Website stealing my personal work for their own use without permission

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  10 October 2017
Website stealing my personal work for their own use without permission

So I happened to do an image search of one of my works the other day and came across the following links:

http://www.jingpintao.cn/kcshow/?80-123-571.html
http://www.546dydl.com/kcshow/?80-123-571.html
http://www.wangpairen.cn/kcshow/?80-123-571.html

From what I can see a Chinese educational site has stolen my work to happily use on their site. They also kindly wiped out my signature.

To be honest this kind of thing is to be expected when you make something publicly available but at the same time it is highly annoying to see someone else profiting off of your own sweat and tears. Be it a labour of love or not..... It's quite sad really because obviously it feels great to show off our works with each other and it sucks at the thought that it would be better either to not show at all or worse still, slap a huge watermark over the thing.

Is there perhaps anyone Chinese speaking on here that may be  willing to help me get in touch with these people so I could kindly ask them to remove my work or am I just wasting my time even trying?

Thanks
 
  10 October 2017
Its an ad for an intro course in Maya:

http://www.microsofttranslator.com/...80-123-571.html

The Chinese don't have a very good concept of Intellectual Property rights.

When I was patenting a video processing algorithm I developed, I was interested in getting a Chinese patent for it. Then somebody in the know told me "Don't bother applying for a Chinese patent. If someone in China wants to use your video processing technique, no patent in the world will stop them from doing so."

IP enforcement just doesn't work over there.
 
  10 October 2017
You'd be 100% wasting your time. They're using your image because they don't care whose it is, if you contacted them, at best you would give them a laugh about that silly westerner who told them to stop using an image.

Skip it, ignore it, forget it, their use won't have any impact on your life and you shouldn't let it bother you.
__________________
Matthew O'Neill
www.3dfluff.com
 
  10 October 2017
Actually I kind of disagree with most of the comments here. China does have a problem with IP but usually if you call a company out on a violation they will try to fix the problem. Mind up. calling a company and finding the right person to actually take responsibility of something like this is often less than easy.

I just tried to send the school in question an email telling them it's your image, they need to remove it, and it's unethical for a school to use other peoples work without asking first or providing not atribution. Unfortunately I send the email in English, although I did provide them with Chinese contact details. Sorry, I can't write Chinese and can only speak conversationally. Also I'm not 100% sure it was the write place to send the email too ... but, well, I gave it 5 minutes for you

I have no idea if this would work but, if you can find someone to write Chinese for you, then contacting the school and telling them to remove this would, eventually, yield results. Often it's not easy, bureaucracy being what it is here, but if you persist they'll get rid of it.
__________________
Critcal feedback example #62: "Well instead of the Stalinist purges and the divorce and the investigation ... it could be about losing a balloon."
 
  10 October 2017
Guys thanks very much for the replies.

@imashination & skeebertus - You are right and I do agree that it is most probably a complete waste of time but at the same time it's wrong. I don't believe all of China act this way though so it is always worth a try. Also, I mean they haven't stolen my breakthrough algorithms to the next gen of AI  so I am also not particularly fussed, if anything, there is an element of flattery here, but still I would like them to know it's not the right way of going about things and that I would prefer they had asked. That's all...

@axiomatic - wow, thank you! I really didn't expect anyone to go 'that' far and you didn't need to, where did you find the email address? I couldn't even find that because most of the text wouldn't translate into english as it is all embedded in jpgs.
 
  10 October 2017
Actually upon further inspection they have scoured CgSociety and other sites to grab images from....

I will try to let them know too but if you any of you know any of these guys personally it might be worth letting them know as well? If everyone writes to them there may be a chance they take it more seriously.

Iron Man Dead Force Armor - by Tolga Darende (tolcha)
Concept RacingCar - by Lars Mårtensson (grid)
Frankenstein - by Anto-Tony Juricic (Anto-Toni)
Spider Robot - by Adrien Lambert (Adri1)

To name few
 
  10 October 2017
"Your work"!? You either copied someone else's or the IP doesn't belong to you anyway even if you did work on the Tron:Legacy film. 
 
  10 October 2017
The major corporations have recognized this fact for years. Now the largest law firms in the US and in the UK have been opening law offices in China just so they can start regulating IP and all of the issues. Unfortunately, for the small pocket individual, you probably don't have access to that power. I see Chinese attorneys on LinkedIn all the time located in the UK, US and in China. You could always reach out to them to ask questions. You never know what could happen. 
 
