Sunday, November 18, 2007

Stealing is bad

Colon just sent me this email and it made me really sad that people would do this. The photographer who is offering this bootlegged copy is a graduate from an art school and definitely knows better than this.

The cool thing is that she couldn't even sell them because other OSPers turned her in! We are investigating if she has sold other disks or is stealing other products so if you've been contacted by a photographer selling stolen copies of software or DVD's send me an email. This crime can bring a fine of $250,000 and 5 years in prison so I would strongly suggest that this photographer send Mike a full price check ASAP for every copy of the disks sold.

As all of you know Mike Colon is super awesome and helps so many photographers. He's been one of my biggest mentors over the years and I know he doesn't like to stir things up but I don't mind and things like this need to be brought into the light so people know that they will be caught.


Unknown said...

Nice blur job ... ha ha

Paula and Damian said...

Wow! That's really sad! Its sad because when people try to help others who need help there is always someone like that who just does things like that to mess it up and what's worst is it cause the rest of us to suffer for. I hope Mike doesn't see this as a means to stop the good work he is doing but rather just an obstacle that he has to cross over.


Toronto Wedding&Portrait Photographer, Andreas. said...

What I say is this. Mike is stealing too. Actually the term would be ripping off, that would be more appropriate. 650 dollars for a disk of "information"
I've seen the disk, it's not worth that. It's barely worth 50 dollars in value.
Brainwash you stand, together you fall.

Gary Fong, Author said...

DJ - who is this person so I can put her photo on my blog?
The great deterrent is being outed in public.

Sarah Renée said...

I'm glad you are addressing this DJ cuz the music industry definitely didn't handle these kinds of issues very well and now...well you know how it is now... :( Don't let the photography industry go to ruin!!!


Daniel J. Watkins said...

Here's my take on the deal -- and listen up if you are a photographer planning to do a DVD anytime soon.

It bums me out to pay big bucks for a DVD set (and I have a large investment in legally obtained photo instruction DVD's) and find out that the author didn't pay to copyguard the disc. One of the benefits of paying top dollar is knowing that the information is limited in distribution because of the high price (sorry, lovecats...) which should, if I'm right about anything, help justify the high price. learn that my legal copy is not copyguard protected...I know the value of that information just went down a LOT due to the number of people like Cheryl who will make black market copies and sell or give them away.

Either sell your stuff at deep discount prices (mass distribution)...or protect the investment that your exclusive group of top-dollar-paying customers have made by putting a copyguard on the material.

(It's kinda like finding out that my >$35,000 MBA can be obtained by almost anyone for ten bucks in overdue book fines from the local library...but I won't go into that...)

Michael Wachniak said...

Here's my opinion:

First of all... BURN HER AT THE STAKE! =)

Second of all: for anyone who thinks the price of the DVD is too high, you are not forced to purchase it, plain and simple.

The type of DVDs in question are obviously not for everyone, they are for people who see value in what they can learn from watching them. If its too expensive (and yes, I agree for DVDs they ARE too expensive) don't buy them!

HOWEVER, for those of you that see these photographers that make the DVDs as mentors and really deep down want to learn how to think/work like them...I think $650 bucks (or whatever the price is) is PEANUTS compared to what your business will generate after watching.

Bottom Line: If you see them as DVDs, don't buy them. If you see them as tools for growing your business (and yourself for that matter), the price should be DOUBLE what they ask, because they are worth that and more.

My 2cents.

Unknown said...

Copyguarding helps somewhat, but DVD ripping software will override standard DVD protection with ease.

Also, where does it say on Mike's site that this is a "limited" distribution DVD? I haven't seen many photo DVDs that are limited (I think Gary's was, however).

And, for the record, my DVD will be < $75 :)

|| davidjay || said...

What Michael said is right on. The industry is so much better today because people like Mike and Gary have been sharing their knowledge and I agree that when judged in comparison to what this info could do for your business it would be considered a bargain at $650. If it got you one extra client you'd probably at least triple your money.

It's the arrogant and ignorant people like Sharpshooter whose businesses fail because they can't find value in things and they don't even have enough courage to post their name. What a wanker.

Michael Wachniak said...

amen, brother!

Toronto Wedding&Portrait Photographer, Andreas. said...

