I am Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!

Mad?  Oh yes I am and beyond any words that I can express here.  Discouraged?  Totally of people’s lack of moral judgement, inner-compass of values and code of conduct.  Disappointed?  Yes – I’m totally disappointed, that there are people out there who think they can take what is not theirs and what?  Make money?  Or draw traffic to their website?   Why all in the name of getting known?  No it’s more than that . . .

I’m calling you out right here and now:



Last week completely by chance I discovered that these two sites/companies confiscated images of several of my paintings and have placed their identity as the authors of my work.  Are you serious?!  Doing a search on Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, etc. of “oil pastel seascapes” I found several of my paintings with these two companies as the owner – OH NO YOU DON’T! 

I found that most of my seascape paintings had my information on them (www.oilpastelsbymary.com), but several had the above-mentioned companies as the authors on the image when you slide your mouse over the picture.  So far four of my seascape paintings have had my information wiped off w/theirs inserted, four that I know of . . . I’m just starting to do my research.

Here’s one of the paintings they swiped and replaced my information with theirs.  Do you recognize it?

Washing Ashore

Washing Ashore

Yeah, it’s my blog logo called Washing Ashore that I painted January, 2012.  In fact the painting is hanging on a wall in my studio.  This piece took me 24 hours of actual painting time to create, it was my third or fourth seascape and YOU HAVE CLAIMED IT AS YOURS – are you serious?  You have to be kidding!

If you look to the right of my blog, you’ll see my copyright disclaimer – is there something here you don’t understand?   How are you using my images?  For advertising, some type of profit-making scheme, to draw traffic?  Why not contact me and ask for permission?  Why not .  .  .

Before you click and copy/save, consider this – I make notes and take photographs during every painting session, from the initial sketch to my final painting.  Every painting has at least 5 or 6 photographs of different stages of development.  Every step is documented.  Do you really want to have a go at it?  Because I will not disappoint.

Here is my promise to you, I am going to do a deep-dive internet search on every single painting that I have ever painted – I have a lot of tenacity and perseverance!  I will find each painting you have taken as your own and WE ARE GOING TO SETTLE THIS practice of yours.  So, I’m going to spend a lot of time, but I’ll do the searches necessary on all 200+ paintings – to find every piece you have claimed as yours.  It’s the principle of the matter.

To those reading this post.  Do you create (art, photography, sculpture, write [stories, poems])?  If you do, take heed – people are trolling to take yours!  Something that you have spent time, energy, and sometimes your soul to create.  Pay attention – is someone taking your work without your knowledge?

This has to stop, come on people .  .  .  stop for one silly minute before you click and take, you don’t have the moral right to someone else’ property.   I’m not asking you for anything, except for you to stop this practice AND I promise you this, correct the situation and I’ll give you credit .  .  .  how’s that?  Do we have a deal?

I’m publicly calling you out  .  .  .  . STOP TAKING WHAT’S NOT YOURS.

To everyone reading this post, please reblog, pass on, and if you would, send it to your other creative friends – to social media of all kinds – wordpress, facebook, tumblr, twitter, etc.  As a collective community lets reverse the pressure and put it right where it belongs.

It’s just so darn disappointing ~ now I ask myself,

what’s the point of posting my art?

UPDATE:  What I’m discovering is that search terms (waves, ocean, seascapes, oil pastel, etc.) yield different results on different search engines.  Sometimes the images come up with my information and sometimes the same image comes up with  one of the names mentioned above (and also I’m finding new names under my images as well), again it all depends on the search terms.  I’m working through 25+ pages of image searches on a variety of search engines.

I’ll post my findings later this week.  Thanks for checking in.

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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208 Responses to I am Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore!

  1. I just spotted this post in your sidebar. How shocking it is to realise that there are such sharksters trawling the internet for stuff to steal. I do hope you got the matter sorted out to your satisfaction.

  2. heatherdawnfineart says:

    oh my 😦 I have heard of this happening. Some of my painting friends have also had people steal their images and re-paint them as their own, It is horrific, there is one artist who is well known and a foreign company have stolen her images and printed them on clothing and goods. They will not stop despite her efforts to stop them. I have never checked to see if any of my work is out there…I don’t know what I would do if it was. I suppose the only thing one can do is to watermark everything we put up. :/ Take care.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Dawn for your comment and thoughts on this issue that seems to never go away. I’m just hoping that if all stay aware that somehow we can put a stop to people stealing our property. Great to meet you.

