My Work is Famous – but stolen!

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!

My Precious Ghoul and Witch

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.

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  1. Dear Barb, I was horrified to learn that your art/ art ideas have been stolen. You are such an original, prolific and creative artist that that type of theft unfortunately really stings. Try to relax and think what to do next. Getting angry should be a catalyst for change for the better and protection for your intellectual property. I love Ginene’s idea of a petition to Congress and I might add to local officials as well if possible. There are petition sites like “Daily Kos” where petitions can be uploaded. With regards to the mail and prices of mailing etc, I place that at the feet of DeJoy and his archaic methods. Just took to Amazon and UPS if you want a good model of service. I feel very badly for you and for all artists that put themselves out there for all to see and enjoy. I think every artist feels the same violation as you do and if we band together we could make something happen for the better.
    Not to be political, my roots are from Venice, Italy. When I married my husband from there over 30 years ago, we visited that city many times and saw first hand how the Chinese completely destroyed local arts in Venice. They came, saw, photographed and then copied to flood the market with miserable and very low priced copies of the famous Venetian carnival and theater masks. This resulted in all the local artists who were specialists losing their livelihood. Some gave up and others resorted to making other items. It is every artist in the world’s problem. These were experienced leather crafters, ceramists and papermache’ artists with mad skills. To start with we should boycott buying Chinese goods whenever we can and spread the word to our artist friends to do the same.
    I am sending the “cool Canadian lady” good vibes.

  2. I’ve enjoyed the patterns you’ve shared with us. And even though I haven’t had time to make everything I see that I’m interested in, I know I can go on your site to find it when I’m ready. Please keep going for yourself and for those of us who enjoy seeing your creations. The next time we drive across Canada to visit our son and family, I would love to stop to by.
    All those creative people everywhere, who have generously shared their creations with us are just that, “GENEROUS” and I thank all, for those ideas that I wouldn’t necessarily come up with myself. I appreciate having the opportunity to make things from so many creative minds. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

    1. Oh, you are welcome! I remember decades ago (before the internet) friends would ask if they could bring their friends to my place as everyone wanted to see how I did things… That’s one of the reasons I started this site. Enjoy

      1. Wendy just for your info Amazon has removed your question. We can imagine that it was not very good for their image and that is why they removed it! But almost everybody know that all they care about is to get your money why would they care about intellectual properties?? I keep away from those companies in support to Barb and all the others who had their ideas stolen.
        Barb from a Canadian to another I really enjoy looking at your beautiful creations and tell you »félicitations «  you are a real great artist and if I ever see a fake one somewhere you can be sure that they will hear me about it.

        1. Oh, aren’t you a great supporter! I am sure I am just a ‘drop-in-the-bucket’ for all what goes on over the internet. After 5-Minute Crafts was making millions from their pilfering I’m not surprised anymore. I do what I do – share.

  3. that is horrible, and i am sorry. my wife and i love halloween and i recreated your spook step. it was a very fun process. i would love to show you how my recreation came out. please keep up the good work. would love to see some new ideas on concrete halloween ideas

    1. Well, I’m sure you didn’t know when you bought it?! Don’t worry… The average consumer often never knows where the design came from, we just trust…

  4. I’m So sorry about the loss of your pup that’s very sad. Add. As far as the statues go, that’s terrible they’re taking your pictures and even worse that they’re making & selling your product without your permission. I am glad that I happened upon this article though because I was just getting ready to make a few more “Step Spooks” because two friends have asked me if I would make one for them (They fell in love with mine). I feel bad because it never even occurred to me to get your permission to make them I just kind of assumed it was OK since you teach how to make them. How do you feel about this Barb? You are so talented and I can’t even draw stick people. But your tutorials are so in depth it makes me feel like a pro

    1. It is fine that you make them for yourself or friends. Please do not sell them without referencing me. I’m sure yours will have your own character as well…

  5. Hi Barb, I’m Canadian too. I cannot believe the intellectual property thieves_ WOW! I have an idea. and it costs nothing.
    Draft a fake “cease and desist” letter from a lawyer ( free!) you can even make up your own fictitious name.. make sure it has an official heading/ logo ( lift it from google images ) and email it to each seller you come across that has stolen your images/projects etc. ( again, free) . Bas*&#rds
    Beat them at their own game. At least some of of them will stop.

    On another note I got here from searching DIY rocks. I need to create 100 linear feet of armour stone, purely decorative to give the “illusion” of privacy in a development that allows no fences. Thinking “rocks” around 3 or 4 feet long x 2 or 3 feet wide x 2 feet tall. (and I happen to have couple of cardboard boxes that size) There will be planting of cedar trees, shrubs etc behind.
    I have no clue where I’m going to get 25 X enough fabric and styrofoam, ( I regularly throw out giant styrofoam, but I think I’m mostly done acquiring) I’ll try to figure out a work around.
    I dont have a million yards of fabric, and buying it defects the purpose. – but I might have enough batting- it looks like you don’t reco that as a draping fabric though.

    I’m also considering figuring out a “mold” so I can reuse it over and over
    Any suggestions based on your experience?
    (and Incidentally, your “rocks” are a hundred times more realistic looking that any faux rocks I’ve seen on pinterest, youtube or google. Even including commercially sold ones. Clearly the artist in you!! AMAZING! )

    1. Oh Lynn! You have some lofty ambition. I am a bit worried as the sizes you say would still make for some weight and a lot of concrete mixing! ‘But where there’s a will there is a way! Maybe you could ask at the electronic stores, those tv’s have huge amounts! Maybe, before you dive too deep, you could do a smaller test. I do get cheap fabric like fleece sheets at the thrift shops and they can be as cheap as $5 for a lot of fabric. Perhaps you do not need the full stone either, but more of an edge. Using soil as a shape with plastic can act as a structure and then lift off when cured. Chicken wire will also help keep the shape. 100’ – that’s a lot! Have you ever been to Wonderland? That mountain is made in a similar way Let me know how you make out!

  6. Sad… even worse when one gives freely of their knowledge and techniques. You may have to place your watermark clearly right on the image the way some photograph sites do.

  7. So sad to see this! Just found your site today and have been excited to find such wonderful projects to do with and for my grands. Then I saw this post. It’s just horrible but know that it extends to so many things on Amazon like wigs with many professional photos of models including Rachel Welch and her line of wigs and many others. And it gets worse! Recently a local child from my community who suffered a horrible accident and extended hospitalization had family displaying her photos sharing her miraculous healing progress via prayers and love of community. Her hospital photos were taken from the sharing facebook page to sell multiple items including medicines, diet pills, etc. Just unbelievable. They stop at nothing!

  8. I’ve seen this as well, and I while I was (SO VERY!) inspired by you and your work! I was sad bc (I thought) they were being mass produced now. While I’m happy that you haven’t compromised your artistic integrity, I am so very sorry that you have been ripped off by these imposters who are trying to profit off your artistic talent!!! You deserve better than that!