  10 October 2017
Thanks Jon, great suggestion too and will take a look into it as well.
 
  10 October 2017
Originally Posted by Wrench: Thanks Jon, great suggestion too and will take a look into it as well.
Being clued up on copyright-law won't be a bad thing. I struggle to comprehend how you could have started such a discussion about work you have no rights to whatsoever with no sense of irony.
There was a time when every single image posted on CG talk had  "Copyright" written at the bottom of it. This was ridiculous as virtually none of the images contained intellectual-property pertaining to the artist themselves. It doesn't matter for how long you have slaved modelling a car or bike, if you didn't design that car or bike, you have no rights to the image whatsoever. Your portfolio shows that you are capable CG artist (if you did model the cars), but there is nothing stopping anyone from copying every single image in your portfolio*. Until you create your own concept-art/IP, you can't whinge about copyright when you've merely copied someone else's intellectual property. 

*Whilst using the actual images themselves might be copyright-infringement, though you'd have less of a claim than the owners of the subject-matter they depict, you don't really have a case and it would be quite easy to CGI the whole thing but make minor alterations to the backgrounds such as using a different woodland/sky.

Last edited by SD3D : 10 October 2017 at 04:36 PM.
 
  10 October 2017
Never once have I claimed content IP infringement or have I considered the subject matter as 'my own design'. It's even categorised as fan art. I am a big fan of both films and chose that subject matter to push my own boundaries using a design that intrinsically has it's own exceptional design aesthetic. There is no escaping that either as it is such an incredibly popular and well known design... so you say I talk with no sense of irony? please...

You said it best ''*Whilst using the actual images themselves might be copyright-infringement''. Enough said and I am glad you mentioned it because guess what...... that's why I created the post  I am quite convinced there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people on CGsociety who would feel the same. Original content or not, they have still worked damn hard at the images they created.

Please spare me your drivel if you ''struggle to comprehend that''.

Thanks
 
  10 October 2017
Originally Posted by Wrench: Website stealing my personal work for their own use without permission
Your post is kind of insensitive to people that have suffered genuine copyright theft. The initial thought on clicking your post was "Oh no!" but at the end of reading your post I was like, "Why on earth are you complaining about that!?"

You've made it about YOU with the word "My" when you could have just listed the websites as using peoples' work without their permission.

If you think they are making a profit from "Your" work, water-mark the images in future and quit bitching and offer tutorials!  Could you have created the tutorials in Chinese anyway? They are being dishonest in their abilities, but they aren't selling "Your" work directly. What about the people that are signing up for the course based on lies!?

I think most CGI-artists have technically committed copyright-theft to achieve finished CGI stuff. All the images that you find on the internet to be used as textures or maps for materials etc. It will probably transpire that you have done just that if you work commercially. 

Last edited by SD3D : 10 October 2017 at 07:34 PM.
 
  10 October 2017
Originally Posted by SD3D: If you think they are making a profit from "Your" work, water-mark the images in future and quit bitching and offer tutorials!  Could you have created the tutorials in Chinese anyway? They are being dishonest in their abilities, but they aren't selling "Your" work directly. What about the people that are signing up for the course based on lies!?

I think most CGI-artists have technically committed copyright-theft to achieve finished CGI stuff. All the images that you find on the internet to be used as textures or maps for materials etc. It will probably transpire that you have done just that if you work commercially. 

A few things here: 

1)  The reason I emailed them and told them the use of the image was unethical (which I believe it is) is because they didn't contact the original creator and ask permission which, to my mind, is a vital step of this process. Essentially they made no effort to trace the copyright at best. At worst they just took it without giving a shit and that's Not Cool.

2)  It's likely that the institution itself doesn't know how their design company making the webpage has been leaching images from elsewhere without permission. This is common in China and as a practice it should be stopped. It's not good for the industry here. I know, I deal with it from concept artists relatively often. In effect I think the institutional program itself is probably unaware of the misleading nature of this advertising and wouldn't approve of it if they knew otherwise.

3)  The way the image was used on the webpage was misleading. The other copyright images have attribution, or point to "make games" for example next to an image of the Witcher. But this image is listed next to a box that basically says "Even if you start with no experience, you'll be able to make feature film quality art by the end of this course!" - The image feels as if it's an example of student art (and there is student art below, I'd be interested to know how much is from here actually).

4)  Bringing textures and maps into this is irrelevant and I believe you know this. Copyright laws crucially allow for transformation. I can take a famous copyright image, two-tone it to black and white, and use that as a bokeh filter for an entirely different image, and that is likely entirely within the law even if you could prove I'd used your image and also prove that it was visible within the new artwork. This is because you'd quite easily argue the original work was transformed by adding new expression/meaning, and value was added by creating new aesthetics. However, if I was to take a boken filter designed for that purpose and use it without attribution then this would be an illegal use because that was the design of the original element. I was not using it in a transformative way. You've just said all of us violate copyright laws and that's a flagrant lie.

