Saturday, April 19, 2008

internet art theft

The internet, by and large, has been a good thing for art. First of all, artists can post, advertise, and sell art online. THen you've also got places like deviantArt where artists can receive critiques and sell prints, and Etsy, where artists and artisans can sell original pieces in a community setting. There has, however, been a downside. While putting themselves and their work online can be an opportunity for gain, it can also be an opportunity for others to steal your work.

In the past few years, I've seen it a few times. First with the Todd Goldman fiasco, as well as repeated instances of images taken offline and used in t-shirts. But this most recent one strikes me as a whole different kettle of fish.

On Wednesday, Darren Di Lieto, who runs an online community for young, up-and-coming artists and illustrators the called the Little Chimp Society, posted the following on his blog:

"Last week a British illustrator called Jonathan Edwards informed me that he had come across a book that contained his illustrations along with other illustrators work. He contacted me because the book is also riddled with interviews that he recognized as being the interviews I conducted for the LCS."

He goes on to write that in addition to the book itself, there is an included CD-ROM containing the images, implying that they are clip art available for free use, which is certainly not the case. Illustrator Joe Wierenga, in a letter written to the Graphic Artist’s Guild, continues:

"We are not getting anywhere. The name of the publisher and the ISBN number given in the index are both fake. The phone number given is actually for an air filter company. The address of the Publishing House is in Hong Kong. The distributors are located in Japan and Spain, and are thus far being uncooperative in helping us locate the publisher. Unless we are able to track down the culprit, there seems to be no legal recourse available to us. And they have been very thorough in covering their tracks."
The book is called "Colorful Illustrations 93°C," (see cover above) and the art director listed is Bernadette J. Although I haven't been able to find it available online, Di Lieto purchased it for $100 and photographed the entire thing. If you Google "Colorful Illustrations 93°C" you receive a list of illustrators saying the same thing: Do not buy this book!

h/t Nati

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