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What to Do About Online Art Theft & Plagiarism

Has Someone Stolen Your Art or Design?

Are you sick of your artwork, design or photography being stolen by commercial enterprises or small businesses and used to generate profits you will never see? Often these companies employ graphic designers or "artists" who aren’t receiving enough pay or time to deliver original designs, hence they hop on the web for inspiration and “borrow” (in other words, steal) ideas for artwork.

Frequently, the original artists will be angry at the graphic designers of these companies, but sometimes it is not entirely their fault. They are rushed, stressed, inspired by your designs and trying their best to please all parties in five minutes. Though they shouldn’t do it, the blame lies with the companies themselves, who employ people in factory-like conditions and do not veto concepts, designs and artwork throughout the design process. Then, there are always some well paid rogue designers who cannot stop stealing and will not provide original concepts and a design trail.

It’s all very well to supposed to be flattered by people copying you, but where does all this thievery help you, the artist? While the internet is a great tool for sharing, it is not meant to be used to generate profits for multinationals off the backs of working class creators. This hub provides some potential solutions that can help creators get back some of the payment they are due.

Many artists worldwide use the process below to generate a living out of their artwork (I will protect their anonymity by not mentioning names here). Some of them make millions of dollars. Instead of chasing buyers, they chase the companies who copy the designs. It is quite a legitimate form of compensation and doesn’t cost much too much to achieve.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice in any form. The author is not a lawyer and will not be held responsible for any legal activity resulting from reading this article.

Original art by UK Illustrator, Ashley Percival.

Original art by UK Illustrator, Ashley Percival.

Art stolen by AliExpress and reproduced as cushions.

Art stolen by AliExpress and reproduced as cushions.

You need to find out the definition of a copied artwork, which may be given as a legal description or as a percentage of the total concept or surface cover (eg more than 20% copied constitutes copyright infringement, whereas less than 20% does not).

You will need to check your country’s copyright laws to determine if copyright infringement has indeed, taken place in each instance of theft.

100% duplicated copies usually do constitute copyright infringement (except for the "fair use" clause, which includes personal use, education, satire, critique and other non profitable activities).

Remember, you automatically own all copyrights to your work from the moment of creation.

Also note that copyright law does not protect ideas, only the end results of ideas. For example, you cannot copyright a style or a subject, only an actual artwork.

These cushions from also look strangely familiar...

These cushions from also look strangely familiar...

Did You Know?

If you are in the United States and planning on actually pursuing any lawsuits in regards to thieves commercially manufacturing your artwork, you should make sure to register all artwork (within 3 months of creation) with the United States Copyright Office for a small fee.

This does not “protect” your artwork any more than a copyright symbol does, but it can make a huge difference in getting attorneys fees and statutory damages covered by the infringer.

Statutory damages are a set amount of money by law that you would receive, instead of having to prove in court how much profit you lost and being paid a potentially lesser amount instead.

Registering artwork can get expensive quickly if there's a lot of artwork to register, but it is worth it if you are becoming a prominent artist and people seem to keep stealing your artwork.

Alternatively, if you are not in the USA, contact your country's Copyright Office to see what benefits they might offer.

Step 2: Prepare, Monitor & Protect All Artwork Online

Low Resolution Images

It’s important to use only low resolution images on the internet. When you “save for web” in Photoshop, it automatically converts your image to 72dpi (dots per inch). Use images that are 72dpi and 600 pixels in height and width (or less). If you post a bigger image, or a 150dpi – 300dpi image, people can use it for quality commercial printing and upsizing, and you don’t want that!

Read More From Feltmagnet


Watermarking images is not always the best answer, as it can detract from your artwork and people can easily take the watermarks off in Photoshop. Graphic designers can still copy concepts, even when they are watermarked. Watermarks only deter the general public who might not have access or knowledge to remove watermarks. A subtle copyright watermark is useful for stating your rights, but doesn’t stop theft.

No Right Click

Using a script to prevent users from right clicking on artwork is a great way to stop the general public from stealing images. However, with simple keyboard techniques (that I won’t reveal here), No Right Click can be worked around fairly easily by those in the know.

