Friday, November 27, 2020

Is your artwork on the "National Wildlife & Nature Gallery" website?

It's been brought to my attention that there is a relatively new website about wildlife art - which appears to be infringing the copyright of leading wildlife artists (i.e. using their images without their permission.)

NOTE: This is now a success story - the website has been taken down. Read how below.

The (free) website of the National Wildlife & Nature Gallery

By the look of it this is a website put together by people who are 

EITHER wholly unaware of:
  • the legal rights of artists which they are trampling on 
  • the trouble they could get into if the website stays up and/or they actually manage to raise any funds!
in which case they need disabusing of the notions they have about what they can and cannot do.

OR are knowingly perpetrating a serious scam and abusing the copyright of several leading wildlife artists - who I can identify - as in cutting off copyright notices from images.

OR both i.e. trying to make money via fundraising and are ignorant of the proper processes  - which can get people into VERY serious trouble!

Whatever the background it's very clear that it contains a lot of images - on both the website and the twitter account - which have not been used with the permission of the artist. 

Plus there is no reasonable fair use exemption for their usage - particularly when fundraising is involved.

The National Wildlife & Nature Gallery website


You can find the website at https://www.nationalwildlifegallery.org/. It's on Wix

It states that it's 

The National Wildlife Gallery fund raising project and website.
We also promote wildlife art through our social media to raise awareness and funding to create a national gallery for wildlife and nature art, for future generations to see and enjoy.
There is also 
There are:
  • no names in "about us" 
  • no formal organization behind it
  • no plan of action
Some of the images have definitely NOT been provided with the artists' permission

Some of the images have had their copyright notices removed.

Some of the affected artists are very annoyed - and are taking action!

UPDATE: THE WEBSITE HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN AND THE TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS BEEN CLOSED.
Harriet Mead, President of the Society of Wildlife Artists and I spent 2-3 hours yesterday afternoon chasing after this scam. 


Harriet and I both wrote to the owner and then she alerted the artists whose artwork she recognised and I wrote the blog post telling them how to report the abuse - and the website was taken down about 4 hours after we started.  Thanks too to all the artists who reported the scam to the relevant organisations (see below)

WARNING TO SCAMMERS: Do NOT mess with the copyright of wildlife artists!
We have ways of getting your websites taken down - by you or others!

Report abuse 


If YOU are an artist whose artwork is on the website without your permission you can report the abuse in one of two ways - neither of which involves the owner of the website.

Basically you need to do a formal "TAKEDOWN NOTICE". This means:
  • identifying who you are
  • the content which abuses your copyright - and the URL link it can be seen on
  • how you can establish that it is your original artwork i.e. provide the URL link to your website (or whatever) on which the image appears
  • stating that this image is owned by your and has been used without your permission.
  • asking them to take down the content as it abuses your copyright
The key thing to understand here is that both website hosts (eg Wix) and domain name registrars are 
  • ALSO RESPONSIBLE IN LAW for any copyright infringement and 
  • must act with expediency to make sure the content is taken down.
If a lot of people report content abuse, the chances are one or the other will remove the website.

Report to Wix

Wix has terms and conditions which indicate what you can and cannot do on their websites.

As an artist you can report an abuse of your copyright via Wix's  Abuse & Rights Infringement Reporting system

Report to the domain name registrar

This is the whois info for the domain name https://www.nationalwildlifegallery.org/


The domain name registrar is https://www.networksolutions.com/

They have a form for reporting abuse https://abuse.web.com/ - in terms of content being contained on a website which has no business being there.

Report copyright abuse to Google


You can also report the copyright infringement to Google - but as I found out recently Google is VERY SLOW! 

( Although the blog which copied mine has now been taken down and that URL will not not be available for future use! )

Learn more about copyright


My Art Business Info for Artists has a BIG section about Copyright for Artists.

This includes pages about 

The best way to create and support wildlife art

The very best way to support wildlife and nature and promote associated artwork is to 
  • work with existing REPUTABLE organisations and 
  • those who know what they are doing i.e. 
    • know what they can and cannot do
    • respect the copyright of wildlife artists
NEVER EVER give any money for wildlife or wildlife art to:
  • unknown organisations / individuals (note the website does not identify who they are by name)
  • any amateurish websites 

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