3 February 2014

a little note to say copying illustration work is not acceptable!


I was going to create a "staying creative blog post" based on my work being copied, (as I had emailed this girl last week asking not to distribute the work along with the lovely Harriet gray who's work is also being copied) but today I received an image and a message that my work has now been printed onto mugs with the below comment under the IG photo. So I thought Now it takes a lot for me to do this, I have contemplated not posting images with the instagram handle but I am so disappointed, I sent countless emails to this girl asking not to distribute work or to share copied versions of my big pop illustration that she has called "Pops" which is a blatant rip off of my work. If you have copied work or have been inspired by something, link me back I get a ton of emails from people a day saying they love my work and are inspired by it and create a similar version in a similar style, people have IG'ed me with similar images with links back to me, I am the original owner of the work its common courtesy isn't it?

To begin with my work is my livelihood, this is how I make my money, this is my life, my work. This is absolutely disgusting how someone can think that this is in anyway acceptable, it is a carbon copy there are no two ways out of it. The girl had emailed me stating "all she does is copy it," with no means to distribute the work then this pops up, it is truly horrendous as an artist putting your work out there, if you are lucky you will inspire someone, but this is just copying. She said she "had no intention of stopping as she didn't see an issue with it." But as this is my business and the illustrations are  under copy write and are licensed out to large companies around the world, I will have no choice but to take legal action if the work is not stopped or removed. That's the consequences...

I understand you can be inspired by artists, thats great i am not disputing that, but to put my work onto products and to ignore email requests from me and other well known illustrators I think its beyond acceptable and this blog post is a very polite version of what I could have posted.
 
Now I don't know this girl, but the other day I put it down to her being young, possibly naive to the whole copy write infringement and plagiarism but to be asked to stop then distribute my work and claim and sign it as her own pretty is damning! ( i had spoken to her in private for a few emails there is only so long you can ignore someone!) There is no excuse, why not say it is inspired by me, link me back, but it is at the end of the day a poor excuse for art. Where as maybe last week she had my sympathy, that has back fired to just out and out anger! You can't hide behind the fact you blocked me from Instagram and then carried on sharing stolen work, the world doesn't work like that and if I am honest I feel very sorry for you.

I didn't want to have to be so bold and put this out there but I have had a enough, yes its not a big company like the stuff Gemma Corell has to put up with, but this illustration has meant I have been able to save up to follow my dream and imagine having that idea, drawing, writing or what ever you do copied and share as if you had never put the hard work in? Either way it is not acceptable and it isn't the best form or flattery it is the best form of nothing but utter blatant piss taking!

This wasn't the only work copied other friends and illustrators had had their work copied and posted. My big pop illustration wasn't the only one ripped off i had the tea cups copied too! I am about to plunge into this full time, this work is how I survive...its not a matter I think should be swept under the cover, I hope next time someone thinks "i will make a quick penny,"  "i'm just giving this to a friend" "it makes me happy to copy other peoples work," please think of the person behind the faceless internet, that this is my hard work! My 4 years studying at uni and my 7 years of working on my portfolio and style before you even think of ripping off someone so rudely! Please don't take the time to attack the girl, yes she's wrong, out of order and rude but it probably won't solve the situation, but thank you for your kind words, support and advice so far.


PLEASE NOTE! I wouldn't normally publicly name and shame but I gave her the benefit of the doubt (several emails) and she flaunted the fact she thought she could hide behind blocking me on Instagram. It's very sad it has come to this. She hasn't recently since we spoke put up an image "inspired by my favorite illustrators" 4 days ago but it doesn't change the fact about 18 hours ago she posted the copied my big pop illo on a mug!
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32 comments

  1. I can't believe the cheek of some people! You are right to name and shame people who are using your work. You've taken so much time to develop your brand Ella, and it's fabulous! It's awful that people don't have enough creativity to design their own. x

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  2. Not cool, it seems only fair that you should bring it to people's attention. N x

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  3. I just tried to search for this instagram page but it's just came up with a message saying "Page not found". Maybe you've gotten through to her or she's just changed names to try stay hidden...? Hope you get it resolved!
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!
    xxx

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  4. I hope she isn't considering a serious career in illustration after making a disgraceful move like this. Awful behaviour and attitude. x

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  5. Thats disgusting. How dare she!

    Anoushka
    Anoushkaloves.com xx

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  6. Ella I'm so sorry to hear this! It must be so offensive for someone to steal things which you have put so much hard work into. I once had a story I posted online plagiarised word for word and I was tamping. The culprit took it down straight away but I was seething for days so I can't imagine how it must be for you! I hope it gets sorted I will always be here to support and fight for you and your work!
    xxx
    Nina from little nomad

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  7. Bloody hell Ella, I feel for you here. This seems to be becoming a constant thing on twitter with illustrators work getting ripped off. I remember at school being told to copy work and such from the classics as it was a learning curb, giving you an experience of a creative release. Although even at 14 I would of understood it to be morally wrong to copy and reproduce for profit the works of artists - I can't grasp how others wouldn't get that too. It's a slap in the face her blocking you though, it shows she's trying to shut you out and she has something to hide, and magically it'll all be put aside. Like you said I don't think she realises how serious this actually is. It's like when clothing companies rip off graphics etc... there has been huge law cases on it. It's not on that scale but the whole point and value still persists. Hopefully she just takes them down and finds her own artistic style because I'm sure she has it.