Best Practice

The best way to protect your artwork online, apart from never putting it up in the first place (and that’s no good to you), is to prepare artwork appropriately, monitor artwork on the internet and respond to all copyright infringement as it occurs, while extracting money from offenders.

Spot the stolen owl - Ashley Percival's designs also featured without permission on tops from Chinese clothes retailer

Spot the stolen owl - Ashley Percival's designs also featured without permission on tops from Chinese clothes retailer

Step 3: Locate Stolen Artwork Online

Aside from Google Alerts, there are a few other ways to find out if your artwork has been illegally reproduced.

I designed this final logo concept for a client. He didn’t even wait for me to put colour in before he said it was finished. He then refused to pay, took the low quality jpg to another (free?) designer and got them to replicate it.

I designed this final logo concept for a client. He didn’t even wait for me to put colour in before he said it was finished. He then refused to pay, took the low quality jpg to another (free?) designer and got them to replicate it.

I threatened him with a top-of-Google blog post (featuring his company name) right here on Hubpages and he eventually paid up, but needless to say, I have blacklisted him as my client.

I threatened him with a top-of-Google blog post (featuring his company name) right here on Hubpages and he eventually paid up, but needless to say, I have blacklisted him as my client.

Google Reverse Image Search

Install the Google Chrome browser and open it. Then go to Google and type in something in the web search box, then click on “Images” at the top of search results. Get a jpg of your artwork from your computer and drag it onto the search bar where you’d normally type in something. You will see a new window open and put your image where it says “Drop Image Here”. Google Image Search will upload your photo and provide urls and similar results, which you can then inspect at leisure.

TinEye Reverse Image Search

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. Upload an image (or a URL) and TinEye converts the image into a digital “fingerprint” and compares it to all other images in its index (tens of millions are added every week), then gives you the results. It finds exact matches, not similar images (unlike Google Image Search) and can find matches that have been cropped, edited and resized. There are even different TinEye extensions you can add to your web browser.

Manual Google Search

You can try searching in Google Images for your artwork by topic, then add additional details like "cushions", "clothes", "mobile phone covers" etc. For example, I found Ashley Percival's artwork was copied because I typed "painted owl cushions" into Google and viewed the images to find them, though TinEye didn't find them and neither did a Google Image Search.

An artist's worst nightmare: Colorado Artist Carol Cavalaris' painting of "Cat In Easter Lilac Hat" was stolen by AliExpress and is now being sold as a kit so that anyone can reproduce it.

An artist's worst nightmare: Colorado Artist Carol Cavalaris' painting of "Cat In Easter Lilac Hat" was stolen by AliExpress and is now being sold as a kit so that anyone can reproduce it.

Artwork Reproduction & Manufacture

If someone’s commercially reproducing your designs, you are entitled to get compensation and justice.

It might help if you think of the offenders as customers who haven't paid yet, who need to be "educated" (ie threatened) or negotiated with in some way to make them pay for using your product. Apologies are not good enough. Removing the product is not good enough. They used it, and they need to pay for it. After all, you don't borrow and use THEIR product for an indeterminate timeframe and then apologise and return it, do you?

Step 4: Consider the Potential Gains

Think about the ramifications of the use of the artwork by the infringer and how best to deal with it.

For example, if someone has stolen your artwork and put it on a T-shirt in an online community store like Threadless or CafePress, the best way to deal with it might be to contact the site owners and get that person’s account banned and the T-shirt removed. The reason this method should be used is because the site owners might not know it was stolen artwork and would no doubt have third party liabilities excluded from their legal responsibilities, so a lawsuit (or even a threatened lawsuit) would be useless.

However, a much bigger site like Alibaba or Ebay, that houses hundreds of companies that reproduce stolen artwork on a massive scale deserves the full force of the law, as do stolen artworks entered into design contests with a high cash prize, or clothing companies who sell many clothes with your design on them.

Consider how much profit the offender has gained from it. There's no point in being satisfied with an apology if they sold hundreds or thousands of items (you should be getting financially compensated) but it is silly to conduct a lawsuit over five sales. A reasonably sized invoice (with extra fees for unlawful use), along with a Cease & Desist Letter from a lawyer is enough to scare most of them.

