Stolen Artwork


#1

Hi folks.

I created an animation back in 2017 for a client of mine here in Ireland.
It came to my attention today that another company similar to my client who are based in the UK has taken screen shots of my animation and used it on their own website.

My client’s logo is on the animation so the other company just left that part out.

Am I in the right to ask the other company to either take this content down or pay me for the use of these images or is it my client that has this right?

My client payed me for this animation but I feel a bit ripped off when I see another company using my artwork.

Cheers.
Kian.


#2

I can relate. Unfortunately, there might not be anything that you can do about it. Normally, a cease & desist letter with the threat of legal action would be your most reasonable first option. However, given that you’re in Ireland and the thief is not, they’d probably just laugh at your letter and throw it in the trash. If their site is hosted by a 3rd party, you could always try and contact them, but there’s no guarantee there either.

I had something very similar happen to me many years ago. A overseas video card manufacturer stole one of my renders and used it in their promo material and box art. Apart from ranting like a lunatic, my only real course of action was to let it go and just guard my work going forward. I’ve tried all manner of watermarking, but that stuff can be removed. Instead of driving myself crazy, I don’t post as much online (publicly) as I could or should. If I need to show stuff off to a potential client, I direct them to a private gallery. Not the most ideal solution or even the only, but it’s an option.

Chasing down foreign thieves is a fool’s errand when you can’t back up your threats. Asking them to pay is equally laughable for the very same reason. They’ll just say “no” or outright ignore you. You’re absolutely right in wanting to protect your work and to be compensated. It’s just so hard to do either when you’re not in the same territory or under the same legal umbrella. Just be careful in the future. If your work is even half-way good, somebody will try to steal it. I think that it’s happened to many of us at one point or another. Lesson hard learned, sadly.


#3

Whats the name of the Animation mabey i can find it


#4

What type of animation you want?


#5

There might not be anything you can do about it….” IS JUST NOT TRUE!

  • Copyright applies across borders. As long as you can prove it.
  • Just hire a lawyer in UK.
  • If you write a letter they will laugh at you and throw it in the trash.
    Let sleeping dogs lie. They will take down the stolen content before you take legal action.

It´s not about “compensation” here. Using your content without your or your client´s permission is illegal.
They will have to take down the content and pay the legal expenses.
If you can prove how long they´ve been using your content, THEN you can talk about compensation.

To cut the long story short:
Talk to a lawyer. He will tell you the same thing.


#6

Theres an easier way, file a DMCA takedown

https://www.dmca.com/signup/createtakedown.aspx?r=mSAT

If they are in the wrong they will take it offline immediately.


#7

do you know what Charat Genesis is its a character maker website i use for chartchers


#8

What you’re saying is true. However, there’s a difference between concept & execution. Companies such as Nintendo, for example, defend their IP across borders all of the time. Nobody’s disputing that basic fact. However, not everybody has the resources, time, or justification to follow in their path. Doubly true if it comes to litigation.

  1. If you’re a freelancer who is living hand to mouth, there’s a good chance that taking a meeting with a lawyer is outside of your budget. Not everybody can hire a lawyer. (You CAN freely procure legal assistance in some cases, but that’s not universally true across the board.)
  2. If the thief is an entity (ie. a company), they could use the system to their advantage and just drag it out until you’re out of money and can’t pursue your claim further. Even if they didn’t game the system, these things can drag out over time simply due to the nature and strength of your claim.
  3. One has to also consider the cost-benefit ratio. You might easily spend thousands defending a piece that only earned your hundreds. Defending your IP is never wrong, but defending it at such high expense when its value is so small (comparatively) has to be a personal consideration.

Do you have the money to sue? Can you afford to be in it for the long haul? Are you willing to spend more than it’s worth? Only you can answer those questions.

The fact is, IRL, things get infinitely more complicated once you pass the C&D or take down phase of things. If it comes to a point where you have to engage lawyers or courts for any period of time, you’re going to have to make some hard choices. Plus, as the saying goes… You can sue, but can you win? You can win, but can you collect? You can collect, but was it worth it? (Some of these wins are truly hollow & Pyrrhic in nature.)

It IS a complex issue. I agree. 100% Seeking formal legal guidance is always preferable to asking an internet full of opinionated, non-lawyer schmucks. :wink:

ANYWAY… This is just my opinion.


#9

FWIW, while unrelated to IP specifically, I personally know somebody who recent spent over a year trying to sue a company and 10 associated individuals. She drained her bank account & her pension in the process. In the end, she had to drop her complaint because she just ran out of money to keep fighting. Lawyers bled her dry over the course of a year and her case never saw the inside of a courtroom. Tens of thousands of dollars and she just had to walk away.

I’m not saying that defending your IP will look like that unrelated case. You may never need to do more than write a letter or issue a take down request. However, if it does have to go before a court and you need to seek damages, consider the practicality and the consequences of taking it to that next level. Noses get bloody real quick once the gloves come off.


#10

The OP was paid the for work he did for the client, so I don’t see the issue. It wasn’t a personal work. Unless it was based on the OP concept design or whatever.
It’s actually the client who needs to worry in this case.


#11

Informative


#12

If you sold your work under usage restriction terms and that you can also sell it to others then you have the legal right to ask for compensation. The copyright law is automatic and covers any artwork from the moment it is created or published. Time of creation must be proved and accepted by a judge in case of a legal dispute. Published means have a record like displaying it publicly on a website that have the time of posting. For example all newly created artworks posted anywhere on this website are automatically copyrighted and the time can be easily proved in case of a legal dispute by simply showing the post. The copyright law is fully respected from the legal systems of almost all countries. You can ask for compensation and if they don’t comply as suggested already in a previous post you can use DMCA take down. If your client is now the owner in control of the usage rights, if you are still concerned you can ask them if the new users were authorized.


#13

While meant for indie game developers, if you search YouTube for the GDC talk “Practical Law 101 for Indie Developers: Not Scary Edition”, the Infringement section @ 19:16 is pertinent on your options. IANAL nor have experience in this, I just enjoyed the GDC talk and hope it might help you.

Bear in mind that the contract you had with the original company may dictate what rights you have over the content you made for them. The theft of the animation might be their problem, not yours, if they hold the copyright to the animation (again, depending on the wording of your contract).

DMCA may be the easiest option as James Vella above noted, but I believe it was in this GDC talk or one of the 2 subsequent talks on practical law where it’s noted that DMCA . com is not the only way to send a DMCA. It’s simply one company offering DMCA letters at a high price vs. free if you do it yourself. DMCA’s are sent to the provider of the content (e.g. Steam / Apple store for games). For example, if your infringer’s content was hosted on Steam, search google for “Steam DMCA” and you will be brought directly to Steam’s form where you can fill it out yourself, for free. As for your specific situation, you would send it to the infringer’s website host and hopefully they may have a DMCA form you can fill out as well. Worth a look at least.

Good luck!


#14

Will say that we where scammed (bank repaid). So in some copying instances you are dealing with criminals and there is nothing you can do.

First time as a company after having used visualisation services for 10+ years.

And having had art copied (permeant sculptures and installations) at the end of the day you waist money and energy on something that in the end is a very stressfull and costly chess game.