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Don’t be a copy cat, and other ways to help artists

August 9, 2017

Here are some very simple ways that anyone and everyone can help artists to thrive:

  1. Don’t upload or share artwork that isn’t yours. Sure, you might love a picture so you save it and share it on a board on Pinterest for others to love. But particularly if you haven’t taken the time to credit the artist or link to their sites, this does not help them, and in fact makes it really easy for shadier characters to find and steal their work. 
  2. Don’t buy products featuring uncredited art as these are much more likely to be using artwork without permission from the artist (stealing) than products which clearly credit a creator. Don’t share and promote these either if you’re not sure they’re legit.
  3. Contact an artist if you’re suspicious. Recognise an artwork on a product but strangely the artist isn’t credited? Think a product looks a bit wrong, or is being sold through an outlet you wouldn’t expect? If you can find contact details for the artist they will likely appreciate being alerted to the existence of a dodgy knock-off of their work. And if you’re unsure of their name, try using a reverse image search to find out.
  4. Buy works from artists. When you find the good stuff, please buy, share and promote!
  5. If you are in the position to commission works, make sure you pay fairly and credit the artists you use. Often artists are asked to produce work for free as a way to build their profile and portfolio. While it may be done with the best of intentions often these jobs do little to help an emerging artist. If you can, pay artists for their time, materials, skill and talent just as you would any other professional. Can’t afford to? Well maybe you can’t afford the work?
  6. Respect artists’ rights and copyrights, and encourage others to do the same. You could share this post.
  7. Encourage the big online platforms, and government policy makers, to protect the rights of artists. It is very hard for individual artists to protect their works from online theft. We are very small fish in an enormously online ocean, easily exploited by copyright thieves, and equally easily ignored by the online platforms that could do more to help. If social media and commercial sites were more responsive to reports of unlicensed works being sold and marketed via their platforms this would greatly improve matters for artists. Facebook, you have the power to help — please get onto it!

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m writing this because some work of mine has been hijacked online. The cats below are currently for sale on prints or phone covers via Facebook, and I am not credited and will not see a cent of the profits. It is nearly 24 hours since I reported the problem to Facebook, and I’m still waiting.

If you like these cats please promote the site where I sell them, which is here, RedBubble. And if you ever find my cats wandering the internet in places you wouldn’t expect, please, let me know. Huge thanks to the kind stranger who did just that yesterday.

This is not a copy cat.

Cats, cats, cats by Julia Marshall Felix, aka: me. Buy it here

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