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Cocoa Sticks

Originally uploaded by Chennette

I have been wanting to post about cocoa for a few weeks now, to report on the various cocoas I have been trying – in the rolled and not-so-processed form – from T&T, Grenada, St Lucia and Guyana. But not like this.

As I was reading through the Guyana news online tonight, I discovered my own photo staring right back at me.

[Me screaming!!!!!]

I have sent an email to the editors, but I note the caption says it’s a GINA (Government Information Agency Guyana) so I don’t know who stole it originally. All I know is that I have never given anyone permission to use this photo and no one has ever contacted me about it either!

Fortunately, I have lawyers in Guyana…

[Edit: It’s on the GINA page for July 14 2008, so I have emailed them also. Come Monday morning, my lawyer will be on it!]

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41 Comments so far (Add 1 more)

  1. the whole family is outraged

    1. Lilandra on July 20th, 2008 at 12:23 am
  2. Disgusting to say the least……and moreso when it is used to showcase their product and the monies they are getting… one would think that they would be so ever careful….. whoever stole it probably has never heard of copyrights and ownership etc……..

    2. trinimom on July 20th, 2008 at 7:10 am
  3. I read about such photo theft (off the internet) fairly recently, and I was surprised to hear that it happens ALL the time, and by big ad agencies, too!

    I think you should push for payment of some kind, and perhaps a byline. Oh, and of course an apology.

    3. ewe_are_here on July 20th, 2008 at 10:06 am
  4. look, here on GINA’s website


    4. Lilandra on July 20th, 2008 at 3:43 pm
  5. Hmmm I wonder who really stole the photo …….no no …..hope it is not what I am thinking……..

    5. trinimom on July 20th, 2008 at 4:14 pm
  6. Yeah, I figured it was GINA – after all, when you have government television station airing pirated DVDs…but didn’t they realise I was actually IN GUYANA, and may just notice?
    I want it removed from the GINA website completely, because other media in Guyana will use the stories and photos posted there (as Stabroek News did).

    6. Chennette on July 20th, 2008 at 4:52 pm
  7. Exactly …..and the bamboo cutting board was bought in Trinidad by us when we bought ours…..

    7. trinimom on July 20th, 2008 at 11:56 pm
  8. Hi…I’ve been a silent reader for a while now….after I read this post I started browsing the net for guyanese recipes and I came across these pictures…arent the 1st and second one yours?


    8. Alina on July 21st, 2008 at 12:06 am
  9. Hi Alina – thanks. Actually ALL those photos on that page are MINE!! Another government agency stealing my photos? The first photo isn’t even supposed to be Guyanese food!!!

    9. Chennette on July 21st, 2008 at 12:10 am
  10. and they donm’t even know what the food is!!!

    10. Lilandra on July 21st, 2008 at 12:28 am
  11. You’re welcome hun, I hope they remove the pictures or give you credit ASAP.

    P.S. I love your website. :)

    11. Alina on July 21st, 2008 at 12:51 am
  12. You will have to sign all your photos when you post them… sign on the photos , so that your name would be seen and cannot be removed……
    When government run agencies are stealing photos then what example are they setting for the people…..

    12. trinimom on July 21st, 2008 at 2:23 pm
  13. I cannot believe that just so the people steal your pictures! That is wutlessness. And a government agency to boot. They must have felt that they wouldn’t get catch. Yuh right to put your lawyers on them. Let us know how it turns out.

    13. titilayo on July 22nd, 2008 at 9:29 am
  14. I hate when people do this! I hope that you get to the bottom of it soon. Be sure to raise hell!

    14. Cynthia on July 22nd, 2008 at 11:09 pm
  15. my sympathies to you Chennette but this seems to be prevalent on the web I my self have seen a photo of mine on facebook. I guess we would have to watermark all our photos from now on.

    15. Raz4125 on July 23rd, 2008 at 8:43 pm
  16. Thanks for the comments everyone – letters have gone out, but there was no response to my emails, or the letters yet. I suppose we shall see, but I intend to be more vigilant, and definitely watermark to discourage such theft.