5)  Fan Art is often allowed by IP owners because it spreads and adds value to the IP. When such art is used commercially though it instead detracts from the value of the IP (directly, in the form of lack of royalties) and thus the commercial use of Fan Art is an issue that can impact us all. This is part of th impact of the use on the market that forms the basis for copyright claims. (Fan Art is also allowed because it's usually transformative and, frankly, copyright cases are notoriously fickle so it's not really worth making a case against people, especially when those people probably support your product through purchases).

Finally, someone sees a piece of work they spent hours making being used by some people to sell their course which teaches people to make stuff. It's not remotely unreasonable to assume that they feel upset by this. I think your original comment was pretty dismissive and harsh. You could have talked it through better. There's truth in some of your claims but, as I demonstrate above, that doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater here. It's still an unethical use of other peoples images.
__________________
Critcal feedback example #62: "Well instead of the Stalinist purges and the divorce and the investigation ... it could be about losing a balloon."
 
  10 October 2017
Originally Posted by axiomatic: A few things here: 

1)  The reason I emailed them and told them the use of the image was unethical (which I believe it is) is because they didn't contact the original creator and ask permission which, to my mind, is a vital step of this process. Essentially they made no effort to trace the copyright at best. At worst they just took it without giving a shit and that's Not Cool.
.


Yes...

Originally Posted by axiomatic:
4)  Bringing textures and maps into this is irrelevant and I believe you know this. Copyright laws crucially allow for transformation. I can take a famous copyright image, two-tone it to black and white, and use that as a bokeh filter for an entirely different image, and that is likely entirely within the law even if you could prove I'd used your image and also prove that it was visible within the new artwork. This is because you'd quite easily argue the original work was transformed by adding new expression/meaning, and value was added by creating new aesthetics. However, if I was to take a boken filter designed for that purpose and use it without attribution then this would be an illegal use because that was the design of the original element. I was not using it in a transformative way. You've just said all of us violate copyright laws and that's a flagrant lie.


Not quite...

Taking someones original image and 'manipulating it enough' is still indeed copyright if you have not contacted the original author. You can read about such cases where people have been disqualified in competitions for this reason, and its becoming more common. (example: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...-creation.shtml )

My own take: Is it worth your time? Just like any invoice/quote you make for your client, add up the hours it will take you and costs involved, if its worth it go for it. If its not, move on. I tend to agree with SD3D on this one in some respects.
__________________
James Vella
3D Visualization
Portfolio
 
  10 October 2017
@james and axiomatic

Thanks both and very valid points.

I think the key thing for me now is how SD3D managed to enter this post with an accusational intention bordering on trolling which I think is disgusting. Yes there is some validity in there although it is weakened by his unnecessary tone.

It's called fan art for a reason, I am not profiting off of it, I am not claiming design rights. I made the crucial mistake of saying I was upset they were profiting off using it, well done for finding the flaw and exploiting it,  I am in fact more upset that they didn't at least ask. But yes I said ''my'' work in the header because it is exactly that...mine. The design is not but that's not what I am claiming, I am claiming the images as mine because I made it. Had I known before posting that other people's images had been taken too, I would have said ''ours'', because it is our work. It is simply naive to think otherwise. SD3D is attempting to get a reaction off the finest of lines but there is a very clear distinction, at least in this case. If I had posted in any other category apart from Fan Art, that line may just perhaps sway his way, especially if I had called it ''my new design for a light bike'' (see what I did there?)

Even though James tends to agree with DS3D (which is perfectly fine) At least he had the decency to still answer my question, and I agree with him too, there is no real point because it's time wasted for what real outcome? I post on here knowing the risk of the 'save image as' button anyway so who am I kidding but I would have loved to have been asked, that's it. I would have said with pleasure too, I am glad you like it!

I refuse to be forced into feeling like I should somehow apologise when I worked damn hard on it and was proud to show it to people who would enjoy it too. The Tron cycle design is unique and exceptional and I make no bones about the fact that the design is not mine. I work in arch vis and I make a good living by helping people to market their design ideas. The difference here is I didn't ask the designer but why should I when all I am saying is ''Daniel and Syd, I love your work, I loved it so much in fact that I simply had to render it too to keep showing how awesome it really is''....maybe there was even a piece of me that wanted to know how it felt to work on such a lovely design and that's the closest I can get. Once again, FAN ART.

Invention, innovation, copyright and copying. Nothing new...seen it all before. On CgSociety it is expected that you acknowledge when the work is not yours and if you get caught out shame on you. There is nothing wrong with creating something you like or recreating something you like because you like it, especially if your intention is just to show it. It's gets a lot more murky when you are looking to profit and the only ethical responsibility you have is to acknowledge that it's not your idea if it isn't when showing and permission from the original author when selling. It's that simple.

In my case Tron is so well known, was I stupid to think there wasn't a need for me to say ''oh btw guys I didn't actually design the Tron light cycle''......

To those who have been civil about responding thank you, I really appreciate it. 
 
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