Jul 19, 2009

Re: Copycats - I Want Your Help

(Excuse the drama. If this is your first time visiting me, I am currently experiencing some very unusual drama at the moment. This is usually a happy positive place to visit. If you want to skip the drama and see some of my work, just scroll down the page a bit.)

I still have not heard from my copycat. I am assuming she is away from her computer. She has not uploaded any new work to her blog or flickr. So, I'm still waiting but I do have a plan and am feeling pretty good that this will get resolved.

Word travels fast and now I am hearing from people I've never met and some that I know well that have unfortunately had or are having the same experience. So, let's do something. Let's do something positive. Let's stand up and "say NO!" to art piracy! Let's educate the ones that may not have enough sense to know and some that do know, stealing from your colleagues is not acceptable in OUR artist community. I have a loose idea for a group project. But having never done a group project, I'm not sure how to do it exactly. Here are my initial ideas . . .

  • I would like to collect artwork with this theme (which we can define more clearly) from all of you and anyone else you know and send it all in to Somerset. I will write an article to accompany it, but I'd love to be able to send your artwork in with it.
  • Should we make it simpler and just do a swap and flickr inundation? I'd like to reach out to other networks like Creative Souls, etc. too though.
  • Should we start a flickr group that can be added to regularly? Or just a temporary one?
  • Should we just have a blog recognition day and all post about it on the same day with art?
I need your input on this. Are you even interested? Do you know someone that might be? What approach do you like best?

Here's more of why this is an extremely important issue . . .
It is a complex situation with a lot of ramifications. Many of you that have offered your support know the person that took my art. That's upsetting isn't it? That's why I have to believe this is just a case of ignorance, not knowing any better. Knowing that you may know this person, are you looking around wondering who it could be? Are you wondering if your work has been used also? Would you want to be involved in a group or trade with this person? Some of you may be as I write this. I can only imagine how embarrassed she would be if you knew who it was, how it ruins her integrity and causes problems with friendships and her welcome-ness to be a part of groups and swaps. (unless she comes clean of course).

Here's another important reason we have to stop piracy . . .
Luckily, the pieces of my art that were taken were pieces I combined from books I bought from Dover, hand colored and/or drew. (you'll understand the "luckily" part in a sec) But, I keep thinking . . . I use pieces so often from somebody like lisasalteredart.etsy.com - what if she had taken a dress I altered from her? Then she would be stealing from Lisa's Altered Art and me. I want Lisa's Altered Art to be around awhile so I can still get images from her. If people rip her off even through my artwork, it affects her business too. Maybe Lisa won't sell any more images and we've all lost a great affordable place to purchase images to use in our art.

For those of you going through what I am, here's a link for a cease and desist document you can send to your "pirates" and copycats . . . http://www.free-legal-document.com/copyright-cease-and-desist.html I AM NOT A LAWYER NOR WISH TO PORTRAY THAT I HAVE GREAT KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO DO THIS, but the link is a good example of what such a letter might look like. Also, consider notifying flickr, blogspot, wordpress, etsy, etc. of anyone that has stolen your work. All of them have a way for you to do this. I know for a fact, they will require the person to remove the work in question or shut them down and ban them from their site.


June said...

Hi Marsha, I have never had my work stolen but i am with you on this and think its time to protect our work and each others. If you decide to set up a group please let me know and i will join
thanks again my friend
Hugs June xxx

Marit said...

I've only just begon making art journals but I am part of a big Scrapbookers community... and ofcourse there's the same concerns. I will post a link on SIStv about this, and for a group or Swap or whatever... if "scrapbookers" can join, I'm in!!!

Marit said...

I just put a call up on the Scrapcommunity site "SIStv",with a link to this blog, 'cause protest agains copycats (which is way different as what we call "scraplifting"!!!) is important to scrapbookers too!
My call up is here:


So Marsha, you might get some comments from "strangers"

WildGoose said...

Hi Tumblefish/Marsha...I"m-a- one who just stumbled onto your site by viewing someone else's challenge entry for something and her sidebar heading for your site GRABBED MY ATTENTION.. Have read your posts backwards to the original discovery entry...I"m glad you chose to reflect on what happened, and heartily APPLAUD the fact that you've come up with AN ACTION PLAN!!!Stick to your guns...it has nothing to do with vindictiveness or over-reacting...it is SIMPLY DEFENDING YOUR RIGHTS, and by extension, rights of others...
Nothing wrong with being vigilant...

