Taking a Stand Against Copyright Infringement

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I received a threatening e-mail yesterday. It comes from a Marykay Bond and what I've posted below is unedited. Now, those that know me or have even just been following this blog, know that I'm a professional and I work very hard to present myself that way. I wouldn't normally put something like this out there, but I want this out in the open for everyone to see.

"Ann Ranlett,

Why are you attacking my art?
Have you ever held a piece of my art in your hand? Has any one in that group truly saw a piece of my work?
It saddens me when I see an artist such as your self running with "pack mentally".

There in not one ounce of proof that anyone can show that my art is not real.
This is all hearsay and was started by one jealous artist and it has snowballed out of control.

These people seem to think this is all some sort of fun game; but what they do not realize is that there are internet stalking laws; there are slander laws; and many other laws that are also being broken.
If anyone slanders my name I am going after them with the full force of the Law!

These people like to hide behind made-up pretend names and say things about me using my real name and my business name's; this is SLANDER!

I will get a court order to pull all of ebay and YouTube records which will show the exact address of each ones servers through their isp address; which can be traced directly to their front door step of their homes, no matter what pretend name they are hiding behind.

I have never attacked your art or your name. I do not even know you so I know you do not know me; but if you choose to slander my name you are going down with them!

Marykay Bond

The e-mail speaks for itself. I will not dignify her comments/accusations/threats with a reply. But I won't call her out here, either. And I won't post her eBay id or web site. You can do your own research if you so choose.

I am trying to figure out what prompted the e-mail and the only thing I can think of that would make Ms. Bond feel I'm "attacking her art" is a comment I left on a Flickr photo (scroll down to the comment by AnnRan5). Yes, I'm assuming what the other commenters are saying is true, but I'm also aware of copyright infringement on eBay, so I really don't doubt them. I know artists whose photos or artwork have been used without permission. The photographer who took the cat photos and posted them on her Flickr page did not authorize use of that photo in that manner - it's obvious from her own comment. It's extremely frustrating as an artist and a photographer to see others' work used without permission, it has not happened to me (that I know of) but I'm as vigilant and protective of my work as is reasonably possible.

I also try to educate when I can. What many people don't realize is that just because an image (be it a photo or art) is on the internet, doesn't mean it can be used by anyone in any manner they wish. Others do realize this and don't care, figuring the odds of the appropriation being discovered are slim. This is copyright infringement. The copyright belongs to the creator of that image, period. Simply put, copyright means all rights to do anything with that image. Even the buyer of an original piece of art or a photograph does not have permission to make reproductions of that work, unless such permission is granted by the artist/photographer. Some time ago, I ran across a great summary of copyright info. Click here to read it (you have to scroll down the page a little bit).

It's a tough situation - as artists, we want to share our art with others and the internet is an amazing way to do that since we can reach people on the other side of the world. On the down side, by doing that, we open our work up to theft. The best we can do is to keep an eye out for unauthorized use of our work (and our fellow artists' works) and to put a copyright watermark on our images that we put on the web. Fortunately, at least in my experience, the positives of having my work on the internet far outweigh the negatives.


Miniature Art by Karen Hull November 10, 2009 at 11:30 AM  

How frustrating for you Ann. You said nothing in your kind response on Flickr that would justify a response like that. It must be a case of mistaken identity. I would send her a flickr mail and ask her what in your response offended her, when you were only trying to offer support!!!!!

PaintDog November 10, 2009 at 11:49 AM  

Thanks Karen.

The e-mail did not come from the photographer, it came from the person who infringed on the photographer's work.

PoozyBear November 10, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

Ann, so sorry that you found yourself on the receiving end of these threats.

Ms. Bond states, "There in (sp) not one ounce of proof that anyone can show that my art is not real." Not true. I bought a piece of her "art" and have had it verified as being fraudulent - a computer generated print, washed over to create the look of a watercolor painting. Two "events" are taking place here: 1) Doctored prints being sold as original watercolors, and 2) Unauthorized use of copyright protected material.

This is what eBay has become, and it needs to stop.

Thank you for standing up to this woman, and not allowing yourself to be bullied away by her threats, which have no merit, as SHE is the only one who has committed any crime (yes, copyright infringement is a crime). As artists, the best thing we can do is to educate buyers and hopefully put an end to this deplorable behavior, which you've done an excellent job of with this blog entry. Bravo!

A Chance for Bliss November 10, 2009 at 11:23 PM  

Just my two little pennies... assuming this is not a case of mistaken identity, the force of MKB's tirade in response to your non-threatening post serves only to illustrate a guilty conscience. That kind of "energy" would not be whipped up by someone with nothing to hide. So overblown, seriously.

Thanks for sharing this, Ann. I can only begin to imagine your frustration.

Miniature Art by Karen Hull November 11, 2009 at 1:30 AM  

Oh, now I get it. Well, I think she has a very guilty conscience and is just lashing out at anyone. 'Artists' like her make it even harder for legitimate artists to make a decent dollar!!!

thisemily November 11, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

it's unfortunate that there are people out there that knowingly violating copyright and then outright deny it in elaborate ways. i had sent a message to the ebay artist letting her know about her paintings and my photographs and that it was NOT ok (AND that i was looking into filing a claim w/ ebay). she sent a superficially reasonable message back except for the fact that she said she had never seen my photos before. ?! impossible! i won't pursue direct contact in the future because of that disturbing lie.

thanks for this entry, though, and the link about copyrights. i'm sorry that she sent you such a threatening message - it's a completely different tone from the message i received.

- Emily

Melody Lea Lamb November 11, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

I am so sorry Ann that you are on the receiving end of this ugliness!! I admire (as I always have) your honesty, courage, and professionalism. You have my full support, plus **hugs**

PaintDog November 11, 2009 at 10:30 AM  

Thank you all for your comments and support.

Emily, I'm sorry we've turned your Flickr page into a small battle ground. Certainly not our intent, but we're sure glad you followed up and let this person (and others) know that these actions are not acceptable, nor are they legal.


PaintDog November 11, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

Hmmm, serendipity? Perhaps . . .

A couple of weeks ago, the Squidoo Lens of the Day about Copyright Infringement landed in my inbox. I hadn't read it yet, but just did. Well, not all of it, it's very thorough, but there's a ton of great info. Well worth bookmarking for reference. Thanks to artist Edward L. Kinnally for taking the time to create the lens:


Anonymous November 11, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

All her work looks like paint-on-prints. I would love to examine her work under my microscope.

Anonymous November 12, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

I have one I purchased, scanned at 2400 dpi, that shows printer dots.

The image is on watercolor paper, washed over, then some actual paint marks painted onto highlighted areas. (Perhaps this fools some?)

Not cut accurately.

There are others that also have conducted testing with the same results.

PoozyBear November 12, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

Sorry Ann. That deleted commented was mine (scary typos).

Wanted to say that I scanned mine at high res. Printer dots everywhere. She claimed marks from her watercolor pencils. NOT.

Image of my scan is on my own blog: http://poozybear.blogspot.com/

Anonymous November 15, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

How sad...Ann. So sorry you have to deal with this. Reminds me of someone else.

- - - All art and images ©Ann Ranlett, unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved. - - -

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