How Copyright & Trademark Infringement Hurts the Artist & Enriches the Thieves
My art in Kaiser Permanente pediatric center! Fabulous right? W R O N G. Not fabulous, because I never sold this artwork to Kaiser Permanente. I never installed this artwork in Kaiser Permanente. I was never paid for this artwork hanging on Kaiser Permanente's walls, yet it is my artwork.. hell my signature is there for all to read. I am not even sure how the person responsible for profiting off of selling my art to Kaiser Permanente thought I would never find out about this.
I am a mixed media artist who is damn good at what I do. I work from my heart and I create original art that resonates well with people. I create.. I don't imitate and people are drawn to my work because of that. God gifted me a talent and I am blessed to be able to make my living sharing my gift with the world. To be able to earn a living sharing your gift with the world is one of the best feelings one can experience. Sadly copyright and trademark infringement are becoming more common, more egregious and it is becoming harder and harder to earn a living doing what I once loved because of the thieves that steal my images and and use my trademark without permission for their own profit.
Let's face it, we are now living in a society where we don't hold people accountable for their illegal behavior anymore do we? If I was living in California I could just walk in to any store I please steal $850 worth of merchandise and carry on my way. Then, I could go to another store.. and another store.. and another store, all in the same day, repeat that exact process and nothing will happen to me. Copyright/trademark infringement has always been a problem for me but it has not been until the last five years or so that the problem has magnified ridiculously.
Please do not waste your breath making any type of post to tell me I should be flattered that so many people steal my art. An artist NOT being paid for their work is NOT flattering it is theft. The interior designer that was bragging about placing my art in this job has deleted her info from the internet. We did manage to get her to tell us who was responsible for this and where did she purchase this art from. She said the job was run by Deborah Roundtree of Roundtree Visuals. I have never heard of Deborah Roundtree. I've never worked with Deborah Roundtree. She did not buy these works from my company or anyone associated with my company.
The worst part of this story, and why I continually say life for me is like wading through counterfeiters, art thieves, and BAD attorneys, is because rarely will you EVER find an attorney that has the artists best interest at heart. I was told ... "oh yes we will handle this for you as soon as we finish this really big case'. yeah... didn't happen. too many stories like this to count...
Like theart studio in Texas, owned by the daughter of one of our country's most prominent politicians, selling 'Michel Keck masterpiece' art kits with my copyrighted images and trademark in them never asked permission to use my images/name, never received permission, & never paid compensation for use of images/trademark that they profited from.
Or the leading provider of doggy daycare in our nation who learned of my artwork, created the mascot for their company from my artwork with no credit, no payment.. nothing.
Or when FX Network for their show Archer just took my paintings from my website through them in a filter and put them in the animated show because their own artists who draw for a living couldn't manage to make their own abstracts for the walls? Seriously dude your job is to DRAW for a living and you have to lift another artist's works and then not credit them? wtf? How pathetic is that?
Ah.. or the supposed "Christian" artist that stole dozens of my images from my site, ran them through a filter and sold countless derivatives of my work as their own, still earning a living to this day with one of the top U.S. art publishers who knew full well of the court case and how a great portion of the works they were selling of this artist's was all actually my artwork filterized. (let's face it art publishers are some of the biggest thieves in the art world. most will literally pay hacks to rip off popular artist's works because they don't want to pay an artist fair pay). Too many of my artist friends have been the victim of dirty art publishers.
But perhaps the worst copyright and trademark infringement cases the artists are seeing now is trying to fight these big tech giants who absolutely believe they are above the law. Big Tech is in bed with China and our government is doing little if anything to stop it. What artist can truly fight these guys? You send in your DMCA takedown notices and they sometimes comply, or most of the time don't. They know nothing is going to happen to them. Unless your name is Gucci, Fendi or Louis Vuitton what really can anyone do to them. And, if anyone does to something to them the slap on their wrist is going to be so small they don't care.
I will continue to talk about art theft, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and the serious consequences this has on an artist's livlihood.
All artist's deserve to be paid for their work. PERIOD. Our creations and our ability to sell our works are how we earn our living. Each and every time our images are lifted and sold without our permission it harms our business. Each Chinese counterfeit item that circulates with our artwork harms our business. Each time someone uses our trademarks to profit it causes harm to our business. Each time someone sells an unauthorized copy of our artwork not only do we lose sales, but then our name in the industry is harmed from the cheap art that our name gets attached to without our knowledge or permission.
One of the largest copyright infringement and trademark infringement issues successful artists face today is Big Tech turning a blind eye to copyright infringement on their platforms. They believe they are above the law. They are not. Each of these tech giants claims publicly that they take copyright and trademark infringement seriously, but what most artists find is that is nothing other than a smoke screen.
Chinese counterfeits on U.S. platforms is something everyone needs to wake up to. China is here folks... they are on all the major platforms of how you search and buy online and our U.S. government is doing little to hold these platforms accountable.
The artist's who have busted their ass to make innovative, creative and fresh work are being ripped off by wannabe artists or Chinese counterfeiters find themselves in daily games of whack-a-mole trying to defeat the thieves.
Great article at the link below... "Can you think of a single other profession where you assume the person providing the service need not be paid?" https://www.westword.com/arts/artists-deserve-to-be-paid-no-matter-how-much-they-love-their-work-10522580