They say “Imitation is the Highest form of Flattery”. However when we are dealing with copyright and the threat of loosing a copyright for lack of enforcement, this case is kind of unique. I was doing my usual bi-weekly image search to find out who was using my artwork this week. I saw one of my images but it looked blurry and less defined than it ought to. I clicked on the image and it took me to “Deviant Art”. I used to have an account there but there was so much thieving and so many immature users that I closed my account. The one thing I did like was that Deviant Art automatically watermarked everything, it helped prevent piracy of it members. That did not prevent members from importing of watermarks, uncredited art work. When I looked at the image I was shocked to see my ravens as a stencil and spray paint Graffiti style painting. The “artist” didn’t even bother to credit me, nor did he change the composition or color, it was an exact copy and it was being listed as his original artwork!!!
My link to my artwork
He also had an external link to show his process. He shows how he made his stencils to create his “Original artwork”
I honestly didn’t believe what I was seeing. Though it is kind of flattering it is also very dangerous. Once my image becomes seen as public as graffiti art I could easily loose rights to my own artwork. There is a fine line between copying, appropriation and thieving. If I allowed this image to be seen as “public domain”, I would loose my image forever.
The “artist” is a Belgium named Jens Wouters, he kindly added a photo self portrait on his Deviant Art page. He looks like a very bright young man.
Needless to say I am not happy to see my art used in this way. I have sent two DMCA claims against his Deviant Art account and his other web page.
Shame on you Jens Wouters