  3. doricdragons says:

    Hi Mary, I had the same thing happen to me. I used a site called http://www.tineye.com/ to search for sites using my images. There were a few that had been used on pc wallpaper sites and one company had decided to use part of one as the cover of a digital album. They did delete it but I suspect that there will be more to find out there.

    • Mary says:

      I’m really sorry to read about your situation, makes me wonder why on earth someone would think it is okay to take what clearly isn’t theirs to take. Thanks for the site callout, I’ll check them out.

  4. I am so sorry about this. 😦 People have no morals.

  5. This is horrid!! Can you believe that you spent hours on that beautiful piece of work and within seconds some one clicked copy!!!! It’s outrageous to think that they would pass your work off as their own. I really hope you find all of your pictures that people have copied and sort it all out!!😊😊

    • Mary says:

      I’m getting very close – thank you for your thoughts. I now take time once a quarter to do a spot check and it yields me all the information I need. Thanks again ~

  6. Resa says:

    What an ordeal! Have the thieves stopped? I suppose if they have, there are always new ones. Well,I am going to run checks every so often. Since yesterday, I have found 2 more sites with my stolen photos. Both are tattoo sites. So they are using my photos to lure people into getting tattoos with artwork they don’t own. I know it’s street art, but I value the artist’s intellectual property, which is why I try to give artist credits, and if I ever wanted to make $ from my photos, I would contact the artists.
    Now I am worried about my Art Gowns. They are not just my photos, but my art as well.
    Love, love and thank you! _Resa

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Resa. Unfortunately not and I’m still going after them – now I have a bit more material. In December I did a second deep search and found more. But they are no longer on several Pintrest sites and the WP blogger took them off his blog, so that was some progress. Try to do a reverse google image search that may help you do a deeper dive. All the best and thank you, time to protect your beautiful images, art and gowns.

  7. dorispacheco says:

    so sad Mary

  8. It is a terrible shame Mary. Stealing a persons work makes them feel violated. I was robbed by someone that was working in my home. It wasn’t a work of art that I did, but it was something that I treasured. I still felt violated, and to boot I couldn’t prove it so I was out of luck. I hope you sue and win a ton of money, and put them out of business.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Patricia, thank you for your thoughts and expressing your comments about the issue. People don’t realize how much damage they do by stealing others work, this is a long standing issue for many bloggers and artists (no matter the medium). Really do appreciate hearing from you on this.

  9. This is awful. Now I’m wondering how this Pinterest thing works. Doesn’t it just give you exposure? Are people trying to sell you images? I know I took a photo of a piece of artwork I bought that I gave full credit to the artist for on my blog. Now I’m wondering if that’s a mistake.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Jilanne, nice to meet you – such a tough subject right? Pinning art created by someone else is tricky, all depends on if you received permission from the artist. In my case I’ve taken the ability to pinn off through wordpress tools – I’ve several dozens of instances where folks have pinned my painting images to their Pinterest site and it’s disheartening.

      You could check with the artist and see if they mind that you pinned their painting to your Pinterest. Although, in my opinion, you did purchase the original art and now own it, so I don’t think you did anything wrong by posting an image of it onto your Pinterest account. If you feel uncomfortable, ask the artist to see if they mind.

      In my case, people pinned directly from my blog without receiving permission (pinned to pinterest and other websites as mentioned above) and that is not allowed.

      • Oh, I didn’t pin it to Pinterest. I showed a photo of the painting in the context of a blog post where I gave credit to the artist, and I someone else put it either on Pinterest or in their own blog, if I recall correctly. This was awhile ago. Although I have a Pinterest account, I haven’t a clue about how to use it or what it’s really for. I’m pretty much a luddite, still trying to figure out Twitter, too.

        • Mary says:

          Hi Jianne, I see. If you don’t want anyone to be able to pin things on your blog, go to your WP dashboard, find tools or appearance and within either section there will be an option to select facebook linkedin, pinterest, twitter, etc. You can deselect pinterest and this reserves that for you.

          Hope it helps. This is my only social media, more just for art with my hands full just managing the blog. Thanks so much for commenting.

