'Artist' stole my work Locked

Started Feb 7, 2008 | Discussions
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Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
'Artist' stole my work

I found on the internet a site where an artist was selling paintings done with images she stole from my website (gee, there's a big surprise - no one has ever had that happen, right!!?? LOL). All images had copyright watermark, the page had a copyright notice and the site had a copyright notice.

End of the day, after muchos back and forth, we came to Terms of Settlement and now she has balked. She's received some idiotic advice from some lawyer who has probably never even read the Canadian Copyright Act (he's telling her if she did the painting, then she owns it - WRONG!! Mine the minute she creates it from my image!).

I'm not buying a lawyer a new sailboat this year. I'm going with the 'shock and awe' 'name and shame' approach. I told her I would but I don't think she realizes just how big this is going to grow!!! Even her small-town local newspaper might be interested.

Don't get mad - get even!!
http://www.pbase.com/sjackson/heidiknutson

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Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

PaulWa
PaulWa Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

Obviously, something you said worked --

Her current Bio -

I am temporarily off the website and chose to take my paintings off the site. I have decided that I need to stand back, and look at my priorities, to better myself and my morals. Thank you, Heidi Knutson

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Another time when publicity works. I wonder if she would have an issue if someone photographed her paintings and sold them as their own work?

--
Irish Freelance Sports Photographer
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OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

She posted that on her website right after we had the conversation and came to Terms of Settlement. I advised her that she needed to do some reflection in life as an artist, since no other true artist would steal from another.

Well, she's now had a change of heart and is basically telling me to take a hike. I am now raining down a campaign of shame upon her head. I warned her I would do this, and I cautioned her that it would grow and grow, and she would be very sorry. As photographers, we need to vigorously defend our copyright or else the courts will not assist us.
--
Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

thatemailname Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

Sandra - I'm on your side on this. This cr*p has to stop! Good news is it sounds like Canada has a stronger copyright law than here in the U.S.!

Here's a nitpick - found a couple of spelling/typo errors in your story. Sometimes, poor spelling/typing can needlessly hurt credibility:

"stole" -> Stole (first word of first paragraph)
"chronicalling" -> chronicling
"co-operate" -> cooperate

PaulWa
PaulWa Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

I sent this "artist" an email, just to voice my outrage.

Hopefully you will get justice, since you were very much wronged.

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scottamy404 Contributing Member • Posts: 663
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

Did she take your digital images and run them through a PS filter and print? Or, did she actually paint them by hand? Not that it matters much.

I had never really thought about this scenario before. So it is copyright infringement for somebody to view a photograph, make a painting of it, and then sell it? I see how this makes sense, but I have never really thought about it.

I guess I would have thought that since she made a painting of a photogrpah that the painting would be hers.

THat is really too bad....good thing you noticed.

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

thatemailname wrote:

Sandra - I'm on your side on this. This cr*p has to stop! Good news
is it sounds like Canada has a stronger copyright law than here in
the U.S.!

Here's a nitpick - found a couple of spelling/typo errors in your
story. Sometimes, poor spelling/typing can needlessly hurt
credibility:

"stole" -> Stole (first word of first paragraph)
"chronicalling" -> chronicling
"co-operate" -> cooperate

THanks for the heads-up... I left "stole' uncapitalized as it was the continuation of the first line "This artist" I'll put her details in brackets so it reads easier.
Thanks for the chronicling
co-operate is Canadian! LOL You're so right about the credibility.

Feel free to post your own comment about her behaviour on that site. Would be greatly appreciated!

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Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

PaulWa wrote:

I sent this "artist" an email, just to voice my outrage.

Hopefully you will get justice, since you were very much wronged.

Why, thank you so much!!! It's nice to have the support of my photography brethren. Her stance of arrogance has got me riled now.

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Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

scottamy404 wrote:

Did she take your digital images and run them through a PS filter and
print? Or, did she actually paint them by hand? Not that it matters
much.

I had never really thought about this scenario before. So it is
copyright infringement for somebody to view a photograph, make a
painting of it, and then sell it? I see how this makes sense, but I
have never really thought about it.

