WallPart (The Poster Shop) sells stolen images online without the owner’s consent
The website WallPart (also referred to as The Poster Shop) claims to be “the world’s largest online shop of posters…with over 10 billion images.” However, the one thing that the website does not reveal is that their database is filled with copyrighted and stolen images from photographers around the world. To make things worse, in what might be the most heinous hacking scam of all time, the Poster Shop may be actually using these images to spam photographers who use their copyright take down form.
Patrick Hall, founder of Fstopper.com said that a few months ago, he discovered that the poster printing website had put many of his friends wedding photographs up for sale without their consent. To handle this situation, the suggested course of action would have been to instantly get in touch with the website and insist that they remove their photos from the WallPart database or else legal action would be taken.
According to the tumblr Peter and Company, the real business WallPart does not have anything to do with the selling of the prints at all. In reality, WallPart does not go to photographers’ websites and steal photos to sell on their store page. They instead just simply pull images from Google Images and display them as promising art work one can have printed on their own wall art or poster.
If one has to search for his name, image or brand through their search box (which is not recommended), one would be sure to find one of their own images in their database. Several of these images are advertisements, pngs, and banners that were never meant to be printed in the first place. In addition, every image that is displayed on their search results page consists of the exact same title and description found through Google’s search function.
For instance, below are the few searches done by Patrick a Hall of Fstoppers:
It looks like that the main intention of this website is not to sell prints at all, as there is no evidence that actual sales are taking place. This website instead looks for photographers who have featured on WallPart’s website, says Peter and Company reports.
It is a behavioral condition found in photographers when they behave irrationally on finding their images being used without their permission. If and when a photographer does catches their work on the website, they are without a doubt going to issue a cease and desist through WallPart’s DMCA/Copyright link at the bottom of the page. This link that is at the bottom of the page is surprisingly the only one of the only clickable links on the entire page, which is not compatible with most legal e-commerce sites. The entire purpose of the Poster Shop’s website is this contact form. The contact form is a hacking platform that is used to spam the user and possibly affect their computer with malware or other offensive spyware and adware.
Most of the search results, functionality, and contact forms have changed throughout the website’s existence. One day, you search for your name and find stolen images, only to find that 24 hours later the results page are completely empty. There are clear indications that the site was never meant to run as a business and the functionality of it as a whole is pretty divided. Currently hosted in Russia, the site is known to change hosting domains in the past after being removed by tech savvy visitors.
It is very disheartening to know that there are companies and websites out there like WallPart that are targeting photographers who are just trying to protect and maintain the copyright on their own creations. In today’s world, one can be sure as to what personal data is being sent to a company in general or where an email or contact form is actually being sent to. The website Change.org has started a petition with over 50,000 supporters to ouster WallPart; however, there is no news on whether the site will actually be banned forever.
To keep it simple, Patrick says DO NOT VISIT THE SITE like The Poster Shop or other similar sites and DO NOT FILL OUT ANY COPYRIGHT VIOLATION OR DMCA FORMS.