February 24, 2011

Dino Direct – image theft and blatant misrepresentation

update: March 04, 2011
I have added the PDF screengrab of the page where DinoDirect was using my images without my consent … because when I confronted them about it on their Facebook page, they removed the page, and are acting dumb about it. Trying to appear innocent. As if.

Someone let me know today, Feb 24, that they had discovered some of my images on the website of Dino Direct. Apparently it is a company that distributes all kinds of electronic goods, including video lights. Dino Direct took it upon themselves to appropriate three of my images; crop out my logo; and add their own logo. Blatant theft of my images.

But worst still, they are misrepresenting themselves with those images …

If you look at them, you will see they clearly imply that *those* photographs were taken with specific gear that they are trying to peddle to the unaware. Of course, there is no phone number to contact them, and their 24/7 live chat is unavailable.

To anyone who might be using or think of using Dino Direct, be aware of their unethical way of promoting their business.

Here are screengrabs of my images as they appear on their site, as well as links to my images where I used them on my site … if there might’ve been any doubt.

Here are my photographs, if proof was needed:

http://neilvn.com/tangents/2009/11/26/using-two-video-lights/
http://neilvn.com/tangents/2010/05/24/video-light-and-daylight/
http://neilvn.com/tangents/2009/09/02/bounce-flash-vs-video-light/

Here’s an update: March 04, 2011

DinoDirect is playing dumb on their Facebook page, even though I supplied the link to this page. They obviously saw the linked page and removed it.

then they removed the page …

… and acted innocent about it:

… but that’s okay, I expected that this is how they would play this particular game, so I made a screengrab the moment I had discovered Dino Direct’s theft of my images on their site. (The link leads to a PDF file which will clearly show their use of my images.)

So, Dino Direct, simply removing the images doesn’t make you less guilty … or more innocent.

 

{ 52 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Nick @ The Other Angle Photography February 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Ewww. Not cool :(

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2 Sanele February 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

WTF?! This is, as you put it, blatant theft. This kind of behaviour is disgusting and rude. Something needs to be done about it, any plans to take action, Neil?

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3 Neil vN February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Dunno … how do you successfully sue a Chinese company, even if your images are registered with the USA copyright office?

Neil vN

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4 Sarah Cutright February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

What absolute a*holes! They need a serious legal spanking!
Keep us posted on this new adventure, Neil!

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5 NIck February 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Call in an air strike. Napalm the thieving *@!+~*!

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6 Ed February 24, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I just love this statement from their site:

” …DinoDirect owns all right, title and interest in the Logos, including but not limited to, copyright, trademark, service mark, trade dress, moral rights, rights under any statutory protection of fine arts, and otherwise, as applicable.”

Looks like they may be interested in their rights, but not yours Neil!

Just send them an invoice. You never know, they might just pay …

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7 michael February 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm

It is a sad day, no respect for your copyrighted images
no permission from you at all !

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8 Sterling February 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm

wow…gutless

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9 Geoff February 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm

This unfortunately leaves you back at the conundrum of whether to watermark through the centre of an image. Doing that is just ugly, and does detract from the image, but possibly is sometimes the only way of preventing this kind of image theft.

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10 Rich February 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm

It looks to me like everything on the site is blatant theft. I checked the photo stuff and it a knock off of most things already patented by someone else.

I hope you can shut them down. I would tell everyone to not do any business with them and pass the word as well.

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11 Lyn Rees February 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm

T**ts.

Can’t believe people do this!

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12 Neil vN February 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm
13 Neil vN February 24, 2011 at 7:45 pm

It’s aggravating to an extreme. But not as aggravating as having your entire website stolen as happened to me a few years ago. (password: Mandy)

Neil vN

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14 Rich Poinvil February 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Neil,
Here you go.

Administrative Contact:
DINODIRECT CORPORATION
Dino Direct (hoyosun@hotmail.com)
+1.6504890224
Fax: +1.6502403909
8605 Santa Monica Blvd #22395
Los Angeles, CA 90069
US

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15 Neil vN February 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Richard .. thank you!

