Hanging on our kitchen wall is a delightful calendar featuring fairies. It being the third month of the year there are three fairies pretending to be the three wise monkeys. It was produce by an extremely talented artist called Nancy Farmer who lives in the Ooo! Arr! Zider county of Somerset. However, Nancy is feeling far from Ooo! Arr! at the moment due to the Evil Plagiarist.
Last summer I wrote a post about artists learning their skills by copying the great masters and showed Constable’s version of a Jacob van Ruisdael landscape, and Ingres’s copy of Titian’s Venus. I’m sure that Ruisdael and Titian would have been happy, knowing that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, because a) the copies were pretty good and b) neither Constable not Ingres posted the paintings for sale on YeInterWebe claiming “all ye owne worke”.
Nancy, as well as painting fairies, also produces works featuring Medusa. She discovered that an Evil Plagiarist (called Wendy Marani) is producing work based on Nancy’s paintings. I hesitate to say ‘copies’ because the paintings are so bad, but the ideas behind them are clearly those of Nancy. The EP’s versions are priced at $900. I am careful not to say that she is selling them at that price! Maybe if she paid someone that much to take them away ….
Here are Nancy’s two posts explaining her problem:
Obviously, Nancy’s problem with intellectual property theft is just a one off! Well, actually, it isn’t. There is a story going around Facebook (I’ve had it from two sources) about a Canadian wedding photographer called Barbara Ann who had one of her photographs used without permission and, when she challenged this, was accused of extortion. I can’t find a link so I’m copying Barbara Ann’s own words:
“There may be words that need to be eaten in this…or wish they had been. It seems that some of the corporate world believe the work of creative people is up for grabs simply because they show it online.
I am just a little fish. In a big pond. I am the one who stands up for the little guy in the corner when faced with the bully. Well, today I am standing up for rights and the rights of all photographers out there who get their work stolen. Today I am standing up for me.
It’s one thing to have another photographer steal your images and pass off as their own, but it is another to have a big radio station steal your intellectual property and try to blame you in the end. This has been my life the past 24 hours.
The new Hot 89.9 out of Ottawa Canada runs a contest every spring whereby couples get married in the span of 24 hours. I think it is a horrible, horrible contest and devalues marriage. It is certainly a contest I do NOT want my name or branding associated with. Imagine my shock when I see my image on their media/marketing kit info that entices potential advertisers to the contest to pay big bucks to be a part of it.
I contacted the radio station and they did not immediately get back to me. So then I contacted their owner, NewsCap Radio (who own a lot of radio stations across the country). They contacted me immediately expressing that they take copyright issue VERY SERIOUSLY. Well, everything was very serious until I mentioned that they were to compensate me for the illegal use of my image (AND ALTERED USE I MIGHT ADD). That is when the email tone turned negative.
The Vice President of NewsCap Radio offered me $40. When I turned him down, he emailed me the following:
“Barb you were kind enough to provide us with a few definitions. Here is one I just looked up:
NOUN The practice of obtaining something, esp. money through force or threats
You are obviously a very talented photographer, I would stick with that. Extortion is not your thing.
If they would have approached me to use the image, we would have had a chance to discuss the commercial use of it (IF I allowed the use of the image in the first place). However, once the image is used, I am at the disadvantage because the image is already out there.
I no longer want money from them. I instead want this story to be shared and shared and shared and shared. Maybe, just maybe, some marketing person at a company will read it and it will educate them to not STEAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY just because Google barfed it up on their screen.”