Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Copyright Issue : Update

One of my paintings that was used on products minus my permission
Following on from my blog post yesterday I promised to keep everyone updated on the situation of my art being used without my permission. I had received an email letting me know my art was being sold on a design site. Until yesterday morning this was complete news to me and a disturbing shock. It is distressing to discover someone has taken your images and is making a profit from them without your permission. Because like it or not, it is theft , pure and simple. Someone had stolen my art.
   Two of my paintings were on products on the site, being used and sold minus my knowledge or permission. To make matters worse, the above original painting had been created in aid of charity.  It had been sold at the David Shepherd Wildlife Annual Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition years ago and is instantly recognisable as my art. Which was why I was told about it being online, for sale on the web site. It was instantly recognised.
You can see my art on the web site following this link.
Yesterday I contacted the company who were selling the products with my art on them. To inform them that I was the original artist and had not given permission for my work to be used.  This morning I received their reply. It appears a third party supplied the art to them. The company have explained they have removed my art from their web site and will no longer be using the supplier.
Which is a positive outcome and start.
My response? I have understandably requested the name of their supplier.
1) Unless the company are willing to divulge this information  I only have their word for it that the third party exists.
2) If the company do not divulge the suppliers name they are supporting art theft, and the supplier who is breaking copyright law.
They do seem like a reputable company so I am hoping they will meet my request. At that point the communication must be between myself as the original artist and the supplier for using my art. I need reassurance my art is not being sold elsewhere by them, on other products and with other companies.
But having said that there has been no mention of sales or profit from this company that has been selling my art on products on their web site.
I would like to know
1) How many of the products have already been sold?
2) Who has been paid for using my design?
3) How will this be refunded to me?
Maybe the company could work with me on a figure to politely close this situation on a friendly note.
But back to the supplier of my art.
Who is the supplier? And why are they using art without original artists' permission?
Apart from the use of other artists work in this way being unacceptable, it is hard to believe that anyone in this century is unaware of copyright laws.
Another point. If large companies on discovering copyright laws have been broken surely it is their role to handle the situation professionally by naming the supplier. Putting original artists in a position where they can safely confirm their art is not being used elsewhere.
I am grateful to the company for removing the images and for saying they will no longer use the supplier who used my art. But unless they name that supplier I am not at peace. I need confirmation the supplier will not continue selling my art or the art of other artists. And that is the most important point. I need assurance this will not happen again with them.
I would like to find an amicable end to this situation and affirmation that this will not be a problem with the same supplier in the future.
Is that too much to ask?
I will keep you updated.
Thank you for all your emails and messages. At first I handled this very professionally but to be honest the more I think about it, the more upsetting it is. 


Edo Hannema said...

Thanks for sharing Jean, I did hear this before, from a other artist! Its sad you cannot show your product of creativity without someone take advantage with it. I dont think there is a third party. its hard to proof! regards Edo

Jean Lurssen said...

I clicked on the link you listed and they still have a tea towel with your art listed on their page.

JD said...

It's true the towel is still available on the site but I have found it's available on others too.

It seems to be manufactured or distributed by a company called Easter Napery

Christiane Fortin said...

Oh dear this scares me for my art as well. When I took a look this morning your design was still on their site. Good luck!

JD said...

Also available here



José L. Zorrilla Campos said...

Desde España no puedo hacer gran cosa excepto manifestarte mi solidaridad.
Te deseo suerte en la solución de este problema.