Am fairly new to showing the world-via Internet- my Artwork, and am just myself finding out about all the Ins & Outs of copyright and Fair use...Don't know where my own future is headed at this point, but the possibility of selling online might one day come into to being; so I want to THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your postings on FAIR USE and the COPYRIGHT LETTER...have downloaded both to print out..
I"M not sure how much as a "newbie" I can help out; but I"ll certainly be here on the sidelines, ready...will certainly be following how you resolve this...interesting that the other artist has not contacted you back as yet; as you've certainly given opportunity...
I am sorry this happened, but as you indicate, it can be a "wake-up" call for others...I WISH YOU LUCK!

You did ask for input, so, looking out for a possible future I"ve got one I"m doing in the next few days myself...will be putting up a NEW LINK beneath my BLOG PHILOSOPHY sidebar, which already includes some others to Either Harriete's or anothers post on FAIR USE PRACTICES...already have one linking to CREATIVE COMMONS LISCENCING
Just wanted you to know your personal-but also universal-story is INSPIRING ACTION!!
Thank-you, again!

*jean* said...

good morning marsha - i use copyscape on my blog page and i just checked my blog URL and there was a button with advice on what to do if someone steals your blog content....a list of steps and it looks like you're headed in the right direction....

if you notify the engine where her blog is located, they will remove her from the blog host and search engine...that would be a really scary bummer, in my opinion....

have you considered watermarking your photos with you name and the copyright symbol? this should take away all doubt that you hold the copyright to the images you put together from the ones that you credit...

i'm not a lawyer but i'm married to one and he doesn't do copyright law but this is what he thinks we should all do...watermark our images (which I never remember to do)

Joy said...

Marsha, whatever you decide to do creatively to draw attention to the issue, I would be more than happy to be a part of if you'd like.

Terri Kahrs said...

Marsha, I love the idea of a group project, and I think Somerset's Melange would be the perfect forum. Additionally, a "blog" day is an awesome idea. Frankly, I think education is the key element, so anything we can do to get the word out is awesome.

I applaud your patience at giving the copycat the benefit of the doubt and your levelheadedness. I AM in a few groups with "CC", and I feel as though we've all been violated (to a lesser extent).

Thank you, too, for posting the letter. We need to protect ourselves and each other. Hugs, Terri xoxo

NancyB said...

Hang in there girl! Looks like you have a good plan to support this issue! I am 100% with you on this and any help you need I am here! If you do design a group I will definately join! xoxo

Zinnia said...

I love your idea Marsha. I also think you could design a special banner/button that we could all circulate that states the cause for "No Art Pirating". We have so many beautiful awards and special message buttons that we use in our blogs and such, that the banner could be a sort of award for being "true".

The button/banner could link to a statement page that says why you can't and shouldn't pirate other artists work.

Look, we all know that artists are inspired by other artists, or that ideas tend towards "trend" but outright copying and pirating hurts people.

I think awareness to this fact is a positive thing. oxoxoxox

Debra Mc said...

Hi Marsha.
You've already gotten many great comments and ideas, so I will assume the infringer is reading and will address her.

Fellow artist,
You already know you've done something wrong. Though I don't know your identity, many people do. You need to do the right thing and apologize to Marsha. You also need to apologize to everyone possible who has viewed, admired, and maybe even purchased the art containing Marsha's work. You need to remove those pieces from Flickr or get Marsha's approval to relist both of you as co-artists.
Perhaps you didn't realize you were stealing. You still need to come clean. While it will be humbling and embarrassing, it is the right thing to do. People are very forgiving.
Please do this today so all involved can get back to their art. While you're at it, a big thank you (and maybe a RAK) to Marsha is also in order for creating the art you liked enough to include in your pieces.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Thanks Debra but I don't think the copycat will see your letter. I've never known her to visit my blog. In fact, having never heard from her anywhere, I would have thought she didn't even know who I was. I have left her numerous comments and compliments on her work over the last several months but she has never commented mine. If it weren't for this incidence, I would not have guessed she knew of me at all.

You have made me think of something else though. I know people just wanna have fun, make their work, and move on. I do too. That's why I'm thinking let's make some art about it to make it at least a bit more entertaining to deal with and start educating people about the issue. I am working on a simple piece right now.

Thanks Deb - love your comment! Thanks everybody - I am neurotically checking every few minutes for new comments to see what you all think! hee hee!

sherry lee said...

This is really appalling ... you are the third person that I've read about this happening to in the last week. That's only 3 of you but I guarantee there are many, many more.

I used to take the high road when I'd hear of things like this and say well maybe the person didn't know any better...but come on...theft is theft no matter what way you try and dress it up.

This is an important issue...imitation is not flattery and direct copying is theft. I'm glad you are trying to do something positive about this.

Shelly said...

HI! Whatever project you're starting, Miss Marsha, you know I'm IN! :)

Flippinpest said...

What a terrible thing to happen to you Marsha. I hope that everything is resolved quickly for you.

Thank you for always being supportive of me and especially of my new website.