Website selling photos from iNaturalist

I found some of my fotos seen on iNaturalist on this foto selling website “wallpart”. The original fotos are uploaded first on Flickr, but they are privat, so I assume that this website is using fotos from iNaturalist. Try to search this site with your user name to see if they offer any of your fotos.

Moderator’s note: The website is apparently a scam and may infect your computer with malware, see:
https://fstoppers.com/news/website-will-steal-your-photos-and-then-hack-your-computer-77511
@bouteloua

3 Likes

They have quite a number of mine on there but most seem to be ones that are on Flickr but not on iNaturalist so I suspect they are getting them from Flickr.

A little more digging online shows a lot of very bad reviews of the company with plenty of mentions of phishing scams and malware.

The fotos on wallpart have all the iNat typical titles like “Eryngium Subacaule Observed By Annemirdl”
Some are in Spanish as I used Naturalista (the mexican version of iNat) the we lived in Mexico.

Moderator’s note: Link removed for security purposes. —@bouteloua

Here is a iNat Foto without reference

Moderator’s note: Link removed for security purposes. —@bouteloua

Wow. Some of the ones that came up when I searched my username are actually from a specific discussion topic in a photography forum I frequent, most of them not my photos but ones I recognize from other users. Also a bunch of my images that are only on iNat and also some photos that are private on flickr.

There are even photos of mine here I don’t think I have anywhere anymore! …I’m stealing them back!

I’m getting a warning message when I click on the link for the site–not sure how careful one must be accessing the site, but just letting others know about it being a potential issue.


https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/4007569 Unless you recently changed your photos from one of the free-to-use Creative Commons licenses, an “All Rights Reserved” photo like this is being sold illegally.

If your photo licensing on iNaturalist, or elsewhere online, disallows this kind of use, you can submit a DMCA takedown notice. Considering this link is in their footer, I assume they get many of these requests a day. edit: website is apparently a scam, see subsequent posts

The default photo license on iNaturalist is CC BY-NC, which disallows re-use for commercial purposes. Note that this also disallows use for useful projects, like Wikipedia. So if you’re not personally making an income off of your photos, it’s probably better to use a laxer license for educational purposes. Photo licensing can be changed in ones account settings or on a case-by-case basis on each observation.

1 Like

Oof. Is there anything iNaturalist can do to stop this website from stealing all its users’ photos?

Technical measures can’t stop this kind of thing. If people can see your photo, they can save a copy and try to sell it. The only real remedy is to register your copyrights before posting, and then sue when they do something like this.

1 Like

Even worse they appear to be taking profile photos as well, and even selling them with the person’s name in the file. Just do a search for inaturalistorg on their page.

I cant scan beyond 4 pages, but the first 4 pages contain the profile photos of a good half dozen Ontario based iNatter’s

oh wow, this is super creepy. I think it’s some sort of bot type thing that trawls websites, steals photos (or screen shots) and repackages them as posters with fake ‘reviews’. Total copyright violations, etc too. Bummer.

1 Like

Be advised that the contact information and even the address they list are apparently fake. So contacting them may be pointless.

In fact it appears the whole point of the site is to try and get you to use the contact form to complain, which then infects your PC.

https://fstoppers.com/news/website-will-steal-your-photos-and-then-hack-your-computer-77511

DO NOT USE THEIR CONTACT FORM. EVEN VISTING THE SITE MAY BE RISKY.

You can’t actually buy a poster or photo from their site, or at least if you try, you’ll send your money and get nothing. They are actually not downloading copies, they do a web search when you look for something and just show the results of that web search.

If possible I would suggest getting the links removed from the thread.

Anyone who did visit the site, and in particular if you used the contact form, I would strongly suggest running an anti-virus scan on your PC.

7 Likes

oof. thanks to you two for catching that. Glad i didn’t fill out the form, hope i didn’t infect my work computer by clicking the link but i just saw the virus scan run so hopefully if it did, it got weeded out.

Thanks Chris, I removed the links.

Yeah, I remember when this site popped up around digital art circles.

For the record, if you find your photos being sold illegally, you can use things like dmca forms. Unfortunately, this site is notorious because it’s not just a marketplace that plays loose with copyright. This one does it as a means to phish for info from copyright holders.

2 Likes

Ugh, this sucks. I looked into this for a while and didn’t find any smoking guns in our server logs that would let us block their scraper, so if any sysadmins / security folks / aurors out there have any tips, I’m all ears.

I should also point out that this is the Internet, folks, and iNat is not Facebook: everything is public, with all the benefits (open data, ease of discovery, distributed learning) and costs (BS like wallpart) that entails. Almost everything I can think of that might prevent this kind of abuse would also make it hard / impossible for partners like GBIF to use our data. If you feel strongly about preventing this kind of misuse of your photos, watermark aggressively, limit the resolution of your uploads, or seriously consider less open ways to share this information (i.e. not iNat). As others have mentioned above, legal recourses will depend on your jurisdiction, and attempting to exercise them by contacting this site may be dangerous.

7 Likes

From what I could tell they dont actually download anything, they just do a web search when you try to ‘search’ for something and present that. They may not even be touching the iNat servers. It could just be a google image search they are running.

1 Like

It would be possible for iNat to watermark photos as part of uploading process, perhaps with appropriate CC logo.

2 Likes

The main problem is that this site and sites like these is that I’m not sure they’d care if something had a watermark or not, since they likely don’t even print anything. They’re after people who would fill out a form to get the artwork taken down.

1 Like