New York Photographer Steals Photos to Earn Business, Says That’s ‘Called Biz’

The new Jwarstyle wedding portfolio.

Purloining somebody else’s photos to promote your photography business has become depressingly common lately, but occasionally a new cretin comes forward to push the practice to a new level of sadness.

So witness Jwarstyle, a New York-based photographer recently outed on Photo Stealers for filling his online portfolio with wedding shots somebody else took. Not a particularly novel offense, but what makes Jay (last name as yet unknown) a groundbreaker is the way he responded.

Instead of the usual denial/shame/blame/apology routine, the photographer promptly started a tweet war in which he essentially did the “I know you are but what am I?” routine with anyone who called him out. Except with a lot more bragging and name-calling.

ScreenHunter_289 Jan. 16 11.20

The marquee comment is the above justification innovation: “stealing is whn it hurts your biz douchebag. Using ur pics to get more biz isn’t using your pics. It’s called “biz.”

But there’s much more tragicomic gold if you keep scrolling:

  • That’s right and then he gets s**t loads of traffic!!! Woot woot! Why deny it if you can brag about it? Lol keep it up ha
  • I rather be a thief w a talent than a none talented photographer like yourself ;)
  • Making it happen at all costs. Love it or hate it, jwarstyle lives outside your http little worlds
  • Actually let me get some of your pictures. Oh wait. No… Can’t use em. Too crappy.
  • Good news — life isn’t a guillotine. You can always rebrand. Stay positive, Dont be a troll
  • I rather look at your wife and feel sad for her. Cause she has a looser husband. Don’t reproduce!
  • The world we live in, big nosy pathetic empty excuses for human beings, clown? Want to laugh? Look at ur work
  • That sounded deep. You should write a book. Behind closed doors where no one can see or find you.
  • Another great douchebag with no life. With horrible camera skills busted!
  • 1. I removed the photos. 2. And apologize? You’re askin for little too much this isn’t a lunchroom dummy
  • Hey if someone used 1 of my pics I wouldn’t be crying like a little girl & posting on twitter
  • It’s more plagiarizing than stealing dumb ****. Get it straight!
  • Why do I need to grow up? So I can be sad and old and use twitter for useless fights with strangers

Jay did eventually come around to remove the purloined images (he essentially nuked the weddings portfolio page) and post a more-or-less apology on his blog, but anyone worried about his self-esteem taking a hit can rest easy.

(via Photo Stealers via Imaging Resource)

  • bob cooley

    The phrase “no publicity is bad publicity” simply isn’t true, especially in a service based industry like photography. He’s getting a ton of hits, but its all bad attention.

    He won’t profit from this – and I agree with @Joseph Philbert:disqus’s sentiment about PhotoStealers

  • Pedro

    Just feed him to the wolves: 4chan.

  • peaceetc

    In recent days, I have issued DMCA takedown notices to three separate sites which are using my photos without permission. All of them have been ignored. If you don’t out these people publicly, most of the time those who steal won’t even bother to take the stolen images down.

  • Burnin Biomass

    Doesn’t make it cool. It just make you another jerk.

  • Sigi Forester

    Interesting – the address, according to google maps, is a private residence – no evidence of a studio
    and his portfolio has been stripped of the Jewellery and Real Estate photos as well

  • humblemex

    If photographers would register their copyrights before posting them online, they could sue him for everything he owned. It’s really that simple.

  • Andres Gallaraga

    I’m sorry but this is not fair for clowns ! Clown does not mean a** h*le like this guy. At least, clowns can make you laugh …

  • xaphod

    ZOMG! totes Z M effing G! I cant’s believe they’re stealin!

  • Vin Weathermon

    Using stock photography for his website (if he paid the appropriate license) is not illegal or unethical. Tons of “template” photography portfolio sites use stock imagery not just for the gallery samples, but for design elements.

    Saying that he took the photograph however IS unethical, legal or not. If he is trying to entice fashion models to avail themselves of his talent, I imagine at some point they will be disappointed in the results. If not, well that is the nature of the Internet; you pay for your pix, you get to use ‘em.

  • LastMidnight

    i find that in the wedding industry this happens quite a lot. some photographers collude together in the practice of exchanging images, its not always one person just stealing.

  • bob cooley

    That doesn’t really mean anything either way. I’ve owned 2 physical studios (okay leased 4000 sq ft buildings) when I lived/worked in the midwest – and they are albatrosses, but still somewhat affordable based on the amount of work I was doing.

    Now that I’m in NYC, and space is obscenely expensive, I rent studios and locations on an as-needed basis. You can definitely be a working pro in a major metro area and never have a full-time studio. In fact, most of us don’t.

  • peoplesbedumb

    Representing work that you did not create as your own, whether you paid for it or not IS unethical. Buying a license does not give you the right to also claim authorship of the work. Just like you can not go buy a copy of War and Peace and then claim you wrote it.

  • Mike

    So if he had the images up and caused damage at that time, one cannot sue him for that?
    If I stole some beer and drank it all, am I free to go?

