I'm a not so popular artist. Only a few hundred followers. Someone popular has heavily referenced some of my art and made profit from it. I'm honestly a little afraid to make an official beware. I don't want their followers to attack me. I don't know who's in the wrong but I will explain the situation a little bit without giving away any identities.
A few months ago, I posted a YCH on my furaffinity with a set theme to the pose and background. All was fine and well until about 2 weeks ago or so when some of my friends and I noticed that a rather popular artist, that is watching my art account, posted and sold a YCH with the same theme, and an almost identical pose. When I say identical, I mean 90% of it is the exact same as the one I did previously. I asked my friends what they thought about it and one of them contacted the popular artist. Long story short, the artist contacts me and apologizes profusely, claiming it was mere coincidence and they've never see it before. I tell them that this is strange considering that they followed me shortly after I posted the original YCH, and they've been around to see the reposted reminders for it. Just to clarify what that means, when a YCH doesn't sell after a week or so, I repost it, with a link to the original post, for new people to see.
They apologize more and still say that they've never seen it. This time they offer me the money that they earned from the YCH, which I deny. I personally felt like it was a bribe almost, and I didn't want them to hold it over my head in the future. They never posted the finished YCH and deleted the post where they sold the YCH. I have it screencapped in case I need to post an offical artist beware. I've noticed that they've copied poses and adoptables from other artists which is more proof that maybe this wasn't a coincidence at all. This has made me worry even more. Let me say that none of it is traced. It's all in their own art style. So is it really a problem then? Is heavily referencing and selling for profit as bad as tracing and should I really worry about it? Any thoughts would be appreciated! Sorry for making this post so long.