Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Into the Rabbit Hole of Copyright Hell

In 2013 I wanted to try a new trick I had heard about called a reverse image search and chose one of my favourite photos that had been featured in an online magazine. I was shocked to find it being used and sold at a store in Canada as a studio backdrop. I  subsequently learned a designer had claimed copyright to it and had sold it to a large company who in turn sold it all over the world. That was just the tip of the iceberg and after exploring a few more images I fell into the rabbit hole of copyright hell when I discovered that nearly 7 years’ worth of images from my flickr and blog had been exploited, stolen, infringed on by people you’d think would know better, by people who had no problem asserting THEIR copyright such as designers, bands/singers, record companies,augmented reality firms, photographers, artists, etc. I wasn’t flattered that others were profiting from my work, and the exposure meant nothing if nobody knew it was my work.   I won’t bore you with the ridiculous/insulting parade of comments I got when I tried to get paid or have them remove my images, suffice it to say it took 6 months working daily to clear up the initial mess and filing multiple dmca notices or invoices. I changed my image posting habits by watermarking them and reducing the image file size and since then rarely if ever have my work infringed. still come across pre 2013 images being exploited though.


  This is a partial list of images that were exploited. While all of these people claimed copyright to their websites/work, got paid for their work, used my images as part of their  resume/reputation building on the back of my work few apologized or payed me.


"Dotty" Spin Painting used by dj's, nightclub logo, advertizing, company banner heading, record labels, magazine ad, clown company promo


Evil Eye Sketchbook Doodle - member of band claimed to have designed it and used for album cover and promoted online



Spin Painting White Blossom attributed to Damien Hirst and used in magazines, online zines, websites, blogs, products, watch, record labels, magazine ads, etc



SPLAT attributed to Jackson Pollock and used in magazines, events, copies sold on alieexpress, ebay, Mercado Libre, album covers, fashion sales sites, publicity promos, website banners, designers, music videos, free wallpaper sites. This has been reblogged 7,000 times on tumblr, 2,000 times on rebloggy.

Flower Power  Felt banner used by ASOS fashion retailer, online stores, publicity events

Purple Heart Painting and for book cover, and used by this Hotel and this Hotel for publicity.





Scanned Peacock Flowers used by publisher for special edition book of  Ruben Dario poetry, zazzle sellers, website banners




Spin Art Set used to promote classes at a Pottery Studio





Spring Blossoms in Yellow Springs exploited by several organizations with no credit

Peacock Dream Spin Art







Twisted Wire Face and Shadow Photo used as logo of Design Firm
Black Lace Spin Art used for album
Spin Painting with flower center used by Beaches Resorts promo
Painting of Young Woman used by marketing firm for album cover
Screaming Mouth painting used by  owners of 3,000 square foot event space to promote event. I was accused of being a greedy artist trying to scam them after asking them to pay a standard licence fee for use of image.
Skull Painting used by designer for LIV Nightclub promo. 
Heart Painting used by Etsy Seller for jewelry
Crushed Can Painting used  to promote band event
Dog Drawing used by band for event flyer
Painted Bottle with Harry Lauder Stick
Henna Hand Embroidery used as promo for flyers and a Needlework Magazine
Dog Painting on Vinyl used to promote art festival


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