  10. Hello Mary,
    Thank you for stopping by my site, and therefore helping me discover yours.
    I am sorry you had this very unfortunate experience 😦 I also appreciate how you share it, so that all creative people can be aware and be prepared.
    Warm wishes from Japan,

    • Mary says:

      Thank you for your thoughts Takami – still dealing with the situation it makes me wonder if I should continue to post my work, has taken the joy out of blogging. I do appreciate that you took the time to comment – nice to meet you.

  11. mk says:

    That’s very disappointing, but sadly not surprising.
    You’ve got a long thread of comments here, and I haven’t read them all. But, here’s a time-saving tool that might help you –

  12. Don Royster says:

    This is sick. Not only do they steal your livelihood, they steal your blood.

  13. artourway says:

    good for you! keep working hard at your Art … c

  14. This is so incredibly insolent. How dare they! They’d better watch out for me..I can growl like a lion! Little Binky and Granny.

  15. Wow, Mary, shame on them!! And you go, girl!

  16. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  17. writersideup says:

    Mary, this is abhorrent and the kind of thing we all fear will happen. I’ll never truly understand the mentality of stealing like this *sigh* I had a book of mine stolen, too, and in the traditional way—not online! It’s awful! I’m tweeting this!

  18. jackiegmills says:

    I shared this on Twitter Mary.

  19. I cannot believe how people steal and think they can gt away with it. I wish you luck and patience.

  20. Yoshiko says:

    Oh no! This is very sad. Sorry to hear that. I need to inform my friend and to warn her to keep her original sketches in case such cases occur to her.

  21. Reblogged this on johannisthinking and commented:
    This is an alert for all of us in many ways. Plagiarism is wrong and it stealing. I am going to sift through my blog, to be certain that I have given credit to the person when credit is due. I think “sharing” has taken on a new meaning in cyber world. Mary has suffered from stolen art theft. Please direct any comments or likes to her site: https://oilpastelsbymary.com/2014/08/18/i-am-mad-as-hell-and-im-not-going-to-take-it-anymore/comment-page-2/#comment-12510. Thank You! And may we all be more prudent and honest in what we claim as ours on our blogs, beginning with me.

  22. I am very sorry for you, Mary! It is HORRIBLE! I am rechecking my own blog, to be sure that I have given proper credit when credit is due. I will reblog this on my site to alert others and IF I run across any of your stolen work, I will let you know. Thank you for informing us of this. Again, my heartfelt empathy for you!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Johann for your thoughtful comment and appreciate that you are passing this along to those that follow your blog. I’m confident that we’ll get this resolved.

  23. Rob Taylor says:

    I had a similar situation with my photography. The volume if thieves out there is truly mind-boggling. I also tweeted your post. We sometimes have to be fairly aggressive (in a legal context) to protect our work.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Rob for your comments – I agree the volume is incredible and no reliable way of stopping what is happening to our work. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, we need to turn the tables and get more aggressive in how we deal with it.

  24. Ellen Hawley says:

    You must be mad enough to spit tacks. I respect you for taking on the fight. Give ’em hell.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Jean, what a great way to put it, yeah you could say I spit tacks and more! Not totally sure on the direction I’ll be taking this – slowly decisions will be made as I begin the initial stages of contacting the companies and individuals. Thanks for your support!

  25. Jean says:

    I’m sorry to hear of this latest art transgression/theft. I haven’t read this whole thread..but is that how you discovered it? By keyword searches? Or?

    • Mary says:

      Hi Jean, I decided one day last week to begin checking on a couple of painting images of mine to see if they were out there – and lo n’ behold there they were, all over the place. A very disturbing thing to find (and some not so nice places) and that’s what got me started on my search – having spent many hours so far digging deep into the internet. Thanks for asking and I’ll be doing an update at some point with what I’ve found. Very nice meeting you!

