As a follow up to my blog post about me discovering 2 crafters this month downloading my art off the web I want to mention how I know it was clearly mine. Most of my fine art is signed and a lot of my graphic art shows Fig Street Studio on the image. The ones I do that do not have a name on them have clear marks I put in them. For example my Pontchartrain Beach design above. It is an adaptation of an ad run in a local newspaper in the 1950’s. The original black and white image has a clown face and the words “Fun at Pontchartrain Beach” and in the background a hand drawn image of the Zephyr Roller Coaster. My adaptation has a similar clown face I drew, one of the bigger differences is the hat on mine is different than the original and the background in mine is an old aerial photo cut down to one color matching the clown and in different font “Fun, Pontchartrain Beach”. The other Pontchartrain Beach images are fashioned from clip art and me adding in the words Pontchartrain Beach working the images so I know I did them. Those are not based in any historical image of the beach, but me selecting images to use. Pontchartrain Beach is not a trademark and in the public domain, my art work is my work product and thus copyrighted by me. All of it takes time and thought so the people who just download it without permission and use it on products will get caught and I will sue to stop them.
The issue is not new I ran into it in the past and will do a separate blog on the past incidents. However the reason it has happen recently is due to how Cafe Press is presenting the products I sell through them. They recently re-designed the presentation of the products using a larger un-protected image then in the past. The old images were too small and fell apart after downloading then enlarging them. They were so blurry they could not be used. The new presentation the images are larger and do not fall apart as badly so they reproduce up to 4 inches slightly blurry. Large enough for smaller crafts like fridge magnets. I have e-mailed Cafe Press to alert them my images need to have a water mark or be prevented from downloading like other companies do my art on the web.
The recent discover of my art being wrongfully used is gross as a lot of the images clearly have my name, mark, or Fig Street Studio on them yet were reproduced on products I also sell. Thus the person who took them has no work product or time in those images and sells them less. Selling my hard work in competition with me on products I also sell. Copyright is a lot easier to enforce now and so happens my brother-in-law does that legal work. As I no longer practice law, I gave it up to do art, he is consulted when this happens. I just hope the people who hijack my art realize I do things to clearly know it is mine and I take steps to protect my copyright. If you see my art being sold let me know via e-mail so I can prevent the wrongful taking of my art.
Some information on copyright by Brad Templeton-http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html