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Monday, February 07, 2011

Too close for comfort

To be honest I'm in two minds about making this post.

It's kind of out of character for me (and perhaps a little mean-spirited). But it's been one of those days and I've had too much wine and to hell with politeness and all that.

There's an artist on Etsy who's certainly copied my style and, in a few instances, has pretty much element-for-element copied my art.

Technically I don't believe she's breaching copyright. My understanding of copyright law is that she'd have to be actually reproducing my images. And she's not. So let's get that clear.

But she's certainly 'copying' the art (below mine are on the left, hers are on the right).

And quite frankly it's pissing me off tonight.

I called her on these two some months ago and she said she must have seen them and 'accidentally' copied them. (Sure, if you have a photographic memory.) She took them down quick smart, so I'm guessing she knew exactly what she was doing.

Anyway, I popped over to her shop tonight and noticed this one which takes the pose from 'Lydia'.

And it just annoyed me.

It's not copyright breach

But these are far too close for my liking. Particularly when she also has the nerve to copy my copyright statement:

(c) kate lightfoot 2009
This artwork is protected by copyright which does not transfer with sale. In plain English - while you're buying a piece of artwork, you're not buying the right to copy, print or reproduce it in any way. xxx kate

(c) mikacoach 2011
This artwork is protected by copyright which does not transfer with sale. In plain English - while you're buying a piece of artwork, you're not buying the right to copy, print or reproduce it in any way. mikacoach

Anyway, i just felt like being a crochety old woman. They're MY girls - even though I'm not drawing them these days - so don't mess with them.

*pokes tongue out*

Rant over.



atelier nanda said...

They are really copies of your fantastic girls. But as said very very very bad copies. They don't reach your quality of art. So don't be to disappointed, they are very bad.

Antonia Glavic said...

This is so disappointing. It's so difficult for independent artists to protect their own work and this happens far too often!
If you haven't already, check out:

Stacey D said...

Sometimes I wonder if I became a great artist (like you) and was able to make money at it if this would happen to me. I go back and forth on whether I would be flattered that someone wanted to copy me or if I would be upset that they did. I can't answer that but can say that your's are far better than hers. I will say that I do look to your work for inspiration and assistance in my own work, but that's all it should be is inspiration - there could be similarities but this is just a full on copy.

Kelly said...

And the copyright debate continues!
It's infuriating!
I'm sorry that this is happening to you, and honestly it never fails to BAFFLE me as to how people can just think this is okay?!

I understand there's a fine line, as someone who draws from photographs. But to reinterpret a photograph into an illustration is to create a completely different version of that image via a different medium.

If you're passionate about art, what part of re-drawing someone ELSE's drawing to the point where you've not created ANYTHING new would be satisfying?!

She's not inspired by you. She's copying you.

Alex Louisa said...

Rant away Kate! You deserve to!

Making slight style tweaks does not cover up the outright copying, especially when every tiny detail from your originals has been included.

If she was just using your images as inspiration while practising her art skills, solely for herself, then who cares. But selling is a completely different matter. And the 'flattery' line is just bull.

So sorry this has to tarnish things. It's not right. But, I don't think you sound like a crochety old woman at all!!


Esz said...

Oh gosh how rude of her! I would be livid too!

I agree with Kelly - using a photo as reference is different to blatantly mimicing someone else's style.

You have every right to rant and I'm glad you've posted this as people need to be aware that such things happen.

Unknown said...

Holy smoley...those are definitely copies. LAME.

Yasmin said...

Everything this that this happening with you is really very unpleasant.
for not saying curses that it is it here that that person that this copying you really deserves.
I don't know what is possible to do to defend of this.. legally speaking.
maybe to consult a lawyer or to work the etsy to solve this subject.
really these things riot me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry again, Kate! Your pictures was an inspiration to me .- are so beautiful.... I had no intention to hurt anyone, I apologize once again. I know now I have a lesson for life and never more so I will not doing. Sorry again. mica

Anonymous said...

paintings are ruined. Sorry again. m

Donna Heart said...

I wouldn't apologise for ranting - rant away! I'd feel pretty you- know what as well... I'm glad I just foun dyour blog and ETSY site - what beautiful UNIQUE work you do, and I'll certainly be back to see more of your creations... Hope you're having a happy arty day :)
X Donna (west side!)

marin said...