Adelaide Photographer Harmony Nicholas finds businesses keep stealing her designs and putting them on T-Shirts, like this one from UK T-Shirt shop Unique 93. Unfortunately, she has no way of telling how many have already sold.

Adelaide Photographer Harmony Nicholas finds businesses keep stealing her designs and putting them on T-Shirts, like this one from UK T-Shirt shop Unique 93. Unfortunately, she has no way of telling how many have already sold.

Step 5: Gather Evidence

Grab some screenshots of the stolen artwork and note the date and time of your discovery. Note the URL of the website and (if you can find it), the date that the webpage was published. You will need the evidence later on, so get it while it’s still there! You might want to check if there are any other instances of the artwork with Google Image Search and TinEye too.

What Is a Cease & Desist Letter?

The purpose of a Cease & Desist Letter is to legally state that you would like the infringer to completely stop using your artwork without your permission, and to remove it from the public eye in all mediums, otherwise further legal action will be taken against them. Include an invoice or notes about how they can compensate you for the unauthorised use of your artwork to date.

Don't Recycle the Lawyer's Letterhead

It would be illegal to get a lawyer’s form letter and reproduce the letterhead without their permission. Do not do this or you will have a big legal problem because the recipients of the letter will contact the law firm and they’ll find out. However, you can use the text in your first paid C&D Letter to formulate your own at a later date (on your own letterhead).

Did You Know?

If you are an artist, any expenses incurred in dealing with stolen artwork may be potential tax deductions. Check with your accountant for full details.

Step 6: Send a Cease & Desist Letter

Here’s the fun part – where you can take action about the copyright infringement. You will need to choose if you will be using a law firm for a Cease & Desist Letter or if you will be dealing with it yourself.

The benefit of using a law firm is that your letters will be taken much more seriously (and therefore compensation might be more forthcoming), plus a lawyer can correctly input the legal text with the right threatening tone that you might have trouble with yourself.

If a letter does lead to court action, the paper trail that the lawyer collects is bound to be more official than your own. But not everyone can afford a lawyer, so it’s best to determine what costs are involved before making decisions.

Find yourself a reputable or well known law firm. It’s hard to impress anyone with a threatening letter if the law firm appears to be a backstreet outfit.

Phone the law firm up and ask for a short consultation (hopefully for free) to discuss getting a quote on some work. In the first consultation, explain you are an artist and that you need a Cease & Desist Letter, sent along with an invoice, that you can use over and over again (with details slightly changed) in order to threaten companies who have infringed your copyright.

Explain that you don’t have much money and would not be pursuing legal action unless it will be very lucrative to do so. Have a look at the costs. I know from experience that a letter like this (not art related) in Australia cost me $100 but it worked and I got my money back and then some! If you only have six letters to send, then paying the lawyer for a form letter might be an option.

If you have hundreds, then you might want to do it yourself or pay for the first Cease & Desist Letter from a lawyer, then create your own after that, using the right legal text on your own letterhead. Alternatively, if you have a friend who is a lawyer and they would be open to assisting with a recyclable form letter, this is the time to call them.

Include an Invoice

Always send Cease & Desist Letters to CEOs or heads of companies, not other people. They are the ones who make the decisions and understand the ramifications of adverse publicity. You may need to research or phone them anonymously to find out who they are and their contact details.

Choose whether to include an invoice with it, or word the Letter to be open to negotiation on compensation. Price the unauthorised use of your artwork accordingly.

As a guideline, some people like to charge four times the full priced rate of the work as a sort of "fee" for the infringement.

DIY Bootlegger Style

Here is another type of DIY, based on the "don't get mad, get even" school of thought. You have to applaud Paul Richmond's style in dealing with an Ebay seller Cai Jiang Xun, who was mass manufacturing his paintings. Full story here:

DIY Letters

Examples of sample Cease & Desist Letters can be found online with a Google search.

If you are doing the Cease & Desist Letter yourself, you will need to decide if you will enclose an invoice for a specified amount, or if you will be open to negotiation about compensation. If you send an invoice, make sure that, to the best of your knowledge, they can afford to pay your invoice. If they are a small corner store, do not ask for $10 million unless they've made $10 million from your artwork.

