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I’ve been trying really hard to space out my rants, but I just read this (which I also reblogged another version of and encourage you to read) and I couldn’t help it. So you guessed it – rant time!

Sadly, this artist is not alone, not even close. This is more egregious because this person is stealing work of the artist and marketing it, as in, for a profit, which is definitely not cool, but artists get their work stolen all the time in all kinds of ways, all of them seemingly new and different.

Get prepared – it’s legal time! As a side note, I am NOT an attorney, I just happen to be interested in copyright law – I AM odd, true.

Copyright is covered by the aptly named Copyright Act of 1976, as amended (17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq.). According to Section 106 of the Copyright Act the owner of the copyright (in the case of my photographs that’d be me) has the EXCLUSIVE (meaning me, myself, I, only me, not you, not the news, not Jackie somebody down the street, me, got it?) right to (1) reproduce the copyrighted work in copies; (2) prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public for sale, rent, lease, etc. etc.

Number 1 and 2 are the ones that are violated most often for those of us doing photography, I have seen my photos and those of other artists butchered in completely unacceptable ways. It never ceases to amaze me. Many times, these artistic slaughters involve someone taking more time to make the piece of art worse. I mean – what’s the deal with that anyway? You take something that’s completely fine just the way it is and then spend your valuable time ruining it? Why?! Dear Lord in Heaven above please explain to me why you would do that! Hey you people who do that – we artists, who are jokingly called “starving” are in all realty, pretty poor and we derive most of our joy (sick as it may be) through our art. We bleed and sweat and cry and spend hours to make our work beautiful and moving and believe it or not it is like a swift kick in the gut when we see someone DESTROY it.

But in case you didn’t know – here are some things that mean don’t freaking reproduce me, alter me, distort me or SELL me without permission:

  • (c) or © (these are copyright symbols for those of you who have been living under a rock and don’t know what they are). They mean that you should keep your grimy hands off of them unless you’ve been given permission to use them.
Boone

And by the way, copyright infringement includes cropping out the symbol. Out of sight is not out of mind in terms of copyright infringement. Also, in this case, you’d be cropping out half of this dog’s jaw, which is just so not cool.

  • Watermarks, like…this one say:
Baby

Yeah that thing in the left hand corner, that means that this is mine, so feel free to share it on Facebook, pop it on your blog or pin it to your Pinterest, but DO NOT remove, crop, alter, destroy or otherwise attempt to conceal the watermark (or the photo) or I’ll have to give you a beat down.

Or this one…

Remington

Yep this one’s mine too.

  • Logos
Logo

Mine. And believe it or not ANOTHER artist created this, and I PAID him with my own, hard earned money to do it, so definitely do not steal this one.

Hey and guess what else? Fun fact. Even if you don’t see one of these symbols, the photo is still not available for stealing. I guess those crazy politicians when they were drafting the Copyright Act just assumed that people would know the difference between, “Something I made” and “Something I didn’t make”. I know, it’s really hard to imagine someone being able to distinguish between those two things, so that’s why we created watermarks and logos and copyright symbols (well, technically we created copyright symbols to indicate that something has been officially registered with the Copyright Office, but that doesn’t fit well into my rant).

One quick role playing scenario then I’ll stop. Imagine you’re at home, you’re comfy, you’re curled up on your couch, maybe with a nice alcoholic beverage (somehow alcohol always finds its way into these posts). You’re maybe watching a rom com that you’ve pirated when all of a sudden, someone walks into your home, completely uninvited, picks up your TV and walks out with it.

What would you do? Would you be shocked? Would you call the police? Would you pull out your handgun and shoot the f’er? Would you feel justified for whatever action you took? Well maybe not shooting the guy over a TV, that’s a bit extreme, but other than that, of course you’d feel justified! Because you were right!

And I’ll feel justified too if you steal my work and I sue you for doing it. So.Just.Don’t. Copyright Infringement – it’s not cool.

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