When I started creating my artwork many, many people told me that my designs would make great tattoos. They still do. Although I am investigating the possiblities of creating what is called ‘flash art’ for commercial application of my art, one question seemed to haunt the back of my mind. Would/ could someone just download my work and use it anyway? If an individual wanted to do such a thing, as has been the case, and asked….. sure; the asking permisson was appreciated. But my concern was the tattoo artist themselves using my creations in their work making profits off of my creations. Red Bubble is trustworthy enough, but what about the individual with an ink gun and no scruples? I recently had the good fortune to receive a bubblemail from a commercial artist here at the bubble who knew exactly what I was asking. He took the time to respond in a most thorough way and I got his permisson to copy/past part of his answer in my journal. It is MOST REVELANT to all of us here at rb and I wanted to share it with all who might be having the same questions………
This is just a risk we all take. It happens, and I know several friends who have had their art used by someone else against their copywrite, but there’s little you can do apart from being careful who gets high-res versions of your work.
In the case of Redbubble for example, they have a clear policy and privacy agreement when you join that states when and how they will use your work, but other sites don’t have such a agreement that they adhere to. So just read the Ts and C’s before you upload any works, be it to an image hosting site or a online gallery such as Redbubble.
The low res versions on display in the galleries are of too low a resolution to be used on anything other than the internet. People who would steal works from your gallery can’t really offer it in the kind of detailed high res quality that Redbubble reserve for printing purposes only.
If you come across your work being displayed on a website without your permission, then simply e-mail the webmast and ask that it be removed. Usually they are agreeable to this as they don’t want to get into trouble. After all , they don’t know if you have a high priced lawyer or not.
A better idea though, would be to offer them an alternative, such as they can display your work on the condition that your ownership of copywrite be clearly displayed and a link back to your redbubble gallery be made available so that people can buy prints, etc, if they like your work.
There’s no 100% way to prevent this kind of thing from taking place, so you can expect some theft of your work at some time. This is a reality that artists of all kinds, be it musicians, visial artists, film makers, or any other type of art, have to face.
Hope this helps.