Making sure that it is a reasonable amount they can pay means they will be more likely to pay. But don't make it too cheap either. If you are open to negotiation about the amount (ie, you don't know how widespread the damage is) then threaten them in the letter and put the "open to negotiation on a settlement for the unauthorised use of my artwork" comment at the bottom of the letter, so they can see it is an easy way out.

A good way to show a head of a company your proof of infringement is to create an image and print it onto a photo. Put your artwork on the left side of the image, with “Original” typed on it and put the infringing art on the right side with “From [url of offending website] [date screenshot was taken]” typed, so the CEO can immediately compare the artwork.

Also, create a separate photo showing a screenshot of the web page with the offending item, so that the URL and their company logo can be clearly seen. They may need to be A4 photos.

The idea is to scare the CEO with good looking hard evidence, so using photos instead of a grainy home colour print out is absolutely necessary. Make sure all materials in the envelope look serious and professional, otherwise it will be a waste of time. Recreate any sloppy looking invoices, use business envelopes if possible and make that Cease & Desist Letter look like you are serious!

Send the Letter by registered post. There are two reasons for this – firstly, you need to know it has been received at the other end (after all the time you’ve put into it), and secondly, it’s another scare tactic for the CEO. He/she gets this professional looking letter, which is tracked and with slick evidence inside, a seriously threatening C&D Letter and a businesslike invoice. They would have to be pretty callous to ignore it.

Californian Artist Eddie Colla had his artwork stolen by Walmart and sold as a “Banksy” print. In order to reclaim his artwork, he created a limited edition print called “It’s Only Stealing If You Get Caught” to fund legal fees in the case.

Californian Artist Eddie Colla had his artwork stolen by Walmart and sold as a “Banksy” print. In order to reclaim his artwork, he created a limited edition print called “It’s Only Stealing If You Get Caught” to fund legal fees in the case.

The original artwork which was stolen by Walmart.

The original artwork which was stolen by Walmart.

Nancy Farmer Blogs About Fake Artist Wendy Marani

Relax…..Or Not!

OK, so after all that hard work and the unleashing of your anger on poor, unsuspecting CEOs (most of whom won’t know about the infringing artwork before your letter arrives), it’s time to relax. You’re probably going to get a certain rate of return on your own letters, while lawyer Cease & Desist Letters get a much higher rate of return (the CEOs get scared you WILL pursue legal action, after all, you’ve already contacted the lawyer).

If you don’t hear from anyone in a reasonable time frame, then you can take other actions to make yourself feel better about the whole distasteful episode:

  • If it was a widespread infringement and a large amount of compensation could be obtained, it may be wise to pay to take further legal action.
  • Contact a variety of media organisations and offer your story to them for a fee. You’d be surprised how many hungry journalists are looking for stories on this.
  • Write an article about your experience and share it all over the place, as well as using SEO techniques, so it comes up in search results when people look for the company online (this can scare them into paying too, I’ve done it and it’s worked!) But you have to take down your articles after being fairly compensated, though no other blog or news outlet needs to.
  • Write on public forums about your experience so that it pops up in search results for the company too. Remember, it isn’t defamation if it is the truth, and you have the evidence to prove it.
  • Create new artwork about the experience and sell it. For example, Eddie Colla hit back at Walmart with his new, limited edition print and a message for Walmart included on it.

Stopping Fraudulent Artwork At Customs

Step 7: Class Action Lawsuits

I am not the best person to advise you on this, but if you notice that there are lots of other artists having their work stolen by the same company, you might like to consider a class action lawsuit.

Basically, it involves contacting the other creators, getting together to have a lawyer consultation on the matter and a quote on costs, then proceeding as the group agrees.

The benefits of class action lawsuits are that lots of publicity can be generated around them, so the company is more likely to pay up, plus costs are less per person and returns are greater per person. All creators should log details of infringements and gather evidence in preparation for these kinds of lawsuits before they become too public.

Beat Chinese Sweatshops With Quality & Marketing

The Most Important Bit

All of this may sound like a lot of work, but as previously mentioned, it can be very lucrative and is definitely worth a try. There’s nothing quite like finding out your original creation has been taken without permission and used to generate decent profits for others while all you are left with is anger and resentment. Don’t destroy your creativity with negative feelings – take action, feel better, move on and keep creating with your soul feeling the way it should!

