ART THEFT OF A DIFFERENT KIND :: It Can happen to you too !


This is my story and I’m still trying to think whats the way out of this. Maybe you Guys can help me a bit.

here Goes…

I’m an artist like everyone else here.I make all my limited edition art for Large Format printing on extremely high resolutions (about 40 X 65 Inches and above) to be sold on Internet and Art Galleries In India… Some are to be printed on Canvas some on Paper … others on Polyester Vinyl. For printing these in these Huge Sizes I require Wide Format printers which I cannot afford to buy at this juncture of my career. So I have to use the services of the various Printing Studios here in India.

There are Studios with Big infrastructure who own entire Buildings to small time print shops with these wide format printers.

When I have to get a BIg printout in The above mentioned sizes, I write the TIFF File on a CD and take it for print to a “trusted” printing Studio. The Technician there Copies that file onto his Hard Disk and Gives the command for print.Under Normal circumstances, After that printout is done, I make sure that he has deleted that file from his Hard Disk and then from the Recycle Bin.

And I am all set with my Big printout which I can now get laminated, Framed, Sign it, Number it, Laquer Seal it, and Fingerprint with my hand on the back. I take all these extra steps after I get the Print At my studio to avoid any duplication.and to make this art More authentic and valuable.

I never leave my CDs with anyone and never Email Hi res files.

Now what this Printing studio did with me is very Interesting.
He knows I am so particular with the deletion of my files, So he Printed directly From the file on my CD, without copying it onto the Disk and showed me that.I thought He doesn’t have the file since he never copied it. I took my CD and left.

All fine.

Now when I went back to pick up my print after two hours of drying and laminating , I accidentally came across another roll Of print of my Artwork which I did not Order. The guy was embarrassed and to save his face he “Gifted” me that extra print.

NOw That I come to think of it, I think that guy copied my file through LAN on another comp Or His Printing RIP software spooled the file somewhere in Printer memory and he could take out any number of prints after I have left and he has deleted the file from Disk in front of me.

.And his intention was to sell it To any of the smalltime Galleries. or Picture shops and make some quick Buck.The fact is that He also on and earlier occassion copied four other of my artworks onto his Drive when I took small sample prints. And I know he must be making prints and selling them elsewhere… Maybe with His own signature. There is no way of making sure that he deletes those files. He has them and he will make use of them.

Those stolen prints from my perspective are Incomplete and useless without my Signature, seal, Numbering and Fingerprinting But the buyer of a smalltime gallery doesn’t care or Know this.Only I know this. For others… Looks Good , will Buy.

I happened to chance upon this fact in the beginning of my association with this printer and not six Months later But thats no consolation.

Lets assume I let it happen and do not care (which is Unlikely) . And what If I have my exhibit tomorrow and sell my work at say $500 / print and someone buys it. and he later finds the same print selling at another gallery Or a cheap picture shop for $50 ?

He will FRy my a@$ ! and I will have no face to show him.
All my credibility Goes down the drain and my Digital art career is over before it’s begun.

Some may say find another Printing studio, But whats the Guarantee?? Some say get it done at zazzle or DA prints, But That doesn’t work for me sitting here in India.

My questions are following,

Is there anyway I can stop this from happenning again?

What is the Legal action (if any) I can take against these Digital File Thieves ?

Should I drop all my experience, learning , Skills and Knowledge and start doing Oil Paintings??

Lets see what The CGTAlk Brains think.

And to top it all My work is not that good By world standards and I’m just learning.


First and foremost find out if what you believe is true.

Conjecture is worthless without proof, especially in the legal realm. If you find that he is in fact selling stolen prints THEN sue him.



Yes learn Oil painting.

yes i agree find out if your theory is true, you sound a ‘tad’ paranoid, and high strung. relax, take a deep breath. one must build a relationship with a printer. become friends, trust, etc. this guy knows how paranoid and untrustful you are of him, he might be messing with you because of this.


oh and do you mind if i download a couple images from you website? i’d love a new desktop image.



Even if the buyer finds one of your prints at another place for much less, it is not the same thing. An “official” print with signature, number, etc is worth far more than one without it. So, all you would have to do is explain this to the purchaser.


Pl Go ahead! I’m not THAT Paranoid. Only 3D section working anyway.

BUt the things Im sure is that He copied my file with wrong intentions without my knowledge and there has to be a purpose. Even if he puts it in his Dining Room and doesn’t sell… I still have a problem with that!


