The internet is a great way for artists to showcase and sell their work. It reaches a much wider audience than a high street shop, giving the artist exposure and recognition that may take years using traditional marketing methods.
Sharing your artwork with just a few clicks may be convenient but it comes with a drawback! In fact, it’s more of a nightmare!
Beware the copyright thief!
Artists who market and sell their work on the internet are vulnerable to the danger of having their work stolen by the copyright thief!
This happened to one of Fethiye’s popular local artists, Carol Bostan.
Carol has been painting since 2002, first on a part-time basis in Antalya and since 2008 in Fethiye where she developed her love for Turkish themed art.
Carol and her beautifully distinctive paintings are a familiar sight in the area, especially at local craft fayres. It was her distinctive style that brought the issue of copyright infringement to Carol’s attention.
Carol originally listed her works on Fine Art America, an authorised stockist of Carol Bostan original artwork.
What follows is a prime example of how original artwork can be reproduced without the artist’s permission.
ARTMODA, a Turkish company selling prints, downloaded the images and removed the logo by cloning other parts of the painting (This may not be obvious to the untrained eye but it stands out a mile to the artist).
ARTMODA then distributed the prints to evmanya.com, hepsiburada, Galerimaviay, Dekor7 and bumudur.com (On those websites they state the product comes from Artmoda).
That was six companies in Turkey selling unauthorised copies of Carol’s work. By reading reviews against the sales, Carol has estimated the loss of income to be a minimum of 25-30,000 TL.
Once Carol identified the scale of the problem she sought legal advice.
Before we continue, we would like to stress that, contrary to popular belief, there ARE Copyright Laws in Turkey. Click here to find out more.
Carol’s lawyer used the Law on Intellectual and Artistic Works (Acts of Infringement section)* to prepare a cease trading document which he sent to the company ARTMODA. *This is a Unesco document specific to Turkey.
As a result of sending the cease trading letter, ARTMODA responded and reimbursed Carol’s solicitor’s fee. As ARTMODA is a Limited Company, it is virtually impossible to successfully sue them for loss of income as they would simply cease trading.
Carol told us
“It is unclear as to whether ARTMODA has indeed stopped supplying the other companies as they are still advertising some of my artwork for sale, and those that are not, still generally have the original picture still there.
Hepsiburada has been asked again to take those images down, and remove the ones that say they are still for sale, but haven’t. My only way forward would be to issue these companies with a cease trading letter and ask them again to remove ALL pictures. However, if they don’t (which I am certain they won’t) my only choice would be to take them to court. We are obviously talking a few years (more business lost to me while they continue selling) and more money than I can afford to lose, so I have simply had to stop at this point”
This print is still for sale on hepsiburada
Even on sites that now have a ‘Sold Out’ status, the prints can still be downloaded at a high enough quality to be reproduced on smaller items. Evmanya are still displaying this print with a status of ‘no stock available’.
Nest is reproducing Carol’s Whirling Dervish painting as a cushion – without even bothering to remove the Fine Art America logo. Carol contacted the lady in question who initially removed the cushion. One month later it popped up again!
Please support Carol buy not buying from these outlets.
Where can you officially buy a Carol Bostan print?
Carol has two official online sites where you can buy ‘Print on Demand’ copies of her Turkish themed fine artwork.
Carol’s US site: Carol Bostan Turkish Themed Fine Art
Carol’s portfolio can be found on the UK site: Zippi.co.uk
If you would like to purchase or commission an original painting, please contact Carol on Facebook.
Protecting Your Art: Copyrights
If you are an artist and concerned about Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Infringement, click here for some great advice from NYC experts from the Agora Gallery.