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:
[INFRINGING, UNAUTHORIZED LINKS HERE]
The original images, to which I own the exclusive copyrights, can be found at the link(s) below:
[ARTIST’S ORIGINAL LINKS HERE]
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.
FULL CONTACT INFORMATION AND EMAIL
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, https://nikkimarie-smith.pixels.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!