Copyright infringements, again

It makes me a little mad to find that artwork of mine, and other artists, that we share online for others to enjoy is just taken by unscrupulous, unethical, uncaring people for their own end or profit.

Someone via Etsy asked if I could make my ‘Fly Away’ dragonfly design available so they could purchase it and used it for some needle felting.

So, I looked for it via Google as I wasn’t sure which dragonfly design it is, or even if I still have it as I have sold some of these pieces of art in the past.

What I found was a link to it on Pinterest. It was my design, but it had been mirrored. Now, when people do this they think they’re changing it enough to avoid copyright infringement laws – they most definitely are NOT! So I followed that image link to this :

Sadly, http://www.askideas.com doesn’t seem to let images from their website appear on other websites. That figures.

Here’s a link to the artwork on my deviantART page:

Fly Away 23Aug12
Fly Away – ©Angela Porter 2012

I have ranted about copyright infringements before.

It’s nice people like my work. However, I own the copyright and the only polite thing to do is to get in touch and ask for permission to use the image.

In this case, I don’t have this image for sale on Etsy as a coloring template or a digital download to use for other artistic activities, such as needle felting the design or embroidering it. If I did, it wouldn’t cost very much, maybe a couple of dollars. Sometimes, when people approach me nicely, I may give permission for an old piece of art to be used in this way, so long as it’s a one off use, not to be sold on, for personal use and pleasure. If it’s to be sold, then there’s a fee involved.

I put a lot of time and effort into my art, I’ve put a lot of time and effort over the last 20 or so years in refining, honing, developing, exploring my artistic skills. Yes, they are skills. I wasn’t born with them, I’ve had to work hard to develop those skills, just as everyone else has to who is good in their field, and I am fairly good, but I work at being the best I can be at any one particular time.

I do this full time as my career now. I’m lucky enough to enjoy my career, my job so that sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself I do have a job, I am working, especially when I’m walking around, taking photos, drinking tea, writing, sketching on a trip out mid-week when everyone else is in work. My job really overlaps hugely with my pleasure.

That doesn’t mean my work is free. I have bills to pay too. Everytime someone steals my art someone steals the potential for me to earn, whether they are stealing it directly from my websites or whether they’re using it from a website where the stolen art has been used.

It would be like me going up to your boss and demanding that they pay me some of your salary just because I saw you working and liked what you did.

Would that be fair, ethical, right?

But that is exactly what people are doing when they steal art from artists, and others use that without checking the provenance of the image and whether it’s ok to use or whether they have to seek permission to use it.

Sharing art to say ‘look at this I like this one by (artist’s name and/or a link to their website)’ is one thing, and that in itself is not bad at all. In fact artists appreciate it greatly.

Sharing art to say ‘here download this and I get paid by the adverts on my site you view, or the money I ask you pay for the image use’ is wrong unless you have permission, an agreement with the artist.

Telling someone that they’ve done a good job and you appreciate them is different to telling them that then taking some of their wages from them for telling them that they’ve done a good job.

Art is my love, but it’s also my career. I rarely create art ‘for free’ – there has to be a really, really, really exceptional reason why I do this.

The only regular ‘art for free’ I do is for the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group with the monthly coloring template, and there are some very clear terms and conditions on the use of those templates.

Now I’m not naive enough to think that everyone in the group follows those guidelines, nor do I have enough hours in a day to chase down all copyright infringements. These happen because I, foolishly perhaps, share my artwork on the interwebs.

However, when I do find a copyright infringement, I do chase it up, if it’s possible to do so. And I leave a comment that the artwork has been stolen, hoping that people will take notice and not use it.

In the same way, I’m not expecting a response from this website. I just have to let this go, but that rankles greatly too.

I’ve learned how to watermark my art to show the copyright is mine along with my name and website. I rarely ever post just black and white drawings, unless I’ve watermarked over them or coloured the background in in some way. I don’t know what else I can do to protect my intellectual property rights and my income.

Inktober 2018 Day 14 ‘Clock’ WIP and a letter to intellectual property thieves

Angela Porter Inktober 2018 Day 14 Clock WIPIt took me a couple or three hours to draw this design using Faber Castell pens on paper. Then I scanned it in to the ‘puter, gave it a transparent background so I could colour it digitally. After several hours work this is as far as I’ve got!

I may get back to it later on or in a day or three…we’ll see!

The yeuchy coloured background is only temporary; trying to protect my work, don’tcha know.

A rant about intellectual property theft…

Yesterday I discovered that someone has stolen work from a published coloring book of mine (Entangled Dragonflies) and republished it as their own! Not only that, they’d also done the same with other authors from the Creative Haven series of books from Dover Publications Inc. I’ve reported it along to my editors.

So, you can understand why I’d want to try my best to protect my work. There are some very unscrupulous people out there with very low to no moral standards. They obviously only think of themselves not of others, such selfish people that they are. They should be ashamed of themselves, however I doubt they ever feel shame for anything they steal.

I don’t want to let them get to me, so I’ll still show bits and bobs of my work at a low resolution with watermarks to try to protect it, as well as coloured backgrounds if nothing else.

I do know, however, that some will stop at nothing to steal if it’s something they want to steal.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’m ‘talking’ to those who understand, that just because something is shared on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free for anyone to copy or use or re-sell in any form they wish. Just because I show you my work doesn’t mean I give up my rights to my work – I most definitely do not!

All my work is mine thanks to intellectual property rights and I will never relinquish those rights just because I show work here, on deviantART, on facebook, on Instagram, and on twitter.

I share my work because I get a lot of pleasure from creating it and I’d like to think people get some pleasure in seeing it.

Obviously, there’s a small number who only get pleasure from stealing other people’s work to profit from themselves. It’s no different to breaking into someone’s home and stealing their property – the thieves profit while the owners miss out.

If any such thieves do happen to read this, consider this. How would you feel if someone broke into your home and stole your treasured belongings for their own ends? Would you be upset? Would you see anything wrong in it?

I bet you would.

Whenever you are stealing from the internet for your own gain it is exactly the same as breaking into someone’s home and stealing from them.

I suspect you intellectual property thieves would only care about yourselves, however. I don’t think you thieves have any empathy for anyone else.

You’re not committing a victimless crime, you’re not stealing from big business, you’re stealing from the little people like myself and profiting from me, my talents, my skills, skills I’ve worked long and hard at to develop, and you just take advantage of that, of my good nature that I share things on the internet.

And worse, you steal from published books, that are covered by copyright law too, and republish them as if it’s your own work! This is illegal, it is breaking the law. You are stealing from myself and from other artists too.

You are horrible, horrible people – the intellectual property thieves that is, not you lovely people who support my work by buying my books and writing nice things and saying you like to see what I create.

I won’t let the small numbers of truly horrible people spoil it for other people that’s for sure. However, I want them to know a little of what I think of them – and I’m keeping it very, very polite. Trust me, I can swear worse than a pirate!

Back to Inktober…

So, to go back to Inktober Day 14 which has the prompt ‘clock’ And what I can say is that hopefully time is up for some of you unscrupulous, barefaced intellectual property thieves!

For the rest of the lovely world of people who support us artists/illustrators, how do you like to spend your time?