Stolen artwork? You can seek legal help for copyright violations

It is a common problem for artists: You place an item for sale online, so another person steals the image and begins printing it for sale on multiple alternative web sites. This can be devastating for an artist who is trying to make a living with their work, because their channel for sales may never even be used despite prints of their work being sold to others.

If you see that your work is being sold online, it's a major violation of your rights. So, what should you do? To start with, you need to do a little research.

1. Find out who took your work

The first step is to look into who took the work and to get the links to those websites. If the piece is exact, you're going to have a better case than if it's a similar design. If this is your exact work, though, then you should try to get some more details. How long has the piece been listed? How many have they sold? What price are they charging? This is all helpful for your case.

2. Look into taking action

The next step is to take action against the other party. If someone is selling your work and making a profit, then you can ask the website to take it down and may want to take legal action against the individuals who have illegally sold your work. It can be difficult to do this, depending on where the people are located, but you should be able to ask the website to take down your original work and to stop selling it in the future while you consider further legal options.

3. Talk to your attorney

This kind of situation happens all the time, but the way you handle it can vary based on many different factors. Your attorney can help you send a cease and desist letter to tell the offender to stop selling your artwork. They can also send a letter seeking reimbursement for any profits made from the sales. In some cases, you may be able to seek further damages as well.

When someone sells your art without your knowledge or consent, that's a problem. It's a violation of your copyright and morally inappropriate. If you see that your work is being sold without your permission, it is a good idea to collect information and discuss your options with your attorney.

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