Actually DJ. My business has not failed. In fact in the last 19 months I've tripled my income and am now booking as far as 2009 in our city. I just choose to not put my name out there. That's all.
I wonder what this industry ever did before Colon and his "reaching the high end blah blah blah" dvd came out? My gosh! It must have been in peril of crashing!

For the record, my dvd and my seminars are F R E E. That is the true definition of help. Free.

|| davidjay || said...

Sharpshooter - Actually before Mike and his generation this industry was crashing. Most photographers looked at wedding photography as the bottom of the barrel and most clients didn't value it enough to pay a reasonable price for it.

Do you do your wedding photography for free? Why not? If that's the true definition of help then why don't you just give away your service like you're expecting MIke to do.

The reason you are able to give away your DVD's and your workshops is b/c very few people want to hear what you have to say. Think about it. If any amount of people cared what you had to say your model of "help" wouldn't be sustainable. Good luck.

ron said...

wow...I am shocked. Integrity is only necessary if a copyright is attached and secured? Whoa.

It's disappointing to hear of people ripping off Gary, Mike and Jessica....and that goes for actions being shared too by others.

Sheyb said...

Hi DJ! I have never commented, but have been a blog stalker of yours. ;) This is so terrible! There are too many people out there that do this, and I HATE it!

I love your pictures by the way! :) You photographed my friend's wedding. Jason and Lindsey Kliewer! Very cool! :)

I am in the process of starting my own photography business myself, and I happen to find you as well as Jasmine Star and Mike Colon VERY inspiring! Keep up the amazing work!

Hoping you'll have a seminar close to my home... Raleigh, NC! :) I used to live in Southern California.

Toronto Wedding&Portrait Photographer, Andreas. said...

I'm in the business of photographing families and providing a record of that. I am not in the business of workshops, a fad that will surely fade away. Soon, every photographer will be offering their version of the workshop and will be a big joke.


Patricia Wells said...

This is the worst type high of tech crimes, and really does devalue education and mentorship.
However, some food for thought.
Publicly outing this person, particularly by posting her picture on a ones blog has the potentiality for her to take reverse action against the poster for invasion of privacy or if any facts are incorrect, portrayal in a false light.
Although she might be unsuccessful in these legal actions, it must be best to deal with this behind the scenes.

Patricia Wells said...

I meant it -MAY be best to deal with behind the scenes.
(I'm bossy when I'm waking up.)

|| davidjay || said...

Sharpshooter Yea - education is a fad. Honestly are you for real? If you didn't bag on my friends I wouldn't point out how ridiculous you are.

Mike's workshops have become more valuable since there are more people giving away worthless DVD's for free and wasting people's time.

Keep doing what you're doing and don't read my blog anymore. You bother me.

Jen Kroll said...

I spent the $650. Money well spent. I'd do it again. My business is THRIVING from principles that I applied that I picked up from Mike's set. I went from a $1500 hobbist a year and a half ago, to the most recent opportunity to shoot a multi-million dollar birthday party. Talent is not everything. Mike shared the marketing pieces I was missing. I will forever be grateful.

Bottom line--intellectual property is valuable. Mike has every right to make a decent living sharing the knowledge that he himself has spent a fortune on.

Sharpshooter's comments are out of pure ignorance.

Unknown said...

I think there's two different things at play here. sharpshooter is entitled to his opinion ... but that doesn't justify stealing. Nor do I think there's any type of "karma" at work here.

I think Windows Vista is terrible ... but that doesn't mean I think its okay to bootleg it.

Jim Cook said...

"Keep doing what you're doing and don't read my blog anymore. You bother me."

rofl - you tell 'em DJ!

What is up with all the anonymous idiots on here?

theshotshot. said...

wow. there is a person like this?

sharpshooter, i'd like to see your work - where's your website? if it's good, i want a free dvd because i'd like the help.

i know colon is good, so if you're good too (we shoot families as well) and you give free dvds away - i'd like one!


Toronto Wedding&Portrait Photographer, Andreas. said...

Hey so I just got a copy of the HIGH END BRIDE for a whopping FOURTY DOLLARS on Ebay.

Yep, Four Zero.

drago said...

