Facebook Fan PageGoogle Plus
Wee Planet PathEnvelope BookWee Planet Winter Hotel
Galleries  |  Tutorials & Articles  |  Blog  |  Artist Statement  |  Links  |  Newsletter  |  Shop  |  Contact   

BookSmithStudio.com | Nikki Smith Book & Visual Artist

Handmade books and various art explorations

Archive for November, 2014

Resources for Artists

November 3rd, 2014 by Nikki Smith

As part of my ongoing attempt to improve the lives of my fellow artists, here are some resources I personally find invaluable. I will continue to add more to this list over time, so do check back or let me know in the comments what you would like to see added.


Copyright Information for Artists:

Your artwork is copyrighted the moment you create it. You can use this wording format in your description or meta data for the image: “© Copyright 2014 by Nikki Smith; All Rights Reserved.” Below are some helpful resources pertaining to copyrights and intellectual property rights:

1. DMCA Take-down Notice — Here is a sample DMCA letter you can use to send a copyright infringement notice to an online service provider when you discover someone infringing on your artwork. Copy-and-paste the sample notice and change out the placeholders to your own information. Very handy!

2. U.S. Copyright Office — This is where artists can register their copyrighted images online. Note that you own the copyright to your artwork the moment you create it and do not need to register with the copyright office, however it does have some key advantages…

3. Registered Copyright Agents’ contact information — Find contact info for the copyright agent at major ISPs and online marketplaces here.

4. WhoIs Search — This tool can provide you with contact information for the owner of a domain name, and can be helpful when determining where to send a DMCA notice.

5. How to Report Copyright Infringement — on popular sites including:

6. Copyright Laws for Collage Artists — If you are a collage artist, you will find this a great resource for learning about copyright laws as they pertain to collage.

7. Remember to carefully document the infringement. Print/save to PDF, take screen captures, record notes with links, dates, etc.


Reverse Image Searches:

Find out where your images end up after you upload them to your website or social media accounts. Who else is using them and in what context? This is an essential tool to locate both copyright infringers selling illegal reproductions of your art, as well as those wonderful fans who are helping grow your audience and spread the word about your artwork!

1. Chrome browser. Right click on any image and choose “Search Google for this image.”

2. Google Search by Image — Click on camera icon in search bar. Enter URL to image, or upload local file.

3. TinEye.com — Another essential reverse image search website.

4. “Who Stole My Pictures?” — Firefox browser extension. With this installed, just right click on an image in Firefox and immediately search for it on Google, TinEye, or several other reverse image tools.


Safe Selling Resources:

1. PayPal Seller Protection Policy — Read the terms! Ship to verified addresses, use a trusted shipping company like FedEx, USPS, or UPS and get shipping/delivery confirmation. If you don’t meet PayPal’s guidelines, you are not protected from scammers who could falsely claim they didn’t receive your shipped artwork.



Note that watermarks can add a level of comfort and attribution with online image sharing, however they can also be removed by a determined infringer and may interfere with a sale by someone who doesn’t realize that the watermark will not appear on the actual painting. If you decide to use watermarks, you can either add them yourself (it takes a little know-how) or use a web service which will create the watermarks for you.

1. watermarquee.com — A simple-to-use website for adding a watermark to your photos. I recommend uploading a web-sized image first, rather than your fullsize image. Always save the watermarked version as a copy and retain your original files!



1. FineArtAmerica.com / Pixels.com – 8 Tips for Artists on Getting Discovered

2. Video Tutorial: Windows Live Movie Maker for artists – Showcase your artwork!


Miscellaneous Resources:

1. WayBack Machine — Look at past historical snapshots of a website. (How long have they been using your image?)

2. Google Translate — What does this foreign website say? Copy and paste the text here to find out.

3.  ArtScams.com — Tips for avoiding common scams against artists.

4. Tutorial: Installing PhotoShop Brushes


Do you have a favorite tool as an artist that you find useful? Please share!

Sample Copyright Infringement DMCA Notice for Artists

November 3rd, 2014 by Nikki Smith

I’m happy when someone responsibly pins or shares my artwork on a social network with proper attribution and a link to my website – that makes my day! However, when I stumble across someone using my artwork in a way that violates my copyrights, such as selling illegal hand-painted reproductions, it’s time for action.

This is an example of a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) notice of copyright infringement sent to an online service provider (such as a web host, ISP, online marketplace, etc.) requesting removal of content infringing on an artist’s copyrights. Just copy-and-paste this letter and modify it with your information for all of the BOLD sections.

To Whom It May Concern:

I, NAME HERE, am the artist and sole copyright holder for each of these images cited below. This person is displaying my copyrighted artwork without permission or authorization in violation of my exclusive intellectual property rights and the law.

The infringing images can be found at the link(s) below:


The original images, to which I own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at the link(s) below:


This letter is official notification under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future. They do NOT have any right or permission to reproduce, sell or display my artwork in any way, shape or form.

Please also be advised that law requires you, as a service provider, to remove or disable access to the infringing materials upon receiving this notice. Under US law a service provider, such as yourself, enjoys immunity from a copyright lawsuit provided that you act with deliberate speed to investigate and rectify ongoing copyright infringement. If service providers do not investigate and remove or disable the infringing material this immunity is lost. Therefore, in order for you to remain immune from a copyright infringement action you will need to investigate and ultimately remove or otherwise disable the infringing material from your servers with all due speed should the direct infringer, your client, not comply immediately.

I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights I own are being infringed. Under penalty of perjury I certify that the information contained in the notification is both true and accurate, and I am the copyright owner and therefore have the authority to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright(s) involved.

Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.

Thank you for your prompt assistance with this matter.

Kind Regards,



Where should I send the DMCA notice?

The U.S. Copyright Office maintains a list of registered copyright agents with complete contact information for many online service providers.

You can also do a “WHOIS Lookup” to determine the owner of a domain name.

You can look in the “Contact,” “About Us” or footer section of a website for contact information.

Many service providers, like Amazon, have a special form that you can fill out to report copyright violations.

Other providers, like Etsy, publish a guideline to follow when reporting copyright violations.

Alibaba and AliExpress (import/export marketplaces) have a very complicated system to report infringement at http://legal.alibaba.com .  To make the process easier to understand, especially if you have an unregistered copyright, follow this guide they created for Etsy sellers to report Alibaba/AliExpress intellectual property infringement.


A DMCA notice to an online service provider must contain six elements:

1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

The above sample DMCA notice meets these requirements.


My Personal Philosophy:

I am a big believer in responsible social sharing as a way to connect with fans across the world who may be new to my artwork.  By that I mean yes, go ahead and pin or share my web-resolution images on Pinterest, Facebook or other social media as long as you give proper attribution and a link back to my website near the image. For example, “Image credit: Guitar Siren copyright Nikki Smith, http://nikkimarie-smith.artistwebsites.com/featured/guitar-siren-nikki-smith.html ”  Easy, right?

However, please note that all of my artwork is copyrighted; it NOT in the public domain. For commercial use such as promoting a CD, band, book cover, product, service, or business you must contact me for a license and pay a licensing fee. No one may modify, reproduce or sell my artwork without my express written permission. (That means you, too, China.) If you find my artwork out there without my signature or for sale as a hand-painted reproduction, please let me know so I can send the infringer one of these handy-dandy DMCA notices!