Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Over the last 7 days I have had quite a colourful and memorable collection of experiences. I have no idea which one I should write about this week.
Methinks the strongest topics on mine mind and heart this week would be the subjects of Copyright ''The Big Fat © '' and ''Racism - alive very much alive and still kicking'''.
However, I think I’ll go with the former.
The latter heavier topic can wait for a while in the bottom drawer. I'll take it out when I get the urge.
So then....no names or businesses will be named….
Since beginning the awesome adventure of setting up a small business over two years ago (July 2013)…I have loved 95% of the running of it from day to day. I enjoy the admin, marketing, social media, drawing, meeting customers, supplying shops/galleries, going to suppliers and clinching deals, joining the markets, exhibiting, maintaining me website, taking photos of gorgeous buildings, thinking, thinking, thinking and basically doing the whole creative process thang.
It is so great and fantabulous to finally be doing something that I love and am passionate about. I love working working working all the time 'til late on into the night. I am an owl. My family name is actually 'Tawny'!. This is my website if ye wanna read the whole story of its beginnings, middles and current state! www.maibendyart.co.uk
So I love 95% but what about the other 5%?
TO MY HORRORS in two years I have been copied 5 times. I will now commence explaining to any non- writers, musicians or artists what this is actually like to experience.
One night, about 1.5 years ago, I was merrily looking around the large arena that is called Facebook. And to my utter shock and disbelief a local business was using my two best selling images to promote their products……O MY STARS AND STRIPES… I nearly fell off me perch!
Firstly they were my images no doubt. Secondly they never wrote to ask for my written consent. Thirdly, well there is no thirdly.
I messaged them immediately and they refused to take them down. Next, they blocked me from viewing their FB account. So I shrewdly messaged them again via a random friend and told them in no uncertain terms that I would sue their asses if they didn’t remove my images immediately. Obviously I used professional lingo but I sent them a link of Copyright Law.
They removed them immediately.
They got scared.
So I was cross for a day and then got over it. On I went skipping happily through May, when outta the blue some random person decided to send me their picture of The Opera House, Belfast.
Here is my Opera House:
And this was their Opera House.
Laughable...but not funny at all.
I was livid. Why the heck did they send it to me? Words like lazy, sad, unimaginative, stupid and thieving came to mind. So in no uncertain terms (again)…I had to tell them to get grip of themselves, get a life and lastly what legal course of action I would undertake if they did that again. What was the outcome? I am keeping a careful look out for their name on Google and across social media! I also have my spies across the internet!! heeeee!! heeeee!! heeee!
At my very first Exhibition way back in November 2013. Someone came over to me and said. ''Love your work, I saw it in a shop X the other day.''....
.....was the first thing I thought. Anyway to cut a long story short....all was resolved. Instead of sitting around complaining and ranting, I took immediate action. It's important to have good friends for many reasons. And this is one. They look out for you and let you know what's going on out there on the web and on the streets. I am not an all knowing/seeing superhuman with numerous eyes and ears. So when people tell me something like that, I take it seriously and I am proactive after getting advice from wise people. I am lucky to have wise people in my life. Sometimes my passion and emotion get in the way and could get me into trouble. But listening to wise advice is ALWAYS the best way to go when it comes to legal matters.
I have had many copycats. People say, ‘’Tanya you should be flattered’’.
ermmmmmmmm…..nope, I don’t feel flattered.
Or…’’But you’re the original bendy artiste in Belfast…no one can do it like you do, you're the bestest ever draw-er of Belfast buildings.... so don’t u be worrying’’…
That’s not the point.
They are paying their bills and receiving income and credit from what they have stolen from me.
I feel like copycats are lazy, thieving, unimaginative individuals with NO INTEGRITY whatsoever. Who brought them up?
There are laws which protect me and other artists. If you are an artiste reading this…and someone has done yer head in…you are automatically protected by Copyright law! Isn’t that fantastique!!!!??
Here are my two top fave sites for knowing the law of ze land...have a good look all over the second especially.
https://www.gov.uk/register-a-trademark An excellent site
I was once burgled and I hated the fact someone had taken something that was mine. The fact that they had physically been in my house was not a happy thought. So when someone steals yer work physically or online…this ain’t a happy thought either.
Can u imagine what would happen if I started stealing in my work place?
World War 3 would commence!
Can u imagine if I had plagiarised in my Uni dissertation?
Well, I wouldn't have got me degree.
Can u imagine if I had stolen from me boss?
I'd be in jail.
I have chatted to local and international solicitors recently about Intellectual Property Law and Trademarks/Logos etc… and at anytime, I have the right to send a lazy ‘’copycat’’ a letter of advice and warning to STOP IT. If I ever did find out that there are any copycats out there and they didn’t take my designs off their website, social media, etc (I have spies everywhere!!)…. I would have the right to take legal action. I would be on the right side of the law. Copycats would be on the wrong side and the guilty ones would know they are guilty.
I believe in Karma.
So all you artistes out there.....be very very careful how u approach a copycat and what you draw or create.
I won’t accept that I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours drawing only to have a lazy thief steal it. Mai Bendy Art is my baby …I created it….and if someone stole your baby/property…I am sure you would do something.
You may say, ''But I can't afford hundreds of pounds in legal bills''. But you can afford to meet a solicitor and pay a small fee for a letter to be sent to the perpetrator telling them to stop.
You may say, ''But I am too scared to face such a giant corporation...''. Get support from family and friends. Tell the media. I am glad to have friends from 3 TV channels , 6 magazines, 5 newspapers and 3 radio stations that I know I can turn to at anytime and take someone down (the drain) if needs be.
You may say, ''If it does come to taking them to court, I can't afford it''. Where there's a will there's a way, even if it means borrowing from friends. They'll help you if they love you.
The next time someone copies my work blatantly, I will take action, I won’t lie down.
I will take them down and I will win.
If someone stole your work, what would you do?
And is it right for a Christian to sue?
An important P.S:
I have numerous Twitter accounts which means if I am blocked by a copycat, I can still see what they are posting. At anytime, I can cleverly take screenshots galore. I also have friends on Facebook who can send me screenshots of potential copycats. And screenshots of random forums. (Legally u are only allowed one FB account and one business FB account). I should have been a private investigator!! I'll do that when I retire!!!
Tanya Mai Johnston