I'd seen other people mention the phenomenon, but it wasn't until the last few months that I noticed it in my own site stats: people on other sites hotlinking my photos then, oddly enough, claiming that they were their own.
(Hotlinking, for the non-geeks in the audience, is the practise of putting an image on a web page that refers to the copy on my server, so I have to serve it up for them. The other option is for the offender to copy the photo and put it on their own server, which I must assume happens often enough, but it doesn't show up in my web stats, so whatever.)
This confuses me because a) it's patently obvious to anybody that those images don't belong to those people because I don't serve images to other sites, so they get a broken image on their page, b) my life is far too lame to be imitated.
I mean, seriously. Monday through Friday I am in school all day and into the night. Saturday and Sunday I race home and basically spend the entire weekend working on the house. My pictures are really not that interesting, except for the occasional weekend trip to the beach. But those are not the photos people link to. I could totally get it if people were all over my starfish photos or some of the plant stuff or even the cuter piccies of the dogs. But what gets linked to are photos of: some dirty dishes after a dinner party, Noel's car stuffed with insulation, and Rosie with peanut butter on her nose (inexplicably popular in Belgium).
I could understand people pilfering the better pictures (maybe they do it by copying and I never know), and I know at least one person has been caught passing one of my drawings off as his because his teacher e-mailed me about it (to verify that my drawing was mine, actually; fortunately I was able to send him a photo of myself holding the original drawing). I understand why people cheat. Every one of these people must be living a life more interesting -- or at least interesting to 15-year-olds -- than I do. So why are they pretending my stuff is theirs?
I really do not understand people.