Yesterday I was contacted by a fellow artist who had seen my painting of the "African Beauty" on a another website for sale and told me that it looks like several photographers and artists who are represented through Fine Art America had their artwork listed for sale on this site that is run by someone in Ghana.
Needless to say the uproar and disgust has spread like a wild fire. I have been unable to concentrate on much other than how to get my art work removed. Through the combined effort of several artists and photographers on Fine Art America we all took active steps to make our voices heard. I figured perhaps I should share some of the avenues available to artists as they discover that there work is being used without their permission.
1. Contact the site owner and ask them to remove the image.
You should always out of courtesy contact the site owner and request that the artwork be removed. Give them 24 hours to respond before taking action.
2. In the meantime find out how many of your images are being used. I used
Tin Eye Reverse Image Search and Search by Image by Google to find my work.
3. If your artwork has made it to any social websites like Facebook, you can usually notify them of copyright infringement. I found my image on Facebook, clicked on the image and under Options reported it here
Facebook removed the image right away.
4. Alert other artist, most likely if you find one of your images represented without consent, there are others whose work has been posted as well. I used every social networking site I belong to to notify artists of what is going on and asked them to share with their friends.
5. Find out who the web site publishing host is. Someone on Fine Art America was nice enough to send me this form, which I filled out with my own information and send to the web hosting site.
Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement
The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on www.mycontent.com/page1.html and www.mycontent.com/page2.html
The URLs where our copyrighted material is located include www.copypaste.com/abc.html and www.copypaste.com/xyz.com
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or clarification. My phone number is +1-xxx-xxxx and my mailing address is John Q Public, 123 Park Avenue, Willcity 39232 CA.
The email address of the website owner, who has reprinted our content illegally, is email@example.com.
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
John Q Public
September 11, 2007 [14:50]
After receiving similar complaints I am happy to say that the website was shut down less than 24 hours after complaint was sent.
6. Use your power on
. This site allows visitor to rate a site and gives it a colored ring based on rating marks received. Sites with bad reputations get a red circle placed right next to their website address alerting anyone who is using MyWot to be alerted that the site has a bad reputation.
7. List the offenders with sites that track
. This one happens to be on Facebook and it's a great way to learn of anything that has crept up new.
There are no fool proof ways to protect your artwork from being used by others without your permission, but in cases were the offense is so blatantly done that it is hard to ignore there is power in uniting with other artists. Many of those who offered support and advise and filed complaints were also artists whose work had not been used, but they stepped up regardless and used social media to voice their outrage.
Thanks to this team effort, a site has been removed :)