I just dialed the number … and it just rings, and eventually a recorded voice tells me, “the feature you tried to access is not available”. I’m still not surprised.

Neil vN

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16 Rich Poinvil February 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

No problem Neil. Starting to read your new book tonight!

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17 Stephen February 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm

That just sucks. The address that Rich brought up from the WHOIS internet domain database is the same as the U.S. warehouse address on the site’s Contact Us page. So, it’s not a real office location.

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18 Jon February 24, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Totally not cool.

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19 Geoff February 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Neil,

this may be a long shot, but maybe there is a case for you to approach the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Intellectual Property Rights Centre (http://www.ice.gov/iprcenter/) with a view to looking into whether there is a case for them to seize the Dinodirect domain. (Take a look also at http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1011/101129washington.htm.)
Also Google “Dino Direct scams” – you will see quite a bit come up.

As I said, this may be a long shot, but you may get the US government interested in taking these guys off the internet.

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20 Arnold February 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Neil, How did you first find out that they were using your images?

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21 Neil vN February 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Arnold, someone who regularly follows Tangents, saw the photos and recognized them.

With 4,700+ visitors a day here, it was inevitable this would get noticed. :)

Neil vN

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22 Rich Poinvil February 25, 2011 at 12:10 am

Oh well. Maybe give it a try during normal business hours (Pacific time). If they don’t answer just call back again and again afgter you get the recording. Someone will get anoyed enough to pick up the phone. This tactic works for me when dialing the post office. To be fair, the post office has gotten a lot better.

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23 Wes February 25, 2011 at 1:39 am

Also for what it’s worth – ICANN has very strict guidelines regarding false information for domain registration. Under ICANN rules “PROVIDING FALSE CONTACT INFORMATION CAN BE GROUNDS FOR DOMAIN NAME CANCELLATION” – Might want to contact them and file a report with them as it appears their registration information is false?

Also ” If you have an inquiry regarding incorrect WHOIS data, please submit a “WHOIS Data Problem Report” using the form at http://wdprs.internic.net/. Your report will be forwarded to the sponsoring registrar, who must take reasonable steps to investigate and correct inaccurate data.”

And you could also try contacting their host directly and inform them one of their clients is hosting copyrighted material and you want to take action against them if they continue to host it?…. Their host is theplanet.com which will take you to http://www.softlayer.com/ – This site (host) is run in the US & registered through godaddy so you should hopefully have some luck with them.

Good Luck!

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24 Neil vN February 25, 2011 at 1:45 am

Wes .. thank you!

I’ve dealt with image theft on blogger sites before, with Google, and they have a process which takes a few days .. but so far they’ve been consistently fair. I’ll contact GoDaddy in a few days, depending on reaction from Dino Direct. (I’m not expecting any.)

Neil vN

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25 Anthony February 25, 2011 at 1:57 am

They also say they are Better Business Bureau members. You can file a complaint at http://sanjose.bbb.org/ComplaintDetail.aspx?CompanyID=1000002165

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26 Anthony February 25, 2011 at 2:02 am

The link on the bottom of their site to their BBB accreditation shows the following info:

4020 El Camino Real #3101
Palo Alto, CA 94306-4050
Tel: (650) 265-1038
Fax: (650) 240-3909
Contact: Nathalie Woo

Different # from above.

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27 Wes February 25, 2011 at 2:30 am

I would suggest before going to godaddy directly you actually contact the host web host of dino direct first – http://www.softlayer.com – Its their obligation to remove the copyrighted material because they are the ones serving it out to the internet – Godaddy just provides the registrar services – I was just implying that because of the fact that Dino Directs host (softlayer)is registered through godaddy I would assume they have decent business practices and would be more than helpful in getting the image removed as they would not want to deal with any lawsuits – Its the same reason why host’s take down copyrighted movies & music when contacted by the content owner – its their (the host’s) business on the line because they are ultimately the ones keeping the content online should they refuse to take it down once notified they are hosting copyrighted material.