Most of printers save the last printed file in it temporary folder. So you can give it order to print again without opening the original file. And you may can copy this file from the temporary folder!..


Not everyone’s a criminal mastermind…he could have just been making a copy to take home…unless it was a LOT of prints you found. I’m sure the “one extra” thing is done in places like that all the time, and it’s all over their walls at home. I think photo printing places are likely worse…One Hour Photo anyone?

NOT that it means it’s okay or anything, just that it may not be a vast conspiracy. I have no doubt it’s been done or is being done somewhere out there though.

If it continues to bother you, I’d find a new place to do it, or consider getting your own large format printer and setup…just have to pick security vs. $$$$$$ on doing it all in-house.


You have to accept some things are going to happen behind your back that you don’t know about in this old digital age - copies are going to be made automatically or maybe for more malicious reasons. If you don’t trust your current printer enough then you must find one you can rely on as it looks like you’ll lose your hair if more of this suspicious activity carries on. A good relationship with a print/repro house is a valuable thing so I say - if you can prove the copies are being used against your wishes - move on to another company and get to know the boss.



That’s right… Maybe he would like to add your art in his press printing-portfolio, that he print posters for artists and so…


Maybe the extra copy you found was a misprint and he just gave it to you. I wouldn’t bug out too much, unless you actually know that he is doing what you say he is for a fact.


Maybe so. Because these guys never print anything close to art… they just print Large film hoardings or Multinational Company Adverts which they can never put in their home. And when they see something like this … which is rare… they start drooling.

But that doesn’t make it right.I learnt the softwares. I did the spiritual research I applied Composition and colour Theories and I Created it. And all he does is Press the PRINT Key and its his for life? I just can’t digest this.

And all this in a slimey way hiding it from me. Im from The land Of Gandhi but I’m no Gandhi.


I would seriously consider investing in that large format printer for your studio. sounds like these prints are an integral part of your art, you need absolute control. take a loan out, make the investment.


Yes… Did you asked about his printing-house policy? Maybe he has the proxy to take a copy for him to show it in his printing-portfolio!



Your only immediate solution would be to have a personal meeting with his boss and have him find out. You may want to think about purchasing a printer in the size that you work at to keep it ‘in system’ until your finished with the print and it has gone to gallery. You’ll want to give that some serious thought because of networking’s slowly becoming wireless. Who’s to say that somebody won’t be able to copy the file before it’s removed from the system?

Anyways do learn oil painting you’ll learn even more skills with a brush!


I don’t know the laws in India, so I’m afraid I can’t help you there.

Is it possible that the extra prints you stumbled upon were for calibration? Sometimes things get printed a few times before the real final so that a printer can calibrate the machine to get the best possible image.

Just a thought.


Hehehe. Most of printing-houese are very stingy… They do not do tests, they fear about the printer ink, lol… :smiley:


The printers I’ve used have always printed out a calibration test that I approve before the final gets printed. I wouldn’t go with a printer that just gives me whatever the machine spits out on the first try.


No. These prints are taken on HP 5500 PS and it requires no test prints.And I had already taken sample cropped prints a few days back.

I’m sure this was intentional, and Malicious … as copyright Laws are bleak here and Its a Huge Country with a Huge population… If he sells my prints in another city … the chances of me bumping onto those prints are 1 to 1 million!
People get murdered here and no one bothers… who’s going to bother about a thing as unimportant as Art theft, Probably they’ll just laugh at me.
India Follows The Berne Convention 1888 on Copyrights and is a member since 1938 or so. But Court cases here take more than one Lifetime to come to conclusion. And I Got only one.

Z1K0B4I would seriously consider investing in that large format printer for your studio. sounds like these prints are an integral part of your art, you need absolute control. take a loan out, make the investment.

HP DesighJet 5500 ps. The best printer I found after all my research… costs $19995.00*
And I dont even wanna think about ColorSpan.Out of my reach for at least one year. Ultimately I guess I have to buy it. but I’ll just have to live with some theft for sometime.


You’ll want to give that some serious thought because of networking’s slowly becoming wireless.

Good Lord! whats the security then?? and Yes I chose Digital over Oils… Maybe I shouldn’t ignore it so much afterall.


devarshy, i hope you’re wrong on this one and can laugh it off with a few taj mahal beers. otherwise, be very methodical and absolutely positive this was the case. i’d hate to hear you getting sued for defamation or something. best of luck.