Bleeding to death...

4 min read

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merimask's avatar
I've been very discouraged and disappointed lately in the massive amount of copyright infringement I've been confronted with.  I feel like I'm supplying free design development for every talentless, unimaginative hack in the world, and it's got me down.

I'm involved in no less than three suits right now, and it's breaking me financially.  Legalities prevent me from saying who they are against...but they stalk my blog and mine my sites for designs on a daily basis, so I bet they're reading this right now.  All I have to say to these people is this; it's NOT cool to steal someone's designs and call them your own.  That "three differences added and it's MINE" defense only works for fashion design, not art, so get that idea out of your head.  Merimask is a trademark, and I've been busily linking all my copyrights to my trademark, and all registered under the category of "art", not "fashion".  Trademarked elements are always protected.  Underselling a popular artist with cheap badly-made versions of their own designs isn't just cowardly and lacking in character; you're going to be liable for royalties/damages by the time I get through with you.  And yes, I'll fight this if I have to take a second mortgage out on my house.  It's a matter of principle now. 

That said, I have to tell all my fans and followers this; I'm learning quite a lot about copyright infringement in the modern era via my attorney, and I wasn't aware that really, public campaigns against infringement are not only completely legal, it's encouraged.  There's no such thing as defamation or slander if what you're saying is the truth. I get notices ~daily~ from DevArt followers and friends, showing me this or that example of either my images or my designs being exploited in ways I wasn't aware of and do not sanction.

So do me this favor; if you see something of mine out there, and it's on someone's site and you don't see "merimask" anywhere in the credits, call them on it.  Or if you see an online craft shop and some hack is trying to sell a clockwork rabbit mask with all my design elements on it, badly executed and priced at a third of mine, supply them with a link to my original and ask them how they sleep at night.  You can do this.  It's perfectly ok for you to do this.

I'm very visible and that makes me very vulnerable to this kind of crap.  You don't have to be bitten by a big shark to bleed to death in this ocean; hundreds of bites from little fish can kill you too.  At this point I'm having a hard time wanting to keep coming up with new designs.  Not for lack of ideas, but because I'm sick of seeing everything I come up with copied within weeks (or even days) of inception.  I started making art so that I could support myself, and now it seems like I'm making art to support perfect strangers with no scruples.

But here's the good part; I KNOW there are so many people out there who really love what I do.  I've always been open and encouraging towards new artists and I've been an active part of the online art community, and I've made many friends out there.  If there's an army of copycats and cheats, there's also an army of admirers, customers and supporters of my art.   I'm certain of it.

I'm asking you guys to be proactive.  Don't get abusive, don't be trolls.  Do link sources when confronting a copycat or thief.  I have completely documented every one of my designs in my DevArt gallery here...everything is dated, copyright-protected, and unalterable proof that I came up with my design when I say I did, and you are welcome to share those links and images in public for everyone to see. 

Don't let me bleed to death alone here. 
© 2014 - 2023 merimask
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Roaring-Flame-Cat's avatar
Stealing a mask (image or otherwise (like buying a mask of yours and selling it for a profit)) and claiming it's theirs is one thing. But using your masks as inspiration is another... I know you can't mention who's stolen your masks... but unless I'm misreading this, I almost feel like your saying that even using another person's art as inspiration is stealing... If that's the case, I don't agree with that... because by that statement we would all be sued by one another right and left. Reporting stolen artwork is always something people should do too, but I don't think your fans need to be rallied up. If your fans are honest and true, they would report the stolen artwork anyway. But the thing is too, you've made tutorials, so if someone heavily uses an idea that you shared, and it heavily looks like your mask, and they try to sell it and it does, is that stealing too? I'm not trying to be an ass, but I'm trying to figure out where all of this stemmed from. Again I know you can't provide any names or images, but I feel that having a lawsuit is a bit extreme... then again I'm not nationally famous... so maybe it's a bigger deal than I think it is... but mimicking is the highest form of flattery. It may be offensive, but if someone is making masks because YOU inspired them, and make masks that are Leather, one, piece, painted, and have a flair all their own... then where is the problem?