Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A lesson for us all

Not my usual upbeat post today............I have been very upset and angry to find that I have been the subject of commercial theft.
I am writing about it on my blog site so that anyone who posts images on the internet can be aware of what can happen.

I had a lovely e mail from a student of embroidery to ask permission to use a couple of my paintings for projects within her course during which she was studying how to transpose paintings into embroidery projects. As an educationalist, I was happy to oblige, but pointed out that this could only happen whilst she was studying, and any work beyond that had to be approved by me and a fee payable.

This week I had a e mail from her to say that she had just started doing the drawing for her first piece when she found that a Russian company called RTO had already included it in their latest catalogue as a cross stitch kit. She was e mailing me to ask if there were any other paintings on which I had sold copyright, so that she could avoid using them.

I replied that I had certainly not sold any copyright to this company and in effect, they had stolen my painting and were using it commercially. It is a large company with a substantial catalogue so I presume that it is highly profitable.

This is my painting. You may well recognise it as it has appeared in one of my posts. I accept that by putting work on my posts and on my web site and talking as I do about the processes I use, other amateur artists will be encouraged to have a go.....its one of the ways we all learn. But they are not there for commercial gain.

This young lady then got in touch to tell me that there had been a recent trade exhibition in Cologne and this company had mounted a display of their forthcoming projects and on the wall in their display area was.........can you guess

As I am sure you can imagine I was incandescent with anger, at how a large and presumably prestigious company could stoop to commercial theft.
It has been difficult to do anything as everything to do with the company on the internet is in Russian so very difficult to understand, but I did manage to get the various links so that I could see my work in the catalogue and obtain the company address etc.
My young lady has sent me the links to their previous catalogues so that I was able to check that nothing else of mine has been used.

I have written  an e mail to the company stating very forcefully my thoughts on the matter and threatening them with international law, and asking for a substantial copyright fee.

I have no idea if I will hear back from them, or what my next step might be.
I suspect that they never thought that they would be caught, and it is the merest chance that I have found out about this, and I am so grateful to the young lady.

I will keep you all in touch with any progress, but please, where ever you are, if you see the catalogue or any of their products for sale, PLEASE do not purchase my design as they have no right to be selling it. And if you can spare the time let me know where you saw the embroidery kits.

On a much lighter note, the last two weeks at AVA group have produced 2 completely different paintings which I hope you enjoy seeing.

This painting was my response to the subject of Water. Totally outside of my comfort zone!

'Golden Carp'
Secondly, this week my response to 'Sunlight and Shadows'. Much more my kind of thing!

                                                                       'Blue Cactus'


  1. I found that a company in India was producing pillows with my painting images, a graphic artist was using one of my paintings for a commercial packaging in Turkey,a clothing store in the Netherlands was using one for their online shop and closer to home:
    a stencil company used one of my images in a sale brochure and a shop on Zazzle was using my design for wedding invitations. It's truly disgusting.

    1. Disgusting is the right word, Carol. It seems that we can do nothing about it. Down side of the internet. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

  2. I am sorry that has happened to you and hope the company who has stolen your work will do the honourable thing and give you a fee.

    1. Thanks, wood Fairy. I think I will get nothing, not even an apology.
      It seems that it happens quite a lot, as Carol (above) describes.

  3. Nothing more angering than others taking credit for your work! You ought put watermarks right across your images from now on, you can do that really easily on photoshop.

    1. I am aware that I can put in the watermark, but it does not stop down-loading and then copying for this type of embroidery or painting. It just makes printing the original difficult, but thank you for that and for reading the post. Will keep you informed of any developments!

  4. Have you consulted with an intellectual property attorney?

  5. I know that on flickr I can set it so downloading of my images. when they right click it gives them a spaceball to download. I have a watermark also.. I am not sure if you do it on here but might be worth looking into it
    There is also a reverse image search by google to tack your images down as well as tin eye.com
    Your work is awesome!!

  6. Thanks Ruby. I am going to investigate the watermark possibility, but at least they got in touch, and everyone including myself was very sceptical about that. Thank you for the lovely comment about my work.

  7. Unfortunately, I would not expect a favorable outcome. These are Russians you are dealing with, they have no respect for copyright laws.

  8. They did offer to pay for the design for the future but when they only offered £50.00 as compensation for stealing my work in the first place, I refused to do business with them.