Monday, February 18, 2008

I've been robbed! Help!!

Remember how I made that graphic for my possible "Indie Rock Prom" a few weeks ago? (Refresh your memory.) Well, a friend of mine from the HOW Design forum sent me a message to let me know that he saw my graphic in a free local newspaper. I wasn't really sure what to think, but when he scanned in the article for me to see, I started to get a little upset!

Check it out:


Article on left, my image on right.

So there's no doubt that they just took my image and used it. It hasn't been changed in the least. My question now is, "What do I do?" Should I contact the newspaper? Should I just blow it off because it's not that big of a deal? Should I be flattered that they liked my kick-ass graphic and used it without my permission??? Help me!

16 comments:

marzi said...

you absolutely need to contact the newspaper. not only to let them know that one of their members "lifted" your artwork, but also to make sure that this person doesn't do it to anyone else. people need to know that they will be caught! it's a very small world.

Kat - Taylor Made designs said...

I agree,you should contact the newspaper. I would do it in a very respectful and friendly manner, saying you weren't sure if they knew that someone used your artwork without your permission... and that's kinda a no no in the world. {i'm sure you'd handle it in this don't mean to come across saying I think you wouldn't!} but you don't want them on the defense... plus, i've learned, you get so much more out of life when you tackle things in a non-aggressive manner. But hey, that is just me :) Good luck. {oh you should be flattered too!}

Rachel said...

ah! I can't believe that! I agree that you should contact the newspaper. Let us know what happens!

Anonymous said...

I'd send them an invoice for the use of the image.

miss.supafly said...

I agree -- you have to say something to the paper. Be prepared with some sort of action for them, like a price they can pay you for use of the image for this one time and then any future uses.

How shady can people be?

Mary said...

Yeah, they can't get away with that! I mean, you could have had plans for that graphic. I would contact the paper and refer them to the dated link with your art. Then, if I would, indead, ask that you be paid for the usage of your illustration.

This sort of thing is one of the downfalls of internet sharing :( Keep us updated!

Jules said...

Contact the paper and send them an invoice for the use of the image. If you have any problems drafting the letter, you know where to find me. ;)

Michelle said...

The other comments say it all....definitely contact the newspaper! They have no write to take your work without permission. Let it be known so they can inform their staff member...big no no!

phil said...

I would recommend informing them about the use of your work not only without your permission, but without giving you any credit.

Though it limits your rights somewhat, maybe look into getting a Creative Commons license and keeping it on your website. Basically, it takes the implied 'all rights reserved' and changes it to 'some rights reserved,' but it does so in a way that is public and people can click on the website to learn more about creative commons. It's sort of an "open door" policy that opens the door to others using your work on the condition that you get credit for it (i.e. a mention in name or a link to your website). Check out their website for more info:

whitney said...

Wow Mel, that's blatant! Definitely contact the newspaper about it. How irritating!

Kate said...

Newspapers take copyright violations very seriously and I'm sure they'll be very upset to hear that someone has stolen from you and used their publication as a vehicle to do so. Be sure you are speaking to someone in power like the section editor, the managing editor, or the editor-in-chief. This opens them up for lawsuits, so management won't take it lightly, but someone lower on the totem pole might be too busy to give it the attention it deserves. Good luck! Please keep us updated!

nadine-a said...

Oh my! I'd FOR SURE contact them. Whomever ripped you off will most likely do it again if not taught a lesson. He or She is getting paid for work you've done - and you haven't been.

Let us know how it goes.

*Lake Louie

miss.supafly said...

Hey! Just curious to know if you ever addressed this and how it went. I hope you nailed the jerk who stole your stuff! ;)

lew! said...

so wha' happend?

jhw said...

Hey Melissa,

I've recently been doing a lot of my own patent/copyright research. Basically, you have a copyright on something the moment it is put into a "tangible" form (in this day and age, you don't actually have to be able to touch it though). Without having a copyright registered with the government, you are still entitled to statutory damages up to $5000 (I think).

You'd have to have some proof (like any timestamps on your bulletins/comments) that you created this image first.

On the other hand, they know that not many people will go through the cost and aggravation of taking someone to court over it.

Basically, I'd call the editor of the newspaper and tell him/her about it. Don't be aggressive. Be Dominant. Read up on the copyright laws and suggest to them that you know what you're entitled to.
(by the way, this is Jim. I'm new to the blogspot.)

Darren Kiely said...

wow, sorry just saw your blog, and I was just discussing this with a mate today. Im worried about the same thing..being a small artist/designer and the big brands stealing ideas...This industry has so many un talented people in it theey just have to use others ideas.. BASTARDS...