Monday, 13 July 2015

Artists Beware: Please Read

"Night Magic"
Owl in watercolour

This week , I was told about a web site  selling artists work as posters minus the artists' permission. I checked online and sure enough my work was there. As was the work of many other artists I know. As you can imagine the reaction to this web site has been outrage. There is the now quite common cry of indignation. 

"My work is being copied without my consent".

But looking at the site makes you wonder if there is more to this than initially first thought. The web site claim they are not hosting the images. They are simply selling prints of the art if their clients ask them to. They say it is their clients responsibilty to check the art being printed. So in their eyes they are not breaking copyright law. Well, in my eyes they are. They know very well the art they have on their site belongs to the original artists and they are the ones selling the copies. Not their clients. But if you think about it, there is nothing to stop anyone contacting a local printer, showing them any image they have seen online and asking them to print a copy. As artists we would never be able to control this side of copying. It would be impossible. So my advise is to only show low res images of your work online. Make it impossible for anyone to print a copy of your paintings and if they do the  printing will be so poor that if the buyer wants it thats their choice! I know this isn't ideal but how much time can we spend as artists following up every single web site and demanding it is taken down.

This particular web site selling artists work apparently is from Russia. I have heard it has been taken down four times already but just keeps popping up in another name or format. But basically its the same thing. You choose an image, and they will print it. So you need to give them your information of where the poster will be sent to and also you need to pay. Buy Mastercard or Visa etc. So they will have all this information. For a very small amount. Is this nothing more than a phishing scam? And does anyone actually get a poster?

Can I suggest rather than advertise this site that you do not. If you see it please do not link to it in any way. If you have linked to it please run an anti virus scan on your computers. Check cookies, remove their name.

This is my advise.

1) Be sensible at what you share online.  By art and links to sites like these. By  warning other artists about this web site we could be inadvertently  drawing them into the scam.

2) Keep your images low res. Magazines need high res art for printing. That is different.  Talk to galleries about what they show online. Galleries can show clients high res images if they are interested in a purchase. If you are on online art galleries, think how your work is being shown.

3) Try not to get stressed if this happens to you. Its' happening to so many artists but together we need to unite and support each other in any way we can.

4) Don't immediately think about copyright lawyers. For scams the cost may get you nowhere. Check what you are dealing with before you even go down that route.

 Please add your advise or opinion to this blog post  too. 

Out of interest an Australian company was using my hare paintings on merchandise without my permission recently. They removed my art, black listed their suppier and all sales were cancelled. I appreciate their professional action and their apology. There can be results. And they won't all involve payment or reimbursement. But at least that was a successful outcome.

But back to this web site.

I am not going to link you to the web site personally as this woiuld mean that  I too will be advertising them.

However this is a link to a great blog by Jackie Morris.  I like her approach. And as it happens she is a fabulous artist. And thanks to this scam we are now connected. So maybe there is a positive out of a negative.


What do you think? And have you any advise?

One artist has suggested contacting Google to report the site as a phishing scam

This is a link in case you as an artist feel it may be useful to you. 

If you art is on the web site you can contact their web provider via this link 

Or contact their web provider openly on facebook to complain via this link

Also you can look up the copying web sites' Facebook page. Then make a complaint by reporting their page on facebook if they have copied/used your intellectual property.  


1 comment:

Carol said...

It has happened to me several times. My art was being used on pillows in India, on marketing products in Turkey and wedding products here on Zazzle.
It's always artist beware!
I check my work frequently with Google image search.
I, personally, think the site should be available for the rest of us to check for our work.