Photography pirates taken on a grand tour…. of the Olive Garden

We reported on 20 February the story of FlightSimLabs sneaking spyware on to its customers’ computers in an attempt to catch a pirate. You can read that story here.

A photographer has now taken a much more ethically sound, and certainly funnier, course by leaking online a parody of a forthcoming photography tutorial, disguised as the highly anticipated release of Photographing the World 3.

Fstoppers is an online photography community that produces extremely high-quality tutorials. The tutorials usually cost around $300 each and come packaged in pairs or trios. As with all high-quality and desirable digital content, it has been widely copied and made available by pirates.

Elia Locardi, the photographer behind the “Photographing the World” series, decided to fight back over the piracy. He produced and leaked an extremely realistic but otherwise useless parody of his own content. The parody was so realistic that it took even seasoned consumers of his content some time to realise that it was a faux-tutorial, despite being set in an Olive Garden in Charleston, South Carolina.

Fstoppers released the parody tutorial themselves via torrent sites a few days before the legitimate tutorial was due to be released. They really committed to the hoax, by having fake reviews praising the tutorial’s quality posted to it, and having friends seed the download. They even made the download a realistic 25GB in size, to throw pirates off the scent.

At first Fstoppers did not announce their fake to the world, but quietly went about releasing the real version of Photographing the World 3. What will be sure to have raised a smile was the steady stream of complaints and comments about the quality of the pirated material from those pirates not savvy enough to identify the content as a joke.

It is highly unlikely that this tactic for weeding out infringers can become widespread (it clearly took a lot of work to put together), but we are seeing more and more instances of rights holders attempting to protect their intellectual property proactively, rather than reactively after infringement has taken place.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.