"My business has not failed. In fact in the last 19 months I've tripled my income and am now booking as far as 2009 in our city."

hey d-bag, if you make so much money why are you selling the dvd for $100? i though dvd's are only like .25 each. your a waste of space.

Unknown said...

I did received an email like that telling me that he/she would give a copy of Totally Rad action if I gave him/her a copy of my Kubota's actions. I told him thanks, but no thanks, and forwarded the email to the Boutwells.

We have a responsibility, if we respect ourselves and others as professionals, to have no part of this type of conduct.

I agree with what Gary says. Once people realize that it has a cost it may deter them from doing.

Ginger Murray said...

Oh wow... That is just not ok.

Mike and DJ are right about education... it will NOT go out of style. Those who have information to share with others that is worthwhile will be able to continue being paid what the education is worth. Buying a DVD with advice and training on is exactly like taking a class. I can tell you that the price of one DVD was certainly a lot cheaper than my college diploma, and I don't regret having to pay student loans.

If I were to write more, I'd just be saying the same things as Dan, Michael, and Jen...

And if Mike Colon were an arrogant person, no one would want run their businesses like him because no one would want to be like him. And there's nothing that bugs me more than a rude or arrogant person-- which is something that Mike is NOT.

While I do think it's important to call out foul play, I do kind of agree with Patricia.

And Sharpshooter, it's understandable why you're posting anonymously, because you don't want your name dragged in the mud. But you should probably rethink your philosophy on the photography business.. just read what people are writing here...about education, and about business, and what it's all worth. People aren't mad at you because you're not in agreement with what we're saying-- it's because you're making personal attacks.

Unknown said...

Sucks that someone would go this low.

Raises an interesting question though, how many photographers out there are using copyrighted music for their slideshows?

I see no difference.

Ginger Murray said...

You have a very good point "gjphome."

I think a lot of photographers are unaware, confused, or unsure about the laws of being able to own/use music. And there are some who probably just don't care.

If there is anyone who doesn't know what the laws are regarding slideshows and music, check out the Music Copyright section on the Open Source Photo forum.
Be advised, though... once you know the law, it's up to you to abide by it;)

~amy~ said...

Ok, so DJ I love reading your blog everyday & also just hearing the wonderful advice you give to people. I think it is great that you & others are willing to help in general. I live in a very small area & as far as the photographers in this area, they all do not care to give advice whatsoever since I am a "threat" to their business.
People like me & others look up to you & would pay the money to get great advice from great individuals who are in the industry. You deserve to make the are already kind enough to give out your info.....besides, the people who do give out info for info I usually know the answer to anyways ;)

Lisa Christine Photo said...

A fellow photographer gave me a copy of Colon's DVD right when I was getting started. I didn't know anything about the dvd, and I didn't know who a lot of photographers were, including Mike Colon, and at that time it just wasn't a priority of mine to watch it. (And I never watched it.)
After reading about this I'm mad at myself for even accepting it. I'm going to throw it away immediately and purchase it the right way.

Gary Fong, Author said...

DJ you are hilarious! "You bother me" haha!

Matt Hall said...


Giphome and Ginger are right, I was wondering the same thing. We are coming after this person for stealing, but aren't we stealing music for our slideshows because we don't want to pay the outrageous fees the music industry charges to have it legally?
Finally, we all look up to you and your circle of friends. We wouldn't be reading your blog if we didn't. Dave Ramsey once said that if you want to be rich stop taking advice from broke people. That is why we pay the 600 bucks to tap into the successful people's knowledge bank.

Rock on DJ!

Unknown said...


I note a tone of envy there. Mike is not stealing or ripping anyone... He is not forcing anyone to buy his DVD or go to his workshop. People go because they want. They are willing to pay high prices to learn something from a photographer that commands 20k per wedding... I wonder if you can say the same... If people would be willing to pay that much for your services... Then again, you would be ripping people off, won't you? if you ask people to pay you?

I got both of Mike's videos... I bought them used... that was the only way I could afford them (they are the real thing and not copies). Are they worth what he charge for them? That is totally relative... How do you put a price on knowledge? WHy people pay very high process for Harvard U. for information they could get at a City College?

