the artside of the moon

Pissed Off Artist
As a digital artist, there have been many times where I have considered pulling all the graphics off my site, and having a plain text version only. While I love to create art, sometimes the side effects are not as peaceful as the creative process.

    a:   A couple of years ago, someone sent me an email about an image on my website. She told me that I had stolen it from her, and I was to remove it immediately. The image was one that I had created, and was using as my website background. I replied, asking what gave her the idea that I had stolen it from her. She said I must have, because she owned it, having purchased a CD with graphics, and that image was on the CD.

That stopped me dead in my tracks, and when I asked her where she got the CD, she refused to tell me. I removed MY image from my site not long after. And even though I still had the original layered copy of the image on my computer, I still felt weird using one of my own images, since it was now out there in CD land and I was being treated like a thief.

    b:   I belong to a few livejournal graphics communities (I love icons.. can't help myself), and so often I see people posting icons which are edited original artworks. Many of them are so far removed from the original artists work that they are almost unrecognisable, but some are just a plain out cropped copy of the original. The icon poster will always demand that you give her/him credit for their icon making, but they rarely link to the original artist site.

I've had a couple of run-ins with icon makers about this subject, when I found some of my artwork being used as icons. All I ask is a little linkie somewhere, just to say "hey, Ashlyn made this, and I edited it". Quite often, if I bother to ask them about it, I am met with an angry reply along the lines of "fuck you". Hey I'm sorry. I didn't mean to spend hours creating that image so you could resize it, add a border, and take the credit for it.

Editing a pic does not give you creative licence, or ownership of that pic. It still belongs to the original artist, even if they have given permission for you to edit it. It takes a matter of seconds to add a link. Sometimes it can take hours, days, or even longer, to create the images that are being used and abused.

    c:   Someone who I admire and envy, recently discovered her images being used by a tagging community. She asked the person using her images, to remove them, and that person contacted the community owner, who promptly told the artist this:

"If you think that she is the only one that has made tags out of your art... you are sooooooooooo mistaken in fact thats the funny part.. your stuff has gone around on so many lists that you would be be REALLY heartbroken if you've seen some of the

But just to let you know... Game On! "

Excuse me, but who the fuck does she think she is? What sort of arsehole says something like that, and can still sleep at night? The person who's artwork they have stolen, could create better art in her sleep than these wannabes, and they have the hide to treat her like that.

What is so wrong about this, is that this person sells her art via her website and a well known graphics community. She takes the time to put a small copyright notice on her displayed images, but these vultures are removing that copyright, and adding their own. It's costing her in sales, because her images are out there, all over the internet, but nobody knows where to find the originals. What's worse is that people are using the edited images, and giving credit to the arseholes who stole them, because they aren't decent enough to spend a minute or two to place a link to her site, and the users are none-the-wiser.

Who gives a shit if they aren't selling their tags. They are still distributing them all over the internet, and sitting back and taking the credit when someone says "WOW.. great pic". That's the suckiest part, because they can get away with it.

So what's an artist artist to do? Remove all trace of artwork from their websites, just to stop people stealing them and taking the credit? You can put up a copyright notice, but who the hell stops to read it when they are on a downloading mission? You can give people the benefit of the doubt, and hope that the majority play fair and by the rules.. but sadly, a few rotten apples always spoil the whole harvest.

Something needs to change, and the "Fair Use Act" which was written in 1974 desperately needs updating, to help artists, and those who like to look at nice artwork.

~ sigh ~

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