This is not the post I had planned for today. I was going to share a pretty little fabric bracelet that I had made for a friend, but instead I share my frustrations.
I’m sorry to rant here in my happy place, but 2 weeks ago I found out that someone on eBay was using images of my art on their pocket mirrors and selling them. Lots of them. After filling out paper work and faxing it in, eBay eventually removed the listing. That was that. Nothing else was done. I let it go.
Today, I found another seller on Etsy, using the same image (the one above) and using it on their light switch plates. I found this, because I am currently making Day of the Dead light stitch plates for an upcoming show and was curious to see what was out there already. I do this often, to see what others are doing (want to keep mine unique) and to stay competitive in price.
What I found was my own art being used and sold, again!! This is so frustrating on so many levels. Seeing someone successfully sell your art is so upsetting that I am without words to even really explain how I feel. Frustrated, hurt, mad, furious, enraged doesn’t even come close to how I’m feeling.
So, I’ve written to the seller and to Etsy (waiting to hear back) and have read up on my rights. Because I can not afford an attorney at this time, all I can do is hope that these people will do the right thing and stop using my art.
See, here is the thing. I am unsure if these people even know they are doing something wrong. In my research, it looks as though many people (businesses) are just randomly uploading any image they want off the internet and using it for their own products (mirrors, light switch plates, jewelry and more) not realizing that these images belong to someone–A REAL PERSON. It’s actually not a free-for-all. So, this is where I need your help.
We need to help educate people. Teach them. People who steal, are going to steal no matter what, but people who don’t know need to learn. I found a great post about copyright infringement here and you can learn more about other licenses, like creative commons here.
I don’t want you to think I am a crazy person in regards to my work. I still love sharing what I do. So just to set the record straight, it is okay to:
- Link to me. I don’t even really mind if you use one of my images as long as I am given credit and linked to properly.
- Pin me. Please, anytime. Just make sure the link goes back to me and the actual post of the image.
- Use my tutorials, free art or patterns. But, these are for personal use only. They are not for commercial use and should not be used for teaching purposes if you are charging or getting paid. Doing a non-profit gig or raising money for your school? Send me an email and we can chat.
I know this kind of comes with the territory, but I still need to continue working hard to protect my hard work. I love what I do, I pour my heart and soul into it and I want to give as much as I can, but I also need to make a living. There is so much confusion in these matters and I know that everyone “borrows” a little to get to their own style and become their own artist, but if it is not yours, not your idea, if it is not free stock, royalty free or in the public domain then you can’t use it, especially for monetary purposes.
nuff said, thanks so much for listening.