I could not afford the regular price but that does not mean that they are worth it. I personally didn't get that much out of the workshop one, but that does not means that is worth it and that someone else can benefit more than I did. Sometime you need to hear validation on what you are already doing... For me, the workshop and the High end are totally worth it, specially because I cannot afford to go to Cali.

If you want to offer your workshop for free that great. Good for you. That is your choice and does not necessarily makes you better person or make your workshop a worthwhile investment... still an investment.

So chill out and check your envy at the door.

Agnes said...

Education and collecting information can be free. Its like someone paying a huge load to culinary school as opposed to learning their way up the kitchen. Some may say that its money well spent, some will say that its cheating. I say its knowledge in brief.

Sharpshooter: you may think its expensive but Mike spent years of cash, sweat, and dedication to get enough information and experience to put on this dvd. $650? Worth every penny.

I've bought some dvd's from various photographers, spend so far about $2k. Its a lot but it helps me widen my "eye" and my learned/inspired creativity has gotten me great reviews followed by job opportunities.

So, thanks to all the great photographers who are "sharing" their information.

kennykimdotcom said...

I would like for "sharpshooter" to post information about his seminars and dvd's. I would like to get those free copies and I'll write a review about what I think about it. I might even blog about it.

MattDJ said...

I second that kenny. I know SS won't take any of us up on that, but if it really is a worthy DVD, than any photographer wanting to learn more is going to jump on it...right?

Seriously SS, if you not using your real name or linking to your free products was a "just because" decision, then why not post it now that you've got some free buzz courtesy of DJ? You've got a lot of professionals here that I'm sure would be ready to sign-up for your stuff if it was worth it. True definition of help.

As for Colon's DVDs, I too cannot afford to purchase them...yet. I also cannot afford to purchase the Canon 1D Mark III...yet. I've never met Colon, but he has been one of the most influential photographers and true inspirations to me and countless other sponges who are seeking to build on their war-chest of knowledge. If he values his education at the pricepoint he selected, then that is a worthy and highly desired education for this blogger. I even considered putting off a valuable lens purchase in order to purchase one of Colons products. A huge decision for someone who is trying to invest wisely in an effort to build a strong foundation for a new business.

Now I'm rambling. Sorry all. It's almost laughable how someone can be so bold, claim success, and still not post any of the stuff he claims to offer.

What were we talking about again? :-)

Andrea Hallgren Photography said...

Hi David,

Sorry to hijack this thread, but as a photographer and a wife of a professional musician and composer, I am perplexed by your post, considering some of your posts on music copyright in the past. Stealing anything is bad, but I am amazed that you are truly upset by this latest behavior by a photographer when you have had no problem stealing music from recording artists to use on your website to promote yourself. What you are doing, and have encouraged others to do in the past on the forums (with quotes like "[violating] music copyright is like driving 56 in a 55mph zone") affects ALL artists and the industry, and you shouldn't do it either. None of us should. We make money from our website and when we use music without paying it, we are no better than the person bootlegging Mike's stuff. There is NO difference in what this girl is doing and what many photographers I know are doing with music. Not only do the artists suffer, which believe me they do, but the musicians, engineers and others who worked on these recordings suffer, because with the reduction in income (indie & label) for most artists these days, they can't afford to make as many recordings as they want to. And it becomes a vicious, downward spiral. Imagine shooting a wedding, and everyone stealing your prints online and you not making anything but your shooter fee. Would you keep doing weddings? Could you afford to?

I'm aware of your efforts with Superchick and WhizBang, as my husband is licensing a number of pieces with them as well, but a solution still seems to be a ways off, and you haven't exactly come out strongly against using music without permission, which carries the same penalties you mentioned in this post. The TV writer's strike in LA is about many of these same issues (they're getting completely screwed online and on DVD), and I believe we should be all be supporting them as well. We are all artists, and must respect and protect each other's intellectual property.

I can only hope you'll take this post for what it is.

Andrea Hallgren
Nashville, TN

Geoff Johnson said...

aka "gjphome" I must have used the wrong login.

Anyhow, this music things really gets me because so many photographers out there do this.I see main stream music on photographers websites all the time and don't think they actually got the permission (paid) to use it.

I agree with Andrea that we're all artists and need to be paid for our work.

So, stealing no matter what is just wrong.