I am the person Robert referred to in that post. I had started to hear several people discussing these letters including 2 of my clients, and it seemed strange so I contacted Vincent trying to see what kind of guy this was. Needless to say the emails I got from him were what made me SUSPICIOUS and the more I looked into it the more I realized something wasn't right. And it uncovered what I realized, was a genius opportunity to make money.
I have loaded the email messages between Vincent and myself so you can review here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/82766750
Note in this chain, that he mentions several times that they have attempted to remove things, and that he was making changes to his own site to make it more safe. Nothing has changed since all this which was 8 months ago. All the same sites are up and he has not changed his website.
Note he also admits giving his image and still providing images to a site that he knows distributes his images as wallpaper images.
Note he mentions how much his stuff costs and that if my clients have rentals in Kailua that they can afford to PAY UP.
Note when I asked why they weren't going after the sites distributing both he and his lawyer told me there were too many and they were trying but not succeeding because they are all out of country. A simple search revealed that is not true. Here are the main Sites I found distributing the image and some in the US and have clear policies and guidelines. I spoke to 2 of these websites who told me that they will remove any image that someone sends over a copyright complaint on. They were also the ones who told me that many of the images they receive come from the photographers.http://wallpaperslot.com/wallpaper15432.search.php
(contains very large file sizes)http://wallpapersweb.com/terms.php
(this is one that claims its getting it from public use)
This one claims it gets it from the owner and strictly adheres to DMCA: http://www.scenicreflections.com/index.php?view=DMCA_Notice
This one interestingly enough claims they hold the copyright for all content on the site and will give permission for commerical use: http://www.desktopnexus.com/tos
Lets say they didn't intentionally distribute. Any reasonable person who realizes that they lost control of their images because of their own actions, would feel bad going after the people who used them off of Royalty FREE sites. Especially in this town. I am a webdeveloper and a photographer here. Its a small town, this is a local photographer and these are local people. You just don't do this kind of thing here. In Hawaii, people are very respectful to eachother and we work things out with our neighbors. Its called the Aloha spirit. BUT from what he said, and seeing that they do not appear to be taking any action on these US sites, it does not look like they are at all interested in stopping the infringing. Why would he?
Me and many of the businesses have boycotted using stock imagery of people we suspect are doing this. There is another one here that we suspect, and as soon as I have more facts, I will post it.