Artists of all mediums are careful with the distribution of their artistic works. They want to be sure that companies that profit off of their creations financially compensate artists properly and operate in a way the artist approves. Though many New York artists have a great working relationship with companies that distribute their work, there are times when other companies outright steal an artist’s creations for profit. Several artists recently used Twitter to demonstrate just how easy it is for companies to violate copyright law.
Earlier this month, an artist used Twitter to post an image with text that read “This site sells stolen artwork, do not buy from them.” The artist then asked followers to reply to the tweet saying things like “I want this on a T-shirt.” Soon afterwards, the text appeared on several merchandise sites on various types of apparel and products for sale. The artist claims that these sites have algorithms on Twitter that look specifically for replies about T-shirt requests and then steal whatever artwork is being tweeted about.
Other artists tried similar tactics and got similar results. One created an image of Mickey Mouse hoping that the Disney company that owns that character would sue the merchandise sites for violation of copyright. Other artists followed suit by creating images with other logos and characters such as Coca-Cola and Mario from Nintendo video games. Many of those designs were quickly removed from sites and artists are hopeful that the site owners will be more scrupulous in the future.
If an artist has his or her work stolen and used without permission, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. Those artists here in New York with this experience may want to reach out to an attorney who handles cases regarding various facets of copyright law. Doing so may be the best way to ensure that their work is protected and that they receive proper compensation for their creations.