Saturday, July 18, 2015

Please stop this thief!

You may have noticed that recently I began putting my copyright and name right on many of my images - not all, as it is time consuming and even without the watermark they are still protected by copyright, but certainly my favourites. I learned how to do this because increasingly my images are turning up on other people's websites, facebook pages, and even in books for sale without my permission.

However, today I discovered that hundreds - literally hundreds - of my images (including those taken in the past couple of weeks and clearly signed with (c) 2015 Jean Ballard) are being sold as posters by an online vender - along with the art of many others including my wonderfully talented artist friend Deb (Riley's and Lily's mom, for those of you who recall my friends' dogs better than my friends!).

While I am no fan of online petitions, as they are mostly ineffective, I have gone to and signed a petition to shut the poster website down.  I have also posted the link on facebook to encourage others to sign and to share.

Taking people's creative work without their permission is theft.  Selling it for profit, with no compensation to the creator of the work, is the same as selling stolen goods.  It IS a criminal offence. Unfortunately international law is complicated and lawyers are very expensive.  The company, it its small print on its Privacy Page, tries to pass along the responsibility for the theft to its buyers:

[We] respect the copyright of others. This means we don't steal photos or images that other people have shared and pass them off as your own. We have no base of images, and doesn't host and store the image on servers. only helps the user to find the images interesting him, the site uses data of the most known third-party search engines.Process of search happens at user's browser.The user himself makes search queries, all content displayed in a window of the browser is received from third-party search engines. The displayed images are loaded from third-party servers, and aren't host on the site hosting.When the user make the order, we get the image from the user, he is responsibility for doesn't bear responsibility for the images received from users.

In other words they have found a loophole - but that doesn't negate the fact that they are knowingly printing the posters from images they encourage others to use, fail to check that copyright permission has been received, and get a profit from the sale of these posters they've made from stolen images.

Please help stop this thief.  Sign the petition, don't buy from this site, and share this information and my request with your friends.

Here is the link to the petition, which also tells you the name of the offending company:  Click here for petition. 

Thank you.


CarolineA said...

Done. Hope it makes a difference

King and The Royals said...

SIGNED! With pleasure!!

Mark said...

Hi Jean.

You could always try to email the web site host server company Their email address is:

You may not get much of a response as they are based in Nassau, Bahamas.

It's worth trying though especially if you start giving them bad publicity.

Anonymous said...

Signed as well.


Kate D. said...

Done, seems a lot of people have had art stolen from them by these guys, very sleezy to say the least.

barb said...

I'm in, Jean. Signed as well.

Anonymous said...

Petition signed, pathetic people who think they can just take others art and use it for nothing.

Donna B

Anonymous said...

hi Jean, sorry to hear this is happening.. tried to sign, but this 'style' of petition doesn't register my signature unfortunately.
On the subject of exploiting others art...I know someone (a publisher) who took a famous (perhaps most famous) christmas poem/story (over 200 years old.. and removed 2 lines.. that are about Santa lighting his pipe and smoking it.. ( author doesn't like smoking message) The american library assoc. barred it (the censored version) but the book has won all kinds of awards & is a top seller on amazon..
Go figure.. I shake my head and wonder how that is legally allowed?

Jean said...

Hi Wendy. To answer your question - copyrights eventually expire (the exact length of time depends on the country, and involves either the date of publication and/or the date of death of the author, plus anything from about 50 - 100 years), so the poem to which you refer has been in the public domain for many years, and can be edited and published by anyone without payment to author or the author's descendents. However, as is the case with Ms. McColl's edition in which the lines regarding smoking were edited out, the publication itself still gives credit to the original author. In fact, many different publishers have re-issued A visit from St Nicholas, with very slight variations, new illustrations, and even a new title (Twas the Night Before Christmas)! In one case it is mice who are visited by Santa at night, not children.
In 2012, Ms. McColl chose to edit out two lines regarding smoking in keeping with the standards she sees as appropriate for children today. In fact, her edition (which clearly indicates on the cover that the poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore - the original author), also states right on the cover "Edited by Santa Clause for the benefit of children of the 21st century".
Any awards this book (and other editions) may have received will have been based on the total package - the illustrations, the editing, the look of the book, not the original storyline. (I believe it is a pop up version put out by another publisher that won several awards and is selling like hotcakes on amazon.
The library association that spoke out against it did so on the basis of its own anti-censorship stance - which begs the question: What is censorship and what is editing?
The re-telling of classics whose copyrights have expired, with considerable editing, is very common. That's how I fell in love with the book Les Miserables - by reading a much edited version of it in Grade Seven, called Jean Val Jean. It's also why Walt Disney Ltd can bring out so many classic children's tales, significantly altered, that become bigger hits than the original - but if you read the credits, you'll see the original author credited as well as all their own editors, publishers, illustrators etc. The new version then becomes copyright to that company, but that doesn't stop others from bringing out their own book or film based on the original story but with different illustrations, edits, etc. I am sure Victor Hugo, who wrote Les Miserables, would hardly have recognized his story in the on-stage musical version I saw last year.

If someone wants to make posters out of my photos a hundred years from now, I won't object, and they won't have to pay me a thing. But they will STILL have to give credit to my work by indicating the source of the image!

And if I had an editor for this blog, I'm sure she/he would shorten this response considerably. LOL

Anonymous said...

Well yes, modern altered reproductions run rampant. Thank you for the answer.... Now I know how that is legally allowed!