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Auction site rip offs.


inkpad.t

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Again i found another of my works being sold on an auction site, I also found canvas prints of images being sold that are in the public domain that anybody can download and get it printed pretty cheaply, Some people are making a fortune out of ripping people off, The auction site doesn't care, and ask you to jump through hoops before they will investigate the person selling it, all because of money and image of the site. In some cases its almost impossible to prove your the original artist,

Does anyone know of how to combat this ?, or at least put the word out about the auction site without getting sued. How do you copyright your images ? there has to be a way somehow ?, People are losing money because of the cheap prints being offered on the auction sites.

If anyone can help or advise, much appreciated, thank you.
 

Eggy

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Alan, I believe some attorneys don't charge you for a first time advice.
I would start there and hear what you can do...
 

IamSam

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Alan, sorry to hear about this! I've been there and done that!

Does anyone know of how to combat this ?
As we have discussed previously, remove your work from the internet.

at least put the word out about the auction site without getting sued.
I would do this anyway. Let them sue you! Who's going to win that case?

How do you copyright your images ?
Your images are already copyrighted upon creation..........there's really nothing more you can do.

there has to be a way somehow ?
Yes there is, remove your work from the internet.

You are going through the same situation that I went through. Bottom line is to never place work that you DO NOT WANT STOLEN on the internet. On the world wide web you lose!
 

IamSam

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What auction site is this?
 

inkpad.t

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Sorry sam, but I'm over this now, i will just take your advice about not posting something i don't want to get ripped off. not worth mentioning the site, i just replied to your last post.
 

kaffee

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Could you also post about it [meaning, your predicament, particular items infringed upon] publicly to warn others?
There are good sites you could use, such as a blog (Medium,* is one, for serious audience and good coverage)...
======
*I hope posting this isn't going to get me in trouble...
 

JeffK

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Bottom line - there is a way to counter copyright theft but it takes time, money, and an ability to deal with frustration and failure. What any artist should know, the World Wide Web (keep repeating "World Wide") is that it has provided you a marketplace to not only show work in online galleries of yours or someone else's, provided you a place to sell and market your work, but it also provides an opportunity to download and sell that work under anyone else's name and for their profit, not yours. In the few minutes that it takes to upload your work, it takes only seconds for any number of people to download it.

Considering the amount of tracking a site would have to do based on the amount of traffic they get, it would be highly difficult for them to protect your work. That would be your responsibility. Yes, if they knowingly allowed a work to be downloaded without your permission, they could be held as responsible as the one committing the theft. The magic word is "knowingly".

The easiest solution is above - don't post your work online. But that shrinks your market and reduces your ability to develop a following and possibly earn a living from what you produce.

Are there solutions? Time and money are two that you could use to start lawsuits - at the very least to send threatening letters. But remember we have created this world that we live in and so abide by the rules either legal or casual. If you're looking for justice, it's hard to find and expensive to pay for.

Some things you can do (and I'm not a security professional):

1. Don't post your work (I don't like this option either).
2. Keep full records of your work as to when you created it either digitally or good old fashioned handwork.
3, Sign your work. Place a visible signature and try to hide one to prove ownership should you end up in court.
4. Watermark your images.
5. On your own gallery, disable right click option on your work with plugins
(*check out DMCA.com for additional protection - fees apply)
6. Keep your portfolio online small as in number of pieces, size, and resolution. The you can do searches for your work based on image recognition
(I've used Google for that).
7. If you see a piece that belongs to you, start sending emails and letters to the site where it was originally posted
and to the person who's passing off your work as their own.
8. Get cozy with a copyright attorney - most expensive option.

If you post online, accept the risk.

Welcome to the Internet of Things...

- Jeff
 

IamSam

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@JeffK - Speaking from actual first hand experience I can easily go down your list and help you with some factual information that will help dispel some common misunderstandings.

Bottom line - there is a way to counter copyright theft but it takes time, money, and an ability to deal with frustration and failure.
Not necessarily true.

What any artist should know, the World Wide Web is that it has provided you a marketplace to not only show work in online galleries of yours or someone else's, provided you a place to sell and market your work, but it also provides an opportunity to download and sell that work under anyone else's name and for their profit, not yours. In the few minutes that it takes to upload your work, it takes only seconds for any number of people to download it.
Absolutely true.

Considering the amount of tracking a site would have to do based on the amount of traffic they get, it would be highly difficult for them to protect your work. That would be your responsibility.
True

Yes, if they knowingly allowed a work to be downloaded without your permission, they could be held as responsible as the one committing the theft. The magic word is "knowingly".
Not true. If the site utilizes public access, they can never be held legally responsible for what it's participants upload. They can have policies in place in order to offer certain protections. This forum for instance, has rules that you can not ask to have copyright notifications removed. But anyone can upload an image and claim it as their own. For example; uploading an image of a car that has been altered by Ps that has the members name on it. We would not be held responsible for that even if we have knowledge that the original photo of the car was not owned by the member. What a member does to an image outside the forum is their business and not ours. They would be legally responsible and not us. We do our best to eliminate obvious and blatant infringements. Our own paid edit forum is full of copyright infringements.................we still have deplorable members who will do anything to make a buck..........but that's between them and the client, this forum is not responsible.

Knowingly, as it refers to an auction site "knowingly" allowing the sale of stolen works becomes an almost impossible burden of proof. It has some leverage if the auction site has been informed and continues allowing the sales............but there are some legal loopholes even around that.

The easiest solution is above - don't post your work online.
Yep.

Are there solutions? Time and money are two that you could use to start lawsuits - at the very least to send threatening letters.
Threatening letters only work if the thief is easily threatened. Time and money must be expendable for this to have any affect.


But remember we have created this world that we live in and so abide by the rules either legal or casual. If you're looking for justice, it's hard to find and expensive to pay for.
True and well stated.

Now for the list.

1. Best and only option whether it's liked or not.
2. While this is a great idea, it won't help you unless your case resides in your own country. Also remember we live in an age were just about anything can be forged. It will still be a matter of "he says, they say".
3. Signatures can easily be removed or replaced. Hiding your signature could work until the thief learns of the practice, then hiding won't work either.
4. Most watermarking can easily be removed as well. However, some watermarks are much harder to remove than others. Other than #1, it's the best option in this list but still won't work if the thief is determined. Most artists do not want their works on display covered with watermarks.
5. Won't work. This is easily defeated. (I won't give details because I don't want to teach anyone how it's so easily done)
6. Great idea but won't stop thievery. It only limits the number of works that are stolen. If tracking is your intention, once you find work that has been stolen, you are still limited as to what you can do. Post work that you don't care if they are stolen.
7. Most often this will never work. Depending on policies, most websites are not interested in playing the game of "internet copyright police". This forum is one of those as well. Copyright disputes are between the owner of the work and the thief.
8. This will only work in most domestic situations. If or when the thief resides in a foreign country you had better be prepared to shell out very large sums of money with the expectation that nothing will ever be done. Even if you win a settlement, you may never receive any compensation and in most cases, it will not stop the thief.


If you post online, accept the risk.
Best advice!!!
 

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