    I hope it all gets sorted Ella!

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  8. Argh, this makes me so mad. I really hate when people do this, and especially when they don't see the wrong they're doing. I just went through something similar but it was my boyfriends artwork that was being stolen and re-sold. It took him a lot of work to try to get his stolen artwork taken down and I just felt so bad for him.
    Anyways I hope this was resolved because i tried searching for the instagram page and couldn't find it.

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  9. You go Ella!! This lady should be ashamed of herself for stealing your beautiful art work!!! I hope that she gets shutdown immediately!!!

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  10. Oh gosh, this is awful.. I don't really know what goes through someone's mind when they copy someone work and think they can get away with it. I hope this gets sorted out soon but I think you did the right thing bringing to peoples attention, especially after she refused to stop!

    Hannah
    x

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  11. While I don't condone plagiarism or copying in any way - I do think that this outright rant of hatred is somewhat unjustified and really quite hurtful. Having looked at this girls instagram - it would appear that although she copies the work of a few illustrators - she actually ISN'T selling anything. You've cropped off the part of her comment below the mug that clearly states she's not selling them. What's also clear from her instagram is that she's a school kid. So if I'm honest - while I understand the frustration of having your work copied I think you can put her actions down to naivety. And her lack of response to you - most probably down to fear. You're a 20 something professional outwardly threatening a young teen.....I don't think that's just.

    So while I get what your saying - copying work is super bad - I think if I'm honest you've gone about it in the wrong way. You should never name and shame someone like this, ever.

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    1. dear anon

      before you jump on your high horse about me cutting that part of the message out, it was sent to me like that, like i am trying to twist the fact she has copied my work and no where in there did i state she was selling it, she's distributing it, there is a difference she states she can't sell this illo (due to the fact i had already contacted her to tell her what she was doing with my work was bang out of order so she can't sell that specific one but whats stopping her?) so when she states "something similar to this" means to me she would be creating or even copying my other work, I have email evidence of this.

      Don't for one second think I made this in a rash quick moment without thinking about sharing and the consequences on me and on her, I gave her fair warning and got no response. I haven't said I hate the girl, I have spoken to legal people about this and the fact that she is 17 doesn't stop the fact she has knowingly copied my work plus without linking, sharing back to me. Her sharing is not due to Naivety i have emailed her several times with very aggressive emails back stating she isn't doing anything wrong with no intention of stopping, so being the owner of the work, it is in my best intentions and other illustrators who I have known she has copied ( please remember this is my livelihood) to share the fact that this is happening. Please feel free to browse through my blog, as a 20 something professional I have never shared this sort of thing on my blog even though on many occasions this has happened in the past, there is a limit to taking the piss.

      This is in no way a threatening blog post, it is the fact there are consequences for her actions, this work is fully licensed with a major clothing company in Australia people need to be aware you cant just take images and think fuck it no one cares well actually people do. I doubt very much her lack of contact is through fear due to her rude emails in the past. So please before you accuse ME on my blog of being threatening and un-professional you take a moment to think a little bit harder

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    2. I believe Ella handled the situation incredibly well. The age of the girl makes no difference as he was notified of her wrongdoings and chose to ignore them. She had plenty of warning and is lucky that she didn't go straight to legal actions like a large corporation likely would. When I was in high school a girl I was friends with was downloading movies off the internet and her "warning" was a $25,000 fine. She was not as lucky as this girl who just received patient emails. Hopefully the girl has learned her lesson and doesn't receive internet hate. In other news I think you did a great job sticking up for yourself and your brand because I'm sure you had to tame your temper and cool off before you wrote this post as I wouldn't have been able to write it as politely as you!

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    3. "Hopefully the girl has learned her lesson and doesn't receive internet hate." Anon has is completely right, this is disgusting behaviour from anybody, any age, but a "20 something" year old "professional" should know better no matter what your frustrations. I would recommend removing this post as it is seriously damaging to that professional ideal you seem to be working towards. This comment from all the loving supporters sums it up, typical passive aggressive internet community that can't view the bigger picture. What this post has done is spread poison which nobody deserves. You should have resolved it quietly and thus, professionally.

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    4. right lets get one thing straight once and for all, it was never my intention to write a blog post on this girl copying my work 2 weeks ago when it was first bought to my attention and yes i did quietly try to resolve it via email THUS professionally, but after numerous chances to take the work down, sort herself out chose to ignore this and carried on then to print work onto mugs even then i emailed politely asking to take the work down and cease copying my illustrations and using them. Until you know the full facts please don't bother interpreting them and making me out to be some massive bitch...." this is disgusting behaviour from anybody, any age, but a "20 something" year old "professional" should know better no matter" Once again this is your opinion of me, i have spoken to numerous illustrators and artist (yes very professional ones) who have told me that what I have done is correct why should someone who has copied work not face the consequences? they also have done very similar blog posts themselves how shocking?! they were giving plenty of opportunities to change the situation, its my work being copied its my blog and tbh it hasn't damaged my Professional Ideal in anyway shape or form, I have stood up for myself and you know what there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all! If you notice in my other comment back to a faceless anon that it took a lot of time thinking this blog post over but tbh it doesn't matter what i say you have already formed your opinion. This work isn't only solely owned by me but by other bigger companies that are affected. Last thing I have not spread poison I think you'll find having your work copied and then distributed by someone else saying its theirs is poisonous to me and my job and this post will remain on my blog

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    5. Ella i think you are so right about what you have written! And it is absolutely not poisoning but it is clarifying and truthfull!