  • Mike

    Oh man that’s way too cruel. That’s like for Stalin level douchebags.

  • hulk

    TO fight monsters we created monsters….lol

  • K S B

    The Jay guy is a troll. This way we can troll him back. Bahaha.

  • Richard Ford

    I found him kinda funny and you gotta give props to a person that believes in what they do, right or wrong. This is one of those things that is rare in Western society. Politicians change their tune to match the mood. A person caught in the middle easy and put in front of a camera sings like a canary about how the USA/West is bad and he had it wrong (yeah he is under duress – so what) – does anyone not have the testicular fortitude anymore to believe in who or what they are – no matter the duress or flak?

    He may be wrong – but he has balls and conviction. That alone is enviable.

  • hesajackasss

    There are a lot of things to admire in this world, in photography. A photographer gets a shot under challenging conditions, or improvises, or shows some ingenuity in creating a shot-that’s something to admire. I’m only envious in jest anymore-say when a friend goes on holiday somewhere exotic.
    I “don’t gotta give props” to a foul mouth thief that resorts to bluster and bravado when he’s caught. What a completely unimaginative tactic to use.
    A quick read through some of these posts should give you cause to re-evaluate what you find admirable in this fellow and in life in general.
    If you were trying to be a bit sarky-try again.

  • bob cooley

    It’s really tough, if not impossible to do. To sue for copyright damages, you first have to prove that you’ve lost actual sales.

    Proving you’ve lost actual sales (in court) without any specific evidence is nearly impossible. The court won’t accept potential or theoretical loss of business.

  • bob cooley

    No. It’s really not. Please do more research on copyright and litigation around copyright before offering your ‘advice’.

    To sue for copyright damages, you first have to prove that you’ve lost actual sales.

    Proving you’ve lost actual sales (in court) without any specific
    evidence is nearly impossible. The court won’t accept potential or
    theoretical loss of business.

  • Mike

    Interesting. Assuming that we have proof of infringement, where I’m from (not USA) we can sue for at least copyright issues, without proof of damages (that’s the actual law).

  • peaceetc

    Sorry, but I don’t envy anything about the guy. He lied and stole, and when he was caught, he reacted in anger and an apparent lack of intelligence. That’s not bravado, it’s idiocy (and possibly psychopathic behavior). Just because his moral compass is broken and he doesn’t care does not mean I should envy him.

    By the way, unless you’re in the same situation as a hostage in the middle east whose life is on the line, you have absolutely no idea what you would do.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Sorry, but you miss the point. Stock photographs licensed to use in this manner are used commercially all the time. Claiming “ownership” means nothing for the stock image; if he paid for it he is licensed to use it within the terms of the license. Also, he isn’t SELLING the image right? He has it on his sad webpages. I am not defending this guy, but I want to point out that people are wasting a good deal of overly emotional and misdirected angst on a very sad use of images that really aren’t much different from anyone else who isn’t a photographer.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Still, a dickish thing to do by someone who only knows what he is reading here. If someone goes out and kills this guy, some ahole who thinks he is doing you all a favor, what then? Was that all “cool” to do?

  • bob cooley

    You can get a cease and desist, but to get punitive damages, you have to show loss of income in the US. It’s unfortunate for content creators.

  • bob cooley

    Actually, this isn’t the case with web templates.

    Legally: The images used in wordpress templates sold by a company like Theme Forest (such as this one licensed from shutterstock) are licensed to ThemeForest for sample and marketing purposes (TF buys the license). However, simply because the image is ‘royalty free’ that royalty free status only applies to Theme Forest, and is not transferred to someone who purchases the template. The other elements of the template (design, css, code) are created by TF, but no licensing of the image is transferred to the customer (Warshavsky), and Theme Forest does not have the resale rights to sell (or give) license to a third party.

    Ethically: The implicit assumption when you visit any photographer’s website is that he/she is the author of all images on his/her site. To argue otherwise is either naive or being contrary for sake of argument. Most stock sites specifically prohibit claiming false attribution, making it both unethical and illegal.

  • Disqus Playing up

    I wasn’t talking about me. I’d sing too. I was talking about the West. Put a muslim in the same scenario and he would tell us to go f*ck ourselves. We as the west (myself included) don’t have much backbone about anything anymore. This guy shows backbone – misguided or otherwise. There needs to be more of it.

  • Vin Weathermon

    I repeat: posting stock images on a web page that you have paid for (again, presuming he did that) does not break laws. A bunch of photography marketing companies sell entire PR kits with prebuilt collateral to get “amateurs started”. You can get riled up about this, but frankly you should pity the guy. His work does not stand on it’s own and he has stock photos to advertise his business. If he is “signing” and selling images that he did not take, I am all for public lambasting. Enough said.

  • yazoo city

    Andy Kaufman is behind all of this.

  • bob cooley

    The images provided with the template (which is the case here) are for FPO/demonstration purposes only.

    No license to use them is (or can be) transferred the third party (Warshavsky) when they buy the template. The template company does not have the transfer rights, they only have the rights to use the images for marketing samples of their own product. They provide them with the template for sizing and demo purposes only. Hence Warshavsky’s use is both illegal and unethical.

