Jul 18, 2009

I can't help it, I'm sad

I've hit a bump, a road block, a narrow uphill part of the journey here. I have had a bad experience today with someone pirating parts of two of my works. It is a well known collage artist, a contact many of us share, and the pieces remain on her flickr and she is getting comments on them from people that have no idea that I made the parts she used. They are distinctly mine - all 3 parrts had many unique qualities in their creation. I am hoping against hope it is simply a matter of copyright ignorance. I have notified her and am waiting to hear back though it has been several hours. In the mean time, I have hidden the original post about this - needed to make it clearer for myself for some reason. I am reacting in a lot of different ways but with a very big sour taste in my mouth. I don't know what I think yet about this or how I will feel tomorrow. I want to be the bigger person and move on and have things in perspective, but this was a deep wound for me. It has rained a bit on the art making parade, so to speak, and I am going to take some time away to ponder it all. This incidence has brought a lot of self doubt on whether this is all worth it or not and I need to think about my intentions more deeply. I'm sorry to be a party poop. I do try to be positive in my view of the world and people. I had such a wonderful time visiting you all today and had so much inspiration tucked away. Now I just want to stick my tongue out and make that raspberry spitty sound. (not to you but to someone in particular)

32 comments:

Sabii Wabii said...

Well I understand your concerns, but you must know your art stands alone! It is quite clear you have a wonderful distinctive style all your own. Don't be down until you hear the response. It may just be ignorance. You are ALWAYS so good about listing your image contacts. That in itself is teaching others what to do. Stay up and keep creating ans sharing. Your style is your own!

Tace said...

I'll bet you'll just run the whole range emotions, it's natural. I'll sit on top of a pile of righteous indignation with you and scowl at the offending person if you want. It super sucks that you're having to go through this.
Don't let it stop you making things, don't feel discouraged. Ultimately what this person has done is on them, don't let their negativity (even if it's through non-action and non-communication) stop your art! Heck maybe you can funnel some of those negative feelings into some new pieces, let the ugly feelings out.
In my own opinion it'll always be worth making things, that feeling you get....That wonderful, awesome on top of the world because you just created something that didn't even exist the day before, feeling is worth it. YOU created it, no one can really take that away. acck, words, words, words, I hope you feel better.

Zinnia said...

You must give yourself some time to think about this, and I know you will go through several phases before you reach your final conclusion. I've seen this happen to the most talented of artists, like yourself, and they always, always, always feel just terrible about it, as if a part of their soul has been taken. But, there is a BIG but in this...you will get over this terrible feeling. And, the person in question should know how you feel as well as all your friends, and followers. We have to support one another! This is our community, and we can strong together. We LOVE your work, and your talents are UNIQUE and an important part of the art world. While one person copies, another person creates. You will outlast the copiers. I promise.
Don't let anybody take you from what you love! oxoxoxoxox

Cathy said...

your art is so your art. i always recognize it. you were wise to try to contact the person, but don't ever let another person hinder the goodness/good art in you. keep on, gerlfren!

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I hope you all come back and read this. I have tears running down my cheeks. You have no idea how much your words have meant to me tonight. I was feeling very down for the last few hours. It may all be the sum of a lot of long anxious months that burst the seal and things bubbled over today. Hubby and my mom-in-law are both out of town so I'm on my own, except for you good ladies. What gratitude I have for you.

Audrey said...

I feel so sorry for you and I can't help you but your art is so YOU! so please get going, keep your head up and think she is no wiser at all!( sorry if my english is bad!). Hugsx Audrey

Tace said...

Sometimes a good seal bursting is just what the body needs! Relieves the pressure, and my Mom always said that the more you cry the less you'll pee. I never did see how that would help any situations that made me feel like crying but that's what she said. :D

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Oh Tace, you get the award for making me giggle through tears! Though I should inform you - someone, a very good friend, gave me a tshirt that says "I pee when I laugh" which was perfectly appropriate given the number of times that actually happened at parties we hosted together.

Chrisy said...

...takin off my oxygen mask here to say a few words!...darling your art is so recognisable...there's nothing like it...yes she can take little bits but it doesn't compare with your work...your vibrancy...your uniqueness...I do think you're justified in being sad...and very angry...I'm sorry but this plagarism hasn't been done by a naive artist just starting out but by somebody who does know better....
Sadly it's you that's hurting and I don't think there's a magic wand to take that pain away...just know that you are loved...your work is unique...and will endure through all of this....

Outstanding Stranger said...

