Licensing, Copyright and Piracy



  • Greetings again. I love this show and I love listening to Jake, Will and Lee. They cover lots of topics that are relatable to anything creative - not just illustration. It's also rare that I actually laugh out loud with a podcast - which they make me do from time to time.

    I'm looking for a 3-Point Perspective show, with their thoughts on licensing, copyright and piracy. I've listened to every episode, but can't recall this topic covered. If so, please remind me of the episode.

    As we share more content on the internet and the world, these works become open to unauthorized misuse. What should illustrators and creators do to protect themselves and their work? Lawyers are too expensive, so what options do we have available. I'd love to know what resources folks use, not only to protect their work, but also go after folks that steal their work. Also, what are your thoughts on Creative Commons licensing?

    One personal example is, I did an piece (during Inktober) that I donated the 'usage' to a local, non-profit organization so that they can make t-shirts and promote an event. A person saw that art on that organization's Facebook event page, downloaded and had a tattoo made from it. At first I was flattered (still am), but I'm also a little annoyed that they used my art without permission, let alone compensation, and even worse without attribution. You'd think the tattoo artist would even raise the question as to the origination of the art.

    This is a minor example, but I've heard stories of people getting art/photography stolen from IG and Flickr then commercially produced as totes, t-shirts, etc.


  • Pro

    @dickdavid I've recently had my own run in with art theft. I'm into printable/digital planners and stickers these days, and I was on a Facebook group related to that topic discussing when I saw my own watercolor painting from years ago (a mushroom) sold as part of a set of printable stickers on Etsy. I reached out to Etsy to have the listing taken down, and I'm pleased to say this was done in less than 24 hours. But more concerning was the seller telling me she bought the copyrights to my painting and many others in a graphics bundle from someone online. I never did track down that person, but a reverse image search of my painting revealed it was uploaded to many "free PNG" gallery sites, for everyone to download and use as they please. I contacted all these sites and again was pleased that all of them removed my painting within 48 hours. That being said, the reverse image search didn't come up with the original Etsy listing that sparked all this so I know that the efficiency of this tool isn't 100% and there's a chance that my painting is still being sold on many products out there, undetected. It's certainly a very discouraging and depressing thought. However over the years, I've had far more good experiences than bad while sharing my work online. It's allowed me a wonderful career and meeting many amazing people. I wouldn't ever trade that away because of fear 🙂



  • @NessIllustration Good story. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you were able to resolve those issues.

    An in-depth reverse image search seems like a great service to start up. I'd love for somebody, much smarter than me, to offer a service/app that you can apply to your own images that would work as an internet watchdog for anybody using, sharing, or profiting from them.


  • Pro

    @dickdavid That would be a really great idea to develop! I did the image search for the one painting, but I have hundreds or thousands of works online. I can't possibly search all of them, especially since I'd have to repeat the process every few months to check again if the images are being used. What a great app it would be that would allow you to upload your entire gallery of work, and then the app would keep an eye on them online to see if they pop up! That would be life-changing, really.


Log in to reply