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  12. That's just naughty! I've had people copy my work, too, and it's just so frustrating! (btw - I think Anonymous is this girls mom!) I couldn't view her Instagram feed either, I tried @deesillustrates and @deesillustration and got nothing.

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  13. Ella I think you have done the right thing by bringing this up. As innocent as people can make out to be, I think it is completely unacceptable. Lack of replying to messages and blocking just stinks 'guilty conscience'. Big companies have gotten away with stuff like this in the past, and it makes me sick every time I see it happen. If people don't like being named and shamed then they shouldn't conduct themselves in such a dishonest manner in the first place. x

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  14. This is really awful. People can say she's young but honestly if you don't know the law by 17 then there's a serious problem. Also, how is she ever going to develop a style of her own if she continues to copy other people? Sorry this happened to you. It sucks big time.

    Sorcha x Bright Field Notes

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  15. GAH what is wrong with people. Stay strong Ella. Your work is unique and beautiful. Remember, to copy is to admire.
    Rosie from Every Word Handwritten x

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  16. This is horrible to see! You create such beautiful work and it is so rude for someone to create your creativity with such disregard. All the best x

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  17. So many artists have to make the difficult choice whether to share their work online. It's great exposure but you're also at risk of art thieves :( I've seen so many artists have their work stolen over the years and it's such a shame. I think copying other people's work is acceptable if you link back to the original artist, and never try to sell it or claim it as your own.

    I couldn't find the girl's accounts on Instagram so hopefully she has learnt a lesson. She's a good artist though; she just needs to use her talents better! I hope it all gets sorted and that you can move on :)

    Peppanip

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  18. I am so sorry for you. I love your work - tis so original + full of your character - I can only imagine how horrible it must be to have someone steal that! thinking of you x

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  19. I am so sorry. I hurt for you. Thank you for being open and bringing this up. It is a fear for anyone putting their work out there. I love what you make by the way.

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  20. Why do people do this! :( I do craft fairs, with my handmade items - people stand right in front of me and talk to their friend about how to copy what I've made :( last time someone got their husband to sneak a photo of something - so so horrible!

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  21. I just can't believe some people. I'm really sorry it's happening to you. I seem to see it happen more and more nowadays. Your work is so original and creative. She should be ashamed of herself x

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  22. It's pretty shocking to read this all Ella, unbelievable really at how naive she started off sounding but ended up just coming off as a complete pillock and very narrow mind. Let's hope you're over the worst now and the situation is sorted asap.

    Buckets & Spades

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  23. I mentioned on Twitter my disgust but just wanted to reiterate that, I feel so bad for you, I know how heart-wrenching it is to have this happen, this is your baby afterall. Last year I discovered a clothing brand using one of my illustrations for their logo by chance. Her excuse was that she found the pattern on Weheartit and thought everything on that site was free to use because it's just something on the internet?!? I don't know if her ignorance was sincere but I basically told her she needed to take it off everything now or pay me for non-exclusive rights. As she had quite a big set up she paid. Funnily enough it was a piece of artwork I'd gone off a while ago and withdrawn from sale everywhere so if she'd asked me for it straight out I probably would have just said go for it, but because she stole it I made sure I got payment on principal!!

    Anyway, despite that being something I wasn't even fond of it hits you right in the gut so for it to happen to you with something you love dearly and actively sell I can just imagine the anger it's causing.

    Really hope it gets sorted out and if there's anything I can do to help feel free to give me a shout. <333

    Raffles Bizarre Blog

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  24. I don't know if I know enough to know anything, but I was listening to Original Recipe on This American Life the other day, about attempts to replicate the taste of coke. Some dude at coke said "let 'em try". We're all the products of what we see, right? If you get copied, like someone said above, take it as a compliment. If they do it better than you, then bummer. If they make fifty quid, then good for them, it's small potatoes. If they make a lot more, then you must have been doing okay in the first off. Fact is, they might steal the ingredients, but they ain't got the recipe.

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  25. It must be so frustrating! Just know that yours are better than hers! x

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  26. There are no excuses for copying work, ignorance is not an excuse. This happens so often, I really feel for artists. Just because its on the internet doesn't make it free.

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  27. Please do take legal action! People need to be aware that intellectual property is a real thing! I don't know if you know about Maria from MsDrifted Snow White, but a big drugstore (cough cough) took her picture on her blog of their brand name's mascara to publicise it on their counter... She sued them and she won ;) Gee I'm angry now for you!

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Ella
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