An Oregon woman is furious after a diet website swiped a photo from her blog about positive-body image to use as a "before" photo to sell a weight loss product.
Rachele Cateyes, who writes a blog called Fat Babe Designs, posted a photo of herself in a bikini last July, and then noticed it start popping up in diet advertisements last week.
"I was unfortunately also turned into the unwilling face of a diet company called Venus Factor, without my permission or knowledge," Cateyes wrote. "I have heard of this happening to weight loss bloggers ... But my photo seems different (i.e. I am sexy in hell in it) and I was completely taken off guard when it starting popping up as an ad on Facebook."
Cateyes wrote to the company in an attempt to get the photo removed -- Facebook was more receptive, but then other images of Cateyes from other ads took their place -- but was told they couldn't do anything.
“We have no control over it," Venus Factor wrote. "You need to contact the people who specifically put this on his website.”
After Cateyes began posting the story on her Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram, and thousands of her followers began sending angry messages and spreading the word, she finally got a response -- but the photos still remain online.
“You cannot steal someone else's property. You cannot take their picture and make a profit off of it," said technology expert Brian Westbrook. "Really, whether you profit or not, it's illegal to download photos off the Internet and use them in any sort of way other than what the original composer of that picture intended.”
Cateyes said she is furious over the theft of her pictures, but more than that, she it more upset because her own image is being used to sell an idea she is against.
The are "using me to represent basically, 'This is what you don't want to look like, don't be like her, her body's bad,'” she said. "It isn't about legalities, copyrights and watermarking, it is the culture of fat hate that encourages and approves it."
[Rachele Cateyes' Fat Babe Designs]