A detailed revisting.

(I apologize if this article is a little wordy. We’ll be back to normal on Monday.)

A few weeks ago I posted an article about some photobooks being Kickstarted by a college professor named “Amy Laptad”.

What was the problem with the photobooks? Plagiarism. The photos in the books were not original, but belonged to a number of different professional and semi-pro photographers on the web.

Part of this website’s goal, besides just being entertaining, is to point out Kickstarter frauds and scams to make people aware of the risks of Kickstarter-style funding models. Therefore I feel very justified in having brought this plagiarism to my reader’s attention.

Why am I revisiting this? Because Dr. Laptad has emailed me threatening legal action and challenging me to prove my claims.

So here we go!

The Disney Dream

Laptad_DisneyDream

Amy Laptad claims to have taken this photograph, but it really belongs to Christian Lambert Photography.

How do I know this?

  1. Christian Lambert Photography proudly displays it on their home page.
  2. The oldest and highest resolution version of this photograph on the net was published by Christian Lambert.
  3. Mr. Lambert has a second photograph of the same boat, taken the next day.
  4. It was taken with a Nikon D700, a camera Mr. Lambert uses for many of his photographs.
  5. It matches Mr Lambert’s style and subject matter. Mr Lambert has taken many photographs of Disney attractions, with no people in the foreground, processed with an HDR effect.

I feel confident in trusting Christian Lambert’s claim to be the original creator of this image.

The dead child’s teddy bear

curiosity_grave
Amy Laptad claims to have taken this photograph, but it really belongs to Chelsea Tucker.

How do I know this?

  1. The oldest and highest resolution version of this photograph on the net was published by Chelsea Tucker.
  2. It was taken by a Nikon D90, a camera Ms. Tucker uses for many of her photographs.
  3. Ms Tucker has another photograph of the same bear. This less popular photograph appears nowhere but on Ms Tucker’s Flickr page.
  4. Ms Tucker has a whole series of close-up photographs taken at that same cemetery in San Antonio.

I feel confident in trusting Chelsea Tucker’s claim to be the original creator of this image.

Kudzu Ferris Wheel

Laptad_wheel
Amy Laptad claims to have taken this photograph.

…and low and behold, it does show up on her Pinterest page almost a year ago. Let’s see what she has to say about it!

Laptad_repin
Repinned?!? Did she forget that she was secretly the real photographer that took this picture back in 2009?

Of course not. The answer is obvious. She didn’t decide that this picture was “hers” until she decided to make a book.

The real photographer is Kyle Telechan.

How do I know this?

  1. The oldest, largest, and least-cropped version of this photograph was published by Kyle Telechan.
  2. Mr. Telechan has clearly made a hobby of photographing abandoned structures.

(Unexplained anomaly: This photograph was taken with a different camera than his others.)

I feel confident in trusting Kyle Telechan’s claim to be the original creator of this image.

Where does this leave us?

It’s absolutely preposterous to suggest that all these talented photographers have conspired to to steal photographs from Amy Laptad. Especially as her own “Hobby Photographs” are not that great, and were taken with a completely different brand of camera. (A Sony DSC-HX300)

Clearly what we have here is a woman who plagiarized a bunch of photos, and then when she was caught she tried to silence the opposition with vague legal threats. (She told me she was going to “Take legal action“, “Have [my] entire site closed“, and “alert local authorities“! Whoever they are.)

You know what’s really sad here? This woman is an educator! She works for a university! (That university has asked me not to mention their name. Can you blame them?)

Any students out there who got marked off for plagiarism or cheating by Prof. Laptad have every right to be furious.

I recommend printing out this page and waving it in her face any time she brings up the subject of academic ethics.

  • Guest

    “That’s some mighty fine detective work, Lou.”

    (Image copyright (c) Fox, used without permission)

  • Joseph Bloch

    “That’s some mighty fine detective work, Lou.”

    • KickFailure

      Thanks, Chief.

  • Alan

    Being an idiot in public is worthy of some mocking. Engaging in plagarism in public is worth shaming. Trying to hide your plagarism with legal threats, you deserve the negative publicity that will haunt your name forever.

    KickFailure does a pretty good job of filling the hole that Regresty left behind.

    • KickFailure

      Thank you very much for the compliment.

  • http://awesomethingoftheday.tumblr.com/ Remy Porter

    The first rule of legal threats: they come from lawyers. They don’t come from plagiarists with no legal training.

    • KickFailure

      Agreed.

  • John Nash III

    Popehat.com frequently connects threatened bloggers with pro bono counsel. Often all that’s needed is a response letter to shut down such fools. Look at their archives for recent examples such as the vexatious children’s dentist and contentious town council.

    • KickFailure

      That is useful information to know. Thank you very much.

  • Kyle Telechan

    I can explain my photo being taken with another camera – I took that shot with my “backup camera” at the time, which happened to be my D2x. The reason being, put simply, was because the D2x has more zoom for any given lens than the D3 (my current camera) due to the smaller sensor. If you check out a lot of the other stuff I took around 2007, you’ll see it a lot. Before that, it was a D70, but I think I’ve removed a lot of stuff that I shot with that camera since I pretty much sucked at that point.

    You can see an example of the camera being used in this exif here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityeyes/1518391428/

    If she really follows through with these threats, let me know. I have about ten or more other versions of that same subject shot with the same camera in the same conditions that have the proper date and time and weren’t published in any way. Many (if not all of them) are also in RAW format, which I never published either.

    – Kyle

    • Kyle Telechan

      Woah, also following up I see that her repinned photo is attributed to yet *another* photographer. Kinda hoping it’s a misunderstanding because I’m about to lose faith in humanity. Gonna dig in on this one.

    • KickFailure

      Thanks for that explanation, I figured it must be something like that.

      And thank’s for the offer. It’s good to know that you’ve got hard proof of your ownership in this case, even if it seems absolutely crazy that it would have to go that far.

      I’m becoming convinced that some people believe that stunning photographs and funny comics just magically spring forth from the Internet itself, and if you can “discover” them then they’re yours.

  • Mark

    In her syllabus for a 2009 composition course she taught she says: “Plagiarism is a serious breach of ethics and will not be tolerated in this course.”

    http://eli.nvcc.edu/schedules/Spring07/English_111_009_course_syllabus.htm