    16. Chennette on July 24th, 2008 at 1:40 am
  17. I see that the photos have come down now. But no apology or retraction or anything, which is a pity.

    17. titilayo on July 25th, 2008 at 12:22 pm
  18. they took it down, but I have it saved from that date – it doesn’t remove their liability. I am traveling right now, so need to check with my lawyer to see if they responded!
    the Tourism Authority still has all 3 of my photos up…

    18. Chennette on July 25th, 2008 at 12:35 pm
  19. My photos have ended up on websites from strange places like Japan and the UK but I never bothered with it since, in every instance, they left my watermark on the photo. There are many places, I am sure, that may have some of your pictures up but you may never find these sites. That will always be the risk of putting up photos on the web.

    19. aka_lol on July 25th, 2008 at 5:47 pm
  20. I just came across this site, I like looking at your pictures, Because I’m from Trinidad but I live in the US… anyways its really sad and disgusting, that any credible news agency will steal someone’s work and say its there’s.. So i recommend that you put a mark( i.e. your name or website) somewhere on your Pictures.

    20. Kevin on August 6th, 2008 at 8:36 pm
  21. Yes, watermarking is in progress! I never bothered before, because I know the risk in having photos online, sometimes even WITH watermarks, but this was so blatant. And ridiculous. Stabroek News has removed the photo and responded to me, but no response yet from the Government agencies.

    21. Chennette on August 6th, 2008 at 10:00 pm
  22. I believe this is exceedingly common; many people think once it’s on the web it’s up for grabs. A government agency of all things should know better, though. This is really despicable.

    22. Liane Spicer on August 7th, 2008 at 4:00 pm
  23. Interesting. Since this is almost accepted on the net, since it’s not policed. Would love to know what your lawyers said could be done. The internet is still very vague when it comes to law and administering those laws. Moreso, since one could be based in one country, but your site could be based (hosted) in another. So which law/s apply.

    The very least they could have done was given credit to you. However, what f they themselves took your pics from another site that stole your pics originally.

    Internet = open source?

    Good luck and be sure to use watermarks in the future.



    23. Chris De La Rosa on August 13th, 2008 at 12:07 pm
  24. Ah well, see the easy thing is – I am the original photographer and owner of the copyright and I can prove it. Further, I have never given anyone permission to use it. So, unless they can prove that I gave them permission to use it, they have no legal basis upon which to object to my claim. If they got it from some other source it still does not negate the fact that they used something that belongs to me.
    In this case, this is simply to do with copyright, which is well established and implemented in most countries, and not the vagaries of laws relating to internet transactions or indeed conflict of laws (rules relation to competing jurisdictions). Thankfully.

    24. Chennette on August 13th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  25. and it’s not open source
    else that would mean all the software people download illegally off the ‘net and the cracks and such would be open source too
    and they’re not
    you may not get caught but it’s still illegal
    and if you want to talk about jurisdiction then you’ve got a US host and so traversing US boundaries, i’m sure that’s a us federal crime

    25. Lilandra on August 13th, 2008 at 7:44 pm
  26. Here is an example where I gave permission for my photos to be used:


    Sometimes I am afraid to put photos up on the web but at least I put up only the low res versions.

    26. aka_lol on August 14th, 2008 at 5:24 am
  27. how low-res do you put them?
    i don’t think i’ve ever put them up at full resolution…except of course the camera phone pictures :)

    27. Lilandra on August 14th, 2008 at 6:47 pm
  28. Well, at least its flattering.
    Actually, I upload most of my blog photos (except the ones with people) to Wikipedia commons, once I have the time, so that anyone in the world is free to use them. After all, I am not making money with my photos and blog, and this way they can be used in an educational manner. I prefer contributing to world knowledge, albeit in a very small way, to credit for my photos.

