I will leave this post at the top fo the page for a bit. I would like to get as much light shined onto these guys as possible.
I have now received a message from someone at an agency that works to resolve issues like this under a sub-contracted basis. It was a generic message saying that they were now looking into this incident and would update me later. It looks like a canned message, but I now have a name and a phone number to call. I will keep you updated.
Pages I have found for this guy:http://www.facebook.com/finerThingsIinLife
Apparently Allessandro Pinna has been finding pictures around the internet that he likes. He then downloads the image, strips any metadata in it that identifies it to the original owner, and then watermarks the image with his own name. No I am not joking.
Here is the link to just one of his Facebook pages. He has four. Here is the other one. Here is yet another. And finally this one. (Thanks to Norman and Sandra at the PhotoTips Facebook Group for alerting me to this.
Here is an example of what he has done. The below screen shot is from photographer Terry Whittaker's Flickr Page. The image, should you download it, contains his copyright information. Again, screen capture below...
Allessandro then re-posted it to his own Facebook page with his own watermark and his name over the top. Again, screen capture below.
Download it and you will see the copyright information stripped out. Illegal to do so, by the way...
You will also see in the screen grab from Allessandro's Facebook Page, that the original copyright owner asked him to remove it. I contacted Mr. Whittaker in the UK. And he stated that he is not surprised that someone tried to do this, but he was surprised that apparently Facebook gave the guy conditions for allowing him to continue the practice.
His account was temporarily taken down when people began to complain to Facebook. But he was allowed to continue his actions, according to him, after making him post the following disclaimer. Again, screen capture below.
Now I don't know about you, but that disclaimer required by Facebook hardly seems appropriate. After all, stripping copyright information out of a photo, and then watermarking it with your name, is completely illegal in this country and all of the EU. I am unclear how they think it is OK.
To be clear, this person is combing through the internet and finding great pictures. Then he removes any watermarks using Photoshop or similar program. He deletes any IPTC and MetaData information showing the original copyright owner. Finally, he places his own watermark over the image and posts it to his many Profile pages. If you go to his page and make any negative remarks, you will be banned and your remark removed. Including if you are the original owner of the photo asking that he remove it at once.