I’m Now (Not So) Famous In Israel – Yediot Sefarim In Israel Stealing My Facebook Picture

rafihecht-facebook-profile-picRecently, a friend of mine pointed out that an Israeli media company actually showed Chutzpah by using my Facebook profile picture without my explicit written permission or consent, creating a fake Facebook profile “Yeshayahu Liss (ישעיהו ליס),” living in Tel Aviv Israel, and going forward with it.

In the video ad for Yediot Sefarim, a girl is looking for a dating partner and sees this “Yeshayahu Liss” which has my picture. She asks her friend if she knows a “Yeshayahu” who looks great. The other girl says she knows him and describes all the qualities. לא דוס דוס אבל לא כופר (whatever that means in English not too frum and not too krum). Apparently this Yeshayahu appears at first superficial (Shitchi) but that he can get really deep, and is really ideological. She’s all like, “Wowww, ideological, I love!” How old is he? Relatively young. How does he look? “Okay, a little heavy but really all right.”  She asks her friend for a more updated picture and is told back “Forget the photo, come here.” Where? She’s given an address to her friend to meet their mutual friend “Yeshayahu.”

In the end, the address leads the girl to the book store Yediot Sefarim, where she sees her friend handing her a book on Yeshayu, but no guy. Rabbi Benny Lau, one of the co-authors of the book (the other was Rav Yoel Bin Nun) tells her how amazing (Meuleh) it is. Apparently, all qualities on “Yeshayahu” were used to refer to a book being sold. She then reads the book with great interest.

“Mamash Maksim” (Wow, he’s really charming)! I’m glad to hear that in Israel, with all guys coming out of the Army in tip top shape, I’m still a good looking guy *strutting my stuff*!

***UPDATE*** I was later on told the gist of the video commercial, which I didn’t get at first because I’m not a native Hebrew speaker. The team that made the video not only stole my picture, but also made me look like a single guy looking for a Shidduch. When my wife also found out about what this meant, she was also very annoyed. Come to think of it, the more I see it now the more I’m annoyed by it!

***UPDATE*** Now that the video has been rendered “private” (they didn’t take it down), this was what they re-posted instead:

Although the original was:

For the actual record (I have no problem with Mossad copying this down, they probably will anyway no matter what), I am 30 years old, B”H very happily married (sorry ladies), with two girls at home. I love reading Sifrei Kodesh on Shabbat (that they got right) and tend to think of Chiddushim “outside the box,” sometimes blogging about it on “My Western Wall,” my personal Jewish insights in a westernized world. I live in Toronto, Canada and do web programming and Search Marketing for an online marketing company. As for the Tel Aviv bit, the only connection there is my mother who was born there.

Unlike Yeshayahu, I’m no prophet, but I still foresee my earning a profit from my picture that was used without my permission!

Update: nothing came out of this due to the statute of limitations passing its limit and my inability to secure a competent lawyer to take on the case. I guess I’m not that famous after all.

I originally was offered a copy of the Yeshayahu book along with Yediot Sefarim’s latest collection in exchange for my silence. I rejected it. Being a Sifrei Kodesh collector, I would still like to see what the book is about (i.e. getting a free copy) and feel should get it due to the fact that, if nothing else, it annoyed my wife and other close family members. Come to think of it, I’m pretty annoyed as well that I’m in a video where two single girls are ogling my profile!

Legal Issues

A friend of mine suggested that they might be right because it was on Facebook’s TOS. I clarified the following:

  • “you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook”  means I grant Facebook to use this information, not anyone else.
  • “When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).” That means that they can use my picture as long as they associate it with me, which they didn’t.

Hey, royalties are royalties.