I don't draw much these days. But the unpleasant reality is that my work is still continuously being stolen and used without permission. This post addresses what you can do as an artist to seek justice.
1. Register all your work with the US copyright office. Sorry if you are from a different country; I am only familiar with where I live. The link below may help though.
2. If you see your work stolen, take screenshots of everything.
3. You may choose to politely ask that your work be taken down. I usually go this route because, again, I don't think the majority of thieves are malicious, just ignorant.
4. If they decline or if you feel like it, sue them.
Things to know:
- You are the owner of your work whether you register it or not. So it is ALWAYS the right thing to demand your work not be misused or misrepresented. But only by registering it can you press charges.
- You can press charges even if they take down your work. This is where screenshots, or proof of the crime, come in handy.
Here is a link and infographic that will go into more detail. This is useful for every artist to have in her back pocket: www.whoishostingthis.com/blog/…
As is this, for filing a DMCA takedown notice: www.whoishostingthis.com/resou…
I used this information to track down the name, number, and address of someone who was selling my work and not responding to my messages. That case has since been resolved. I have a soft heart at times; the perpetrator was just a kid being stupid. I hope he learned something and I absolutely would have pressed charges if he had not complied.
I have settled for a sum of money when Ubisoft stole my work for a game. I sort of regret settling on that one, as I probably could have gotten a lot of money if I sued. Yes, Ubisoft. Everyone has the ability to stoop this low.
What you do is up to you. But PLEASE, do not do nothing
. If you are an artist who doesn't care about your work being used or sold without permission, you are directly to blame for empowering a culture where people don't even think to ask. You are to blame when people laugh at artists' rights and think we don't care. Yes, it's a pain. Yes, there are smart ways to protect your work, which I sadly did not do when I was younger. Yes, fighting for your rights and the rights of others are always worth it.
This is for artists out there who, like me, care but don't always know what to do.
This is for all the strangers who have reached out over the years to inform me of my work being stolen. They are the true protectors and I thank them with all my heart.