------------ ABOUT ART THEFT ------------
Many people think images are free because they find avatars, psp tubes, myspace layouts, signatures, etc made out of some pictures, without credit.
Art theft nurtures art theft.
ART THEFT IS NOT ADVERTISEMENT. If you think you're quite unknown and you're happy to find your art somewhere, you're wrong ! This would only cause you troubles AND would encourage thieves to keep on stealing other artists' art.
If someone steals your art, it means he/she liked it enough to do so and maybe even needed it.
Remember you DON'T need these people to promote your art but they need YOU. They could pay for your art but they prefer stealing it since they are almost never penalized.
When you find an artwork used without permission, contact the owner of the site where it's displayed (sometimes it requires a lot of work to obtain an e-mail address, but it's really worth it).
--- What to tell the owner of a website where you've found a stolen artwork ? ---
First, give a quick introduction to explain why you're contacting him/her.
Then, give a link to the stolen artwork, then to the original one.
Then, wait a week. If your work has still not been taken off, send an e-mail again. Keep on sending e-mails until you obtain an answer.
Some thieves don't want to reply because they think nothing will happen if they don't and you'll stop claiming your rights.
But don't give up, there's always a solution to fight against art theft.
FLAMING DOESN'T HELP. Stay polite, it usually works much better this way.
------------ Some interesting informations to know ------------
The Berne Convention protects your artist rights. As long as you've created an artwork, it's YOURS. No need to submit it to copyright registration or anything else. Something you've created is automatically ©you.
As long as you know your rights, you can fully explain what's wrong when you find a stolen picture.
Here's the Berne Convention : [link]
Have you heard about the "Orphan Works" bill ? If not, you should really do a quick Google search. The law has been rejected, but it comes back quite often and it may be adopted in the near future.
Here's a wikipedia article about Orphan Works : [link]
This could be really bad if used in the wrong way, since damages paid don't really cover the prejudice caused.
10 myths about copyright : [link]
Please watermark your art and don't upload large images ! I did this mistake in the past and now I'm in big troubles
Be careful with what you post in your online galleries : you may be the most honest person in the world but unfortunately not everyone is that honest and some just don't hesitate to steal art and to use it.
The more we'll all act against art theft, the most it will tend to disappear.
--- A solution to fight against art theft when you don't speak the same language as the thief. ---
I would like to suggest something that could help us all.
Since we can't all speak an insane amount of languages, I'd suggest helping each other by creating a list of people who are willing to help from as many countries as possible.
These people could translate your message when you need some help and you could do the same in return when they need help in a different language.
If you're willing to offer your help, please tell me so I can make a list in this journal : [link]
Of course, there can be more than 1 person for each language ! The more we are, the most efficient we can be !
Thanks for your time, I hope this can help some people.
English is not my mother tongue but I hope this article is easy enough to understand anyway. Feel free to suggest any other way to help fighting against art theft !