I recently joined a linkedin group that discusses copyrights or to be more specific, copyright infringement. Needless to say in the age that we live in…this group is extremely active. It can be so disheartening to realize that someone has taken your art and used it as their own or even worse, is using it to make a profit for themselves! Even as an art student I innately knew that copying someone else’s art was wrong. This did not prevent me from copying John Singer Sargent’s watercolors in an effort to teach myself how to paint better but certainly it stopped me from acting as if it were “original” in fact it stopped me from even showing it to anyone. But what about the people that have never picked up a brush? Do they understand how life draining it can be to have ones art copied and used without permission? I am not sure they do understand. This group of artists and I are banding together to do some friendly educating. We politely want to inform younger artists/crafters that it is not ok to copy someone’s art and sell it on etsy and we want to (not as politely) give notice to bigger businesses that the internet is a powerful tool and if you are using art without permission or payment-shame on you-you will lose customers, period. We want to encourage art teachers to make teaching “originality” as a part of their curriculum, talk to students about copyright laws, use examples right within the classroom. Discuss how disheartening it can be to have artwork copied or “stolen.” Let’s teach younger artists now! And yes, I did use the word stolen..the evil right click. The letter of the law is that if I create it, I own it. I may sign that ownership away or “lend” ownership for a certain amount of time to someone, that is what people do in licensing. I give “limited use” for my art to be on products so we both make a profit. That is the simple version of what an artist does but can you see how awful it is for everyone if someone takes the art that I have created and makes a profit without my knowledge? It can hurt me and the people that I partner with. Here is a terrific website be your original best that promotes a copyCAT free artistic industry. I am going to add the button to my blog. There you can read some artists personal accounts and frustrations with this issue. One artist who is really addressing this issue is Terri Conrad. You can find her here . Tomorrow a large group of artists are all taking part in a blog hop to discuss who INSPIRES us in our creativity. Inspiration and copying are very different and tomorrow, I will talk about how I am inspired by other peoples art so you can see the difference. Until then, here is a little Cardigan Girl from Monica Land that encourages you to Find Your Own Voice!
Where the top visual artists in the industry hang out.