Czech Republic Danielle Smith Jeff and Danielle Smith Mario Bertuccio

Family’s Stolen Picture Ends Up In Czech Ad

The dangers of sharing your personal pictures online became more apparent after a Missouri family’s Xmas photo had made it’s way to the front window of a store in another country.

Jeff and Danielle Smith got a shock when they learned their family photo was being used, unauthorised, on an advertising poster in Prague.

They found out after the received the following message on facebook from college friend lives in the Czech Republic:

Alright, so how’s this for random: I’m in the car, taking my wife for a check up, pass by a new grocery store and notice that they have a picture of you, your husband and two kids on the store front window. Life size. I kid you not. Will take a photo of it later today and send….

Mario Bertuccio, whose Grazie shop specialises in Italian food imports, said that he thought the image had been computer-generated.

He used it to advertise his shop’s grocery delivery service.

The Smith family blog goes on to say:

Clearly, my family did NOT take a picture for any advertisements – either here or abroad. And, clearly, whoever hijacked the picture assumed no one would recognize us so far away. Hmmmm…wrong.

I’ll admit, there is an element of flattery (I think) to the whole thing. But still, there is something creepy about knowing our family picture was stolen from one of my sites. This picture has been on my blog, used as a Christmas card and put on a few Ning Networking sites. It is also on my Facebook page (which is one of the reasons Justin recognized us) but my FB page is open only to friends.

The photo has since been removed.

“We’ll be happy to write an e-mail with our apology,” said Mr Bertuccio, adding that if the family had lived locally, he would have offered them a bottle of wine.

While this all may sound surreal, it happens more than you know.

Anyone who uploads personal pictures to a social networking site runs the risk of having them swiped and used for the wrong reasons.

To protect yourself, always load low resolution pictures (50k),and add a watermark. If you have an album of flick make sure that your account is tagged ‘All Rights Reserved’.


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About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • This is an important story, because it points out what could happen with your family’s photos and videos. But not all social networks are created equal. Some are made specifically for private communications within families like On a site like Wee Web, this would never happen (unless your brother-in-law happens to own a store in Prague).

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