I guess I would have thought that since she made a painting of a
photogrpah that the painting would be hers.

THat is really too bad....good thing you noticed.

Nope, read the Notice of Infringement that I've put on the site and it quotes all the applicable sections of the Cdn Copyright Act and explains them.

Copyright means - the right to copy, alter, change. That resides with me the moment I press the shutter (tehcnically no, it's the moment the RAW or JPG lands on the flash card - item must be attached to a tangible medium). Because I have the copyright, NO ONE ELSE DOES so this means they cannot copy alter or change in any way. Certain exceptions regarding freedom of use can apply but not in this type of case. She can't even add other stuff to my image. As long as a lay person could determine that she must have used my image to create hers, that's copyright infringement. When you say "all rights reserved" this means all my copyrights are reserved to me alone. In the US, once someone purposefully removes a copyright watermark and then copies the image in some form, the damages are set at $2,500 minimum, no questions asked.

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Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

Gary J Jensen Senior Member • Posts: 2,204
Re: Derivative Work...

scottamy404 wrote:

[snip]
I had never really thought about this scenario before. So it is
copyright infringement for somebody to view a photograph, make a
painting of it, and then sell it? I see how this makes sense, but I
have never really thought about it.
[snip]

The "infringement" results from creating a "derivative work". Apparently, in this case, the "painting" is close enough to the original photo to make it "obvious" that the painting was a copy of the photo.

Hope this helps.

scottamy404 Contributing Member • Posts: 663
Re: Derivative Work...

That helps. Not that I'm defending the thief (or would do any of this stuff myself....i'm just exploring copyright) I had always assumed that they copyright applied use of the actual image. i certainly see how taking the digital image and runnign it through a photshop filter, printing it, and selling it would be theft. I can see how making a painting of the picture would be theft too now.

I wonder if the artist knew what she was doing was wrong (not that it matters to the court, but it is more evil if she knew), or just thought she'd search for some pretty image on the net and make paintings of them. Again, doesn't really matter it's still theft....one is just more evil than the other.

Pretty lucky that the OP even came across the paintings for sale. could easily have gone on for a long time without the photog ever knowing.

Sounds like the photog could easily put the legal hammer down and get some money. I don't think I would want to be the painter right now.

swissjam Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

I think what she did is awful and I cannot beleive she was unaware that what she was doing.

Did you contact Yessy, the hosting company. It clearly states in their terms of service that:

You agree to not use Yessy to:

7. upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary rights ("Rights") of any party.

She should first and foremost pay you compensation but at a minimum get kicked off the site she was using.

Good luck with this ordeal

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: Derivative Work...

Gary J Jensen wrote:

The "infringement" results from creating a "derivative work".
Apparently, in this case, the "painting" is close enough to the
original photo to make it "obvious" that the painting was a copy of
the photo.

Hope this helps.

Gary, you are perfectly correct on this. She cannot alter my image and place it on any medium. Only I have the right to do that.
--
Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: Derivative Work...

scottamy404 wrote:

That helps. Not that I'm defending the thief (or would do any of
this stuff myself....i'm just exploring copyright) I had always
assumed that they copyright applied use of the actual image. i
certainly see how taking the digital image and runnign it through a
photshop filter, printing it, and selling it would be theft. I can
see how making a painting of the picture would be theft too now.

I wonder if the artist knew what she was doing was wrong (not that it
matters to the court, but it is more evil if she knew), or just
thought she'd search for some pretty image on the net and make
paintings of them. Again, doesn't really matter it's still
theft....one is just more evil than the other.

Pretty lucky that the OP even came across the paintings for sale.
could easily have gone on for a long time without the photog ever
knowing.

Sounds like the photog could easily put the legal hammer down and get
some money. I don't think I would want to be the painter right now.

If you read the main page post, and then the Notice of Infringement, it includes the information that she originally contacted me for permission to use, and when pressed for more information, she disappeared. Painting it without permission was wrong and she knew it. I have written correspondence stating "I know what I did was wrong". She is dumb enough to tell so many lies that she trips over herself and actually makes my case better.
--
Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

swissjam wrote:

I think what she did is awful and I cannot beleive she was unaware
that what she was doing.

