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Advice- confronting art theft?

A while back I was on tumblr, and was shocked to find an original painting I did submitted by an individual to a blog I follow. I don't know what was more disheartening: seeing my work posted without any attempt to credit me (or even a "I didn't make this, but credit goes to the original artist"), or the fact that the painting had been thrown through a horrid Instagram filter which destroyed my original coloring and shading.

I spoke to the blog owner and provided proof that it was my work. The blog had posted the work in question with my permission a year prior, and it also had my signature at the bottom (which didn't match the submitter's name), so it was a quick process getting it removed. After speaking to the individual who submitted my work, they apologized and said they had found it on Twitter.

I'm still keeping track of this situation, but I have one question. What would be the best way to confront this situation? Should I let it go? Should I pursue it? Part of me says I should let it go, because it's not as if someone is profiting off it. But the other part of me is saying I should pursue this, because it's my work floating around the internet currently uncredited, and I would like to find the source which started this.

I've never had one of my pieces outright "stolen" like this before, and it's a confusing situation! Any and all advice would be appreciated.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 3rd, 2013 09:58 pm (UTC)
Annoyingly, tumblr is a very widespread website with huge user base and often images are reposted with any hint of source. I used to dislike it, but then realized that if I watermarked and signed my work in the image then they could never truly remove the source (Unless they edited it, which some have done).

Your best bet is not to fret. Honestly, chasing down those who share your work credited or not is't worth it, as they are probably not interested in profiting off your images.

Keep your images at low resolution, smallish in size, with a simple watermark. I wouldn't consider the art "stolen" if no monetary gain was involved. It's very hard to control where your content will go or be shared, so you may want to save yourself the stress any only pursue those who are seeking to profit from your work.

It's very VERY hard to find the original source post, especially on tumblr, so I think it's best not to waste time on it. Just be more strict in how you present your work online. Or, post your art to tumblr and source it yourself, and point others to that post instead!
Mar. 4th, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
Very good advice, thank you very much. I think I should definitely make a note to do this on any and all future work I put online. Probably going to go through my dA gallery as well now and do that.

I probably used the wrong word here as well, maybe borrowed without permission is more appropriate. But I'm grateful that, like you said, no money was made off this! And hopefully the submitter learned a lesson too about giving proper credit to people.

I'm gonna go curl up with my sketch pad and a cup of tea and let this one go. :) Thank you!
Mar. 3rd, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
The best you can really do is sign your work/watermark, and make sure it's clearly readable. You simply can't control what other people do, but you can make it easier for bystanders to find you.

As for this particular case, I would just let it drop.
Mar. 4th, 2013 01:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, I read the advice of Neolucky above, and good points were made. I'm going to make a habit of either doing a noticeable signature and watermark, and to go through my gallery on dA and watermark everything there as well.

I don't mind if people share my work, I just mind in cases like this where no attempt was given to even say "this isn't mine, but credit goes to whoever made it".

But I decided to just let this one go, after reading everything here. :)
Mar. 3rd, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
Maybe in the future add a watermark that has the url to your gallery. That way even if it is reposted people can find you.
(Unless the one reposting it is the unsavory kind)
Mar. 4th, 2013 01:04 am (UTC)
I'm thinking I may do that! I took one of my recent images I put a lot of time and work into, and added my dA address. I think that's best in the future, especially since I don't plan on leaving this account of mine anytime soon, since it's a strictly professional account.

And I hope no unsavory accounts or blogs repost my stuff. :o
Mar. 4th, 2013 01:08 am (UTC)
email support@tumblr.com. they will take it down
Mar. 4th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
The art has long been removed; the blog took it down at my request, with proof. The person in question also complied with removing it off their personal blog.
Mar. 4th, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
oh sorry, I missed that part

yeah it's pretty hard to prevent this kind of thing, watermarks are a good idea
Mar. 14th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC)
Not sure if this is too late, but take the original url to your image, go to google images, and click the little icon of the camera, and try to track other places that it was uploaded. Know that isn't much advice or anything, but just a little tracker-help.
Mar. 15th, 2013 07:14 am (UTC)
Already done that. Not sourcing back to anywhere else. :(
But thanks for the advice!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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