In early October, 2013 I was horrified to discover widespread copyright infringements on the internet, of my “Tree of Life” original artwork which I created in 2001. The scope of these infringements has been worldwide. Products were made and offered for sale using my “Tree of Life” artwork. This same artwork was taken and used as avatars and profile images. It was displayed on websites and blogs with sharing, all without my permission and without my knowledge or credit.
Since October, I have had to spend countless hours of time taking screenshots of infringements, writing and sending notifications to websites, locating hosts of websites as well as translating notifications into a variety of languages. It has been a nightmare! It has affected my sleep and my peace of mind, and has significantly cut into my studio time.
Artists BEWARE! This can happen to you. It is NOT flattering when someone takes your artwork and posts it without credit and without your permission. It is painful, and you will wake up in the middle of the night knowing that the integrity of your artwork, your creation has been compromised. You will feel creatively violated!
Users, please think before you take an image from the internet. Remember, SOMEONE created that artwork, and if you can’t find the source to ask permission, DON’T USE IT!
Although I am still in the throes of notifications and removal requests, I have learned a lot from this awful experience. So I have decided to turn it into something positive for other creatives and for users of the internet. In future postings, I will write about tools which have helped me to get removals, as well as how artists can protect their images on the web. I also want to help educate users of the internet to understand and be aware of the damage they cause to the creative community when artwork is taken and used without permission and without credit to the artist. Remember the golden rule. And remember that there are copyright laws that apply to the internet.
My “Tree of Life” artwork ©2001 Marian Osher is filed for registration with the US Copyright Office.