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You all may have noticed that I've stopped posting artwork here. Part of that is due to the fact that my output has been drastically reduced thanks to a job that takes most of my artistic energy and doesn't leave me a ton of time for personal projects. Part of that is due to the fact that I've turned my spare time artistic efforts toward a writing project that I hope, someday, to publish in one form or another. 

But a BIG part of it is this: I'm so, so, so tired of being ripped off.

For the second time in the last week I'm having to file a DMCA, this time with Amazon.com, because some asshole has taken something I made and is selling it on a t-shirt. Before this, same image was being sold on Society6 by someone else. These are only the tip of the iceberg. I've had my art used on book covers without my permission, trading cards, and too many t-shirts to count. I had a guy contact me after the fact, to write me a novel explaining why my art was so damn good he had to copy it and do a crappy version of it for a backdrop for some band thing he was working on. Someone else did the same thing with my Red Queen, only they wanted it for Burning Man. With my current day job keeping me busy I don't have TIME to hunt down every single person who is selling my artwork. 

The time has come to start thinking about taking all of it down. Or at least slapping massive watermarks on everything. 

I know that those of you who are reading this are not the people who are stealing my work. I hope. 

But I'm so, so tired of the people who do. It makes me want to stop posting my artwork online. It makes me want to pull down every piece of fan art I've ever done because bizarrely, that's what keeps getting sold on T-shirts and shit. I wish I had the money to hire a lawyer and sue the pants off of every single jackass out there who thought they'd make a quick buck off my back. Or the back of ANY artist out there who keeps finding their work being sold by someone who isn't them. 

I'm going to start with watermarks. 

This is why we can't have nice things. 
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:iconnanaleonti:
nanaleonti Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2016   Digital Artist
-hugs- I know the pain :C Hope you get this sorted soon <3
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:iconsirielle:
Sirielle Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2016   Digital Artist
I'm sorry to hear all of this :( I hope to see new art from you with time and one day see the writing project becoming reality :) Fingers crossed! :fingerscrossed:
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:iconsaliseiren:
Saliseiren Featured By Owner May 31, 2016
Complete and total support from my little corner of the Interwebs. That is the exact reason why I took down my novel work, sketches, and poems. I am so so sorry you had  to go through this!
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:iconsheeeva:
Sheeeva Featured By Owner May 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Watermark the sh!t out of everything!!!
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:iconnathie:
nathie Featured By Owner May 29, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I understand it completely. I have been ripped off in similar ways, and my second job is writing. My books are on illegal download sites and grabbed from there while I try to pay my bills. This is not fun at all. 
Sadly, even watermarks can be retouched, and all your artwork that has a small or no watermark on it won´t vanish from the internet - somewhere is loading it up again and again. So, watermarking older pics is not really helpful. :(
Good luck. I wish I could afford a lawyer too. 
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:iconkalia24:
Kalia24 Featured By Owner May 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
My pieces are nowhere near being as good as yours, though I did have such situation several times and I confirm - it's annoying as heck.
You put your work, your time into something; you train, you learn, try over and over again.
And then you find someone putting up your work as their own (either for profit or fun).
Paradoxically - I'm happy I don't make my whole living off my art: just because of such situations...
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:iconspitfirefae:
SpitfireFae Featured By Owner May 29, 2016
I agree, this is why we can't have nice things. As much as I love your artwork and would hate to see you take it down, whatever you decide, know that I and everyone else who never think of stealing your (or anyone's) artwork, wish you the best. 

People are jerks!
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:iconanenchantedspirit:
AnEnchantedSpirit Featured By Owner May 29, 2016  Student Traditional Artist
I am sorry this happened to you. Watermarks are really a good idea, but sadly it doesn't completely stop the stealing. I have seen works with the watermark of the artist showing on other sites.

People can be a real pain, but I know it isn't DAs fault. Is the fault of a society of "me me it's all about me" people. Sadly that is what it has become.
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:iconbattykari:
battykari Featured By Owner May 28, 2016
You watermark it up. 
It's not right that you have to do that, but I don't think that any of the people who really admire and care about seeing your art will mind one bit. 
I haven't had art stolen, but I have reported seeing stolen art being used on shirts and cell phone cases various times. I wish there was more I could do personally to stop people from stealing artwork from talented people like you who work hard, but the best I can do is keep my eye out and reverse google search un-sourced or suspicious images in order to report and expose the plagiarizing frauds of the internet. 
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:iconpinkatron2000:
Pinkatron2000 Featured By Owner May 28, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I just don't understand in this day and age why it's still an issue. "Is this yours?" "No." "Then DON'T STEAL IT." "Oh, okay." There's no excuse, it's not flattery. It's heartbreaking, especially to the artist. <3 
Reply
:icondreamingexperience:
DreamingExperience Featured By Owner May 28, 2016
Yeeeep. And also why a lot of artists charge for unwatermarked files as well.

A person who truly enjoys your work will make sure that they pay for it in the appropriate manner. Anyone who does otherwise is not a true fan. They're bottom scraping moneymongers.
Reply
:iconkeight:
keight Featured By Owner May 28, 2016
Go for it Mel! Personally, I am so sick and tired of hearing my friends and associates having to deal with this. Theft of our art, which is our livelihood (that means our ability to feed and clothe ourselves people), should be treated as the felony it is.
Reply
:iconlady-cobweb:
Lady-Cobweb Featured By Owner May 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
You have to do what's best for you and your art. No one who follows you would ever blame you for watermarking your work, you have to to keep it safe if you're going to keep it here. I've seen more artists leave this site in the last year and a half because of this same issue, it's sad but necessary for them. If it becomes necessary for you to leave as well, know that we all will support your decision. :hug:
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:iconj-mobius:
J-Mobius Featured By Owner May 27, 2016
:/ 
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:iconthebrassglass:
TheBrassGlass Featured By Owner May 27, 2016  Professional General Artist
There's a special layer of hell for art thieves.
Reply
:iconpensivesoprano:
pensivesoprano Featured By Owner May 27, 2016
That is ridiculous. I wish that you could safely post your artwork without someone thinking it's okay to steal it. Do what you need to do, put the watermarks on it. And if it ever comes to the point where you feel like you need to pull down your artwork to keep it from being stolen, we'll support you in that decision, too. I hope it gets better. We're here for you.
Reply
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