Copy Bear – My Work Gets Ripped Off

This blog post has been edited to remove the original content – 15:05

That’s My Bear!

My bear got copied by Hrrrthrrr. When I challenged her about it she immediately removed it from Flickr and subsequently her blog.  A week later the bear was back on her site still without a credit and so I went public with the story.

She’s now removed the bear and the post from her site.

I’ve told her I am happy for her to use the image providing she credit me and link to me but this doesn’t seem to be something she wants to do.

She has given me a heartfelt apology by email.

She’s asked me to remove her images from this blog post which I have done and I’ve also removed almost all of the orginal content especially the parts where I looked at her ABC project. 

Hrrrthrrr didn’t intend any harm.  Which doesn’t mean to say there wasn’t harm done. But at least she’s said she’s sorry, behaved politely and immediately removed the image which infringes on my work.

I’m working hard here to carve out a career as an artist.  All my work is my own.  And I do work at it.  Spending time keeping things like this in check is not fun and I’ve wasted valuable time and energy that should have been used painting.

I’m not a vendictive person.  I want to be treated with respect and so I’m showing that same courtesy to Hrrrthrrr by removing the original content of this post.

I think this has been an upsetting for her too and I’m hoping that what she takes away from this experience is that when you copy someone’s ideas and work to present as your own it is not harmless and it can have a real effect on a real person.

When someone attempts something similar in a paid job there are serious repercussions.  But even when it’s a fun project taking the credit for other people’s ideas still has repercussions.

Look at other’s work, learn from it, be influenced by it and their style – but don’t just take it.

I want to thank everyone for their support and rallying around.  The positives for me from all of this have been that :

a) I have a lot of support and some great people around me

b) I do have a style of my own which is obviously distinctive enough to get recognised even out of context

c) social media is a really fantastic tool

Publishing Online a Bear Pit?

Publishing your work on the internet inevitably exposes your work to the risk of being used, copied or ripped off without your permission, without credit or attribution and probably a lot of the time without your knowledge.  That doesn’t make it right.

If I didn’t share my work online I wouldn’t have an audience, I wouldn’t connect with people through my art and I wouldn’t sell as much work. 

If I put my web address across all my online art work it still wouldn’t have stop some people from thinking it’s fine to copy stuff and pass it off as theirs.

There are great rewards, great risks, lots of pitfalls and lots of gains  from sharing your art online.

When I started blogging I decided if my work got stolen I would have to be philosophical about it and always remember that I can come up with new work – whereas the person who steals does so because they can’t come up with the ideas themselves.

Posted in Art, Artist, Misc, Rip Off
15 comments on “Copy Bear – My Work Gets Ripped Off
  1. ashysheela says:

    I completely understand why you are so angry – it doesn’t take any effort to attribute something to the rightful creator and link to them and give them more potential business and rightful credit! There is a BIG difference in being inspired by something and it influencing your OWN style as one of many influences and just copying (changing the nose slightly does not count!). It is also about respect within a creative community – but this person obviously does not have much creativity, never mind respect.

  2. Jo says:

    Have you informed Flickr? I don’t know much about copyright but surely you have some redress under the law? You can’t steal some else’s intellectual property or artwork. Please report it as abuse.

    Oh that’s made me so grumpy.

  3. Philip John says:

    That’s pretty damn terrible… she’s been using it for ages. One thing you might find helpful is GazoPa which let’s you upload images and look for similar images on the web – useful for finding other uses of your work online.

    Hope you get this sorted out.

  4. Nina says:

    Oh #$%^&%$#!!!!!!! Please do look into putting a copyright symbol on your work. No, it won’t necessarily stop people like her……..but it does make you seem a bit more legal. I can’t wait until you’re a world-wide brand of your own — so that everyone knows your wonderful style:-)

  5. Please note the original blog post content was removed and revised – so comments before this refer to the original post.

  6. Paul Groves says:

    I think you have been patient and fair.
    She might be feeling picked upon but we all need to learn some tough lessons in whatever career we choose to follow.
    Copyright is an important and tricky issue at the best of times. The fact that all sorts of work is now so freely available to view online makes it harder to protect your rights and easier for people to simply copy what you have created.
    Whether or not she intended to publish this to a wider audience, or just to family and close friends, the simple fact is she made no attempt to acknowledge she used other people’s work or correct those who commented on Tumblr and Flicky about how creative and talented an artist she was.
    I think you are right to try and draw a line under this now.
    You have a career to develop.

  7. Paul Groves says:

    ….errr, I meant Flickr obviously. Flicky is probably something very different.

  8. Nikki says:

    I see the ABC part of this is missing (link broken). But I agree, the work has very different styles across the pages displayed so far, so obviously drawn from numerous sources, not least of course, yourself.

    I can’t believe she wouldn’t just take a minute to credit your style (and that of all the others she’s ripped off) at least on her tumblr anyway if not in the actual book she’s making for her nephew. Although of course to do so now would be too much of an afterthought.

    You have every right to be upset and I’m sorry this happened to you 😦

  9. Nikki says:

    Ah this serves me right for going afk for most of the day while this was happening, I hadn’t seen your edits until I refreshed the page. Feel free to delete both my comments! But my thoughts are with you all the same 😀

  10. ashysheela says:

    Glad things have been resolved and hopefully lessons learnt. Sorry you had to have a stressful day sorting it out 😦 hope you can channel any remaining energies more productively tomorrow – ’tis another day…

  11. cusp says:

    Well it has all turned out OK in the end and I think that that is mainly down to you and the way you’ve handled it all. You’ve been firm, assertive but not aggressive and the guilty party and yourself have learned some valuable lessons.

    Well done. Have rest now and try to put it all behind you. Give yourself a treat.


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Rachel Groves, Artist
Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK



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