Kate - you have always been one of my favorite artists. I LOVE your work and collected your ACEOs when you were selling on Etsy. (We traded chocolate for art once!!) This kills me. Not only does she lack creativity- she lacks all the passion and emotion it takes to be an artist. The eyes of her girls are dead. Your girls look like their flirting with the viewer - daring you to come closer, teasing. Hers remind me of when I used to pull ads out of magazines and try to draw them in jr. high. No spark, no flare, no passion.

It's really sad that there is nothing you can do to stop her blatant stealing. I'm so so sorry this is happening. For my own little protest - I'm going to pull out my ACEO collection and display it proudly, and hope people ask, so I can show them the true artist!

Lea said...

You have been a very important influence to me concerning my artwork. I struggle with concepts and get afraid to put pencil to paper, however, i love reading your blog and seeing the things you get up to, your own influences, how you work, where you get your ideas, has helped me to grow as a better artist! I love your drawings and your beautiful girls, and have used them as inspiration, but never copied complete works...i love to see your techniques, how you create depth, how you use your pencils and the mediums you use. I can honestly say i am a better artist because of you and have a lot of respect for your artwork! Those that know you and your artwork will hold you high and you will always prevail!

Catrick said...

I am sorry but, this is copyright infringement. I would contact Etsy and report this person.

What they are doing is unethical and immoral.


Bev Gerard said...

Oh My.

I have not read the previous comments. I am only a paper-crafting artist ... not at all a sketch artist. I am not legally trained.

However, it is my honest opinion that her artistry is "theft".

My wish is that I might have links that would lead you to the proper "help". Again, I am short-handed.

My sincere & best wishes to you indeed,
Bev Gerard
Texas, U.S.A.

angelic crafter said...

Hi Kate. I was visiting one of my blog sites I frequent she had a link to you so I had to check it out!!! I am not an artist, I am a crafter :0) but I can empathise with you...I have made my own little product which I have been selling on ebay for YEARS and YEARS!!!! After selling to many people overseas (often America) A VERY large american company has copied it...they are using wood not rubber- and THAT is the difference! you feel like you want to wring their necks...and then you remember Karma. Keep going with your artwork, it is beautiful...and know that good things come to those who wait :0) xox Tania xox

shamanaccount said...

It so disappointing really. I love your sketches and how you breathe life in all of them. I hope their will be no next time same issue. Cheer up, your works are far more better than them.

FunkyJ said...

Don't see it as a negative thing, try to see it as a positive.

She wouldn't copy you if you were a crap artist ;)

In the last picture you've linked, she has made an attempt to make it different, even by a small amount, so try to reach out to her.

Offer her advice on how she can improve and even develop her own style.

Then, when she does develop her own style, steal it.

Big Rock Candy said...

I can't believe this happened to you, I am livid for you. I only found you whilst reading your entry in a recent forum about building communications. Great thoughts. So where do you sell now?

YONKS said...

I can't believe this happened to you, I am livid for you. You can protect your intellectual property which this person has taken, I would find yourself a lawyer who deals in IPR. I only came by you via your comments in the etsy forum about building connections - very good advice.

Big Rock Candy said...

PS - Big Rock Candy and YONKS, one and the same, sorry to duplicate the comment!

Anonymous said...

I am an illustrator too, and have had my work copied. This is most definitely copyright infringement and you ARE protected by law against people creating derivative works from your artwork - it doesn't have to be a direct copy. Her pieces simply wouldn't exist if they had not been derived from yours. She is potentially profiting from your labour, and her IP theft is most definitely to the detriment of your business. You might not have the resources to pursue it legally and receive monetary compensation, but you should issue a formal cease and desist and also contact Etsy to have the pieces she's copied removed. If she is a repeat offender they might close her down, which she totally deserves. The pieces where she's copied your style are unfortunately not protected by copyright, but the ones that are directly copied from your artwork ARE.

This type of thing makes my blood boil. It's hard to believe that our fellow artists can be so unethical, and lazy - hoping to make a quick buck for so little effort. If she doesn't have the talent to make original artwork, she should go find herself a different profession.

Chassity said...

