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Ted Szukalski

Gallery of fine art photography.

Colorado state worker could be punished for Obama e-mail


This is an ugly story that refuses to die.

Some time ago during American presidential elections, which saw Barack Obama becoming the USA president some person has stolen my copyrighted photograph and altered it in derogatory way to portray Barack Obama shoe shining Sara Palin’s shoes. So, once again: I did not create the Obama/Palin image and below you can see my original photograph.

I have already posted an article explaining this was an unathorised plagiarism. Never the less it seems the image is still being forwarded in USA and this time someone got in trouble for forwarding this image on company’s time and using company’s resources. The company is Colorado Department of Transportation – a Colorado state government institution.

The story was initially published by Associated Press in Denver and then it was quickly syndicated across hundreds of news websites and blogs. AP’s original story had no image associated with it, but almost all other sites printed the unauthorized plagiarism of my photograph. Interestingly almost all of these sites made sure to insert copyright notices on their story and “All rights reserved” note, yet none of them observed my rights over the image.

The woman, who forwarded this image using employer’s e-mail system, is facing some disciplinary action. I wonder what should all these news and blog sites face? They all should know USA Copyright Act. I found this site, which summarizes the copyright very well – perhaps all of the people reproducing this plagiarized image should read it.

Just for clarity I have not granted any media or news agency any publishing or distribution rights to this image or any images derived from it (legally or otherwise).