IT IS NOT OKAY TO COPY AND REUSE ANY PART OF ANYONE ELSE'S WORK WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION.
It didn't happen to me this time (as far as I know). Someone who I admire very much, happens to be in my blog links and is probably known by you, has just discovered someone has copied a piece she altered in minute detail and then claimed the work herself. Probably didn't think anyone would notice, but they did. And once again it seems the copycat work is in a swap with other people many of us know which makes it even more infuriating and bewildering. I know how very upsetting that is. It results in a big jumbled ball of emotions ranging from anger, astonishment, anger, hurt, shock, betrayal by a fellow "artist" and feeling violated. I don't know the details nor would I share them as that is not my place to do, but I do want to remind everyone that this is getting to be a big problem and it won't go away until we all speak up and make it clear.
Here's another reason to take this seriously . . . Because in this case and in my recent experience, an image was stolen from not just the artist but the original image seller. If we look the other way when people "borrow" from our work and the images we purchase from folks like Teesha Moore or Lisa's Altered Art or any other image seller, the image seller is losing their income too and may just quit selling images for any of us to use.
Here are things to help prevent theft of your work.
- I am adding watermarks to my Etsy listings.
- Change your flickr settings so that you disable the "all sizes" and so that only YOU can download your work, and link any images you post on your blog back to your blog.
- I also make my images not searchable outside of flickr - another setting you can adjust - it prevents my work from popping up in a yahoo or google image search. These things prevent anyone from clicking for the nice big version of your work.
- Put a copyright notice under everything you publish everywhere you publish it.
- Until ning networks provide good "spaceball" (what flickr uses to protect your work from downloading) for those that attempt to download, I'm thinking about taking all of my work out of ning networks until I get it watermarked.
- Regularly search Etsy and flickr and yahoo images for work - like I might search for "fairy collage" so I can see if anyone has copied me.
You can get blog bumper stickers from our flickr group Stop Art Piracy Campaign Project. You can use them on your blog as a reminder and warning. http://www.flickr.com/groups/stopartpiracycampaign/
Now, don't panic about your own artwork. I do at moments and then realize, karma stinks for some. People that do bad things almost always eventually get caught. There is always a way for determined thieves to figure out a way to steal, but the more hoops you make them jump through the less tempting it is. The more they know we are concerned and watching, the less likely some will be willing to try. So, if you're concerned, follow the suggestions above and move on to making your wonderful art and let karma take care of the rest.