This just so happens to be the one major downfall to a site like Etsy! Many sellers believe that they can just copy what someone else is doing and just because they change a few details that it then makes it theirs and that they can do what they wish with it, and it's simply not true! Like another anonymous person stated, it is in fact copyright infringement because it IS in fact copying. Just because she didn't photocopy your work and sell it in it's original form, it is a knockoff and that is also copyright infringement! You should definitely look deeper into this and see what option you have to make her stop! Good luck and rant away, this is your blog! :)

Kate Lightfoot said...

Thanks for all the support, folks.

As an update, I've been in touch with her and she was extremely apologetic and embarrassed. She's taken down the 'offending' pieces and is working on her own style and ideas.

It's all cool. No need to speak to Etsy or lawyers or anything (not that I would have anyway).

Thanks for all your comments. To be honest I'm a little shocked so many of you responded - I had no idea anyone was still reading this blog!!


Blissful9 said...

Hi Kate, Saw your post and felt I'd like to help if possible. I would suggest you ring the Arts Law CEntre in Sydney and join because they are incredibley knowledgeable about this issue and can talk to you over the phone.
also put a few watermarks on your images. I can let you know how to do that if you don't know.
All the best.

Roseanne S said...

*sigh* It's always sad when someone intensionally copies elements of someone else's work. And clearly this is the case here.
Her style obviously is not original, and her goal obviously isn't to find her own unique way of art.
That said, Kate, I think you should take the flip side of the rant coin ... Take it as a compliment, confront her with this new view of her replicas (like response videos on YouTube channels) of your artwork and just let it go. It will be obvious to any viewer and your fans are definitely aren't going anywhere.
So, Kate, take it for what it is. She wishes she was you. Plain and simple.

Unknown said...

I am pleased to see that you apparently worked this out with the gal that was copying you. I am an Etsy art addict. I spend many hours enjoying the art on the site. I have never been tempted to sell my own art there for just this reason.

Pashmeena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like both of you take elements from Jasmine Beckett-Griffith from noses to eyes... So, you know...

Pashmeena said...

don't know if you talk about me, anonymous, but i doesn't know Jasmine beckett, only the figurine. And i discover her drawings because of you ^^, it's very great. in fact, so many people draw girl with big big eyes and a sweet nose. Concerning myself, i find my style recently, and you always take inspiration somewhere,even when you don't want. But i haven't copied Jasmine Beckett, 'cause i doesn't know her draw. The artist who copy Scarlett had drawn pratiquely as the same of her, with the same details, you can easily recognize it! i don't draw fairy for the moment, my style is different, maybe if you find the eyes and the nose are the same, but for myself i draw without idea of copy, it's only my style of drawing like many others artist. and if you look my drawing you can see i like to make big eyelid,jasmine don't make this. You can look on different artist who's making big eye's girl and little noise, and contact them to say the same!

Nina said...

Unfortunately you can't do anything legal about it, cause she is drawing pictures just using your ideas, which aren't protected, therefore you can't sue her for doing this.

Alexandra said...

I'm glad you worked it out, but my blood is boiling for you. I too have an online business both through Etsy and FB and I had a "friend" who did this with the items I sew/create and then went so far as to take the same titles, or virtually the same. I was incredibly upset and annoyed. My husband kept telling me that imitation is the highest form of flattery but I was far from flattered. I have since blocked her from my items, but it is so disheartening when some one steals your ideas and creations. Best wishes to you!! I love your art.

Yez said...

Well, the style of your eyes is UNIQUE and she can't copy that. Glad to read that you were able to work it out with her and she removed the images. Cheers!

petitesirène said...

In fact, i understood something. There's a difference between copy and style. Some make the amalgam. A style is to find the same "idea" or vision, and copy, it's too reproduce not only the style, but the same elements and details of a drawing. As scarlett show us, the drawings of the other girl is pratically the same! Same position, same elements, almost same color, we can easily say that she took the drawings of Scarlett as model! Here it's copy. But for example, betty boops, jasmine beckett, or drawings with girls with big eyes are a style..As there is a renaissance style, a baroque style...My drawings evolved since years, and even if i love to make girls with big eyes, i don't copy others, you can find that i've got my personnal "touch"..

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