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28 John Ahern February 25, 2011 at 5:30 am

I’ve had disscussion regarding the wedding photographers get their albums done in China, as they are a lot lot cheaper.
One thing that came into my mind was when sending your high resolution album to a county that has no regards for copyright law, how do you know your images won’t be used for something else, and how would that look from the clients view.

This the problem with dealing with countries who don’t give a hoot about copyright, yes the stuff is cheaper, but they are cheper because some people in the chain are not getting paid.
So as photographers, should we stay away from countries/businesses that don’t respect copyright law?

John

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29 pasquier February 26, 2011 at 11:26 am

It seems this DinoDirect outfit is a major scam, see:

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30 Tat2Duck February 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I followed the link and left a very negative feedback about how they are stealing images. Lo and behold, the feedback does not show up on their site. I guess any negative feedback gets automatically bounced out. I have a screen capture of the comments I left but I guess it won’t due any good anyway. Hey, I tried!

*QUOTE*
I see that you steal images from hard working photographers without their permission.
What’s worse is those photos were taken with other equipment and not what you are advertising.
If you lie about the equipment used to take those stolen images, what else are you lying about? Buyers beware. This company has shady business ethics.
*END QUOTE*

I’ll try again and give all top stars to see if it will circumvent their delete robot.

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31 Neil vN February 26, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Well, I did post on their forum, but going by the flood of complaints on their own forum, I am very doubtful anyone is monitoring it or even cares.

Neil vN

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32 trev February 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm

LOL @ “Please explain, and please send me your address so I can invoice you for the use of my images.”

Grab a long snorkel Neil, take a deeeeeeeep breath and hold onto your britches, it’s gonna be a looong wait mate!

Cheers,
Trev

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33 Aniversari February 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm

This is really incredible! I understand you have no laws, thief, but some RESPECT!?!? I must stop here, the words will be unreadable after…

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34 forkboy1965 February 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Find yourself a very, very good hacker and let them “fix” their web pages. And their servers.

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35 Kim Nielsen March 3, 2011 at 3:01 am

I know some great IP lawyers who could help you or point you in the right direction if you choose to pursue this. We talked a bit about “legal issues” at WPPI. Let me know. I think you would find their credentials extremely satisfying, and no it’s not my husband different type of law.

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36 Neil vN March 4, 2011 at 2:16 am

… and the saga continues.

DinoDirect removed the page I had originally linked to, and then tried to appear all dumbfounded about it, in a passive way … but, expecting how this is how they would play the game, I had already made a screengrab PDF. That is what is linked to now.

Neil vN

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37 Neil vN March 4, 2011 at 2:39 am
38 Neil vN March 4, 2011 at 2:39 am
39 Neil vN March 4, 2011 at 2:47 am
40 Stephen March 4, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I just read that entire thread on Facebook. I am surprised that they haven’t tried deleting that thread, since they are not admitting to using the images.

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41 Neil vN March 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Stephen, but they do admit to using the images. Read it again.

“We’ve removed those images on our website”

I’m also surprised they left those two threads on their FB wall, since it makes them look like the idiots they are. Anyone reading it must shake their head in disbelief.

Neil vN

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42 Stephen March 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm

I see that post now, Neil.

Judging by the complaints by other people over their orders, Dino Direct has not been a reputable business for a while. Not fulfilling orders in a timely manner, not answering emails, not refunding, and now unauthorized commercial use of your images.

It’s amazing people are still ordering through them or taking them up on their silly promotions that are too good to be true.

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43 Adrian March 22, 2011 at 1:34 am

Hi Neil,

There is a way to protect your image using Photoshop it is called :DIGIMARC and is found under the filter menu, Give it a try if you have not yet done sow.

These people who don’t have a creative bone in them seeks to steal your hard work but I hope you get due justice!!!

All the best Neil!!!

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44 Michal July 29, 2011 at 2:51 am

On the 16th of June I spent just over £80′s on an Android Tablet.
The order took just under a week to prepare, was shipped the day later and I received a tracking number as soon as it was and took just under a week of delivery time.

