So It Finally happened - Fair Use -vs- Professionalism

May 15, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

It's been said that an artist can determine that a certain amount of success has been reached when his/her artwork is stolen or used without permission. Recently, I was watching Youtube while I was working and a channel I like, Top5s, released a video about UFO footage taken from fighters and then some back story about how there's been a long history of reports of UFOs. One pilot in question was the famous Red Baron, Manfred Von Richthofen. About a minute or so in to the video, I'm shocked to see MY artwork being featured as they discuss the report of the Red Baron's UFO encounter. 

At first, I had a huge smile on my face. I thought it was cool and I was pretty excited, but then I started thinking about some of the details and now I'm not so happy about it. Right away I noticed a couple of things. First thing is they didn't ask me to use my image in their video. Secondly, I noticed that the image they used did not have my watermark. Now I have 2 pages where the artwork appears, obviously my own site, and my ArtStation page. On the Artstation page, there's a logo-watermark on the artwork, and on my site the artwork does not have the watermark. So, I can only determine that they took a screen-grab of the image on my website, because I don't allow downloading, and used the image in their video. 

I contacted the page via YouTube and asked them to possibly give me a credit and website link in the video description - no answer for days. So today I sent them another message asking for credit and whether or not they were going to even acknowledge the issue. 

YouTube has a rule called "Fair Use" and I'd imagine that's the shield the channel in question will use. I am not wealthy by any standard so filing a lawsuit is not an option. The best I can do is right about it and make people aware that using an artist's artwork without permission is not professional and it speaks highly of the personal and professional nature of the individual(s) involved. 

So, what to do? Basically, if they do not respond and or give credit where it's due, I have decided to file a Copyright strike against them. Why? It's MY artwork. They took it without permission. And their videos are monetized which means they are making money off of my hard work. It's unacceptable.


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