This isn’t a fucking hobby….

What does copyright infringement mean to you? Is it using someone else’s words and not giving them due credit? Is it burning a CD for a friend? Is it taking pictures of art hanging in a gallery? In a museum? Is it buying a print of an artist’s work and making and selling Tee shirts with that print? Is it stealing an idea or concept from someone and using it further yourself? What exactly is “intellectual property” and how do we protect it? What is considered “copyrightable?”

As an artist I can easily say there really is no worse feeling than seeing something I created or had a hand in creating with someone else’s name on it and no credit to myself. Granted, I am of the philosophy, mimicking behavior is the highest form of flattery but there is a very clear and present difference between mimicking and stealing.

I believe artists are often times inspired by each other and we just as often try to learn techniques through others’ work in hopes of our own work evolving. In fact, I love nothing more than sharing my own process with others an seeing what they may gain from it. I have to draw a line however, when it comes to an actual piece of work I was a part of creating whether 100, 75, 50 or 25 percent. I expect due credit to be applied to any and ALL artists. For example if there is a group of 5 artists responsible for an installation piece I would expect to see the names of all five artists in conjunction with the relevant piece. And not I only do I expect this credit, I am relieved to share this “credit” is protected by federal law (at least here in the states).

In fact, there are many laws to protect everything from “intellectual property,” to copyrightable/ed material, to co authorship. To put it bluntly, it is illegal to to use someone else’s “copyrightable” material and NOT give them due credit. It is really that simple.

It. Is. Against. The. Law.

I know artists all over the world have dealt with and/or continue to deal with copyright infringement or theft of “intellectual property.” I also have experienced it. And it is infuriating. Look people…this is my career. This isn’t a fucking hobby I dabble in when I have time. My art IS my work! My art IS how I make a living. My art IS my existence. And there are no lengths I wont go to, to protect that! For my artist friends out there…educate yourselves on the law and do what you need to do to protect yourselves and your work. Learn from my mistakes…a little money and time from the beginning is an investment that you will get a return from for the rest of your career! xx

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