Has anyone ever stolen your artwork?
This past weekend I received a very nice email from someone wanting to use my artwork for their conference. It included the link to the artwork – Pink Birds on a Wire, one of my watercolor paintings. It was a nice letter detailing the upcoming conference, the intended use of the image and links to their organization. So far, I like organization and the initiative and will probably move forward with them.
But the really disturbing part was the link to the artwork they wanted to use… it wasn’t linking to MY website! It was linking my art that was on someone else’s website.
A website I never heard of, never approved of, nor received any credit attribution for. That’s stealing.
Don’t get me wrong, you gotta love when your artwork is shared on a blog with a credit (as long as they ask me first AND I like the context of how it will be used) because it’s good exposure. Even better when it’s a print magazine, then not only do you get credit, you get monetary compensation too! Creating takes time, it takes money, materials, and CREATIVITY to make art work! To some it may seem as though artists just play around, but I can assure you for all the artwork you do see, there are many, many more that you don’t see. What I’m trying to say, is that it takes a lot of energy, envisioning, time and money spent on canvas, archival papers, professional artist paints and mediums. So, please don’t steal my work, it’s illegal to do so and I will pursue it to the fullest extent of the law. All images are digitally embedded with my copyright information, contact. phone, etc. So they could have easily contacted me, just like the gentleman who sent the email did.
Anyway, after reading the email I was somewhat agitated, no, downright pissed! So I posted this incident on my ‘personal’ Facebook page and yes, others were as outraged as me! In fact, a friend took to twitter and tweeted a message at them about stealing artwork.
Thanks to my brilliant friend!
I had no idea she’d done that until Monday, when I received an email from goodlifefamilymag stating that they saw a twitter reference and removed the image and that it was an honest mistake. I try to think the best about people, so I thanked them for removing my artwork and left it at that. Shout out to my friend Della whose tweet saved me the ‘cease and desist’ headache! Thank you Della!
How do you protect your artwork?
So, my artist and photography friends, how do you protect your images from theft? Do you use Digimarc or a similar program that embeds code into your images so that you can track their usage online? Do you watermark? Do you embed copyright and contact? How has it worked for you? I’m leaning towards Digimarc or something similar, but am open to other options. Am holding off uploading any more work until I can get a handle on this.
I have always been reluctant to watermark my images with the copyright info because I feel it detracts from the art. Besides, if someone really wants it, they can take it easy enough. And even though it may not print well (low res images), they can still be used on internet blogs, desktop, etc.. But after this latest incidence, I may be tempted to watermark them, what do you think?
Oh, and I also use TinEye to track the use of my images on the internet. When I ran TinEye on ‘birds on a wire’ – it never came up there. Now I’m wondering if there are any others it is not finding???
Take time to hug someone and have a great day!