Well I can't wait to find out who the stinker is....I will run right over there and thump her lil sista. Just remember NO ONe can copy your STYLE it is yours alone. I know you are sad/mad about it but the flood is more than likely from all the emotions you have been sharing with you friend. Just remember you are published.... I have another art friend who's work was imitated but never duplcated. And it really made the copycat look bad. Big Hugs, Diane

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I am overwhelmed by you all. I should not be surprised but I am overwhelmed. You may very well have saved me as an artist tonight. I thank you for your support, I thank God for it and my lucky stars too. I am so touched.

Chrisy - I recommented on your blog. Get better. Oh, you are something to comment in the midst of pneumonia! Diane - you're hired! You sweet, sweet ladies.

thekathrynwheel said...

Just doing my early morning round of blog hopping while my kids are being quiet for once, and I came across this. Ah Marsha, how sad. Funnily enough I have read about this on 3 different blogs this weekend alone - seems like it's happening a lot. The internet is a wonderful thing in that it has opened up a whole world for artists to share and admire each others work. Unfortunately it also makes it very easy for people to basically steal what is not theirs. You of course have the satisfaction from your art knowing that you alone made it (and that's why we make art isn't it?) Anyone who copies and steals won't have the satisfaction. As Kelly Rae says, coyping is bad for your heart.
If I come across said person's work on the internet I'll let my feelings be known. In the meantime keep doing what you do and let us all verbally thump the person for you ha ha! Kate :-)

June said...

Ohhh I didnt know you were going through all of this my friend. I am so sorry that happened to you. I think it is likely that it happens to artists and writers everywhere occasionally but it certainly is a blow and not very nice and i can imagine how much it hurts. In a twisted way its a compliment because nobody would steal anything that isnt valuable and your art IS VALUABLE. I hope you soon bounce back my friend and that you do so stronger. I will say one thing and this is very sincere ... If the art world loses you, it would be a huge blow too. Please take care and know that you have friends to help you get through this
Love you xxxxxxx

Marit said...

I came to thanks you for your sweet comment on my blog - and read what happened after you went bloghopping... that's so sad! My English isn't good enough to tell what I feel about this, but put together all the former posts and that's about it! I hope you feel better today, and if you want me to punch a certain someone, I WILL!!! When it comes to art, it's "hands off of mine"!!! This is mean and low... shall we form a gang together and go fight??? Oh, and by the way, you're in my links too!

(ps - I want that t-shirt!)

Lumilyon said...

Being ripped off is avery painful experience Marsha. Here's a suggestion: post the links to the items at Flickr and we will post comments on those pieces saying that we recognise the elements as yours. We can even leave comments in that person's coment's page. I'm not talking attacks here, just polite messages along the lines of "I see you have used elements from Tumblefish Studio's (insert image name here), do you have her permission? It's possible for us all to support you in this in a very non-nasty way. Hope this helps x

WingingIt said...

be kind
be honest
be true
that is all i have to say my darling artist.....if you pray...do it now...for clarity..
with love
lorri-marie

barefootchef said...

Marsha, your art is your own. It is unique, just as you are. Your art is eye candy and I always love to see it to have something to enjoy and make me smile and ponder how the heck you do such amazing work(s)! Hang in there, and if you need me to send my big bad roo to jump on her, just let me know. Ozzie can be big and bad if he needs to. Just refer back to him going after himself in the trash can!
Hugs to you,
--Cathy

barefootchef said...

Oh, and maybe I can send a swarm her way...

*jean* said...

well, i totally agree with sabii, i guess if you are on the internet, there is always that risk....

perhaps a new raspberry queen will come out of this :o)

it seems that basic common sense should have prevailed and she should have asked....

BTW i bought the new issue of somerset yesterday, your page was fantastic...congratulations!!

yoborobo said...

Marsha - a ka-billion artists could try and rip you off, and that's all they could ever do. Try. NO ONE can capture light and fairy luminescence the way you do. We adoring followers (see the prior 3 million posts) can spot your work in a heartbeat.

Please keep making your art for us. PA-LEEEEEEZ. Don't make me get in a plane and come to your house and beg you in person. Although it would be nice to see you! LOL! xoxoxox Pam

indybev said...

There's little left to say that hasn't been said, Marsha. Your talent and your generosity have been so inspiring to me. Please don't let some would-be artist take it away from you. Your work is distinctive, and you are scrupulous about listing credits. I am so indignant for you, that someone would dare pilfer your talent. Chin up! (For someone with little to say, I said a lot, but just...well....harrumph!)

Susan Sager Brown said...

