Sadly every now and then artist friends find my work being sold through unauthorized websites. Often when I reach out to have my content removed I don't get very far with the offender. This just recently happened with two of my paintings, Blue Tribe and Amal Princess of the East.
A website by the name of Egyptian Fine Art has taken both images and is selling reproductions of my work on their website, Etsy and Ebay under different names.
The amount of time it takes to chase down these thieves and report them to the authorities is unbelievable, but I am happy to report that Etsy and Pinterest immediately removed the infringed images.
I have also enlisted the help of friends, family members and followers who have left comments on this persons social media sites under @Egyptfireart to point out that stealing the work of other artists for profit is unethical. This public shaming resulted in the removal of my paintings and the negative comments towards the thief from those images being taken down on Instagram.
However, my paintings are still on this person's website and that brings me to another point how you can get your images removed.
Many domain registrars have policies against copyright infringement and will take actions against the offenders. I did a search on Who Is and found out who the domain registrar for the offending website is. This way I was able to write to the domain registrar where Egypt Fine Art is registered at and filed a complaint for copyright infringement.
If your content was stolen you can file with DMC for a fee. At the time I am writing this they charge $199 for full service take down or $10/per month for an unlimited do it yourself kit.
COZY ANTI THEFT APP
To protect myself from further image and text theft I found an app on Shopify called Cozy Anti Theft (it's free). This app is great even I can no longer right click or copy and paste anything from my website.
Many say you should watermark your images. Well, I have to point out that I have my signature and logo on my paintings. I even embedded copyright metadata with photoshop. However thieves will crop out or remove signatures and logos and meta data really only helps if you take these people to court. Putting other types of Watermarks on the image is really distracting from a shoppers point of view so this solution is really up for debate.
I have found that keeping records and many photos of your work while being painted, when published in media or exhibited in galleries is the best way to quickly provide proof of ownership. If you can point to links on various platforms that shows as further proof of ownership.
ABOUT THE THIEF
Egypt Fine Art is registered to Ahmed Rashad in Egypt and if you see my work there, do not buy it . He has removed my signature and logo from my artwork and sells oil painted reproductions by supposedly the best Egyptian artists. On Etsy he claims he and his uncle are the artists and on Ebay he says the listing is done by the Artist who is him.
People like him have to be stopped. They profit from the hard work of others and drive traffic to their own sites rather than the sites where the original image is hosted. These offenses cost us a lot of money and time and the best way to stop them is to ban together and report them whenever possible.
One reason swift action was taken on Etsy for example is that my Etsy supporters all filed similar complaints pointing out that this site is selling artwork that does not belong to him.
Well, I wish you all good luck in resolving your copyright infringements and hope that my tips will help you out a bit.