Here's the lowdown: artists (myself included) utilize our talent and creativity to create images that we want to share with the world. That's what art is for, and the Internet is the absolute best way for artists to gain recognition for their work. However, despite the many benefits, there are some not-so-obvious drawbacks.
Here's the problem: there seems to be a myth that everything on the Internet is "free".
While the majority of things are free for reading and watching, in most cases what you see on the Internet is not free for downloading, copying, posting without permission, posting without giving proper credit, or (especially) selling.
It boggles my mind that there are people who think it is okay to download other people's images from the Internet and then glue them onto pendants or iron them onto t-shirts and then sell them.
I can't begin to tell you how many Cease & Desist letters I have had to send to people who have downloaded and sold my art in this manner.
Truth be told, I am certainly thrilled that people like my Day of the Dead skulls. That is awesome! But when people download my art and reproduce them on various items for profit, then things start to get ugly.
That's a lot of dough.
As a professional artist, art is my bread and butter. My income. It puts food on the table. Therefore I will do everything I can to protect my art, to ensure that image thieves don't get away with profiting on all my hard work.
And believe it or not, some of those "image thieves" even include the "big guys" major retailers who already make tons of money, so why do they steal images from the "little guy", like me?
I'm asking for your help:
I've posted most popular (and therefore frequently "stolen") images on this page.
If you see any Day of the Dead items for sale that include my skulls, and you are not sure if it is an "authorized" product or an unauthorized rip-off, please report copyright infringement by contacting me with a link to the item. I am always grateful for tip-offs. Thank you in advance!
Likewise, if you see these images on the web and they happened to be displayed without proper credit (that is, without including my name or website), please contact me so that I may contact the person who is infringing upon my copyright. Even if someone is merely displaying my art on a blog (for example) without proper credit that's still not cool, and it technically constitutes copyright infringement. Remember:
Always credit the artist if you are going to post his or her art on your site, or use it as a profile pic, etc.
Thank you so much for reading this. Together we can educate the public that art online should be enjoyed, but not reproduced anywhere without written permission and proper credit. Together we can combat the growing problem of stolen images being re-sold for profit.
Sugar Skull art © Thaneeya McArdle