Aug 6, 2010

Graphic Heists


The original "Tribal Face" illustration.

Recently I've had a handful of infringements take place regarding my tribal artwork shown above. These types of situations tend to happen in clusters for some reason?


My tribal art hacked and sold on Shutterstock.com.

This is now the second time shutterstock.com has been caught selling my artwork on their site without permission. Last year the same thing happened with my hawk illustration and it turned out to be some design weasel in Serbia.

At least this time shutterstock.com removed the art pretty fast. But it makes you wonder what their vetting process is.

If you're curious what if any recourse there is, there isn't. This is due to the inadequate and weak DMCA. Corporations like shutterstock.com can hide behind it and as long as they remove the content when notified, they don't have to reimburse the copyright owner. (Thank you very little President Clinton)


Tribal art tattooed on some dudes arm.

Most of this arts infringements come via tattoo applications. The majority of these type of usages never get my permission, but thankfully some do.


Tribal art tattooed on some persons calf muscle.

I'm often asked "How do you locate these?" Well, most of the time I don't. For example with this specific tattoo my fellow design friend in Portland spotted this tattoo on a guy in the same store he was shopping at and asked if he could take a picture of it with his iPhone. He then emailed it to me.

Talk about walking portfolios.


Tribal art ripped and bedazzled by Diamante Transfer.

I've seen this art stolen in almost every way imaginable in the last five years but this was the first time any of my art has been bedazzled. When it's a company infringing I have to send out an official DMCA Infringement Letter. This usually does the trick without any further followup.

If some of these companies would just approach me I'd be willing to work out a fair licensing agreement with them. And the price I charge for tattoo usage is very reasonable.

In 2009 I had to deal with a total of "72" individual infringements. It got old quick. Thankfully 2010 hasn't been quite as bad, but it's still higher than I'd like at "33" infringements to date.

FYI: For information about my stock tribal designs or to have me create a custom tribal design for you visit VonsterTattoos.com.

6 comments:

Beth said...

So frustrating! It makes me twitchy on your behalf.

Miss J said...

Yikes Von. That sucks! Your line "..this was the first time any of my art has been bedazzled" did give me a chuckle. The fact that it is bedazzled would make me even more upset. I'm BEfuddled (as I am sure you are too) about how these people can be so stupid. I hope that your infringement numbers keep going down!

Dianamc said...

Having become familiar with your work makes it that much more frustrating to be looking at any number of random things and seeing your work passed off as someone else's. Even for things as silly as an avatar on Youtube!

AshGUTZ said...

While every shop I've been to believes in purchasing tattoo flash from actual companies in sheets, when you have a customer come in with a printed copy of what they want tattooed on their body it's generally a client that is attached to the piece they've taken their time to choose. Tattooists these days have been made to remind me more of "over priced" tracers at this point, I've only met one real tattoo artist I'd pay high respects to. Tattooists figure they are being payed more for the art aspect of using a tattoo machine as an artistic medium to depict the image desired, where the image came from is a whole other side of the spectrum. I think it's crazy the extremes people will go to so they can create a profitable product using your original art, without you this art would have never existed and that alone deserves a generous amount of payment.

AshGUTZ said...

I look at your art as a means of inspiration often, I would never want to make my style directly derived from yours but your style does have some tips and points to refer back to when it comes to understanding the shapes within art.. which is where I need most of my guidance. I wish there was a way to avoid theft of art all around, especially because the internet is the greatest resource for stretching out to network webs of individuals. When I had previous works taken from me, I realized I had taken all the steps I could to avoid theft and all I could do from here was be flattered someone felt my work was worth the efforts. Keep creating Von, you are inspiring so many of us young artists with your intellectual words.

gniw said...

Wow… this makes me think twice before using their stock art =P

(BTW, the pop-up windows doesn’t seem to work well with OpenID, at least not work LiveJournal. Is it possible to put a note on the comment form to remind people to open this in a new tab?)