As artists we inherently see this sort of thing as despicable and I agree we should absolutely crucify Hera for this to deter others from ever doing it.
However, if Hera was an artist she would never do this sort of thing to begin with. What Hera is, is a business women and she saw a way to sell photography without having to incur the huge expense of time and gear that is involved in actually taking photos. Instead she could spend a little time finding images to steal and the rest of her time marketing and selling photos that have virtually no production cost to create.
In a capitalist society a certain percent of people doing this sort of thing is inevitable because in the nature of business ethics which say that not only is Hera doing something that is completely ok but also something ethical. At it's core business ethics states that your number 1 ethical priority is to your investors. (Which in this case is solely Hera, herself). Simply put you are to make decisions based on how they impact your profitability and choose that which has the most profitable trajectory. This same logic is why cigarette companies are perfectly ok with their product killing people or oil companies are happy to destroy the environment.
A business major friend of mine once told me about a fictional circumstance that they were presented in class and asked how they should react: "You are the head of a successful business and discover a way of funnelling your earnings that makes it completely invisible to the IRS, thus you can declare 0 profit and have to pay no taxes. This is completely illegal and if caught your company could be dissolved and you could go to jail. However, due to the nature of this method it is virtually impossible for the IRS to actually catch you. Do you do it?"
The correct answer according to the business class was that you are morally obligated to do it. Those who said they would refuse to do it were told that they should choose a different major and that business is not for them. They of course were also docked marks in the class. The school's logic was your responsibility to your share holders is more important than your responsibility to your country's laws.
To bring this back full circle to Hera, she clearly made a risk/rewards evaluation and came to the conclusion that the risk of getting caught still made her more profitable than if she were to actually take the photos herself.
Thus, what we have to do as the art community is to make art theft EXTREMELY expensive. We can yell at her and condemn her all we want but she likely will just go open a new business under a new pseudonym, she doesn't care about public outcry unless that outcry impacts her bottom line.
Each and every photographer that Hera defrauded needs to financially attack her through the courts and ensure that her business model is actually not profitable which means in the world of business ethics that it is actually morally wrong to engage in. Furthermore this has to be very public as to deter further business people like Hera from doing the same.
georgewjohnsonFeatured By OwnerDec 7, 2012Hobbyist Photographer
What a complete scumbag. What I did find amusing was that despite the overwhelming evidence that these images were so clearly other peoples, she still claimed she has the original negatives! Once in a while we all get stuck for ideas so we might think, well I could just borrow the idea and see how I can shoot that but to blatantly nick someone's actual images?
I can't work it out, she's either very stupid or very, very stupid!