Well, I encountered one of an artist’s worse nightmares. I found a copy of my work on the internet painted by someone other than myself. I don’t know who did it or why they would do this, so I will limit any speculation for the moment. I would love it if they would come forward and explain themselves, though.
So I thought I should write a post about this topic now that I have some personal insight, and as I said, I know a lot of artists fear sharing their images for this exact reason.
Okay, so you find your art being used on the internet without your permission, or worse, find it being copied by someone else. What do you do?
– Personally I don’t mind if someone shares my work on Facebook or other social media sites, so long as they credit me. At the very least it should say that the work was created by [your name].
-Ideally if your work is shared on social media, it should include your name, the media, dimensions, year created, and a link to your website. **Note to everyone out there sharing other peoples’ images: please follow these guidelines. Artists work HARD to do what they do, and it is much appreciated when someone gives them credit for it.
-Always put a watermark on your work. I know this can’t always be done since most online publications want to feature your work sans watermark. Do what you can, though, to help limit uncredited images going awry.
-If you find your images shared without credit to you, first contact the person posting and send a polite request that they add your contact info. Send them the info as you would like it listed so it is easy for them to copy and paste, thus they will be more likely to follow through.
-In the event that this person ignores your request, you can go above their heads and contact their web host or Facebook, Twitter, etc. Explain that you asked nicely to get your work credited and since they refused, tell them you want the image removed.
-If your work is being copied by someone else… my condolences. This is aggravating, but something can be done. First, find out who did the copy. Just because someone posted it on social media sites does not mean they are the one that created it- it may be a re-shared image. Trace it back to the original “artist.”
-Contact all social media outlets and the website host of the copycat artist and explain your situation. Provide images and information regarding the copied art, yours and theirs, with links to the posts and direct links to the work in question on their website. Ask that the images be removed.
-Your original work is automatically protected under the copyright treaty law. If you need to take legal action, it will need to be formally registered, which can be done after the fact.
-Social media sites and the website host should comply, but if need be, you could contact a lawyer or lawyer friend, and have a cease and desist letter sent. Further action may not be required, sometimes this is enough. If not, you’ll have to take everything into consideration as to whether or not it is worth a legal dispute in court.
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