My goal is simple: to increase awareness and educate people about the consequences of copyright infringement and provide resources for Creatives (artists, photographers, designers, etc.) who want to take swift and effective action against those who have taken and/or used their work without permission.
Last week a fellow photographer on Etsy sent me an email claiming she saw a familiar photograph on another seller’s store. She provided me with a link…sure enough, I found the seller was using one of my copyrighted photographs to sell some of her products! Not only was it infuriating to find someone using one of MY images to sell THEIR products, but it was a major time and attitude sucker. This person not only stole my creative work…she stole some of my creative time, energy and ideas.
While this is just the latest issue of copyright infringement I’ve dealt with…it certainly won’t be the last. With the advent of new social media/sharing sites exploding on the internet every few months (like Pinterest, Tumblr, Food Gawker, We Heart It, etc.), so too increases the speed and frequency of copyright infringement.
Now before I am told to “get a life” or that I “should not put anything out on the internet that I don’t want to be taken”, I would like to clearly state the following: I am not writing about this issue to simply bitch, raise my fist about the evils of the internet, or be a sounding board of rampant negativity. Rather, my goal here is simple: to increase awareness and educate people about the consequences of copyright infringement and provide resources for Creatives (artists/photographers/designers, etc.) who want to take swift and effective action against those who have taken and/or used their work without permission.
An army of one
I have been dealing with copyright infringement issues for years now…in fact, I have been on both sides of this issue: I have not only been a victim of copyright infringement (don’t get me started), but I have also been accused of copyright infringement (accused of using a Mark Twain quote on one of my most popular images, “taking notes”- more on this in an upcoming post). Ever since 2006, when I began posting my images on flickr and started my blogs, The Crafty-Girl and Creative Collage, I have been a lone warrior fighting an immense army of copyright infringers. I have fought and I have fought hard…but I am tired of fighting as an army of one.
“taking notes” image & text ©kellyangard
My recent audacious experience with blatant copyright infringement on Etsy was the final straw…it was my “I’m mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!” moment (quote from the movie “Network” written by Paddy Chayefsky). I had to take action; I had to do something that was bolder than the actions of the people who have stolen from me. It was time to go public and coalesce a creative continuum against copyright infringement.
As our world changes, so must we
With all this said…I still have to believe that when people are provided information and support, a positive force can spread as far and wide as a negative one. Over the next few months, I will be (1) gathering, posting and linking to like-minded people who either are, or support Creatives, i.e., artists, designers, photographers, writers etc.; (2) compiling a list of resources on copyright infringement; and (3) searching for ways we Creatives can adapt and protect our work while keeping our work online.
Share the love
The first like-minded person I’d like give major props to is artist and designer, Kal Barteski who is not just talking the talk…she is walking the internet walk. Kal created LINKwithlove in 2011, a philosophical movement which aims to educate the public with a positive voice against this not-so-positive issue:
LINKwithlove is an idea that by banding together in a “neighbourhood watch” type way – we, the internet, could teach and learn respect when dealing with intellectual property online. It is our dream that art, music, photography, words, design, ideas, etc – be shared in a way that is respectful, educated and kind. By teaching and supporting the proper ways to share intellectual property – we will make a difference.
We can make a difference…one person and one link at a time. And it’s as easy as posting a LINKwithlove button on your blog or website. Head on over to LINKwithlove.typepad.com and grab one of Kal’s colorfully-designed web buttons and display it proudly. Her designs exude the joyful spirit of a creative soul while clearly stating the importance and VALUE of protecting intellectual property and creative work. Feeling really bold? Make a statement by posting her eye-catching, graphic banner which directly addresses and challenges Pinterest to make some big changes and “rise above the rest…to save intellectual property”. Kal cleverly shows us all how positive reinforcement can be polite and contagious: “Please share it. Please + thank you.”