When I first read your post this morning My First Feeling was like I got kicked in the gut. My First Thought was, this is like when I was 22 and realized my Dad was NOT the smartest man in the world. Disbelief and a loss of innocence. I felt like I had lost my footing. What else was I wrong about, etc. While my experience was one of the necessary losses of growing up, your's is far more painful because it defies the natural order of things. Artists are supposed to respect other artists work. People are supposed to be trustworthy, especially when it comes to our creative offerings from our very inner being, our hearts, our souls.
That kind of betrayal can make you lose your footing, don't let it.I will repeat what every other poster has said. Your Art is Easily Recognized. Uniquelly Your Own. F'ing Awesome. Oh, did I type that out loud? teehee Hopefully all will be explained to your satisfaction. If not, my Dad may not be the smartest man in the world anymore, teehee, but he can still Kick Ass. I'll send him over...Love youxoSusan

Joy said...

Hopefully this person has just been away from her computer and will get back posthaste. I sure hope so.

Ozstuff said...

The Australian in me wants to say that "pirates" deserve a size 12 boot to the backside but I am too refined for that! All I can think is "what cheek, what gall, what effrontery". Your work is so recognisable. In the immortal words of Dr Phil "What was she thinking?". What possible satisfaction can a person get from using someone else's work? Yes, you should be upset and betrayed but don't let this thing drag you down. You are on the high ground here. In this day and age, I don't believe anyone can claim ignorance, especially a person who obviously knows the ropes. It is such a barefaced thing to do. Anyway, you have an army of fans. Your work is your own and it is fantastic. I guess the thing that hurts most is that you would never dream of doing such a thing and it must be difficult to understand the intentions of someone who does. It won't make you feel any better but just recently a very talented Russian digital designer, Irene Alexeeva, discovered that her entire library of designs had been stolen and were being sold on a pirate website, lock, stock and barrel. It is almost as if it is open season on artists and designers.
I hope the person concerned reads the comments on your blog. She will know that you are not alone.
Chin up!!

Shelly said...

Oh wow, Marsha. I'm just catching up with your story as it unfolds. I hate that you're going through this. On the flip side of things, there are a whole lot of us out here who love you and want to come to your defense. I really hope you feel better! Hugs, Shelly

Terri Kahrs said...

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Having read your post and all of these glorious, supportive comments, there's not much else to say that hasn't been written. Geeze, I go away for a relaxing mini-vacation, come to see "what's up", and find that the "World of Tumblefish", as we know and love it, is in a state of royal upheaval!!!!!

It's bad enough that your work was stolen (I'd like to think of this as a very bad and terribly ugly sort of compliment), but the upsetting issue here is that you're questioning whether or not to continue sharing your awesome work. THAT's the part that made ME almost cry!

To be deprived of your creative genius would be a sin. Your work may be imitated, but it could NEVER, EVER be totally duplicated! We, your loyal and devoted fans, totally recognize your unique and signature Tumblefishness and can recognize a counterfeit a mile away.

Please take heart and know that we're all standing with you on this issue and sending our love. Love & Hugs, Terri xoxo

Donna B. Miller said...

They've said it all, so I'll just send a few hugs and good thoughts your way. Keep your chin up.

Kim Mailhot said...

Why don't people just treat each other with respect ? Why do they think they can rip off someone and get away with it ? Why do they use stuff without just saying "Hey, Marsha, I love this piece. Do you think I could borrow some of it anduse it in my peice ?" or at the very least, list your name on their post, under their image, and goive you credit where credit is due.

Okay, did my rant...;) Sorry you are hurt my friend. I also know that you have such integrity in terms of how you use your own images and materials, that this will all be okay and your true fans will help you get through. You are a fantastic artist and I guess somewhere it is kind of a compliment that someone would want to steal what you created to make it their own. Dishonesty and weak, but kind of flattering none the same.
Such is life...glad you got the BIG BLog Love from all your real friends though ! Here's some more from me !!!!!!

Linda Crispell said...

Ick! This seems to be happening more and more. You have taken so many precautions with your blog and Etsy shop, it is just so terrible!

Shannon Sawyer said...