  • bob cooley

    Except that Kaufman had talent.. ;)

  • bob cooley

    Under DMCA, you can do one or the other, but not both. That’s kind of the whole point of the DMCA takedown provision…

  • Vin Weathermon

    If the template purchased did not have any images with it, then we go back to square one on the template idea, sure. But if it comes with images, you are saying that if you pay for a template and you don’t change a thing when you use the template, you are legally liable for them? Sounds like the reseller is the liable one in that case.

  • bob cooley

    The template comes with that FPO/sample image (and others), and the license agreement states that the images are for placement use only – no rights to the images are transferred.

  • DJJonosound

    Ah ok, thanks for the insight. I am aussie, not too informed about the US laws :P

  • bob cooley

    Sure thing – The basics are this:

    Companies (like hosting providers) are held safe from copyright claims if they abide by DMCA takedown requests (its the “Safe Harbor” clause) – if they don’t they can be held liable for damages if damages are awarded.

    Hope that helps!

  • DJJonosound

    Ah that makes sense, thanks mate.

  • FOIA

    Umm, you have a point as someone who is limited in their abilities to think critically (and rationally) especially about the availability of available information online. For example, if someone were that motivated to snuff off this POS, do you think they could establish where he lives and works through other means? Maybe even contact him for a photographic job which I am sure he would eagerly jump at.

    For example, if someone where trying to locate you, they could easily go to your website and establish the location of your studio:

    14252 Culver Drive, STE A776
    irvine, CA 92604

    A quick look at Whitepages would establish that you reside at:

    6 Admiral
    Irvine, CA 92604-1902

    Or where you work (thanks LinkedIn):

    Kofax Limited
    15211 Laguna Canyon Road
    Irvine, CA 92618

    All of the information was supplied by you (acquired within seconds), and if there was any question of what you looked like, you have helped clear that issue up given you are not shy about pasting your photo to everything you do.

  • doncalifornia

    Actually Vin, all the stock photo companies are very clear that photographers can not use the photographs to represent their own company, meaning, if you post it on your site the assumption is that it is your work. So, if he paid a license to use a stock image, he is still not using it “within the terms of the license agreement.” Using stock imagery on your web site or in ads or in any way within the terms of the license is fine for companies to represent themselves and their products – example, a bike store – because the assumption is the company either hired a photographer or they paid for stock photography. But a photographer using a stock image is basically misrepresenting that he or she produced the work themselves. That’s why stock companies ALL disallow such use.

  • doncalifornia

    Public lambasting is appropriate even if he is not selling those specific images. It is fraudulent to represent stock images as your own work, even for simple promotion. It is also against the terms of the stock image license agreement.

  • Craig

    OK, he’s taken down the stolen photos. But his website still automatically plays (crap electronic) music when the home page opens. The guy is hopeless.

  • Vin Weathermon

    I just read through iStock’s licensing terms of use, and I do not see anywhere that a photographer cannot use stock images. He cannot resell them, cannot make products with them, cannot incorporate in trade or service marks, cannot sublicense, etc. We are on a tangent; my point was the guy is pathetic. I doubt if he is hurting anyone really. But people love their outrage.

  • VedicFolks


  • Ke’Aun Charles

    Yeah he’s a douche, but that was the best defense I’ve ever read.

  • Alberto Bolonkib

    The absolute scientific proof of the existence of God is: There are two things in the universe: energy; and, information, which is the conformation of energy. In 1John1:5 it says, “God is light”. Light is energy, therefore, energy is God. Capacitance causes consciousness. The capacitance caused by God’s eternal creating causes His eternal consciousness. If we were energy we would never sleep. We are information, a closed circuit of the one substance, energy, in the one substance, energy, and, we may undifferentiate into confluent circuits, thereby losing consciousness. We may totally undifferentiate into nothingness. That which leads toward that is pleasure. The one force of the universe is pushing all to undifferentiate into nothingness. Everything is running down, or wound up by that which is running down. Creation is a consequence of theophysiology. There are an infinitude of dimensions. The infinitesimal point nothingness, . , is rastered by time into timespace, U, which exerts its oneness in one direction, /, that stirs closed circuitry, O, which all going the same way, vO^XvO^, clashes, X, a “big bang”, which forces confluency, =, to undifferentiate into nonexistence. This is the mechanism of creation. The rest is the force to undifferentiate into nothingness. Too much capacitance is unpleasant, to say the least. God doesn’t like it and we don’t like it. But, mankind cried for immortality so that God incarnated as Jesus Christ to give immortality to those who followed His directions. With the ultimate closed circuitry of the one substance, energy, “what goes around comes around”.

  • Al Borrelli

    Did you guys see this:

  • Paul Pichugin

    Find out who their website is hosted with and send the DMCA take down to the web host.

  • peaceetc

    Thanks for the advice, Paul. I’ve actually done that in both cases, and both have been ignored. I’ve even contacted the domain registrars, but they won’t do anything because the stolen content isn’t on their servers.