Welcome to BEHIND THE SCENES AT STUART NG BOOKS. New reader? Click on sidebar post "Your Guide.." Stuart does NOT write this blog. All the posts and opinions here are Amy's alone. This is SNB from the POV of the Bride of Bookseller. I'm here to advocate for indie artist creative rights and share resources. Aloha and thanks for visiting!
meanwhile here are some quick pics from a fun visit with Eisner and Angouleme award-winning artist Juanjo Guranido. Junajo is best known for his art for the Blacksad series. Stuart Ng Books was the first US bookstore to import this popular french comics series --- which is now also available in English.
Juanjo appeared at SDCC at the Big Wow booth, and before he flew back to Paris, he made a special stop to see Stuart. Their time together at the showroom was brief, as Stuart was on his way to Dreamworks to provide the books for the last of 3 industry-related post-con signings with the artists from Secret of Kells (yes, they signed three days at our SNB booth at Comic Con too .... more on that coming soon). This was also one of the first books Junajo added to his own SNB purchases:
Since we are just off the freeway, and close to both LAX and Long Beach airports, we have several patrons who will stop by when they are en route.
Stuart was able to show Juanjo some particular books and artists that appealed to Juanjo's interest in classic illustration. They often meet up at the Angouleme comics festival ... or in Paris afterwards ... but this was Juanjo's first visit to our showroom.
"I could spend two years here!" he exclaimed as he explored the shelves of books and made his stack to take home.
Included in his purchases was this book -- Illustrating Modern Life: The Golden Age of American Illustration from the Kelly Collection.
Working on Post regarding San Diego Comic Con 2014. Meanwhile, here are some online pics of folks costumed as Maleficent .... I actually saw the person in the earth-toned outfit at SDCC and it was Amazing!!!
For info on the many sketchbooks Stuart purchased at the show... and will have for sale soon on the SNB website, here's the link for Stuart Ng Books: http://stuartngbooks.com/
Meanwhile, I also got this lovely print of Maleficent at the show .. done by one of my favorite artists ... Sho Murase. http://shomurase.com/
(she was at Artists Alley, near the SNB Both)
This post is updated when case studies and news stories pop up on my radar. Scroll DOWN the post -- the most recent updates at the end. New to the blog??? See the "Your Guide" post in the current month's archive for background and highlights. All artists should print out these FREE infographics from artist Lili Chin. http://www.doggiedrawings.net/ She has endured egregious cases of theft of her art.. and wants to educate artists and fans to help stop these thefts from happening to others. She produced these inforgraphics in consultation with IP attorney Jonathan Tobin, so the info here is accurate and current. Print these out and share them with your colleagues and customers. Education empowers action. Report art theft. Comment on social media. Companies are paying attention. Protect your creative rights...
Lili Chin copyright 101 --- story on the blog http://stuartngbooks.blogspot.com/2016/06/copyright-101-infographic-by-lili-chin.html
There are various places on the internet where artists are sharing (horror) stories about images they posted that are stolen and used for unauthorized commercial purposes.
I'm posting here some links I've found to these sources. There are lots of benefits to the internet .. but the rules are also being made up as we all go along. Hopefully, artists can continue to be proactive about revealing these rip-offs and work together to make the rules ... before someone else imposes rules on the artists.
Here's a great Jan 2014 article by Sam Levin in the East Bay Express that lists the names of artists who fought back and the lawyers who took on these cases: “When Corporations Want Profits, They Don’t Ask for Permission”
UPDATE -- JULY 29, 2014, after San Diego Comic Con
At the con, I met Dave from EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) who told me about New Media Rights, a non-profit assisting artists with intellectual property issues.
UPDATE SEPT 16, 2014
Recent conversation with two artist friends clued me into another image theft issue --- portfolios were people are stealing online images and trying to pass these stolen items as their own art! Seems to be fairly common issue -- more than one artist has reviewed a portfolio where THEIR OWN ART appeared attributed to the thief! Looking for some links on this .. but meanwhile, a general search for "Art portfolio stolen art" brought up a very illuminating list of links ... here are some samples...