Marsha,

I just read all your past posts about this copyright issue and it has got my head spinning. You know since beginning in this whole mixed media field I have often wondered and asked about copyright laws and such. But to be honest it never seemed like anyone was too concerned about it anytime I asked. Before I had even read what was going on with you, I had a conversation with another
on-line friend yesterday about this very issue, and she told me that Nick Bantock who as you well know is a well known artist and who has been doing this for many, many years, he told her that if you use more than 10% of another's work in yours, then it's a copyright infringement. It's hard though because not all of us who do this are going to study copyright laws extensively. But on the other side of that coin, you need to be knowledgeable in the field if you are going to use certian images in your work. The same person I spoke with about her conversation with Nick Bantock, I was also talking to her about the collage sheets on Etsy and everywhere else. My question to her was, how is it that some of these artist's on Etsy are selling images that I know they didn't come up with and which are seen all over the place. There are many people selling collage sheets on Etsy that have images that I have seen on ten to twenty other sites not to mention in a ton of finished artwork and they sell these collage sheet images as if they are theirs personally. So I do not understand how they can put their copyright blurb on these images that we have all seen all over the place? How is it that they feel these images that have been around forever and that have definitely been in a lot of our mutual artworks is theirs? The whole copyright law thing seems to be very, very tricky. I was told agqin by that same person that you can ask ten different artist's what their interpertation of the copyright law is and you'll get ten different answers. Also, apparently anything published prior to 1921 is fair game because that was prior to the laws going into effect. But I tell ya, it brings up some really good points but they also scare me. For instance sometimes I will see an image in a magazine that I will cut out and incorporate that into my work. Am I breaking a law there? I mean you see so many people incorporating magazine images into their work, and then Somerset Studio publishes that stuff so they can't be too worried about it. I guess for me, it's a little confusing too. If I saw one of your pieces of work for sale on a collage sheet or something like that, couldn't I cut out parts of it and use that? I think all and all you've definitely stumbled upon an issue that we all should be more aware of and more conscience of. I hope it all works out for you and that this person who has done this to you at the very least contacts you to apologize for her error. Take care!! (Just remember too: copying someone is the biggest form of flattery there is. We all just love your work so much and want to do just as great as you have.)

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Shannon, I see your head spinning! Okay, first, you should never see one of my pieces on a collage sheet unless I am selling it. So if you do, let me know. What are my pieces you might ask? My finished creations. Maybe the best way to un-confuse you is this . . . Most of my pieces are made from images I either purchase from someone selling collage images or from the library of congress or from a flickr image sharing group. Now, each one of those places has images to use or purchase that they have acquired, hopefully legally. For example, I have nearly 100 vintage actual postcards and photographs that I have purchased - he actual old photograph or postcard, not someone's scans. All of my collection is pre-1920's so they are now considered to be in the public domain with no restrictions on their use. I can scan them and put them on collage sheets and sell them. If you buy my collage sheet, you are buying the right to use those images in your artwork but agree by purchasing them not to reproduce them or harvest them for the sake of your own collage sheets you wish to sell. Why do you see so many of the same pix on collage sheets? 2 reasons - one is that many postcards (especially the Edwardian ones that seem to be most around) were mass produced, so many copies may still exist of the same postcard. More than one person may own a copy of an originally run postcard from a production year or company, etc. Also, many images I see on collage sheets are available from the library of congress. I've told you before that you can check in an image's bibliography to see if it has any restrictions. Many images sellers, collectors, users harvest these, digitally alter them sometimes but not always, and include them in sharing groups or sell them on collage sheets. Which to my knowledge is legal to do. Back to my pieces. When I purchase or use an image (from library of congress or a sharing group) I choose to credit where I got those so that if someone wants to know, I have proof of where those images came from. I have scanned small pieces of magazine or catalog pictures but I make sure to meet the 5 guidelines suggested to make their use legal - the most important one being I don't take them from another artist to use in my artwork because I would be using it in the same context in a competing market violating at least 2 of the major guidelines. Beyond that, I almost always significantly alter the images I use. Not because I have to but because that's a part of my art. Would it be okay for someone to take a face from my work if I borrowed it from the Library of Congress. NO! I altered it and made it a piece of a larger work. You need to go get your own from the library of congress or the seller I bought from or the group I borrowed from.

I am not an expert on copyright, but after much reading I do not believe it is okay to use any portion, not even 10%, of any artwork that is currently copyrighted without the owner's expressed permission. The 10% myth has been around for a long time but if you google it, you will find many places and experts that explain why that is not legal. The Ask Harriet site I linked in my next post, should answer that question. I will email this to you in case you don't come back. Hope this helps.
marsha

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Oh, one more thing. It is not Somerset's job to make sure everything in someone's work is above board. They do ask for images to be credited however. The magazine pictures are tricky - I still recommend the 5 guidelines in Ask Harriet's site. If there's a little voice in you telling you not to use it, I wouldn't it. If you do use from magazines, alter them as much as possible so it is unlikely to be recognized or confused with it's original purpose, don't use the image in it's same context, don't use it in the same way.

And just because someone else acquired or used the same picture from library of congress or some etsy seller, does not mean they can cut it out and use it from any of my work. Does that make sense? I own my whole creation once it is glued down and certainly the second I upload it to my blog or flickr or anywhere else.