    28. Nicole on August 19th, 2008 at 10:37 pm
  29. I have considered uploading to Wikipedia commons before. It’s just that, although I am not doing this professionally, I have invested, for example in the camera and I haven’t made that next step to let go my photos into the wild. And I have given permission many times for people to use photos – without charge, because like you, this is not how I earn my living. It’s the disrespect that irks me. And the breach of the law of course :-)

    29. Chennette on August 20th, 2008 at 12:02 am
  30. yup saw it firs thing this morning (well, clearly not as first thing as you, at a more reasonable hour)

    31. Chennette on August 22nd, 2008 at 12:24 pm
  31. Your writing is beautiful and subtle. Your interest is in the bounty of life: food, family, the earth. Beauty-filled. From your photography, your soul is portrayed as sweet and liquid and delicate like white lace.

    So it surprised me that you could not experience this as a compliment to your work. Allah gave you the talent and resources to do what you do and to do it well. I pray that in this month of Ramadan you find the love and peace and forgiveness for and about people who perhaps are not as gracious as you; ho did not have the parents nor the community to teach them values and proper ways of going about things. But you have those values thanks to Allah. Please find it your heart to be thankful of the compliment and the acknowledgement of your talents and forgive the Earth for having creatures who are not as perfect as you.

    I am sure that not even one minister in Guyana has your kind of resources and the safety of your kind of background and family network. So my wish for you in this holy month of Ramadan is that you take this as a compliment and drop the ego of “mine” and “yours”.

    When others go low, you don’t have to diminish yourself. Go into higher ground.

    If you had chosen to truly live in love and grace of the Almighty, your post would have read something like this:

    “I was honoured to see that my foto has been selected to be used in a government website in Guyana…blablabla…see link. It would have been more gracious though if I were contacted and asked for permission to publish them. Although I am honoured that my fotos are now living a life of their own, I will however contact the hosts to discuss this matter.”

    Please Chennette, don’t get me wrong…I am not talking out of my hat. I have these experiences myself all the time. My choreographies are used and I do not seek the credit. The spiritual and psychological insights that I am given I give away for free. For in truth and in fact my talents are God given and he gave them for free. And Allah is so wonderful that he gave me a profession in which I can make my money to keep me alive and facilitate my mental and spiritual growth and freedom. And I suspect he has done the same with you.

    So give freely. In another holy book, the bible, God said something to the effect of: “when you put your bread into the ocean, it will pop up in places where you never deemed possible”.

    Your talents belong to God. But it is your choice t see this differntly and to imbibe and live the values and life of commerce and rights and patents and permission.

    The choice is yours: stepping into Love or waging War. Which angels do you want to feed the dark ones or the light?

    Enjoy your Ramadan

    33. Mumtaz on September 11th, 2008 at 5:30 am
  32. “” I have considered uploading to Wikipedia commons before. It’s just that, although I am not doing this professionally, I have invested, for example in the camera and I haven’t made that next step to let go my photos into the wild. And I have given permission many times for people to use photos – without charge, because like you, this is not how I earn my living. It’s the disrespect that irks me. And the breach of the law of course “”

    Chenette, there’s man’s law and God’s law. This whole incident can be used as an opportunity to drop your need for respect. If no one respects you all that is left is self-respect.
    So who are you or I in our smaal battles?

    You are being presented with the best opportunity to drop the Ego.

    Success with the struggle

    34. Mumtaz on September 11th, 2008 at 5:34 am
  33. Mumtaz, thank you for your comments. I appreciate and understand your point of view but please appreciate that this is your view. This post was made right after I was reading the news and saw my own picture staring back at me, credited to GINA, hence the particularly strong feelings, which I don’t think are unexpected.

    The disrespect I referred to wasn’t about me, however, but my feeling about the disrespect for law and order by a Government. In recent weeks there have been complaints about use of work during CARIFESTA from people who actually earn their living from such creative work. For them especially, there is no difference between that act of theft and someone stealing your car.