Here's just a sample from this panel: A victim of IP theft, Emily Martin, founder and designer of Orange Beautiful, a Chicago-based stationery company told Gifts and Decorative Accessories that she’s seen her artwork used by various individuals at parties and elsewhere on the Internet, but she didn't realize the real impact knock-offs could have until she saw one of her designs on a television competition. A contestant on the TLC network series Four Weddings had allegedly featured one of Martin's original designs for Orange Beautiful on her wedding cake, invitations and even a carved cheese. The network later ran the episode, and the winning design was the one allegedly ripped off from Orange Beautiful. Martin has tracked down the individuals who were featured on the show and has started to take legal action with a cease and desist letter.
also link for International Chamber of Commerce http://www.iccwbo.org/
UPDATE NOV 4, 2014
In Oct 2014, photographer Daniel Foster wrote a blog post about his experience when one of his images was stolen and used on items sold on Etsy.
In this blog post, she presents two sides of an interesting case of conflict about trademark issues between two bloggers: "Angry Asian Man " and "Angry Little Asian Girl" UPDATE MAY 22, 2015 -- STORY ON "Artist" RICHARD PRINCE GALLERY SHOW OF STOLEN IMAGES
SUNFROG shirts (dot) com has reputation for uncredited use of internet images...
Warning post from Artist Jillian about this group...
"I know that I have posted on fb about Sunfrog before---but please dont' buy clothing from these guys. They just snap images off of the internet and drop them onto their shirts and sell them without giving profit to the actual artists or even their permission. Recently they stole Art Corgi's logo and was selling it on a shirt---now they are using other artist's work"
HOLY COW -- Sunfrog even has their own "copyright and intellectual property policy" page, where they explain how they "ooops" may be using stolen art...Here's link to their policy page:
SunFrog Shirts respects the intellectual property rights of others, and we expect our users to do the same. We do not have an opportunity to prescreen every design that is submitted to our site for sale, so occasionally, user may inadvertently or deliberately submit and display content that breaches the SunFrog Shirts Terms & Conditions for art submissions.
We have adopted the following general policy toward copyright and intellectual property infringement in accordance with U.S. intellectual property laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Notice & Takedown Requests should be sent to our designated agent to receive notification of claimed infringement at the address
Nothing there about getting artist any compensation for shirts/images sold in the meantime...
LA Times story on how music copyright protected on You Tube
Los Angeles Times op-ed story by Stephen Witt is excellent primer on how profits are made from background music in uploaded videos. You Tube uses its automatic copyright detection service to flag videos and notify music copyright holders... launching option for revenue stream via ads that benefits publishing companies Google (owner of You Tube) and musician .. but not the folks who upload the video. My question is .... Why can't there be something like this for artists??? Perhaps a code or symbol to imbed when uploading an original image??? Read the op-ed piece here.http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0628-witt-youtube-copyright-20150628-story.html
Burroughs and Doniger have represented artists, designers, photographers, writers and other creatives in more than 1,000 cases in the last decade.
They have an approach to copyright cases that makes them somewhat unusual: They often work on contingency, meaning they don't get paid unless the client wins — commonly in a settlement — which allows artists and entrepreneurs to pursue legal action they otherwise couldn't afford. Burroughs says copyright infringement cases can be drawn out, and when they go all the way through trial can cost up to $3 million.
UPDATE JULY 12, 2015
Online art theft via website "WallPart" website
This link has been making the rounds among artists... it's an effort to shunt down the page called "WallPart.com". The WallPart website posts images from artists and claims ... CLAIMS .. to re-direct orders for these items back to the artists. It's a lie... artist have found their art there being sold on the site WITHOUT their permission ... and that's why the same artists are fighting back. Here's the link for the Petition to take down the site...https://www.change.org/p/remove-wallpart-com-stealing-people-s-work-without-persmission
UPDATE JULY 16, 2015
USE CAUTION if you visit the "WallPart" website directly. There are reports in the artist community that there may be a computer virus active on the official WallPart website address. There is also chatter that the website may be using art orders to collect emails and personal information. I have not gone to the website myself so these warnings are only anecdotal .. but it comes from messages circulating among artists warning each other about this site -- better safe than sorry. (the change.org petition address is fine)
UPDATE JULY 20, 2015
Entire post with lots of links and resources on Next Great Copyright Act...