Please note that this hub does not constitute legal advice in any form. The author is not a lawyer and will not be held responsible for any legal activity resulting from reading this hub.


© 2014 Suzanne Day


Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on September 15, 2020:

Hi, unfortunately I don't know of anyone who could help, other than international copyright lawyers. Hopefully someone who sees this might have more information for you.

supporttheartist on September 10, 2020:

Hello, I'm trying to do research right now on how to help some of my favorite Korean webtoon artists from having their comics being illegally posted on pirated sites as well as on social media, like Instagram. By any chance do you know of any organizations that assists international artist on filing lawsuits against individuals who steal their art from overseas? My brother has told me about certain organizations that do that, but he is not fully sure about it. If by any chance, you know about it or have another solution that can help me help these Korean artists, it would be greatly appreciated! Please and thank you in advance!

AR on July 02, 2020:

Greetings Miss Day,

I wanted to thank you for this article. As I am helping my daughter start and develop her own clothing line. We are finding that a lot of the places who have stolen the other artists works in this article are stealing our artwork and unique styles also and the line has not been made public yet. There is alot of deception and thievery with the graphic designers at these organizations they are stopping artists before they get started. Enlightening post.



Peter Evans on June 15, 2020:

Not only do I have every change to artworks over the 17 years, dated. I too have from the retired person whom I created the artwork for, a letter stating my artwork written about a year ago to clear this matter up!

It is as written above Willful Plagiarism.

My first two solicitors rubbish, indeed second one told me to wait 6 weeks with my Rolls Court stuff. That six weeks timed me out!

Suzanne, This is UK, whilst I now have a very good lady representing me, an IP Pro Bono, so free. In theory we can't loose, just a matter on monies now. But this is UK. When I protected a young lady from being sexually attacked. Mr Went attacked my party four times. Police attended twice.

I lost in the end 80% of my business? Plus was warned weeks before that I was about to loose my business!

I could go on and on about the corruption in my home town.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on June 13, 2020:

Hi Peter, if you have any original files or date stamped artwork etc., it would stand up in a court of law to prove you as original owner beyond all doubt. Just because you lose a contract, doesn't mean anyone can rip off your original artwork...

Peter Evans on June 11, 2020:

I nearly lost an eye because of artwork theft! I drew a chartlet, metre square, full of nautical information. For 17 years it carried my copyright sign. Then they say I had lost the contract, that of printing 20,000 copies each year. That's life, but the following year, my artworks, with all its mistake appears recoloured. Line for line, exactly the same!

I take court action UK, Rolls Court, but unknowingly time out! Was advised by local solicitor to wait another 6 weeks before chasing up Rolls Court.This caused the time out!!!

Their side threatens £14,000 costs unless I settle for £3000 ( I wanted £40,000) The stress causes shingles, almost causing loss off right eye as it attacked the nerves. I agree to settle at the lowest point ever. They don't pay as I won't sign a gagging order!

Their solicitors makes a small mistake, 9.5 missing in contract. My chance to get back in the fight.

The original person, now retired that I worked with in this massive company, wrote a nice letter saying copyright mine too. I did not charge for the artwork, but made my monies on printing, quark updates of text etc.

Now I have free legal aid, shingles gone, feel extremely positive. Awaiting court case.

They printed three times 20,000 copies, allowed, too free downloads of my artworks. Still have their designers logo on as I write 11.6.20

Their design agency used my artwork for a competition, the final insult! Their logo on it!

Thank you for all the information provided here, very helpful.

I look forward to telling all in my area the court ruling. I trust the design agency that put their logo on my artwork, sees the funny side of it! Case should come up this year, 2020.

Kek on May 09, 2020:

It is quite simple grow a pair of balls that´s all. Art theft is no problem at all cus those who could get financial losses are mostly save except if they go full on mental and post their paid commissions online b4 sending them to the receiver xD it is that simple. Nobody cares about the crying masses of filthy wanna be artists. They are the annoying equivalent to the feminazi who is first pleased when everybody is sad/ripped of all their "privileges" xD I can only laugh about those crying victims. If people will use my art let them do it. It is more encouraging to see others work with your art I realy don´t get all those crybabies.

