MICHELE NORRIS, host:
In the realm of strange emails, this one was pretty weird. Danielle Smith of suburban St. Louis got a message from one of her college friends who was living in Prague. He said he'd just spotted a huge version of a snapshot Danielle Smith used on her Christmas card displayed in the window of a grocery store. Smith couldn't believe it, so her friend snapped a picture of the grocery store display and emailed it as proof.
Now, if I were Nancy Drew, we'd call this the mystery of the Christmas card photo. Since this is NPR, we've called Danielle Smith to find out if she's found out how this happened. Danielle, welcome to the program.
Ms. DANIELLE SMITH: Thank you for having me, Michele.
NORRIS: Now, we should begin by saying that if you actually want to see this mystery photo, it's at our Web site, NPR.org. I guess it's also on your blog, as well, if people want to look there. But why don't you begin by describing what this picture looks like?
Ms. SMITH: It is a picture of my entire family: my husband and myself and both of my children. Delaney is just about five and Cooper is three. And it is a picture we used for our Christmas card this past December. I put the picture on extraordinarymommy.com, which is my site, and on a few social networks that I work with. And then, of course, I got the message from Justin. And then he sends the picture and you say not only is that my family, that is my family life-size.
NORRIS: How did this happen?
Ms. SMITH: You know, as best I can determine at this point - I mean you mentioned Nancy Drew, and when I put this story up on my blog, there were 1,001 immature sleuths that took to getting online. So it appears that I posted a picture in too high of a resolution on a social network and someone was able to grab it.
NORRIS: Now, I'm going to get to the grocery store, it's called Grazie, in just a minute. But first, you mentioned something about the picture being in too high a resolution. Why did that leave you vulnerable to this?
Ms. SMITH: Because I published it in too high of a resolution, whoever it was that took it, they right-clicked, they saved it, and it was a huge picture, which allowed them to blow it up to larger than life.
NORRIS: This picture, now the actual picture, it looks like you're standing -are you in your yard? There's a tree behind you, there's some greenery. In the picture in the grocery store, this grocery store called Grazie, your photos are on top of, I guess, a yellow background and...
Ms. SMITH: Right.
NORRIS: ...there's some number: 800-800-188, and there are some text there. Do you know what that says?
Ms. SMITH: From what I understand, the loose translation is, when you place an order with us, we will get your products to you within two business days. So we could see that it's what appears to be a high-end grocery store. You order, they deliver.
NORRIS: And I guess when the food comes you will be as happy as you and your husband and your two children appear to be...
Ms. SMITH: Evidently.
NORRIS: ...in that photo.
Ms. SMITH: Evidently, as compared to us actually showing up with the groceries.
NORRIS: Did you get an apology of any kind from the owners of this grocery store?
Ms. SMITH: I haven't personally heard anything. I think at this point, our apology is that they're willing to take the photo down.
NORRIS: Now, I know that you're uncomfortable about the use of this picture in this grocery store display half a world away. But did you invite this kind of thing since you did put it out there in the public's sphere?
Ms. SMITH: I suppose that if I am willing to put myself online, I have to recognize the possibility that something like this could happen. But I also know that I'll be making a few adjustments. And that will be lowering the resolution and it will be probably watermarking. So I think that I should have a reasonable expectation of being able to create a Web site that someone doesn't jump on and take a portion of.
I mean, if you can imagine, Pepsi has a Web site, you know, Hertz cars has a Web site, and they have an expectation that someone doesn't right-click on one of their pictures and take it and use it somewhere else. So I would imagine that as a business owner, as a mom, as an individual, I should expect that same right.
NORRIS: Danielle Smith lives in suburban St. Louis. Danielle, thank you very much for speaking with us.
Ms. SMITH: Michele, thank you for having me.
NORRIS: And a reminder that you can see Danielle Smith's family Christmas photo and the version that ended up as a display in a Czech grocery store at NPR.org.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.