Below is a blog post I originally wrote on my old site about three years ago called, Fun with Copyright. Since then, I've had EVEN MORE fun with copyright - and this illustration has been stolen many more times. I still feel like some of this info could be helpful for young artists concerned about or dealing with copyright infringement so I wanted to include it below.
Originally posted on 12/1/15
Over the past few years I've gained some valuable experience dealing with many instances of copyright infringement of my most popular illustration, Plant These to Help Save Bees.
These instances of infringement have been both minor and major - but all very frustrating. While I don't think I could have prevented some of them, I do wish I knew more about posting my work online when I first started out. I recently made this handout for a class at my alma mater, Maine College of Art- and wanted to share it on here, too. It's a list of things I wish I knew when I graduated about posting my work online and how to deal with infringements if they occur:
I've just now broken my first rule which is to never upload images higher than 72 res - but I want anyone who may find this helpful to print it out and keep it somewhere in their studio or work space in case they ever need it! Otherwise, for real, I would never recommend uploading images higher than 72 res; that is the optimal resolution for online images and will make your work look crystal clear on a screen without giving anyone the opportunity to make a high quality print of it.
In the past few years, I've learned that it's very important to know the difference between sharing content for educational purposes (or just because you love it) and sharing content in a way that is taking unfair advantage of its creator. With my bee illustration especially, I am sure to encourage sharing the information (help save bees!!) while also making it clear that I am trying to make a living as an artist, and that I deserve to be credited and compensated for my work.
All in all, I hope other artists/designers/makers will find this copyright info helpful and not discouraging. While I'm fairly used to it now, dealing with copyright infringement has been frustrating, overwhelming and disheartening - originally making me hesitant to post any of my work online. Now with some resources (like social media copyright reports, who knew) and tips under my belt, I've found that it's more than worth it to share my work- and that for every person who rips me off there are hundreds more being respectful, supportive, and encouraging (thank you all!)
If you have questions about copyright or anything I mentioned here, please comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!