A friend of mine got in touch with me today to let me know that someone she knew was using this photo as their profile picture. The funny thing is that the background BC Flag is my original rustic painting that someone custom ordered from me. (You can see it here in my blog post. Someone must have “borrowed” it from my blog, my Facebook account, or my Pinterest account.
My initial reaction was to wonder who had copied my work and that I should probably get them to stop. I asked my friend if she knew where the person got it from. It turned out that they saw it on Twitter and got it off Google. After a quick google myself I found the site “the keep calm-o-magic” where it appears that you can make your own “keep calm” merchandise. At this link you can get posters, mugs, shirts, bags, and much, much more all with my painting on it in the background. Somebody named “BCTeachers” apparently created it.
After thinking about it a little more I then wondered who actually owned the rights to it. It was a custom order that I sold. Perhaps the person who bought the piece made this. I am not so sure about that but it isn’t impossible. If they did make it, could I be upset because technically they bought the piece from me? I would have to research that a little more.
I have to admit that it is a big compliment that someone liked my painting enough to copy it and make it into a poster …and that other people liked it enough to use it, too …and for a good cause (one I support because I think the government is being shady and not telling everyone the whole truth but that’s another story).
I am very big into giving people credit for their work and I am not a big fan of people “stealing” other people’s work on the internet. In this case, however, I think it was someone simply looking for a good background for their slogan, not somebody trying to profit from it. I also think that my hand painted pieces are a far different product from printed posters, etc. I am not keen, at least in this case, to spend the time trying to stop someone from using my work. I may have to consider watermarking my photos but that seems a bit of a pain, too. Does anybody else have any opinions on this? I would love to hear them.