Today I’m going to talk to you about how I would handle my work being reposted.
Understand that as soon as you create an original work, whether it’s a painting, drawing, video, article, you have copyright. So don’t let anyone tell you, well you didn’t register it or you didn’t have a copyright symbol on it, yada, yada,yada.
I’m going to be covering what your options are and what I would do if A. Someone has posted your work to one of their social media accounts and is taking credit for it or B This person is not only posting my work to their social media accounts and taking credit for it, but is trying to sell it or has repainted your painting and selling that.
Option One: File A DCMA Takedown Notice:This is internet only.
There is something called Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DCMA takedown notice. Almost all websites have avenues through which you can send one. Websites promise that if the copyright holder sends one, they will removing the infringing post. Even better some promise that repeat offenders will have their accounts terminated.
If you don’t know how to send a send a DCMA takedown notice, just look for instructions on the website and you’ll find it. Youtube makes it really easy. You can find it in the flag option under every video. From the drop down menu, just choose “infringes my rights” and from there choose “infringes my copyright” and from there, it’ll take you to a place where you can fill out this form.
Do not, I repeat, do not, send a fake copyright infringement notice. This can get you in heaps of trouble and you’ll probably be lucky if the only thing that happens is the account you used to send it with gets terminated.
Option two:Send a cease and desist letter :This is both online and offline
A lot of articles about cease and desist letters recommend having a lawyer send it for you, but you can definitely write a cease and desist letter yourself. What it is basically you write to the person and say something like, “Hey, I own the copyright to that painting. You’re not allowed to sell it. Knock it off”. I know if someone wrote to me and said that I was violating their copyright, I’d get pretty nervous and I’d definitely stop
Option three:Suing for copyright infringement
Now, it’s my understanding that you have to have your work registered with the copyright office to be able to sue, although copyright itself is automatic. I personally don’t have anything registered, but if I did, I would only sue as a last resort, after all other avenues had failed. The good news is, if you do have your work registered and you decide to sue, you are pretty much guaranteed to win that case. There also might come a time when the money you stand to lose by not being able to sue is greater than the cost of registering your work.
Now what if someone steals your idea? If someone does a concept extremely similar to yours, to the point where you know they had to have gotten it from you, and doesn’t give you credit, that is called plagiarism. Plagiarism is wrong, but it’s not a legal issue. It’s an ethical issue.
Not every case of someone using the same idea you used is plagiarism, though, even if they’re not giving you credit. Ideas get reused all the time.
Here’s the thing about ideas. You can’t own them. Ideas are not copyrightable. Only the physical manifestation of an idea is copyrightable.
I hope this helps you better understand how you can protect your copyright. Do your own research. Like I said, I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t guarantee that everything I said in this video is accurate. I just did my best.
Painter of portraits and wildlife