06/28/2004: "Artists Beware! ebay con-artist may be stealing your images!!!"
I debated long and hard about posting my paintings online, particularly the higher resolution versions you can see when you click on a thumb nail, because I worried about people copying my ideas, style, or outright stealing an image and passing it off as their own. However, I feel that as artists, we need to trust each other and try to foster a supportive community built on trust and trying to help our fellow creative types to get ahead. I guess I'd rather risk having someone steal my work than to keep it offline where very few people would ever get to see it. That doesn't mean the fear of theft is not still present.
I've been reading this San Fransico artist's journal for many months and a couple days ago she first reported about finding out that someone was selling low quality duplicates of her artwork on ebay!
The artist who had her work stolen is Anna Conti (entry from June 28, 2004). And you can check out an updated version of her post there that she just put up this afternoon.
She also sent the following email to me and wants it passed on:
Anna Conti wrote:
"A con-artist in Texas is plagiarizing our work and selling it one
ebay. As best I can tell, s/he has made at least $16,000 from this
scheme so far. S/he was in the process of selling a coopy of one of
my fire hydrant paintings when I made email contact and the item was
pulled.But many of the images of sale past are still on the ebay site.
The brushwork and colors are a messy and incompetent echo of the
original paintings, but the underlying structure of the images is an
exact duplicate, at 50% scale. My guess: s/he downloaded a copy of the
image from my/your website, printed it on canvas, and did a quick
paint-by-numbers kind of thing over the surface. This is not only
illegal and unethical, it's pitiful. Any legitimate artist can come up
with their own images - only a fraud needs to steal images.
Check out this link below and click on the item numbers in the column
on the right - you'll see images of all the paintings this con-artist
has sold. I recognized three of mine, one by Dale Erickson, and there
were others that looked familiar to me, but I couldn't pinpoint who
they belonged to:
Go to http://www.ebay.com and look for user mikek30 and select items=25.
If you see one of your images on this con-artist's page, please let me
know. And if you want to join my lawsuit, please contact me.
Please broadcast this message to every artist you know."
Read the feedback this *artist* has been getting. It makes me sooooo &*%&^+ mad! For some reason I wasn't able to view the links for past items, ebay may have pulled them, I'm not sure. I googled her and the thief's studio is called "SILVER MOON STUDIO". I find it interesting that the majority of image links on her site are now broken???
Anyway, the point is, we all need to watch out for each other. I'm in ebay a lot and I look up artwork on ebay fairly often. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled from now on for work that I recognize as being from someone other than the person doing the selling. I'd ask that everyone do the same!