Friday, September 19, 2008

Part III; Art Thieves Exposed!

Finally, we come to the last installment on copyright violators; the naming names part.

My encounters with art thieves have been varied.

The first happened a few years after I designed a logo for my husband's business. Amazingly, an unrelated business just down the road adopted the graphic portion of the logo and used it in promotional materials and a magazine ad for their business. The business and the magazine got a Cease and Desist letter from our attorney. No more ads appeared.

One of my images appeared on charms being sold on ebay. I submitted a Vero form.

A visitor at a horse expo told me that she had found another artist down in Ohio who had copied one of my images. Unfortunately she couldn't remember the artist's name.

A needlepoint dealer had taken one of my images (and one from an artist friend of mine) and turned it into a needlepoint pattern and was selling it. We notified her web host and then her. She removed it and promised to destroy the pattern. Amazingly, on her needlepoint blog, she makes a big deal out of not taking images without permission, so it's obvious that she knew better but didn't think she'd be caught.

Just last month, we found a website that was offering clip art horse images that included one of my images and another artist's. Before I could notify him, he removed my image and a few others. Obviously HE knew which images he didn't have the rights to.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled onto this artist's website who had copied one of my drawings. Notice that he even admits to having copied drawings from websites! As a musician, he should know better.

And, finally, there have been several encounters with kids. In the two cases below, they were exposed by others who recognized my artwork or recognized that the child had not done all that artwork herself. I figure that this negative exposure on the internet is a lesson learned that these kids won't forget. And, hopefully, it will wise up other kids to not do the same. Take a look;

Lauren Shelley Dreamer

Lauren Shelley Little Inspector

Youtube video Dreamer

You may wonder how we artists ever find our own work that's been stolen, given the vastness of the internet. Well, for one thing, the equine art community watches out for each other. Most of us are familiar with each other's work and notify each other if we find an image somewhere that we don't think it should be. We also have a formal online group that acts as a watchdog for equine artists and photographers, The Equine Arts Protection League. Many thieves have been exposed through member efforts, especially on ebay. I've also found several just by checking my stats and looking at the search results. The image search results are really helpful in turning up copies of my artwork, such as the pencilweb one above.

So far as I know, the Chinese haven't yet deemed any of my artwork attractive enough to copy. I don't know whether to be insulted by that or grateful. Grateful is probably the best choice for now.


Judy Wood said...

Excellent series of articles. Not sure how I missed the first two, but I'm up to date now. Well done and good information for all to be aware of.

Karen Thumm said...

Thanks, Judy. My intent was to inform the public about what a problem copyright infringements are for us artists and what they are.

I don't know how many non artists read my blog, but it gets picked up by Google and will be "out there" in cyber space for years.