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Emily Damstra <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 10 Apr 2006 10:57:51 -0400
text/plain (179 lines)
I would also be curious about ways to monitor the web for illegal use
of my images.

Twice last year I happened upon websites using one of my images
without permission and without giving me credit. One of them, a
not-for-profit scientific institution, removed my image immediately at
my request. The other, a commercial site registered in Europe, did not
reply to my request and is still using my image illegally. From what I
can tell, there is nothing I can do to force them to stop using my
image unless I try to sue them, and the cost of sueing them far
outweighs the worth. Apparently there is a way to get Google to stop
showing this page, but it sounded like quite a process. I would love
to hear from anyone who has been through that process.

After those experiences, I decided to put a watermark on all of my
online images. I ended up concluding that my images look more
professional (i.e. worth protecting) when there is a watermark on them
anyway. I like how others have done these watermarks -  Amelia and
Gail, for example. I realize that having a watermark doesn't prevent
unauthorized use, but I think it deters it and at least if my images
are stolen my watermark gives me credit and directs viewers to my

Kudos to Barbara and Dan for their firm letter to the blogger. I think
it is important to explain to these people exactly why it is wrong to
use copyrighted images without permission, as the Gleasons did quite
When I asked the non-profit scientific institution to remove my image,
the scientist who replied to my request
said, "I am so used to freely
sharing my own images produced in my scientific work that perhaps I've
grown inappropriately insensitive to how some people are angered by
this.  Perhaps if I were an artist I would feel more possessive of my
work, and I certainly recognize your right to protect it if you so
My reply to him:
"It isn't just inappropriate to use another person's image, it is
illegal....Moreover, it isn't that I'm "possessive" of my work, it's
that [your institution] did not bother to ask my permission to use it,
nor did it give me credit for the work....[M]y contract with the
publisher who commissioned the [image] has restrictions about when and
to whom I can license usage; it should never be assumed that it is ok
to borrow an image since you're not making any profit from it.
You would be wise to inform your staff of the legal issues involved in
using other people's images without permission. Stealing is simply
inexcusable when it is so easy to contact the artist and just ask. A
bunch of scientists should know better."

-Emily Damstra

On 4/10/06, Amelia Hansen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Barbara and Dan,
> Thanks for repeating here the message you sent to the blogger. I thought
> your response was very thoughtful yet direct, and I think you achieved the
> right tone of indignation. I hope you get a good response. I've found one
> instance of my work being used on the web without permission and when I
> asked the person to please remove it, he directed me to the Creative
> Commons website, which I found annoying. He did remove the work though.
> On this note, does anyone know good ways to monitor the web for illegal use
> of images? I think I've heard of some software. Is the most effective
> method simply to be sure your images have good strong watermarks and
> copyright notations on them?
> Amelia
> >We were sent an email this evening by a friend of ours here in Oregon
> >who regularly monitors blogs and websites for bird-related information.
> >But, boy! Was I ever surprised to see a range map we created for a
> >local raptor rehab center in the post, WITHOUT any credits!
> >
> >So, if you are an illustrator of birds, it might be a good idea to
> >monitor some of the popular blogs. This blogger writes very well, and
> >is highly regarded and well-read (or was, until this evening).
> >
> >I have sent her a terse statement telling her she should have requested
> >permission in advance, and I'll include it below.
> >
> >Alas, the post she used it in is a sad tale of a Florida golf course's
> >killing of a pair of nesting Red-shouldered Hawks, and of USDA killers
> >doing the deed. Apparently, they couldn't think of anything better to
> >do (like contacting a raptor center to ask for help in relocating the
> >nest!) so they killed both birds. Here is the link to the post and our
> >map is a little way down.
> >
> >
> >who_are_the_real_enemies_of_ou.php
> >
> >Here's my note:
> > >Re: Red-shouldered Hawk range map
> > >
> > >I was sent your post by a friend here in Oregon. I was quite appalled
> >by the actions you describe of the killing of the Red->shouldered
> >Hawks.
> > >
> > >BUT I was equally appalled by your use of our range map without
> >permission! We created these maps for Cascades Raptor >Center, but you
> >have appropriated this one without any credit to the source and
> >authors. The credits are right there next to >the maps.
> > >
> > >If you want to spread truth about people mistreating and killing
> >hawks, we very much appreciate you alerting others of this >atrocity.
> >But, you should also pay more attention to crediting carefully created
> >material from websites that are monitored >by people who also care
> >about birds! I have often read and appreciated your posts, but your
> >esteem will drop dramatically in >my eyes with this sort of behavior.
> > >
> > >You should have contacted us and Cascades Raptor Center in advance to
> >request permission to use the map. We would >certainly have granted
> >that use, with appreciation to you for your alert about this awful
> >killing of these beautiful hawks. But, >to find it this way, makes you
> >appear to be someone who does not appreciate other people's work,
> >content as you seem to >be to taking it without regard to its creators
> >rights.
> > >
> > >We request that you IMMEDIATELY add the following credit by the map,
> >or ask that you remove the map:
> > >
> > >Range Map courtesy of Cascades Raptor Center ( and
> >creator, Dan Gleason, of BGleason Design and >Illustration
> >(
> > >
> > >If this material continues to be taken and used without permission, we
> >will ask that it not be displayed online in the future, >which we do
> >not want to have to do. Obviously, we will now have to have it removed
> >and replaced with versions with >copyrights embedded within the images.
> >We did the work as volunteers, but now will be required to add time to
> >our days >making modifications that make it more obvious that
> >permission is required for any other use. You have now cost Cascades
> > >Raptor Center volunteers and us many more hours of work by your
> >injudicious use of our work.
> > >
> > >We allowed its use online with our credits readily visible immediately
> >adjacent for use on Cascades Raptor Center's website >only. Our
> >livelihoods depend on being able to put food on our table and keep a
> >roof over our heads. If someone wants to use >our artwork, we ask that
> >we be given the opportunity to be paid for it by researchers or others
> >who have budgets. We >donate the work for Cascades Raptor Center's use
> >since they are a mostly volunteer organization.
> > >
> > >A copy of this post is being sent to Louise Shimmel, Director of
> >Cascades Raptor Center, so she will also know the work we >donated for
> >their use is being lifted without credit due! A copy is also being sent
> >to the person who sent us the post, as well. >He may also contact you
> >if he wishes.
> > >
> > >Please! Be more conscientious of YOUR own actions here! We also
> >support truth, but we do not think it fair that we be >mistreated by
> >having our work stolen and not credited in the process.
> >
> >--
> >BGleason Design & Illustration
> >CraneDance Publications
> >
> >
> >     _     Graphic Design, Book Publishing
> >   ( '<     Scientific & Commercial Illustration
> >  / ) )      [log in to unmask]
> >//"  "      Ph: 541-345-3974
> >
> >P.O. Box 50535, Eugene OR 97405
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Amelia Hansen, illustrator
> PO Box 19434
> Kalamazoo, MI  49019
> 269/353-2052