  26. violetski says:

    This is horrible Mary! I’m sorry it have happened to you. And sorry for the people who didn’t know about art and its values ! No moral at all and unfortunately it is happening …..
    Thinking of you and hope you take back all you property from them. Please inform us the progress❤️

    • Mary says:

      Hi Violet, thank you so much – yes, it’s one of those things that hurts when it happens and kind of throws you for a loop. I’m working on resolving the issues and imagine it’s going to be a long haul. I’ll do an update post as I determine more of what I’m dealing with (at least 24 images are being used and numerous Pinterests Pins). Thanks again ~

  27. John says:

    This is sad, disgusting. I think the only way to stop this with today’s technology is to not place your work online. At that point, I think it becomes public property, legally or not. I am sorry this is happening to you, Mary. As for my photos, I don’t much care about them taking the stuff, it isn’t art. Just fun photography but they are watermarked anyway. Anyone can remove watermarking…

    • Mary says:

      Hi John, can’t say I disagree with you and it’s going to be a hard decision on what I do going forward. There is no right or wrong answer, but do wish there was a way to provide more control to the owner of images of what happens to them on the Internet. Could be something for the technology companies to begin considering, because stealing property isn’t a good thing.

  28. Nawfal says:

    I have twittered your post, Mary. This is horrible, but I’m not at all surprised – it happens so much now, to so many artists. Sometimes if you send a nice but strict email to the culprit, they will remove the images. Other times, they may ignore you completely. In that case, you could always try getting a ‘Lawyer’s Letter’ sent officially from your lawyer and that will get someone’s notice. However, the bad thing is that you will have to pay the fee for the letter. That is, unless you want to sue them (the culprits) in civil or small claims court and then you make the culprit pay for everything, plus 3-times the cost of a full-rights usage fee for unauthorized use. Say that your full-rights usage fee for a client is USD5,000 for full-rights (a buy-out usage of your image / the image of your artwork), then charge the culprit 15K per image used without your permission. You have enough evidence to prove it is your work. I am sure there is plenty of precedence in former court cases for violations of copyright, or digital theft of digital intellectual property to back up your case. Of course, I’m just throwing out numbers and ideas. Good luck!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Nawfal for your thoughtful and well-stated comments – if we are vigilant over our own property than who will be? I’m proceeding in a number of ways after finding some 24 instances and too numerous Pinterest pins out there to count. What I don’t appreciate is the time-consuming exercise, but necessary chore – it has eaten into creating, art and personal priorities. Thank you for twittering my post, means a lot to me. Have a wonderful week! (I’m so far behind in with my Reader).

      • Nawfal says:

        I’m wishing you the best of luck. You are right – this is a time wasting chore, but necessary if you need to take further action. I too probably have had my images ‘stolen’ without my knowledge. I can only imagine the effort you are putting into this for hours. For now, keep us updated on your progress. Take care,

  29. Jill's Scene says:

    Hello Mary, I have two reactions to this situation. First, I’m appalled that your beautiful art has been ripped off. Second, you totally rock for documenting your work in progress and now for standing up for your rights. Go you! I’m going to share this post on Facebook, too. The more people know about this kind of thing the better.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Jill! Thank you very much for your fantastic comments – much appreciated. I really appreciate that you’ll be sharing this post, it’s one of the things that we all need to pay attention too and the problem is we have a lot of competing priorities. Thanks and have a wonderful day!

  30. PiedType says:

    It’s so hard to protect original work on the Internet (just ask timethief). I’ve not had much occasion to track down violators of my copyright, or maybe I’ve just been unaware of violations. Plus, I’ve no beautiful images like yours. By now you’ve probably found numerous ways to search for your images, but if you haven’t tried tineye.com, you might find it a useful tool. I use it sometimes when trying to figure out where an image originated. Hope you can find a way to stop this thievery and get your work removed from the other websites.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you PiedType for your thoughtful comment, I do really appreciate it. I’ve tried tineye and several others, uncovering 24 instances and am now dealing with them. It does make me step back a bit and reconsider what I’m doing and sharing on the web. Thanks ~

  31. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Mary! I have had it happen to me a couple of times and it really sucks!. One time it was a fellow blogger who did it. That one really hurt. The lack of respect for the artwork (or in my case photograph) and its creator is very disheartening and maddening. Take care.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Jackie, so appreciate your thoughts and am very sorry you had to experience this. Happens more often than we would all like to know and have to deal with.

  32. I’m sorry you’ve had this happen, Mary. I wish you the best of luck in finding & prosecuting these thieves. Thank you for reminding us that we have to be careful and ever-vigilant.

