I found a thief the other day.
She was posting others' work as her own in her Gallery. Granted, she wasn't precisely
saying that these were her own works - her Artist Comments consisted of things like "Beautiful!" and "I love this!", which led me to believe (initially, at least) that she had just misunderstood the whole concept of Favourites.
The only reason I found her at all is that I have a default search of "Newest V for Vendetta Art" on my login page. I spotted "her" new work there, but recognized it as one I'd seen before. Sure enough, after a bit of searching I found the original work that had been posted 2 years ago.
After going to this person's gallery, I found several works of art that also belonged to other people. (Honestly, I figured she was appropriating others' work just because the variety of media and styles in her gallery looked too extensive to be just one person's work.)
I decided to be polite and send her a private note, detailing my observations and including the points that:
A) Only one's own work goes in one's Gallery - posting others' work, even if intended as flattery, looks like theft. And,
B) I hadn't said anything to the other artists yet because I was assuming she had made an innocent "newbie" mistake. (Her account is rather new.) This last point, frankly, was a veiled threat. I didn't really think she was innocent - I was just being polite and giving her the chance to do the right thing.
Anyway. I didn't receive a response from her, but upon checking her gallery I noticed it was significantly smaller. Hooray for that. Unfortunately, there are still works in her gallery that are obviously not hers. My problem is, I can't (yet) figure out whose they are.
I am currently searching for these works by looking for keywords, because this user has changed the titles from the originals (a definite suggestion of theft as opposed to mere flattery.) I haven't yet met with success, but I'm not giving up.
I'm not going to name this person, because flame wars are not helpful. I'm doing what I can to gather evidence, and if I do find the original owners of the works in question, I'll notify the proper individuals. If I can't track down any more artwork, though, then she's going to get away with her petty little self-aggrandizement.
The moral of this story is this: Use keywords. Lots of them. Good, descriptive words that let your work be found if a title has been changed. SIGN YOUR WORKS AND/OR USE WATERMARKS. They make theft more difficult (though not impossible.)
I myself am guilty of not using watermarks everywhere. I'm in the process of correcting that.
At any rate, I felt this was an important enough issue to share.
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