I have tried a number of generic cheaper Android tablet’s like the Flytouch III, Superpad and Apad. The reason I was attracted to this one was because it was sold with a very good specification on paper for the price, a decent CPU; A Cortex A9 800mhz, 512mb of Ram, Wifi and Bluetooth. And most surprisingly a separate graphics processor along side the CPU, which I haven’t seen anywhere else on the internet. So I was looking forward to it.

When it arrived I wasn’t disappointed. The unit itself is designed very well and looks nice for a 7inch tablet. The screen is crisp, clear, is responsive and has a very good viewing angle. Many apps reported it came with the hardware advertised and battery life is more than double that of any other tablet I’ve tried at this price. The App Market works great and most surprisingly this came with the latest version of flash; 10.3. Never have I had an Android tablet running Android 2.2 capable of running any newer than Flash 10.1, so with this all your favorite flash and Facebook games are there to play. It also makes a very good games machine with its separate graphics processor, all the latest 3D and Gameloft games I have running on this. All in all i was very happy.

The site is well designed website with the ‘My Account’ section keeping me informed of my order process. Its the only site I know that has forums for customers to talk about the products, where Dinodavid and other friendly dino staff are always there to help. Be it for clothes, gadgets or a tailor made bridal or wedding dress for that special occasion I can recommend Dino Direct.

Michal”

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45 Neil vN July 29, 2011 at 3:04 am

Michal … and I have to wonder if you’re a shill for Dino Direct, since their forum is jammed with people complaining about them and not receiving items. The Dino forums have a greater number of people complaining bitterly about them (with no response from Dino’s people), than there are posts with positive feedback.

Now you may well say that is the nature of people, but I’d have to think that in this case Dino runs a shady operation … and how they appropriated and mis-represented my photographs is clear proof of that.

Neil vN

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46 Allen July 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Neil, that’s just plain cynical… or is it diplomatic, I’m not sure – American isn’t my first language.

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47 Neil vN July 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Color me skeptical … but my post was about Dino stealing my images, cropping my logo out, and then using them to represent their products … even though the images were shot using entirely different equipment. All the proof is there.

Nevertheless, Michal felt compelled to tell me how wonderful Dino’s service was and how exemplary their customer service. Two things which weren’t under the spotlight here. It has nothing to do with Dino Direct stealing my images. Yet, here we have a promotional piece from Michal.

On top of that, if anyone actually did bother to look at Dino’s forums, there’s a long line of unhappy people, without Dino responding. So that is in total contrast to what Michal is saying.

To top it all off … my mistrust is based on Michael saying he paid X amount in Pounds, yet Michal’s IP address resolves to Redwood City, California.

Neil vN

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48 Maria September 12, 2011 at 9:06 am

I hate DinoDirect. It just amazes me how they’re still in business. They’ve been known to put up fake reviews to boost their products’ ratings and their ratings on review sites and forums.

LOL @ the IP address catch. Good one!

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49 Bee_there December 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I also hate DinoDirect. A friend of mine had a similar image theft problem and he ‘solved’ in a way that will not suit everyone. What he did was change the images that were linked to the other parties website. This created much embarrassment for the other party but (of course) he had to put up with the images on his own website.

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50 SHARRIEFF March 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm

How did you know they steal your photos first place ?

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51 Neil vN March 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

As I said right at the start, “Someone let me know today, they had discovered some of my images on the website of Dino Direct.”

Simeone who follows this blog recognized my images.

Neil vN

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52 Sandy March 15, 2012 at 1:55 am

Actually I noticed that there are plenty of other websites that “recycle” the same images. Like for when I was browsing through wedding gowns, the exact same images keep popping up in many different websites. Some are supposedly based in the US too and with an address that is seemingly legit. But when I checked out the website review on Google, lo and behold… they turned out to be from China.

Indeed their prices seem too good to be true (item is always at 50% or 60% discount – what’s the catch?) and from where I am, it is worth the risk to get gowns from these websites. But my conscience has told me to be safe (sorry, kinda got outta topic LOL). Anyway, just too many complaints about online China merchants. It’s not worth the risk after all.

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