You all know I am NOT one who ruffles feathers, but I simply must speak out. I have the cutest artwork that a friend of mine made for my business and I use for my logos. Simply put, people are stealing it and that’s not cool. My only real recourse is to use my social media reach to try and put a stop to it.
Here’s the backstory – years ago I commissioned a friend to make this first piece of artwork for me and I paid her for it. At the time I did NOT own the EXCLUSIVE rights to this image – only the original drawing and an agreement that I would use it for my website, etc. That meant that she could sell prints of this image to other people. She sold a few, no problem.
Once I began to gain a larger following, I noticed that though my friend had sold a very limited number of print copies of this first image, it began popping up in other people’s websites, newsletters, instagram avatars, and even as a large sign a physical store. NONE of these people, I repeat NONE of the people who were using the image had purchased it from my friend (I checked into it.) They were simply “borrowing it” because they found it “somewhere on the internet.”
Due to people using this first image without permission, I decided I needed a new image. So I commissioned my friend to create a slightly different version that better fit my brand (a quilt under the sewing machine instead of just fabric). This time I was upfront about wanting to buy exclusive rights to the image so she wouldn’t sell it to anyone else. It was a friendly deal, I paid her for the rights and all was good. Because she knew I was using the second image as my branding, she actually agreed on her own to stop selling the original image, just because she’s my friend and she’s nice that way. Like I said, she had only sold a few anyway.
So I know you all are thinking – why didn’t I watermark it? First and foremost because that would have distracted from the images. Yes, I can probably go back and add something to the images now, but that won’t solve the problem of the original ones that are floating around there now. Also, when I’ve shared the original artwork on my site, it has the artist’s initials on it. People are simply cropping that out. As a matter of fact, I’m working on some more branding now and my graphic designer is incorporating my name right into the artwork to try and prevent this in the future.
Some current rebranding in process – see the @christaquilts my graphic designer added?
Yes, I could hire a lawyer to send out cease and desist orders, but really that’s very time consuming AND expensive. Not to mention the fact, that most of the time people are notified of the infringement, they do take it down and always cite ignorance.
So it all boils down to you. Many of you have been so fabulous to let me know when you see someone else out there using my images. In fact, in all cases of copyright infringement, it has ALWAYS been a follower who sees them. I’m blissfully ignorant of it ever occurring. Thank you so much for being my eyes and ears out there!
This may continue to be an uphill battle, and l’m not quite as concerned with the original image that’s being “borrowed” as much as I am with the newer logos. But, please continue to inform me if you see someone out there using any of them. With a little social media pressure, we can hopefully keep the
stealing borrowing to a minimum.
I will now return to my peppy, happy, non-feather-ruffling self 🙂 Thanks for reading!