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The Ultimate Online Art Thievery

posted in Home Jabber on April 21, 2008

do not buy this bookI've had quite a bit of bad luck with people using my art without even contacting me, some even using it to advertise their business in the local weekly (without any credit of course). When asked about this, they've either claimed ignorance and said "oh, I didn't know where we got that art! I totally would have asked you" or just don't respond. The best I've got out of one of these confrontations is $50 of free coffee.

For some reason my hackles always rise when I hear about people "heavily borrowing" other people's ideas, whether it's a blatant ripoff of a website or an obvious copy of a short video. (One recent example being Human Giant's Piņata skit being eerily reminiscent of the mun2 Piņata's Revenge. Or, while we're on the subject of MTV ganking my employer's work, their usage of a mun2 Daddy Yankee photo on their Blogamole raised a ruckus in the office, especially considering it's not credited. I have a feeling it won't be up for long.)

ANYWAY, I just heard of some nefarious thieves who scraped the contents of [Darren Di Lieto's] website and published it [in] a 350-page book being sold online for $100. OUCH.

I mean, borrowing ideas, or printing a few pieces of art is one thing -- but publishing a whole coffee table book without one scrap of permission from the artists and selling it for $100 is a new low. There's a common sentiment I gather from people along the lines of "everything is online and therefore free to use, right?? I can see it right there, and drag it over to Microsoft Word and print it out, what's wrong with that?"

Well, nothing, unless you plan on making money on it. But even if you don't, it's always generous to contact the artist and ask them if it's ok, in the very least.

Sadly, there's little retaliation one can do on the typical popcorn (and I'm not talking Theater Popcorn) budget most visual artists exist on. About the only thing you can do is a massive smear campaign to spread the word about the thieving, which is what I hope to help with here. Good luck fellas.

5 comments on this entry

what can i say? i am dumbfounded. that is so... brash? assholish? insane!?

as someone who, say, supports pushing boundaries of copyright for the sake of collage or detournement... just plain ripping someone off -- let alone for money -- is just beyond the bounds of absurd.

i will try to help smear. :C

jon 4/21/08

human giant didn't rip anyone off:

imdb link…

Hector 4/21/08

Ya think that's how musical artists feel about the file sharing "services?" Or how about the greatest idea/product/art ripoff artists of all, the "entrepreneurs" of China?

The Web is the Wild West of idea thievery - post it and it will be stolen!....and there ain't no sheriff in town.

DDO 4/24/08

Someone wrote me recently to tell me they were getting a tattoo of the image from one of my prints. (Tell me, not ask me.) I noticed they didn't bother to actually purchase said print, they just saw it on my website. Judging from the exposed arms at Stumptown this last weekend, art theft for tattooing purposes is nothing new. However, to turn around and make a profit off of it really pushes it beyond the pale. How did these thieves get so many hi-res images off this guy's website? Is the entire book published at 72 dpi?

Fortunately, the same medium that leaves art vulnerable to theft also allows the word to spread virally and globally when said theft occurs. I hope enough people read about this in some form or another to cut this one off at the pass, at least.

Sarah O 4/29/08

Hey, the Daily Mail does it...

Jeff 5/2/08

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