Watermarks & Signatures To Fig Photos
In Fig Addiction and other similar Facebook fig groups, I don't see much issue in other people using rare figs variety photos as their own. I think most of us know each other through many platforms. If someone is using fig photos that belong to someone else we know, I think we would to say something about it.
Last year I notice in the Vietnamese Fig groups there seems to to be an issue with the admins and moderator who didn't care about it. I brought the issue up on one of the largest called Fig Việt Nam. This is what I said in my post, "Hi guys, I usually don't comment and follow too much In this group. Unless something pops up in my feed. And, lately I've seen too many fig sellers selling plants using other people's photos. And, some of these photos belong to my friends. They do not belong to this group because they are not Vietnamese. If your tree has not bearing fruit yet, please mention that this is not your photo and it is a barrowed photo from whom and provide a link if possible. The best policy is to wait until your tree bears fruit before trading or selling the cuttings or trees, this will ensure you have personally verified the fig variety is 100% correct. If it is mislabeled as a seller, you are responsible for a replacement if later buyer discovers it does not match what you advertised."
Here are some of the interesting replies I got:
Vu Van Tung replied "Most of the uncles and aunts in the group buy trees from someone they consider reputable (have had fruit or are reputable according to their assessment). And most of these uncles and aunts buy it to eat, but they sell a lot, but when they sell it, they don't allow fruit to take pictures, but after uploading the tree picture, the fruit image is collected, the left image is beautiful because the source of the image is from a tree. Standard original trees, if they planted fruit, they would have taken their own pictures, because most of them bought and sold, so they didn't have any fruit to shoot or the fruit was too bad."
I replied, "I'm sad about what's going on. In a few years, when the first groups of people sell before the trees bear fruit, there will be customers who are not sellers and if wrong, they will have to answer for all unhappy customers. Each person responsibly once confirmed it for themselves, they cannot use words that I do not know I believe to be true. That doesn't solve the problem that could have been prevented. If we say we are allowed to use borrowed photos. You may sell wrongly labeled plants."
Vuong Judo replied "The article speaks of the fact that a large number of Vietnamese people lack sincerity, lack of responsibility for fraudulent trade, to take their word despite their moral reputation and conscience. There is something new that is singing that they find all kinds of ways to deceive buyers to get a high price because a few years later, the price drops a lot. They also launched a way to create virtual fever groups to sell at sky-high prices."
I replied, "Sad to hear but unprofessional tactics. Often a successful business is built on an acquired reputation. Good businesses won't last long without the constant support of loyal customers."
There were a few other replies. Now here a peak into private groups. I have commented on the posts providing the correct link to the original image and then after that I'm usually blocked by the person posting. The #1 photo that is used without permission is from Strudeldog Colonel Littman's Black Cross fig. The original link below and some of the screen shots for a quicker look.
Hoàng Anh Tài copied CBLC photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied Brian Melton's (Calfig aka Profigs) MR photo
Brian Melton under business name CalFigs now new name Profigs can be found here original Brian Melton MR photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied Bass's (TreeofJoys) Black Madiera fig photo
Bass under business name Treeofjoys can be found here original Bass (TreeofJoy) photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied Harvey C (Figaholics) fig photo
Harvey C aka Figaholics can be found here original Harvey C (Figaholics) Col de Dame Noir fig photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied OneGreenWorld nursery fig photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied French Fig Farm nursery photo
Hoàng Anh Tài copied Steve aka Fruitnut BFF fig photo
Thịnh Garden (CBLC copied photo) Colonel Littman's Black Cross
Hội trồng cây Sung Mỹ copied romeo's fig photo used Romeo Assaf original photo link
I added signature to my own photos to deter others from using the photos under these situations. I don't go to ebay or esty for figs, but I'm sure there are often many figs photos that don't belong to the seller are used to advertised. Figbid.com policy doesn't allow sellers to use stolen photos. This is why I prefer figbid.
I think earlier in the season this discussion ended up a locked post on ourfigs. The issue I have is if image is not taken by the seller, they haven't confirm the fruit. And each photo has an owner eitehr with or without signatures the person using the photo clearly knows they didn't take photo themselves. And, for whatever reason if by the time they actually confirm the fruit and it ends up being the wrong variety there will be a domino effect. Cuttings can be shared at a quick rate and for a seller who sells at a mass scale the error will also be massive. My figbid doesn't have photo or youtube video if I didn't fruited that variety. I often write I haven't confirm the fruit from this tree. What I mean is this particular small tree, may come from reputable seller but the chance of error could still happen, under my care it hasn't fruited for me.