Link for more on the Wallpart theft of internet images website. This post is from FStoppers .. a site for photographers. This post shows how Wallpart exists not to sell prints.. but as bait to lure in photographers and artists and get their personal information.
UPDATE SEPT 9, 2015
An internet image good news story...via this image by artist Jeff Victor.....
This quote from Jeff Victor artist arrived on my radar today .. "MY MIND IS BLOWN. Robert Downey Jr himself actually shared my evolution of his work. This is just...holy (###)...I can't even brain right now."
Jeff had posted this image on his blog... and via the ways of the internet.. it came to the attention of Robert Downey Jr. and it arrived 9.9.15 on Downey's own Facebook page (with 25 million followers)....https://www.facebook.com/robertdowneyjr
The internet isn't just a platform for art theft. It can also connect artists with credit... recognition ... support .. and appreciation. Not to mention a fun fan boy moment .. in person and by proxy.
The post on Downey's FB was brief.. and sadly didn't mention the artist in the text... HOWEVER -- and IMPORTANT NOTE TO ARTISTS HERE!!!! ... Jeff's blog address is featured on the image... making it EASY to credit.. and FIND.. the artist. Help your art .. help make your name! (to 25 million people one day.. it can happen)
Flurry of online posting of this You Tube clip .... it's an interview with "artist Lee O'Hanlon"..
Social media shining a spotlight on this egregious case of art theft. The real artist behind the works is Brandon Dicks... This lowlife Lee just downloads the art of Brandon Dicks and slaps his own name on it. The jerk even did a book! Comments on this you tube clip rip the mask off this rip off ... Use this link not so much to hear the useless interview.. but to read the parade of scathing comments and defense of fellow creative rights...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX9XtwipHzY
UPDATE OCT 24, 2015
"Creator's Legal Program"
I've just learned about a new legal service for indie artists/creators. It's a monthly-fee membership called 'Creators' Legal Program." that gives artists access to legal counsel that specializes in copyright and creative issues. The service is provided by a Counsel for Creators, a law firm based in Southern California. I know one artist who has been using the service for about a month and has been really happy with it. I'm going to try to learn more about this service and will update here on this post...http://clp.counselforcreators.com/
UPDATE DEC 14, 2015
This chart arrived on my internet radar. So impressed with the clarity of info and format.. I contacted creator Ginger Davis Allman and got her permission to cross post on my blog.
.... she posted it in Oct 2015, but it's popped up again via social media, so am sharing here as a Dec update.
This quote from Marnie's article, with language from the Amazon website, is chilling....
You know what actually got me to immediately delete all of my products? It was this, copied from the Amazon website. License: You grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use, reproduce, perform, display, distribute, adapt, modify, re-format, create derivative works of, and otherwise commercially or non-commercially exploit in any manner, any and all of Your Materials, and to sublicense the foregoing rights to our Affiliates and operators of Amazon Associated Properties. Now if you’re thinking of selling your handmade items I want you to read that again and when you’re done, a third time. I did. I read it multiple times mainly because I could not believe that they are so blatant about it. Yes, we have the right to exploit you. You give us this right. This right is irrevocable. Well crap. I had 50 something products listed. I did a batch delete immediately after reading this. It might not even matter because they were there and Amazon now owns those product pictures and designs. Fortunately in the few hours it was up nothing sold so perhaps Amazon won’t have any interest at all in my designs.
Read the entire article for more...
DEC 31, 2015
"The Devaluation of Music: It's Worse Than You Think" by Craig Havighurst for Cuepoint
"Each printed copy of an invention is a lost potential sale to the patent holder. But, to sue for infringement, the patent owner would need to be aware that someone is using a 3D printer to make the patented invention. And that’s a very tall order since these printers are widely dispersed across households and businesses."
UPDATE JAN 21, 2016
Several Posts in Jan 2016 on art, copyright and value..
Podcast "Adventures in Design" interviews artist Jeral Tidwell. In this nearly hour-long episode, you'll learn case studies of how he protects his copyrighted images and is actually making more money from enforcing his rights than selling his work!
Article "Understanding Copyright Law: Pitches, Facts, Characters and the Ambigiuities of Section 102" by Gregory Bernstein....
