This past summer I underwent an extensive knee surgery which left me recuperating most of the summer. I felt lousy and the last thing I needed was to find another person using my artwork without permission. Today I was in one of my art classes, and the subject of copyright came up. I told some of my students about my problem with image thieft, and I showed them this blog. They were interested in learning how I find my images. I was on Firefox and used Firefox Infringement Finder to search one of my images which is stolen most often: Inquisition – https://www.etsy.com/listing/167820713/raven-artwork-raven-crow-etching-in
On the first page of the search in the first position was a pirated image. My students were shock and so was I. This was another music event which used my artwork to promote their event. I have not had to many problems with image thieves this year so I was not to angry when I started to look into the incident. I found the first image on Blackheart Bar’s on their Facebook page. I also found each of the bands on the poster on Facebook and tried messaging them. Usually when I find these music posters I get the blame game runaround. The owner blames the bands, the bands blame the promoter or their agents. Around and around it goes. On this occasion I got the run around from the owner. The Bands were incredible helpful, honest, sincere and apologetic.
This is the Facebook messages I sent and received from Blackheart Bart (BH)
Me: can you tell me who designed this poster? (I sent him a link to my Etsy page with the artwork)
BH: I have no idea, I would ask one of the bands on the poster. This was not one that we generated.(he did not help me contact these bands)
Me: Your Bar’s name appears on the poster and it is posted on your Facebook page. can you give me contact information for these bands?
BH: Well the image has the names of the bands on there, I’m sure that’s a good start. I have deleted the image off our Facebook. We make sure our in house promotional materials are original commissioned pieces or in the public domain. But like I said, we weren’t the ones who made the image; one of those bands did, everyone assumed it was original and everyone shared it. So I suppose if you’re looking to squeeze out some money from someone, you could start with them, little no name bands from Austin, TX who played a free show. Good luck!
Then they block my messages!!!
I also sent them an email with the address on their website. I never got a reply.
This incredibly arrogant person refused to help, he offered no links or contacts and then had the nerve to imply that I was going to squeeze him and the bands for money. I only sent him two messages and I don’t think my messages were rude or threatening. THEN HE BLOCKED ME FROM MESSAGING.
the bands were incredible, I heard from two of three and one was responsible for the image. The first band to respond was “Western Youth” here is some of what they said-
WY> Hi Larry. Our band was on the bill for this show but I’m afraid I have no idea who designed the poster. Thanks – Matt
Me> The Bar claims not to know either, surely you should have an Idea. The artwork used is my copyright image, used without my permission
WY: That’s no good Larry and as an artist myself I can understand that you’d be frustrated to see someone using your work without authorization. I assume that you’ve reached out to the other artists? I don’t have the contact details for the other bands that played that show as the booking agent for the venue puts the shows together. We were just in and out and I honestly don’t know where the poster came from. Please let us know if we can do anything else to help . Matt – Western Youth.
PS – Removing this image from our social feeds.
Me: The Bar was a bit rude, inferring that I wanted to squeeze them for money. I do image searches often because my stuff is pirated so often. All I want is credit or the respect of an apology, neither of which the Bar offered
And to add insult to injury they blocked me from Facebook messenger
WY: That stinks.. I’m not sure if the bar puts together the artwork for their shows? Generally it’s the headlining artists responsibility to design promo posters. I can also reach out to the other bands here on Facebook (as mentioned they were just other bands on the bill that night so I don’t have emails or numbers) and ask if anyone knows who was responsible for the poster. This is your art work that you put your time, effort and passion into. Whoever out this together should know better.. It’s inexcusable and immoral. Let me see what I can do. Did the bar block you?…..The other guys that played that night are local so I’ll be sure to bring it up should we ever play with them again. Hopefully somebody will get some answers to you and give credit where credit is due. I had a look at your Etsy store and your work is amazing. No excuse to use it without permission though. As demonstrated on wikipedia “collective nouns for a group of ravens (or at least the common raven) include “unkindness” and “conspiracy”. Whoever put that poster together is a bit of a raven themselves! Can I post a link to your Etsy page on our FB page. We were listed on that poster so it’s the least I can do.
Me: Thanks! I appreciate it. the Bar owner can learn a lot from you about how to treat people
WY: Thanks Larry. I’m from New Zealand. Our mommas raised us right. A little humility goes a long way and I can’t stand seeing an artists work being used without authorization.
This is the exchange I had with Jonathan Torrell (JT)
Me: can you tell me how designed this poster?
JT: I found the image on an stock photo site. and ran it through a couple of phone apps. I just looked up your art and it looks like you are the artist on this. I assure you there were no artist listings on the site.
Me: A google image search would lead you to me. This once had my name but someone removed it and I have been chasing images for years. Do you know the stock photo site ?
JT: I can delete the photo from my page if you like. I’m sure this is frustrating to you. lot’s of bands with no art budget do these types for local shows. I apologize for putting an event listing over your image. Let me know what I can do remedy this. Again. My apologies, It’s a beautiful image by the way. I have a song called Black Birds.
Me: I don’t mind you keeping it as long as you add a credit for the artwork. and by the way the Bar owner was a real jerk about it. Western Youth were great about it, Thanks for the compliment. Credit and apology accepted. if you remember the stock site I sure would appreciate it too. tell the Bar owner he need to learn people skills.
ME: Where can I find your song Black Birds?
JT: Do you have Spotify? It’s on there under the album Trials and Stimulations
Me: OK I will check it out. Maybe we can collaborate sometime.
JT: That would awesome! What’s your email? I can send you the album if you like.
So Jonathan Terrell willingly admitted to using my artwork. He was honest, and apologetic, understanding and polite. He has promised to send me the link to the stock photo site when he finds it. I never heard from Mike Schoanfeld but it doesn’t matter. The bands were wonderful, the owner was a jerk.
So when you are in Austin TX avoid the Blackheart Bar, the owner does not play well with others. www.BlackHeartBar.com
BUT IF YOU ARE IN AUSTIN TX look for these bands!!
- Jonathan Terrell
- Western Youth