  33. I have had this happen to some columns that I wrote on another site. So frustrating and maddening! Good luck!

  34. Reblogged this on Don MacIver; Poetry & Verse and commented:
    This wonderful artist has articulated her anger and frustration upon discovering that others have wrongly and without due authorization misrepresented the original artist (herself) in the posting of her artworks on the internet. This practice has become increasingly problematic affective both artistic property and intellectual property rights across the internet.

    Know your rights in terms of your own creative publishing online and be wary through internet searches on a regular basis. As Mary has done on her website make sure you post copyright of your original creative works anywhere displayed publicly including and especially on the internet.

    Reference ‘The Artist’s Rights’ for one of many topic centric points of interest at http://tinyurl.com/2crlja

  35. Bravo Mary! Although I am not aware of any intellectual property rights infringement in the case of my own writing it is always a risk and great temptation for those who would cross the line morally or otherwise.

    As creatives we are truly bound to and by our works in a deeply personal way and for anyone to violate property rights to their own benefit is beyond comprehension. My best advice Mary would be to screenshot every instance you discover in this regard in order that you have something palpable to produce if you were to pursue the matter from a legal standpoint. Plagiarism and property rights misuse have always been deemed serious acts which are growing instance yet I am unclear at this point where they would stand legally.

    If the offenders are legitimate business entities then bad press at the very least could be quite damaging. An immediate retraction by the noted parties would help but will they stop were there no legal ramifications? Let’s hope so.

    Best wishes and I will indeed re-blog your greatly valued comments here. You articulate well the frustration and anger so many have felt over the years. I note that most painting artists and photographers are applying permanent water marks to their property before sharing same online. Doing so may help to deter any further such violations of your artworks Mary. The Internet is a powerful and vastly utilized tool yet we have a long way to go in terms of legal precedence and enforcement, an enormous task in of itself.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Don for your generous and well-stated argument for protecting our intellectual property.You offer some great ideas, of which I’ll be thinking about. It’s kind of put me in a bit of a stupor – the amount of time I’ve spent on this already has taken away from my priorities and that’s not a good thing, my thoughts and drive are not on art. I have a lot of work to do now with every image, as I have found 24 instances (not including Pinterest pins). Have a lovely week and again, I appreciate that you took the time to write.

  36. Actually, depending on where you are, and where they are, you might want to contact the FBI Art Crimes and Cyber Crimes Division. I am not sure if it is the same with internet theft, but art theft across state lines should classify as a felony, I would think? Check out RICO laws, also. I wish you the best of luck and hope you stick it to these creeps, HARD!!!!

    • Mary says:

      Thanks very much for your comments and thoughts – appreciate it! I’ve got my work cut out for me, but now that I know what I’m dealing with I have no problems getting organized and getting on with it addressing it head-on. Thanks again~

  37. This is a shocking thing to happen to your art, Mary – I hope you are able to put a stop to it. Unfortunately so many people have no respect for other people’s property and it seems that as soon as something is uploaded to the web it becomes vulnerable to these kind of vultures. It does make it very difficult to find the balance between sharing your work and not getting it stolen – seems like a never-ending battle. Thinking of you and hope you will be able to “retrieve” all your property.

    • Mary says:

      Can you believe it Dawn! Seriously this is the problem for all of us that post our work be it art, writing, photography, etc. how much to post – lesser amounts defeat the purpose of communication. I’m happy to take care of this situation on my end, I’ll post back out results. Thank you very much for your comment!

  38. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Wow. Good for you! Go get them! And very sorry for your loss in all this, but most impressed and satisfied that you have good documentation! Well done you!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you very much for the encouragement and comments! It takes but a second to take progress shots of paintings and drawings. Nice to meet you!

      • A.PROMPTreply says:

        Nice to meet you as well! And yes, I’m sure it does only take a second to take those shots, but alot of people wouldn’t do it anyway. It is the difference between someone who will win this and someone who won’t! Am really glad you are so thorough!

  39. All theft is a crime and these bastards have to be stopped, i’m so sorry this happened to you, totally unacceptable, totally. Nail them to the wall!
    My best to you

  40. Mary – Good grief!! You can also check your art by sliding the image into Google Images. You have every right to be upset. So sorry this happened to you. I hope you will find a solution and that whoever stole your beautiful pieces will suffer consequences. Sharing all over the place!

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