It's taken me a while to have enough courage to create this post. Divulging your…
I’m furious & really sad… I am losing faith in mankind. Yup, I stumbled on the fact that many ‘stores’ are apparently selling my product! They are scamming buyers by using my stolen pictures! It seems my work is famous – but stolen! ‘How dare you!
Remember these?! They are one of my favourite concrete projects that I made & it must have proliferated the internet. Those are my photos, my steps and my watermark, but that has not stopped the thieves.
If you are on the internet you have probably been scammed or at least been tempted to buy something. There are ads everywhere, and google plans to show you what you searched for, it’s not a coincidence. I do shop on the ‘net, quite often so yes, I too have been scammed.
I have been quite sad lately since my lil pup passed away so I have lost a bit of my usual drive and that leads to some mindless surfing on the net. When I googled ‘witch ghoul light‘. I just about fell out of my chair… (And that could be a problem for those new knees that I’ll be getting!)
It looks like I am selling millions of my sculptures all over, Amazon, eEbay, individual sites and even Walmart!
Third Party sellers
How can this happen??? You need to be careful… All the major selling sites have third party sellers. That means that the site owner is at the mercy of the third party seller to be honest in their product. There’s a lot of odd stuff going on under the surface. Also a company can have many stores/names all over the ‘net. It’s impossible to find contacts that work or get a reply. You need to check who the seller is & where they are shipping from. Individual sites are even riskier since they are not trying to keep their reputation clean.
Yes, there are ways to complain, to file ‘Amazon Infringement reports’, or Walmart Intellectual property violations for the use of my stolen pictures.
Spend your time filling in product numbers, contacts for hours… and hours. Then you get some form-letter email replies. What happens? Well, they may take the page down and then wait to see of there is more complaints… I’d have to hire a bunch of people to police this. Just like the ‘5 Minute Crafts’ they eventually sneak some new infringements like we sneak cookies out of the pantry when no one is looking.
No where on this site does it show what you will actually get. All the pictures are my sculptures, not depicting their product.
They even have the nerve to remove my watermark, albeit badly!
One of the most notorious places that these fakes are peddled is through Facebook ads. Check out this story from Buzzfeed. The one thing I will note; is that the scammers do like to pick the best stuff; so I suppose I should feel flattered. ‘But the proper way would have been to ask permission to make them, permission to use my design, let alone MY PHOTOS!
So many artists are upset that there is now a Facebook group: Facebook Ad Scambusters! It ‘outs’ the scam ads alerting would-be buyers.
I’ll admit that my concrete work is all my own unique designs and not some regurgitation from the ‘net since I foremost pride myself as an artist. I also teach in an art college and know that inspiration & reference comes from the internet so easily. ‘But I draw the line on blatant exact use of others images! I am so shocked that these companies believe that using my unique pictures as their own is acceptable.
I know it’s pretty easy to snipe images off of the web, screen shot them. ‘They’ even cut them out of my picture and place them in different backgrounds.
There are only one of each of sculptures that exist, as I am looking at them right now. They are HUGE, about 18″ tall, made of concrete & quite heavy. The details are fine from the handy-work of the dipped fabric.
So what do you get?
There were a few sellers who actually included a ‘real’ picture of what would arrive by mail (if it does). Read closely; these are ‘fit-in-your-hand’ tiny! Mine are concrete, and their’s are resin (or plastic). There may be some battery light inside.
One of my readers informed me of all this a while back since they were fooled that it was actually my designs being sold… I reassured that I could not make these to ship, especially for the prices stated. It was confusing since they used my stolen pictures.
Once they arrived they looked like this. (thanks, not everyone likes to admit that they got scammed) Maybe they are worth the little money. I try to imagine someone somewhere trying to copy exactly from my pictures… and I’d say they lack the true character that mine have.
Such sad little imitations! I am sure it’s not the first and surely won’t be the last, however it leaves a really bad taste in the mouth for future projects. I share my projects freely – which I am starting to question.
Come on, give me some faith in mankind.