When Someone Steals Your Content, This is How It Feels


(The final image of the project I’m referring to is above!)


Sooo, in the last 3 days, photos from my recent (dramatic) backyard transformation has been posted as memes to accounts with OVER 11 MILLION followers. Yes, I said 11 million. Woah. (And those are just the times I’ve actually found!) I found them because I had several friends start tagging me when they saw my images posted online, but I’m sure there are many other reposts that I haven’t seen yet. Here’s one below, can you spot my image?


Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is how im tryna glow up"



AND almost all 8 million followers didn’t see my image(s) attributed to me. Ouch.



Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is the kind of transformation i need"


First off, HOW did this happen? Easy answer, I have no idea. The broader answer? It’s a project that has had wide reach since the get-go. It’s easily exploded as my most pinned project on Pinterest, my most liked photo on IG, my most viewed project on my blog, and my most viewed/best project I submitted as a The Home Depot collaboration. I don’t say that to brag, whatsoever, but just explain that it’s the first project I’ve done that people have actually really liked!



Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is the kind of transformation i need"


Many have said through the comments “what’s the big deal, there are meme’s all over the internet so who cares?” Or, “people use each others photos for meme’s all the time, get over it.” And to that, I say “Yes, that’s true, buuuut….”


Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is how im tryna glow up"


…Meme’s are typically photos of celebrities, or funny dog photos, or awkward selfies, NOT projects that have had countless hours poured into them from someone who is trying to build their side-business of becoming an interior stylist/blogger/DIY-er.


Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is how im tryna glow up"


And to have MILLIONS of views, re-posts, retweets, comments & likes without ANY attribution back to my account, honestly…just sucks. And I hate using that word b/c I really shouldn’t have a single thing to gripe about. I feel very blessed, so I feel bad complaining about something so small… It’s just that I put so much time into that project, I would have loved to receive exposure for the time, effort, sweat & tears of that backyard transformation.


Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is the kind of transformation i need"


What did I do about it? I asked my Instagram friends to ask the first account to tag me in the photo, or report it, but to no avail. It stayed on the account and I was never tagged in it. And then the copiers started up and it got into the hands of several Instagram and Twitter accounts with million+ followers. (Other than this account below, she eventually tagged me and felt really bad:)


Stolen photo off internet, meme of "this is the kind of transformation i need"



So, the question moving forward is, what should I do from here on out? Is this just a really hard lesson to learn that stealing happens on the internet and you can’t prevent it? Or did I miss something I should have done? ANY ADVICE would be grateful!!!


(Okay, my vent is over, haha.)

  • Alexi:

    First off, congrats on creating something so beautiful and transformational that other people LOVE it … enough to borrow it without giving you credit. Then again, it stinks to high heaven that they did not give you props.

    However, I’m gonna take a different tack than most of the people who commented about this on your IG feed. Specifically, I think you actually have legal grounds to “pursue” these people … should you want to do so.

    The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) essentially says that if you notify someone that they are using your copyrighted material on the Internet, then they have to A) remove it, or B) compensate you for using it. {To be clear, this is my layman’s understanding of the Act as I’m not an attorney.}

    Do you want to sue them? Probably not. In fact, I suspect you’d be happy is they merely gave you credit for the backyard transformation you performed. I mean let’s be serious, 11MM+ people is a lot of people, and even if only 1% learned about you and your work, well that’s over 110,000 people.

    Anyway … the only other idea I have is to “mark” your photos so it’s clear that you are the creator, something I know you could do quite easily and relatively unobtrusively.

    Regardless, all the best. And keep up the great work.


  • Have you thought about adding your logo or web site name to the corner of every photo you post?

    Half the time I see things like this on social media, I’d like to find out where it came from (often to see if there are DIY instructions, sometimes out of general curiosity), If there were a name attached, I might do a google search.

  • Dang, my heart dropped when I saw your post title because I’ve definitely been there many times. It sucks, its hard and sometimes it can feel hopeless! Especially with meme accounts because you don’t know the person behind the account, it seems like you’re screaming at a brick wall of people who don’t even care.

    I’ve had little luck with accounts going back and crediting me, and unfortunately I don’t think I have a good answer for what to do. All I can say is keep creating great content and if you feel like you need to, watermark your photos. I will say that even if you gained followers from those accounts they would most likely not be engaged followers that identify with what you do, if that makes sense.

    Keep making great things, you’re doing a great job!

  • I’ll add to the watermark suggestion: put it in a place that’s not easily crop-able (like a corner or edge), otherwise you might run into the same problem again. Props on your success thus far! I’ve enjoyed following your journey. Keep glowin’ up and inspiring us all!

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