Mike on December 10, 2018:

So glad I found this.

So, some instagram model from australia took my fanart and sold shirts and sweaters for a limited time of 7 days. I was in contact with her before and told her that she would have to pay me if she uses it commercially. Since shes in a different country I found I neded a lawyer in her country to take legal actions. I would appreciate if someone got back to meabout this.

Thanks You

Grace Swedberg on November 13, 2017:

Thank you for this article! Knowing exactly what to do, helps immensely the feeling of outrage and violation you feel when you find out that a unique logotype that you created for the express use of a paying client is swiped by someone in the exact same business using the exact same name! Don't they want their own identity? I mean, don't they understand that they would bound to be caught? How dumb can you get?

Darren "EbonyAndIvory" Pham on September 15, 2017:

So glad I found this. Was hoping for a "what if I'm an ameteur artist and some dude is taking my art and claiming it as his own (though not making profits)?" I mean, despite heather fact he's not making money on it, I'd still be pretty pissed off.

Becca on July 16, 2017:

This is exactly WHY you will never find me selling my work online.

Chris Rebel from Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 2016:

I have recently been researching this topic for my own interests and have found this to be the best comprehensive research on this topic. I love that its broke down into easily manageable chunks to digest. It can be very overwhelming trying to track of your work and keep it safe from copyright infringement. Thank you for sharing!

Marlene Bertrand from USA on July 21, 2015:

On the internet, imitation is not a form of flattery. It is a form of theft. Your hub is awesome! Every piece of information is valuable.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on May 02, 2015:

Thank you very much Suzanne for this information. My hubby is an artist and I don´t know if his arts are copied online as he is in some art groups and posting the photos of his work. Voted this up and useful.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2015:

Hi Suzanne,

This is very useful information to know. It drives me crazy trying to keep track of all those who steal my articles and photos. It must be even more frustrating for artists to have their work stolen and then replicated. Will tweet, pin and share this information with others. Thanks for putting this together.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 23, 2015:

Thanks Glenn!

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on February 23, 2015:

Thanks again for that extra info Suzanne. I just noticed I spelled "cease" wrong. If they don't cease, I'll seize their income. LOL. By the way, I tweeted your hub because I feel it's very useful.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 23, 2015:

Hi Glenn, I think finding something that is large scale copying or profiting would be worth using a lawyer. If someone's made one copy and less than $10 profit, Cease & Desist is the way to go, but you can't expect to get major money back out of them. Whereas ebooks selling a lot with your work in them definitely require a lawyer - I don't know any attorneys for this personally, but I'm sure having a good one up your sleeve is the way to go for your bigger cases!

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on February 23, 2015:

I found this to be a very important discussion, especially for those who include their own graphics images in their hubs. You gave a lot of useful information with ideas for how to handle it when our artwork is plagiarized.

I guess the same can be done for written content as far as having a lawyer send a seize and desist order with an invoice for approximate earnings they may have had from the content. But I do understand, and you explained it very well, that it's easier to get payment for usage of stolen images. I saw your explanation in one of the comments too.

One more thing that I thought of while reading your hub: I wonder if any attorneys would handle this on a contingency basis? And if there are any Hubbers who are attorneys who may want to offer this service?

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 29, 2014:

I didn´t realize there are so many avenues to fight the use of stolen artwork. In my case, the issue is just that my articles and photos are copies my unscrupulous people and used in their blogs. I keep track of this and report it to Google. It´s interesting to know that there are other options out there. Thank you!

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on October 08, 2014:

I am stunned to see major corporations like Wal-Mart stealing art work. You also explained why sometimes I right click on a google image and it doesn't work. If I use a picture on my blog, I do try to credit the artist. And if my blogs actually earned more than pennies a day, I'd pay for art. Since joining HP and being made of the issue, I try to use only art designated as free to use.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 07, 2014:

This is such a huge issue--I know the watermarks help--it was good to know there are other tools as well

Dianna Mendez on July 21, 2014:

It is indeed frustrating to find out your work is stolen. I don't know if I can monitor the internet faithfully, but your information is helpful in knowing the ins and outs of this process.