For instance, a large nursery sells 100 trees of a certain variety and they were all grown from cuttings. Being the end consumer, there was a mix up either during them taking cuttings or rooting or labeling or moving to retail local nursery. Something happen between the variety when it fruited for me is not correct. I didn't buy all the trees that arrive in the same time in the lot, only one or two. And, I'm sure I won't be the only ones with the mislabel fig tree. For those who don't collect figs might think this mislabel tree is correct. And, then share that variety with their friends, neighbor, or sell it. Platforms like, ourfigs.com, figdatabase.com very own forum, facebook fig groups are a vase of knowledge to help identify or confirm fig variety. I highly respect Harvey Figaholics for fruiting and confirming before releasing his figs for sale. It is easier said than being done. Some of us run out of space or other reason want to wait to confirm fruit, but end up having to rehome the fig before confirming it. I'm gulity of this but I do try to provide the source of my variety. The difference is transparency!
Recently, a local friend gave me a fig variety he rooted himself he gotten the cuttings through a contest on ourfigs.com and trust the generous member but he still tells me, " Kim this is where I got it , I haven't fruited it please wait to trade cuttings from the tree until it fruits" or atleast if mine fruited one of us confirms it. I think it quite straight forward. I like that sort of thing. Just be frank. Mistakes mix cutting or whatever can happen, but we sure can try to avoid it.
The large issue in Vietnam's Fig market is nothing we can control. Vietnam is a very fast paced competitive market. Some people like Tung Pham, I really like him since he doesn't trade or sell any of his varieties. And, he confirm fruits and provide the Vietnamese community with his findings. Some fig varieties may have some skin and flesh changes due to Vietnam's tropical climate and some hot rare ones even split open. Those are things I think are important to any fig community is sharing knowledge. In Vietnam we have a couple of different climates depending if Northern or Southern area. So something that may do well for Vietnam doesn't mean the entire Vietnam, just certain parts.
The opposite to Tung, is getting cuttings from China or Thailand, they even ship rooted plants to Vietnam. As soon as they arrive bareroot, they are potted and sold locally.The middle person retailing the figs uses the photos that were given to them to use to advertise. It even shows the signatures or watermarks of the Thai farms. At this massive scale errors can happen. The retailer has no idea about the variety they are selling except the name and photo that was given. Its all about the profit. They compete each other to get newer hotter variety and sell at the highest price possible. Most of the Vietnames Fig Facebook Groups, are run by the sellers themselves, except for Sung Viet Nam. The only purpose is to control the market and sell to end buyers usually newbies. Anyone like Tung or me, would end up kicked out of the group for voicing anything they wasn't to their best interest. While there are more than twenty Vietnamese Fig Facebook groups. I find myself in only two of them. Where I feel the admins are decent. #1 warning the group is created for the only benefit of the admin seller is a group with mainly post from the admins selling figs. There isn't discussions by other members.
Update: the admin of Sung Viet Nam has posted regarding this articles to their members, I think that is good tht they are aware of the issue and hopefully they can make a policy of requesting their members to use their own photo. And one of the accused seller Hoàng Anh Tài said " it is an internet photo, no signature or anything, so in my opinion there is nothing wrong." This person wasn't too happy their screenshot of CBLC was used by the admins to bring up the issue. I went back only to find many more photos this seller is using that doesn;t belong to them. They fail to acknowldge any wrong doing.
As figbid doesnt allow sellers to use other sellers photos to advertise.To have a ripe fig on an advertising meaning that photos belongs to you, it implies the fruit is confirmed and true to the variety. The buyer is buying the fig becuase they trust the photos of the ripe figs you used in the advertising. You are selling what you are advertising. If you have not personally ripen the fruit you have not confirmed it you wouldn't have a photo to show. For example, if a seller says this photo belong to Harvey Figaholics I got cuttings from him but I have not confirm the fruit but here what it looks from his records. It's doesn't sell as much as lets just use his photos without his signature. Many of us have bought cuttings from Harvey Figaholics, Bass Treeofjoy, Tinkerbug figs, Bill at Offthebeatenpath, Brian Melton Profigs, Eric. If you ask them can I use your photos to sell my cuttings or plants? I did buy cuttings from you. I'm sure they would say, "I recommend you fruiting it to confirm it then you would have your own photos." Its nice way of saying no. Buying cuttings from trustworthy sellers doesn't make it ok for you to barrow photos without asking them. Barrowing means, the person whom you barrowing the photo is fully aware you are using their photos for your own interest. You don't pay them any royalty fees when you make money. There are thousands of royalty photos like shutterstock.com you can pay to use fig photos for many uses including print. It also prevents you from being sure for copyright images.
They say photo is worth a thousand words well, a ripe fig decribes it all. Some fig sellers uses other photos when they haven't fruited their own. And, when they have photos of their own, end up writing signatures and watermarks to prevent others from using their photos, hypocrite. There is no excuse. When the unconfirmed fruit is incorrect, you have many upset buyers. Using photos that belong to you is in your best interest. Bottom line, there is really no need to use other sellers photo's. Buyers can easily google the name of the fig to reasearch more.
So, what is your opinion?
4/7/2022 After Vietnam fig group posted I noticed a change within this group most have not used photos from their own trees. Except for another person who probably hasn't read the groups pin post regarding using others photos for their own benefit.