Posts Tagged ‘copyright’


So recently I got an email from a customer who said “Hey, I see your artwork is on puzzles on this site. I hope you knew.”

Well no I didn’t.

What to do … what to do…

Sigh …

So I contact my licensing agent and asked if he wanted to send them a bill for use of my images. And he was all “Hell yeah.”

Okay … that’s paraphrasing on my part … just a little.

Or maybe a lot.

One of those.

But it got me to thinking about how often this happens. Folks using my work thinking it’s free for the taking. And though I have held off doing this it is finally time to watermark all my images on my website. Currently I’m about half way through.

I Probably should have caved years ago but the artist in me wants the images to look nice. You know because people are more apt to buy them if they can see them without a big ol’ watermark across the face. But after much internal dialogue which I will spare you (you’re welcome) I decided to deface my art in order to protect it.

At any rate I don’t expect anything to come of the bill sent to the infringing puzzle company. But it makes me smile a small devious smile to think it may have given them pause.

Even if only for a moment.

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So I Promise Not To Go All Fanatical On You Guys But…
I am spending more and more time looking into online protection of my images. Indeed I really didn’t have to dig very far before I found my art on scraper sites.

Also it seems the internet has decided that artist and/or personal copyright is kinda a frivolous thing so it is constantly trying to undermine one’s right to own ones own images.

See … that’s how annoyed I am. I’ve slipped into talking about myself in the third person.

Okay, okay … taking a moment to gather myself (happy place, happy place)

I was perusing a site that promoted an app in which you can use your friends images from facebook for creating coffee mugs, t-shirts … whatever and you don’t even have to get their consent. Seriously this is the title of their ad. New Service Turns Facebook Photos Into Products Without Your Friend’s Consent

Yeah I know right? Never mind that it might be ILLEGAL!

I am not including the link because I certainly don’t want to promote those … (let’s see this is a PG13 blog so what’s a safe word mofo, arseholes, poopyheads.) But if you are curious contact me and I’ll pass it along.

Anyway lucky for us one of the commenters on this page said how to disable the effectiveness of this app. And since Facebook does not make adjusting your security settings easy well I thought I share it here.

The step by step for disabling photo apps from using your facebook images.
* Top right of your FB page, there’s a cog like round icon
* Click on that for a drop down menu
* Click privacy settings.
* Then in the far left column select Apps
* Then towards the bottom … Apps Others Use
* UNCHECK photos.

OR put an X next to Apps to prevent that app from finding your photos.

Done and done. Now I just need to figure out how to fill out a DMCA to get that the scraper sites to remove my images. (sigh)

UPDATED: I wanted to add one more thing just in case folks think this is just a copyright issue. Since FB and Pinterest have the option to sell or whatever to “any” images posted on their sites there are other things that could happen.

For instance … a site could just collect all the images not really caring much what they were, to create a massive resource site offering them as free to people for wall paper or download or whatever. This huge site would in theory get more and more volumne of people searching for images to use. But the site in itself may not really care what people use them for. So a photo of your child could be displayed next to a photo of the moon which is next to a photo of a body piercing that is next to a p0rn shot.

A site would do this in the hope that someone might click on a ad and they might make a little money.

And in case you think this is far fetched know that I have seen several such sites already. (though most of those just scrape images and do not pay anyone for the privilege) Just yesterday I found my art as well as that of a friends on just such a site.

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So I have been digging into copyright issues of late. This all started when I was re-informed that sites like Facebook and Pinterest have a clause in their ToS that states images posted on these sites can be sold by them to any one for any amount of money without so much as a howdy-de-do to the original poster. So yes that means any copyrighted images as well as photos of you and your family are up for grabs.

Now I had first heard of this change before I was ever on facebook and so it went into the circular file labelled “not about me” and I promptly forgot all about it. But recently fate put this concept in front of me again and I’m like “Whaaaaat?”

Now I want to say I don’t plan to get all fanatical about it. Getting robbed in some small way or fashion happens all the time to artists. Personally I know of t-shirts that were made illegally as well as a wall mural. Notecards that were not printed by me have also surfaced. But this I think is bigger and has the potential to really ruin an artist’s livelihood.

So I began digging deeper and realized as someone who makes my living selling my images this could really ruin the whole shebang.

The Plot Thickens
Both Facebook & Pinterest have disclaimers that say things like, they own posted images once posted to their platforms and pinterest states that the pinner must have permission to pin items and that they, the company in fact are not responsible for folks who do inappropriate pinning. When a person signs up for either of these platforms they agree to these terms with the click of a mouse button.

And now Bing has made it ever so easy to pin your favorite whatevers and in fact has gone so far as to offer a tool that you can download so you can pin anything regardless of whether the site has a pin feature. This nifty convenience also bypasses any no-pin code placed on images. (yeah, seriously!)

So Where’s The Harm?

I’ve asked myself this for months now.

Well … if an artist works really hard to be unique and creative and that in and of itself creates collectors. Now let’s say anybody admiring said artist’s style could make copies for themselves with the amazingly simple click of a button … what do you think that does to the market for which the creative individual worked so hard to build and live off of?

Pinterest in particular is creating a world of takers. It’s easy and free so why pay? Hey everybody’s doing it…

But If You Don’t Want It Taken, Don’t Put It Online!
That is the argument one hears over and over again. From every pinner slapped by Pinterest after an artist has issued a takedown notice, or by every blogger using other’s images to illustrate their blog by Google after an artist has issued a DMCA or even major corporations thinking that if it’s been pinned a million times, why should they pay for an image when it’s free from pinterest.

I find this a flawed logic. It’s like saying it you don’t want your writings plagerized don’t be published.

To me someone using my image without my permission is no different than if they walked into my gallery or home and took money off my counter.

So What’s A Gal To Do?
Well I’m back to making it less appealing for someone to pay Facebook or imagery theives to desire my artwork. This means changing my copyright notices on each image to being larger and more invasive. Sadly this means most likely I’ll need to do all of them on my website as well.

Some of you may remember I included a copyright notice at the bottom of my art images posted online. But I kept it small so it was unobtrusive and coincidentally easy to chop off the bottom of the image for any poachers.

In the next post or two
I plan to talk more about ways in which to make your images less tempting and perhaps show how to create a very easy watermark in Photoshop.

I have been reading a bunch of articles, blog posts and news statements about various artists fight to keep their right to their own images. Here’s one that is over long in my opinion but is written with wit and whimsy in a fairytale style. Purple Cow … A Cautionary Tale

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