Author Victoria Sheffield from Georgia on July 17, 2014:

This is very useful information.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on July 16, 2014:

Wow! Very interesting and informative. I guess if others would steal whole hubs and hub pages then they wouldn't blink at stealing artwork. It is amazing what others will do. Thanks for the info and explanation on what to do in the situation of stolen art work.

Harry from Sydney, Australia on July 16, 2014:

Very helpful ..Sometimes I feel like throttling the guys who blatantly copy our hubs here and steal credit ... good info..voted up!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 16, 2014:

Very useful information which everyone, who is contributing their art work through Internet must know. Must say a very well researched article. Most of the things I had no idea about.

Stolen content is a reality of Internet. We must minimize its possibilities by being vigilant and aware.

Voted up and shared on HP!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 14, 2014:

Very thorough and information packed hub Suzanne. Interesting to read about stolen artwork as opposed to written articles/hubs. Voted up.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on July 13, 2014:

Thank you everyone, for your kind comments. Heidi, artists are getting closer to the process for dealing with foreign thieves every day. Apparently, China has copyright lawyers now who can take on companies in China in a similar manner to lawyers doing it in the USA. There was a recent article about Chinese manufacturers suing each other over copyright infringement, it's just that Westerners find it hard to locate and use these people.

For anyone having artwork stolen and mass manufactured in another country, it might be an idea to try to contact lawyers in that country to see what can be done according to the laws there. There's no one-size-fits all procedure, but a big enough problem warrants some attention as there might be a huge financial gain to be had...and it might be as affordable as a Cease & Desist Letter (with invoice) sent to a company from lawyers in its own country.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 13, 2014:

Great hub with terrific examples showing what can happen. It's frustrating but creatives need to pursue their rights. Voted up and more, sharing, pinning.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 13, 2014:

I think this is a problem that will only grow in scope. Policing the, nice information and good research.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 13, 2014:

Good discussion of the topic! As Rachael noted earlier, getting DMCA type protection against foreign thieves is tough or impossible. Hope one day there will be an easy way to thwart this. Thanks for sharing your insight! Voted up, interesting, useful and sharing!

swilliams on July 12, 2014:

Wow Susan! Great article Ms. Day You are good at what you do! You provided a wealth of information! Tweeted out voted up!

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on July 12, 2014:

Hi Rachael, don't berate yourself - it IS the same issue for writers and artists - copyright infringement (theft) - just there are different methods to deal with it and compensation can be a lot less for writers...sadly ;(

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on July 12, 2014:

You're right. I wasn't thinking about transfers to T-shirts and other mediums when I wrote my comment. I was thinking more about copied art like copied Van Gogh paintings and such. I clearly don't know what I am talking about when it comes to art. When it comes to written words, that seems to be where it starts and stops for me and your article shed light on the fact that other artists (not only authors as artists) are dealing with the same issues of theft. Thank you again.

Suzanne Day (author) from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on July 12, 2014:

Thank you for your comment Rachael! I find that copied content is a different matter to copied artwork, because the processes used are different (eg, for a stolen hub, you might file a DMCA and get no compensation unless it was stolen by a national newspaper, whereas copied artwork on T-Shirts and paintings offers more grounds for compensation when pursued through legal channels, because the offender makes more money out of it).

It is very irritating that it happens and for artists getting ripped off, having processes in place to get compensated are a must.

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on July 12, 2014:

As you might know, this is a pet peeve of mine. I have written quite a few articles on copyright infringement as well as other topics that writers can identify with.

It is a real pain to keep vigilant for stolen work, but if one wants to guard and safeguard your work, it is the only way. In the last 3 weeks, I have had 7 hubs copied in foreign countries and have had no success in getting them to take them down. I don't know if stolen artwork is probably easier to track, but I imagine it is easier for a talented artist to copy, whereas with words in an article, they wouldn't be able to say they wrote it, if yours is timestamped earlier and well circulated.

This is a very troublesome topic for anyone going through this, especially on Hubpages where theft is mentioned in the forums every week. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.