Again, identifying information is left out, but this is to a member of a crafting class where the Teacher sent out copies of one of my most popular images freely to all of her Students without my permission.
I'm afraid you're missing the point of my email completely. This is not about Teacher. She's not the victim here -- that would be ME.
I'm sorry to tell you, but this is not Teacher's first time getting caught sharing images. This was not an honest "mistake." She is known to other stamp companies for violating copyright also, and has been told it is wrong and not allowed and that she must stop -- never mind that it is against the law. She is WILLFULLY and repeatedly violating copyright law. Perhaps she is kind to animals, throws a nice tea, inspires your creativity, has a beautiful singing voice -- I don't know. All that I know is that Teacher feels completely free to steal from artists like me and that you are defending her doing it.
My work is VALUABLE to me -- it is my source of income -- how I feed my children.
And it's valuable to all the people who choose to enjoy it legally, especially those who like it enough to spend their own hard-earned money purchasing it.
And obviously, if someone chooses to use my stolen image instead of drawing her own, my talent and my image must be valuable to them too -- though why not valuable enough to pay $3 for instead of choosing to steal it I can't imagine. Why not find one of the hundreds of freebies people offer? Oh yes, people value my work.
I contacted Teacher first (as I always do) when I learned she had been passing my images before contacting any of her class. I did NOT get an apology from a person taking responsibility for their actions (taking responsibility for the violation and promising not to do it again is something I DO forgive.) As Teacher has been a customer in my shop -- she IS aware of my usage policy, and as evidence that she is aware -- she tried to deny the fact that she distributed my file to you all. Instead - I got two emails from her claiming that "I was under the impression that if I coloured the image which I always do for my class that I had not broken any rules." --- even though I told her I had the actual email with the original digital file attached -- of course colored images were NEVER an issue.
Fortunately -- one person was honest enough to show me proof. The rest -- I heard only from you (here mostly defending Teacher) and one other person simply demanding to know how I got her name. I understand defending a friend, but how about standing up to defend what's right? Do you think it's right for any of you to allow her to continue the violations? Do you smile and say "thank you" when she sends you a stamp illegally -- even if in the back of your mind you know it's not right?
The "name and shame" policy we have adopted at Stamp Out comes from the fact that we get so many repeat offenders. We always give them a chance to acknowledge, apologize and state to us privately that they understand what they did was wrong so we can perhaps end things there. -- but when they do not, we have found that the idea of having proof of their crime go up on the Wall of Shame is a great deterrent. It is a last resort. It's not something we ever do lightly, but if the internet is going to make it so easy for a person to be dishonest and steal our art -- it is going to also be used as the method to "out" these thieves so they can't hide behind their repeated claims of "not knowing" or "My husband lost his job and I wanted this stamp" or "I did it for charity." By the way, I still have not heard an acknowledgment from Teacher accepting responsibility for passing on my digital files. If you are her friend, you should let her know accepting responsibility for what she has done is how she may be able to move past this.
I honestly do not want your three dollars to "fix" this. I want every one in the class to read this email and see my point. I want promises from you that you won't accept, use or pass on copyrighted work illegally again. I want you all to understand WHY there are laws protecting art creators. I want you all to read up on copyright issues. (try starting with: http://www.whatiscopyright.org/) I want you to understand this issue so well that you can pass on information to others so they can understand it too. Oh -- and as I said at the start, I'd love it if you all would understand that the only victim here is ME.
If you each can't promise me that -- then I remain violated.