My good friend Gayle Mason ("Fur in the Paint") has just been notified that there has been the most outrageous theft of her artwork and breach of her copyright over her animal portrait images by a new member of DeviantArt.
This is the link to the page where the theft and breach of copyright occurs - and this is a link to Gayle's website where the image in question is clearly evident. It doesn't stop there, images are also included of one of Gayle's best-selling cat prints "Eye Candy"
It is Gayle's good fortune that somebody recognised her work and immediately notified her. Gayle is extremely well known in the pet portrait world and regularly posts her much admired artwork in various internet forums as well as having a website and selling her very popular prints on e-bay.
It's maybe predictable that the offending member's posts garnered an avalanche of admiring comments within 24 hours of joining the site. I gather that these are now going to be followed up by a number of comments from people who will be identifying the images as theft.
It's very sad that anybody wanting to share their artwork on the internet runs the risk of having it stolen and misrepresented - and quite possibly marketed independently. Short of making images absolutely tiny and the lowest possible image quality - which is what the up-market galleries frequently do - there is not a lot one can do to stop theft of this sort. However there is quite a lot one can do to pursue those who commit the theft and all the sites which breach the copyright. There's a link in my right hand column to Lorelle VanFossen's blog aticle on "What to do when somebody steals your content". which is worth reading.
I know that Gayle has contacted Deviant Art and advised them of the theft. Let's all hope that by the time you read this post the link to the DeviantArt member's page - and gayle's artwork - will have been taken down by the DeviantArt Adminsitartors and disappeared.
UPDATE: 11.50am (London) The original post was written just about 10.3oam this morning. The situation became worse. It appears that the person concerned also stole Gayle's identity. Many posts were sent to the site this morning by various friends of Gayle's identifying the theft. As a result of the representations by Gayle and her very many friends the page of the person has been taken down and the person whose member name was "vanillafloat" is now no longer a member of Deviant Art. It's very pleasing to see that a concerted effort by a number of people over a very short space of time can get the right result. Now we have the question of what action Gayle takes about the identify theft - apart from calling the police.
Technorati tags: copyright ; copyright theft