Did you contact Yessy, the hosting company. It clearly states in
their terms of service that:

You agree to not use Yessy to:
7. upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any
Content that infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright
or other proprietary rights ("Rights") of any party.

She should first and foremost pay you compensation but at a minimum
get kicked off the site she was using.

Good luck with this ordeal

As stated on the first page, Yessy.com co-operated fully and removed the images when I presented proof of infringement. I think if she tries to resurrect her site, the webowner will be culling her account in short order. I'd actually like it to stay up, as all her images would invite critique. evil grin
--
Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

mottjr Contributing Member • Posts: 551
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

I believe it is important to protect our copyright and support you in that respect. However, let me ask you one question. If you had a serious problem with another realtor in your area and you created a webpage airing your differences as you have with this person, would you possibly be in violation of your code of ethics? How would the realtor community at large view it? I think you have crossed over the line from indignation into pettiness.

I fully expect to get flamed for this, but it has been bugging me all morning.

jim

Ellis Vener
Ellis Vener Forum Pro • Posts: 13,822
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

You need a lawyer. One versed in intellectual property issues. You also need to register your copyrights with the Canadian Equivalent ofthe US Copyright office.

If she is guilty of infringing on your copyrights then you may be due all proceeds fro many sales she has made. I nthe USa the most famous case of this was made by a photographer against artist Jeff Koons. The settlement was very substantial.

I wouldn't worry about making some lawyer rich --if you case is clear cut she'll be the one paying your attorney fees.

I would worry about out and out calling someone a thief in a very public forum. That opens you up to a charge of libel or slander.

I'm not a lawyer and I'm no Canadian but as a working photographer who has had to hire a lawyer to deal with copyright infringement a couple of times those would be my concerns.

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swissjam Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

it is only slander if the claim is false.

PaulWa
PaulWa Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

Ellis Vener wrote:

You need a lawyer. One versed in intellectual property issues. You
also need to register your copyrights with the Canadian Equivalent
ofthe US Copyright office.

Firstly, not every country has a copyright office, and in fact, in most countries you do not need to register copyright. It's an automatic right once you take a photo.

Also, by putting the copyright notice in/on the image itself, shows then that the person making the copy can in no way claim to not know that the work is copyright.

This "artist" is clearly in the wrong.

Yes, I totally agree that legal action should be taken, and that this person should be made to pay all costs involved.

Also, they can't then make a claim for liabel/slander if they are found guilty of breaking copyright, since you are simply stating a fact.

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OP Sandra Jackson Veteran Member • Posts: 3,785
Re: 'Artist' stole my work

Ellis Vener wrote:

You need a lawyer. One versed in intellectual property issues. You
also need to register your copyrights with the Canadian Equivalent
ofthe US Copyright office.

If she is guilty of infringing on your copyrights then you may be due
all proceeds fro many sales she has made. I nthe USa the most famous
case of this was made by a photographer against artist Jeff Koons.
The settlement was very substantial.

I wouldn't worry about making some lawyer rich --if you case is clear
cut she'll be the one paying your attorney fees.

I would worry about out and out calling someone a thief in a very
public forum. That opens you up to a charge of libel or slander.

I'm not a lawyer and I'm no Canadian but as a working photographer
who has had to hire a lawyer to deal with copyright infringement a
couple of times those would be my concerns.

Sorry but nope, it's a Federal Case and I'd have to lash out $60,000 to get it in front of a judge. If I'm awarded an amount plus costs, I have to CHASE her to get the money. It's not just handed over by the Judge. There's a very strong case that she doesn't even have the money (I have friends in the real estate world in her neighbourhood - she's not rich, trust me!)

It's only slander or libel (called Defamation of Character here in Canada) if I state an untruth. She has admitted in writing to taking it without permission. Taking an image, changing it and selling it IS theft, this is why the Federal government has the ability to also lay criminal charges, as mentioned in the Copyright Act. Take without permission = theft. Exactly the same as describing a bank robber. He's a thief - it's a moot point.
--
Sandi http://www.pbase.com/sjackson
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition
from mediocre minds. Einstein

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