    I hope you do acknowledge that although this may be flattering on some level (and if I am supposed to move away from ego, why would you bring that up as a consideration? By your argument, I would say I have conquered my ego since I was not flattered :) ) that it is stealing under any law – I do not know that religion condones stealing, and in fact Islam regards the issue of debts and payment for work as a very important personal obligation, as well as necessary for orderly society. It is not a frivolous or unfounded choice “ to imbibe and live the values and life of commerce and rights and patents and permission” – commerce and trade of property is an inextricable part of life unless you manage to live in isolation.

    Religion may also encourage forgiveness, but this is a very personal decision dependent on personal factors.

    I hope and pray that you also drop the Ego that makes you feel entitled to make judgements on my spiritual status, because I think they make your comment less helpful than you perhaps intend.

    35. Chennette on September 11th, 2008 at 10:53 am
  34. Chennette , this is an excellent response…….

    36. trinimom on September 11th, 2008 at 3:19 pm
  35. Please don’t not thank me for my comments because you don’t mean a word of it. Your response is agressive and as smug and self-righteous as “I have lawyers in Guyana”. So do not a lie in the month of Ramadan!

    I did not speak of being “flattered”; I spoke of honour, of giving freely and I spoke of forgiveness. I am sorry if you cannot understand this and for this I forgive you.

    You are obviously about waging war. That is your choice.

    37. Mumtaz on September 11th, 2008 at 4:20 pm
  36. actually Mumtaz, I made sure to edit my first response to ensure that I thanked you because you said very complimentary things about my blog and photos. So, I was not lying.

    I also apologise for misstating that you referred to flattery when you said honour – that was my mistake and you’re right of course, honour has a different connotation.

    The only part of my response that was in any way critical of you was the last comment, because I didn’t think I warranted such personal analysis from someone whose character I do not know, and you even went to great lengths to write out what you thought I should have written…purporting to speak about my background and resources when I don’t know you. I didn’t respond to those things, I simply tried to further explain my views.

    And the comment about having lawyers in Guyana is a light comment for regular readers of my blog, as I don’t hide the fact that I am a lawyer, as is my brother in law. Voila, lawyers in Guyana. Aggressive, indeed.

    Your angry name-calling response now, makes me wonder what prompted your comment in the first place. And despite all your talk about forgiveness, I have to say your graciousness is slipping.

    38. Chennette on September 11th, 2008 at 4:37 pm
  37. I know my own heart and I can only hope you know yours…
    You don’t need to turn things around now…I “have lawyers…” is not the same as I am a lawyer and my brother in law also.

    And, by the way, that makes us colleagues; I am also a lawyer.

    39. Mumtaz on September 12th, 2008 at 12:43 am
  38. And of course, help yourself to the last say if that is what you need.

    40. Mumtaz on September 12th, 2008 at 1:10 am
  39. I think you grossly misunderstand the nature of a blog – I own this forum and don’t really need your permission to have the last word or any word for that matter. It seems whatever I say you will twist in some lunatic campaign to say I am wrong, so I will leave these comments up for sheer enjoyment and a study in crazy trolls. If you are not a troll and are seething with the desire to respond…well…I can make sure you seethe in silence. Woohoo! Power Trip!

    And out of curiosity, if I said I was a doctor, would you have suddenly possessed a medical degree? Because if you are a lawyer, you seem to be blissfully unenengaged by the operations of the law as it regards property, so I feel for your clients, fictional as they may be.

    41. Chennette on September 12th, 2008 at 12:46 pm
  40. i real impressed that someone with no Ego and so big on humility using a nick name like Mumtaz http://www.guyana.org/features/muslim_names.html
    if i were u and it were my christian name i woulda change it quick quick

    42. Lilandra on September 12th, 2008 at 12:50 pm

One Trackback

  1. By   Caribbean Fruits — Lifespan of a Chennette on August 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    […] region. And an introduction to my namesake fruit. And my attempt at watermarking my photos after the theft! I started out with the watermark clear across the middle, but have settled for now on the lower […]

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