a scam. I can’t afford to.

  • Storage Needed

    Thanks Alethia, I’m glad the money will go to World Vision and thanks for clearing this up. But what is the difference between donating direct or donating through gofundme?

  • Storage Needed

    I think it must be approved.

  • Joseph Philbert

    Please never stop what you are doing…
    Even I thought at first it was just a minor mistake he made , but the more he talked the further down the hole he went. The last nail on the coffin for me is when we found out the police report and the letter from the “phantom” thief was written in the same exact handwriting.

  • Jus sayin

    I vote innocent, you damn satanists. check out this body, they man is innocent.

  • Joseph Philbert

    Resent :)

  • peaceetc

    Well, I’m convinced. ;)

  • stubaw

    Stupidity knows no bounds…

  • Me and Mr. Jones

    damn, how do I hire him?

  • Andrea Townsley

    Perhaps there will be a punishment, but yes, he is forgiven and cleansed of his mistakes by God, and ultimately, that’s really all that matters. Only God knows what is in his heart. You can judge him if you like but the real judgment comes after death when he stands before God. I personally think he is trying to take responsibility for what he did and he does realize he messed up. Whatever happened to giving people a chance to fix their wrongdoings and make it right, whether it was an honest mistake or something more sinister? Seems he is trying to do that but yet he is still being crucified (no pun intended).

  • Andrea Townsley

    I think the reason that we Christians are quick to defend and/or forgive is b/c we know that the only one who can truly judge us is God. You don’t have to share that belief system but you really should try to let go of your ill will toward him (if you have any) and forgive a person who is attempting to right his wrongs. You don’t have to believe him, but maybe just ignore him if you don’t believe he’s being honest. Yes, he should have been called out, but the witch hunt over this stuff is not right, no matter what your belief system may be.

  • Alethia Rains

    We don’t care if people go directly, we were hoping as a collective to purchase a large amount of animals or sponsor a child. I promise its legit. :)

  • CrackerJacker

    Actually, the American justice system does a pretty fair job of judging people who defraud others. I mean, they’ll leave the judgement of his soul to someone else, but as far as him being a pathological liar and a con man, I think our legal system is pretty much made for judging that.

  • Andrea Townsley

    I’m not saying anything about our judicial system. Just giving an explanation to the other poster as to why Christians might be quicker to defend or forgive someone who seems to be repentant. :) If it is determined by a judge that he did something wrong, he will be punished for his crimes. And I would agree with that.

  • http://chrishoffmann.smugmug.com/ Chris Hoffmann

    Just one note, as a husband of a PhD student in History at a private Midwestern University I have been assured that Mr. Jones would have been kicked out based upon the number of infractions. Major Universities will give up to one instance of plagiarism (with the information of the infraction being put in their permanent record) but there are no major institutions that give more than that. With the sheer number of infractions Mr. Jones has shown to have performed, he would have lost out on any leniency.

  • CrackerJacker

    Understood. But how many times does it have to be shown that he is not repentant, but just keeps crying “God” to get people to let him scam them again before people stop trusting him?

  • beautox

    Rubbish. God is something you made up.

  • Sorry dude.

    Play with fire, you’re gonna get burned.

  • Grumpy

    The easy to find these. Copy and paste them as a list, you’ll find them……..

  • peaceetc

    Chris posted a new blog entry which seems to indicate he is suicidal and he has been receiving death threats. I don’t know if any of it is true, but let me say this — if anyone out there is sending him death threats, etc., then I have no respect for you. I very much disagree with what Chris as done, but he’s still a human being. Don’t be an a$$hole. As I’ve said before, I wish him no ill will.

  • Erm

    I wish I could get my stuff to ship that fast over a holiday.

  • peaceetc

    You do have a point there. I guess when you’re shipping feces, it absolutely must get there overnight.

  • peaceetc

    Also, how does he know it’s human? Was it labeled?

  • CrackerJacker

    What’s that he says? “Wolf?”

  • Jones

    Wait didn’t jus sayin already prove him innocent? I don’t think he is suicidal, he’s innocent. Check out his guns.

  • jk

    Let me know when he refunds money to the people he lied to. That would prove he’s truly repentant.

  • Joseph Philbert

    Yea sending him human feces is a bit stupid ..but that part I dont think is true.

  • donthasslethehoff

    Not all religious people use religion as a shield or excuse, but a lot of shiesters sure do.

  • raysot

    Oh my god his images SUCK! No wonder he felt the need to “Up his game”…..

  • peaceetc

    The interview is up on Gary Fong’s YouTube page.