Monday, November 26, 2007

Flattered or furious?

I noticed an huge increase in traffic to my website over the weekend. I've been getting a steady amount of hits since the featured artist gig at SCBWI. I do notice a jump when I have a hot post here on my blog, but nothing like this. So at first I'm thinking someone linked my website on theirs, but the stat counter wasn't showing a referring link. Then I thought I'd just keep my eyes open, I'd come across the reason eventually.

But my continuing curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do a Google search. Look at what I came up with! I don't know if I should be flattered or furious! Ok, I leaning toward furious. I clearly have the copyright notice and "These images may not be used without permission." on my website, my blog, and my online portfolio. I was not contacted at any time by this artist (yeah, artist...shouldn't an artist know better?) My name is listed on the index page (with the wrong title for the piece) but it is not to be found anywhere on this page! Look familiar?

What do you think I need to do? Any other artists out there having to deal with this? How did you handle it? Did anyone from Redwood City see this at the festival?


Catherine J Gardner / Phoenix Rendell said...

Wow! I know what you mean about should you be flattered or furious. I have no idea as to the legality of what he has done by copying your image as on the index page it does say original image by... Are you allowed to do that??? In my humble (non-artistic) opinion, your original picture is of a higher quality.

The only instance I've had similar to this is two separate websites lifting short stories off my site and putting it onto theirs (found because I googled myself - sad I know), and one of which leads to a porn site - gulp!

"e" said...

OMG!! I'd be furious!! The guy's t-shirt says "artist." Anybody walking by would assume it was his creation. And the art is movable - is he selling this? I am shocked he didn't contact you for permission. If he is making any money off this, I'm afraid you may have a case.

Paige Keiser said...

Oh my GOODNESS! I would have such mixed feelings about this, but like Catherine said, I don't know if that's a copyright violation or not. There's definitely a feeling of underhandedness since he should have taken the time to ask for your permission either way.

Angela said...

Wow, that would've been really cool IF HE HAD ASKED YOU FIRST!!!
You're right that he or they should have known better.
I have no advice as I know someone with way more experience will comment. But I will be interested to see how this plays out. I'm assuming it is a chalk rendition that was washed away? If it is permanent, I think that brings more problems.
Oh Gail, I hope something really positive comes out of this. Have you tried to contact this "artist"?

Angela said...

Me again. Did he make money on this?
May be time to get a lawyer. Maybe the SCBWI office can help you find one? People are unbelievable!

( word verification code this time is 'anegry' one letter too many for "angry" LOL!)

karen lee said...

I sent him a message - anoyone else want to give him a piece of your mind? His email is on the site.

Boo on you Wayne.

gail said...

Thanks guys. I'm checking into things. That's all I'm going to say right now.

This piece is a sample for a book I wrote and illustrated that's currently being subbed. Too many years of my blood (literally, thanks to an x-acto knife!), sweat, and tears have gone into this project.


Angela said...

I linked this on my blog and I've been grumbling about it all day.

Lisa Yee said...

I saw this via Angela's blog.

Unbelieveable. There's hommage and there's copying. There is no question as to what this is.

paula said...

You SHOULD be outraged, Gail. I would have recognized that image as your's the minute I saw it The guy should have known better in so many respects. Something's happening as the page is down for the link you provided. Let us know what the outcome is, will you please? Man...

Liz Jones said...

Oh my goodness. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it's paying his bills and not yours... I dunno.

Sherry Rogers said...

I am aghast!!! This has made me aware that I need to follow my links. . .wow aren't you glad you followed the link? That is just awful. I would have known that piece of your art anywhere!

Angela said...

Looks like he removed the link from this page too;
I wonder if he had permission from any of the other artists that he copied from?

Ferragus said...

Angela sent me.

You might want to use one of the web archive tools out there to capture what he had up (sorry no source here, but I know they exist).

I think this calls for a first order smack down. He's obviously done a lot of work in putting these together, looks like the courts (or maybe some licensing agency?) needs to tell him that he will need to go one more step and obtain artist approval before doing this in the future.

I stand ready to put (some of) my money where my mouth is, post somewhere we can send funds and I'll kick in a sawbuck or so.

Janice said...

I think you'd have some problem with the long tradition of painters copying great masters.

I don't believe sidewalk artists are paid to participate, fwiw. And as you said, there was a decided upswing in movement toward your blog. I would say you're coming out the long as you hold back on the outrage.

WordWrangler said...

Gail -- I'm sorry this happened. While it may have brought you some good traffic, it's still a hard place to be in.

I hope it's straightened out soon.

Donna E.

gail said...

I certainly have gotten support on this. The traffic is probably part support, part curiosity. I can't imagine it's the same kind of traffic I would get with an official "plug". But then again Lisa Yee stopped by, so it ain't all bad!

Wow, Ferragus! What an offer. I'm not sure how to respond. I'll keep you posted on how things play out.

You know Janice, the difference with duplicating the work of a master is twofold. First, everybody recognizes the work and knows who the original creator was, and second, they've been dead for more than 70 years. That's how long you hold the copyright to your work, in most cases, 70 years after your death.

He has made changes and deleted the images of the Redwood City Festival from his website.

Sherry, thanks! I'm glad it is recognizable to some as my work. As illustrators we spend so much time developing a recognizable style.

Jennifer said...

The link to how he used your art isn't working now-- maybe he took it down? In any case, not even asking is definitely not okay. I'm amazed anyone would even think so!

Good luck.


Connie said...

When your are able, please let us know of any further developments--the fate of the "original", movable piece, any other legal advice or remedies you have received, etc.

Don Tate II said...

The link isn't working! I'm so curious now.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I guess I got here too late. The link to the other person's site isn't working. I, too, had a problem recently when another blogger used one of my poems with attribution--but decided to change some words. I wrote about it at Wild Rose Reader:

I guess it pays off to "google" your own name sometimes. That's how I discovered what happened to my poem.

Momto2 said...

Have you heard anything from them?

Jennifer said...

Gail- I've gone back and made the copyright notice a bit more ominous sounding on my blog because of your experience. (Not that it would really stop anyone if they wanted to swipe something, but it makes me feel better.)

I've tagged you for a meme!:

gail said...

Yeah, the link was taken down. He also sent me an email.

Oh, Elaine I do remember reading about that. There is something called the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) you might want to check into. You can read about it here:

Good idea Jennifer. Thanks for the tag! I'll get to it...umm, sometime soon.