Yet another example of how the internet retailers play fast and loose with the copyright rules when it makes them money...
Here's an excerpt: "A study to be released Friday by researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and UC Berkeley finds that "a sizable percentage of consumers" have no clue about what they're really purchasing when they "buy" digital content. "They mistakenly believe they can keep those goods permanently, lend them to friends and family, give them as gifts, leave them in their wills, resell them and use them on their device of choice," it says. In other words, they think buying something means buying something. But in the magical land of digital content, ownership is relative. "The reality is that for many digital transactions, there are restrictions on activities you might think come with ownership," said Aaron Perzanowski, a Case Western Reserve University law professor and co-author of the study."
post on casual attitude about copying art of other artists... (graphic via "rundie's room")
This past weekend I was privileged enough to attend a wonderful pop culture convention that shall remain nameless. While participating in the excellent panel discussions, film screenings, and photo ops, I crystalized an idea I’d been flirting with for a while now: How to attack the problem of copyright infringement by vendors at conventions.
All it took was a walk through “Artist Alley” to really understand the magnitude of the problem. Without exaggeration or hyperbole, 70-80% of the vendors and artists were selling infringing intellectual property (‘IP’).......
So what’s the answer? Is there an answer? Who is the most at risk here, and how can everyone – artists, vendors, attendees, and organizers – protect themselves?
In the discussions below, I’ve attempted to provide some suggestions intended to help artists, vendors, and con-goers alike navigate their way through this … ridiculousness.
Circa 2011 blog post "Red Bubble is a Scam!"
Another case of unauthorized use of images .. an artist found her art posted on Red Bubble and credited to another artist. The legit artists friends and fans rallied.. and joined her in reporting the theft. Within days, the unauthorized page was removed from the website. As discouraging as these reports are.. and as time consuming as it is to document and report the theft.... it's vital to take action. Due to the rapid turnover of things on the internet.. for now, the thieves will always be one step ahead. The websites are getting wiser though.. and the more times the legit creative artists.. and their fans who PURCHASE the art/products... report theft.. the more the companies realize it's in their interest to remove violators. There has been some progress.. and still far to go. This link showed up in comments on this recent case.. the link is to a blog post circa 2011by Tore999 about an artist's struggles with RedBubble and the lack of response. Worth reading to see the history...http://redbubble-scam.blogspot.com/2011/09/redbubble.html
Since then, the case has exploded on social media. The bad news is.. of course.. these cases are difficult to stop. The good news is.. that FANS/customers are getting wise to the damage this art theft does to the artists they love.. and they are rattling cages at the retailers involved.
"Inditex has the utmost respect for the individual creativity of all artists and designers and takes all claims concerning third party intellectual property rights very seriously," a spokesperson for the brand told us. "Inditex was recently contacted by Tuesday Bassen's lawyers who noted the use of illustrations in some badges sourced externally and on clothes in its group stores. The company immediately opened an investigation into the matter and suspended the relevant items from sale. Inditex's legal team is also in contact with Tuesday Bassen's lawyers to clarify and resolve the situation as swiftly as possible."
If you see art you know and love at a retail outlet... let the artist know.
If you're an artist... double down on branding. Put your name on everything. Educate your fans about copyright protections.
We're all in this together...
T-Shirt company TeeChip has been so blatant about facilitating commercial use of stolen images, it has inspired its own "Shame on TeeChip" Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/shameonteechip/ This community has over 1,000 members. Posts on this FB page document the ongoing struggle by artists to get their stolen images removed from the site.
Also arriving on that feed.. this article about upcoming multi-million dollar lawsuit by well known "Life is Good" design company.. also stolen from by TeeChip. At last, some larger companies are taking action
EXAMPLE 3: Bootleg dog breed t-shirts. Sometimes these designs appear on Sunfrog T-shirts, and other print-on-demand online stores that feature dog breed designs. I have been in frequent communication with Sunfrog Tshirts Legal Dept - their staff are on the lookout for copies of my artwork and they are quick to take them down off the site. It is a neverending game of whack-a-mole.
Link for copyright basics, with a focus on photography. This post written by lawyer Carolyn E. Wright. This link is for part one.. there is a link for part 2 at the end of the post. This post appeared on blog for photographer Ken Kaminesky.