Friday, October 12, 2012

Sharing Responsibly and Protecting Yourself as an Artist

On September 10th I happened to be on Facebook and notice a very familiar print was being shared by Huffington Post Women from their Facebook Page. At first I was very excited when I noticed it was mine - in shock, really. Not so much when I realized that HuffPost had gotten the image from a Tumblr account called A Place For Art. No where was their any mention of the artist, where you could find the original or a link to where it originated from. Luckily, I signed it in Illustrator. But who the heck is e caldwell? Well, I know it's me but the world doesn't. I certainly am not the only e caldwell in the world. So I did what any other Latina, raised by a single mother who grew up in the Bronx would do. I opened my mouth and blasted them for sharing something that does not have the proper credit/link.

Photo courtesy of Society6 - Print alone available on Etsy
Luckily, they were very apologetic and asked if the image was mine, how I made it and then asked me to post the link. Which I did. I thought that was very nice of them, but it didn't solve the problem. The link I posted was in the comments and the image was shared 95 times on Facebook without the proper link to the original artist. When I dove into Tumblr and realized that A Place For Art had reblogged it from another Tumblr who reblogged it from someone else on Tumblr. This image had been blogged all over Tumblr in the THOUSANDS. Sadly,  Not ONE of these blogs included a credit/link to the artist and even more upsetting was that they have no way to contact them via their blog. You can't even comment! That, of course, is because of all the art stealing they do. They wouldn't want tons of hate mail (which you know they would get).

NONE of these artists are credited - Rachael Taylor is included here 

This situation got me thinking about copyright, sharing responsibly, and linking with love. Non-artists love to find art and be inspired by it and post it to their tumblr's/instagram/facebook, etc without so much as a thought about where it came from, who made it, and how much it is. We artists don't work for free. Yes, we LOVE sharing our work with an audience. But it's so that we can inspire and make a name and a LIVING for ourselves. People don't buy our art, we don't make money. We don't make money, we can't make art. It's a vicious cycle. It REALLY ticks me off that blogs like this exist. It wouldn't be so bad if they linked with love! But nooooooo. That would take too much time from stealing art and pawning it off on their blog as their art.

Ice Cream pendant - from my etsy shop
So now I sign EVERYTHING and I am now adding a banner in the photos with my logo and information. I can't stop people from copying my work onto their blogs, but I CAN put my stamp ALL OVER my art. I suggest all my fellow artist's do the same! Protect yourself and your art!

Have any if you had a problem like this? Tell me about it in comments - would love to hear!