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Advice on image protection/copyright?

So, some back story.

Back in 2007, I doodled up the following image and tossed it onto my deviantArt account: http://shaydethelemur.deviantart.com/art/Tribal-bunny-67417627

So, imagine my surprise to see a photo posted by an acquaintance that shows said acquaintance has my rabbit design as a tattoo.

Now, a tiny bit of digging on Google Images shows that there's a few 'free' tattoo sites, along with sites like Pinterest, that have reposts of the image in question.

While I'm certainly annoyed, I'm not sure that I'm annoyed enough or attached enough to the image to want to go through all the fuss and bother of tracking down every instance of it being reposted and DCMA every one of them. That being said, I also don't want to necessarily go through this experience again - while yes, it is a bit flattering to see how popular my crummy little doodle has become on the interwebs, it's still hard not to be a bit irked to see it everywhere when I didn't consent (and it even states on the original image post on dA that written consent from me is needed to futz with the image).

So, the question - in your (general) personal experiences, what is generally the best method for protecting one's IP from this kind of thing? Watermarks seem the obvious answer, but I'm wondering if there are other methods folks have tried that have been successful. Also, as an aside, for those that have had their work re-appropriated without permission, how difficult is it to get these kinds of reposts taken down (or at least given proper credit)?

UPDATE: The person with the image as a tattoo has said that her artist apparently PAID for my image as a stencil, which I've told her that I am greatly upset by, since I didn't give any consent to have other people making a profit off of MY work.

For the now, I've emailed four tattoo shops in her area of the globe asking for help tracking down who might have paid for my IP without my okay. I've also gotten screenshots of her tattoo (which she has displayed quite prominently on a social media account) and, depending on her response to my query about the artist, may contact the site to have their caretaker staff remove the photos.

This begs the follow-up question - how in the blue blazes do I tackle this issue now? I was set to look at this as a social experiement, but now that I know someone's paid money for my work as a tattoo stencil, I'm no longer amused.

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
spytdragonfyre
Sep. 21st, 2014 05:01 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, the only method I've seen that really makes its super hard to rip images was some feature that made it impossible to download an image. If someone tried to copy/paste or download the file it would just save as a blank image. Combined with not posting the full size meant anyone who did steal it only got crummy small-sized images.

Not sure how to do it though! I just found it on dA years ago.
zaulankris
Sep. 21st, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
Many people simply screencap the image if they can't download it the usual way, so that system breaks down as soon as you have someone who knows a little bit about computers :(

@OP, if you're not already watermaking your images, that might help. I personally love it when people repost my fursuit work (as long as they don't claim it as their own or alter the images), so I have my website's URL boldly displayed in the corner so wherever it winds up, I still get the credit. Since you're the drawing sort of artist, perhaps consider a more subtle watermark over the image itself so it's harder to scrub off and it becomes less attractive to thieves?
spytdragonfyre
Sep. 22nd, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
Thats why I said not to put the full sized image up! Even if you screencap it you'll only get a small version of the image.
ithinkdirt
Sep. 22nd, 2014 03:25 pm (UTC)
and then someone can pop that in a program with vector capabilities, trace and resize at will :p

we can't win :/
starcharmer
Sep. 21st, 2014 05:04 pm (UTC)
I can't comment as to the first question, but I once found a custom tattoo design commission I'd done for someone up on a tattoo parlor's site as an example of something they could do. I found their contact info on their website and asked them to take it down and they did so the same day, no questions asked.
synviver
Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
Now that I know that the artist she went to PAID for my art as a stencil, I've been contacting tattoo shops in her area to try and track down who did the work and hopefully get some kind of compensation.

I'm not averse to involving lawyers if I must, but I really hope it doesn't come to that. Lord knows I don't have the finances for a drawn out court circus. :(
breakspire
Sep. 21st, 2014 06:17 pm (UTC)
send DMCAs, they're actually easy to format and will be pretty easy to change to fit the urls for every site it occurs on. most websites will have a copyright page/info with instructions on how and where to send one

here's pinterest's copyright page:

https://about.pinterest.com/en/copyright

it sucks that you have to take action in the first place, but you can do something about it. DMCA protocol basically exists so that host websites have no liability in IP issues, so a large website that knows what it's doing will pull things down quickly when sent a notice.

~ sorry about the edits, just correcting grammer mistakes since I've been up all night

Edited at 2014-09-21 06:19 pm (UTC)
synviver
Sep. 22nd, 2014 09:25 pm (UTC)
Looks like I might just end up doing this anyways. The person with the image as a tattoo has said that her artist apparently PAID for my image as a stencil, which I've told her that I am greatly upset by, since I didn't give any consent to have other people making a profit off of MY work.

For the now, I've emailed four tattoo shops in her area of the globe asking for help tracking down who might have paid for my IP without my okay. I've also gotten screenshots of her tattoo (which she has displayed quite prominently on a social media account) and, depending on her response to my query about the artist, may contact the site to have their caretaker staff remove the photos.

I don't want to be a bitch about it, but if I don't get answers, it looks like I'm going to need to be. :/
timelapsedecay
Sep. 21st, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
I can definitely sympathize with not wanting to chase down your art once it's made its way through the internet (It's nearly impossible!), but filing DMCAs is probably the best way to get people to stop using it, or at least ask all those site owners to take it down.
Good luck!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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