Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fraud

Okay, I usually try to keep things light and focused here on my blog but today I must speak out.

Yesterday I was notified by a fellow artist that a woman on facebook is selling my prints and claiming that the work is hers, that she actually created the dolls and did the photography.  Disgusting huh?  But wait there is more.   Not only is she doing this with my work she is doing it with many many accomplished artists work,  claiming they are all hers and copyrighted to boot.

Are you feeling ill yet....wait there is even more!!!   She claims to be raising money for ALS patients.   So she is stealing artwork to raise money for a charity.  How a person like this sleeps at night is beyond me, but apparently she does.


I don't mean to sound petty but I just cannot sit back and watch this happen to my own artwork and my fellow artists.   The woman's profile on facebook is ShawnaMarie Weatherford   You would have to be friends with her to see the fraud, but above is a screenshot of whats going on.

I've written a cease and desist letter to the person and I've reported her to facebook.  As of yet all the artwork is still there and available to purchase.   I encourage anyone and everyone to report her to facebook.

What I've learned.   Honestly I feel in a teeny bit responsible as I have not safeguarded myself from this at all.   From this day forward my images will be watermarked and low resolution.  I highly suggest y'all do the same.

33 comments:

ODD imagination said...

It would be nice if people were more honest. I have always known there is a risk to having my art displayed on the computer but like you, I guess I should take steps now to alleviate any heartache in the future regarding this kind of thing. I am going to friend her and see if I recognize any of the other artists work and notify them.
Thanks for the alert Colleen.
No one can make dolls like you do! :o)

Catt Alexander said...

Hey, Loopy, it's me, Catt Alexander of thecattsuglybabies. She did this same thing to me.

I was notified of this fraud, too. I was shown screenshots of a doll I had for sale back in November. The screenshot on her Facebook is dated November 2, 2011.

On November 4th she purchased that doll from me. I didn't realize till last night who she was and what she did.

So, like with others, she's posting pictures of my work, selling it, then buying it from me and passing it off as hers. She can't even spell copyright the correct way.

I'm FURIOUS that she's done this. She has several of my dolls in her favorites on Etsy. It'll be over my dead body before I'll sell another doll to her. I'll proudly wear ANY negative she gives me for it, too.

I wrote to her last night and so far haven't heard back from her.

I don't believe she's really ill, either. I mean, according to her Facebook she's been fed because she can't use her hands, etc. Yet she has NO PROBLEM combing other people's work in order to pass it off as her own.

I 'slept' on the idea of posting something on Etsy forums about it....but thought better of it. You know how it can get there.

You know, if she wanted to sell my doll after buying it, fine. But to completely lie and say SHE made that doll and pass it off as her own really pisses me off.

I have another one just like it for sale in my Etsy shop. How can she explain THAT?

Here's my listing for the doll that looks just like the one she bought from me back in November. You can see it on her Facebook page.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/86369089/freak-doll-creepy-doll-scary-doll

This entire thing disgusts me. I can't believe she has that disease, either. If she's going to lie about all of THIS, she'll lie about anything. I also heard she didn't even record that CD she talks about.

*still shaking my head*

LoopyBoopy said...

Wow Catt, what a story. I'm so sorry that happened to you! Its hard to imagine people behaving so horribly! Well this worked, she is no longer on FB, as you'll see the link doesn't work. Shes completely erased herself from the site. So its a win for now, but I suspect she'll be popping up again with her fraudulent ways.

ODD imagination said...

I just went over and it looks like she has removed all Images and Wall Posts, although her site is still active.
I sure hope she doesn't lay low and then start all over again.

LoopyBoopy said...

hmmm, odd. I can't see her site at all. It says doesn't exist when I try to find it. Pretty sure she will be back. We have to remain diligent.

Catt Alexander said...

YAY!!! OMG, that's AWESOME news! I can't wait to go tell the sweet person who tipped me off on all of this.

Thanks to everyone for all they did to report and stay on this.

And I'm so glad you included this 'fraud' on your blog. She needs to be exposed because you're right, she'll pop up again somewhere.

Real quick....years and years ago when I was a seller on eBay, me and several other doll makers had our own websites that we sold on, in addition to eBay.
We were the top sellers back then in Primitive dolls.

Well, someone tipped me off that a girl bought domain names that were just like ours, only they were a .net instead of .com.
Imagine that...she actually used our business names and changed the .com to .net.

That way if someone made a mistake coming to our sites, they'd reach HERS.
Her work was terrible. I'm not saying that to be catty. But it was so bad that she couldn't sell a thing on eBay, so she was restorting to low tactics in order to trick people into coming to her site instead of ours. Ugh.

I wrote to her and she wrote back that it was nothing personal.
NOTHING PERSONAL?
(enter the cuss word of your choice here)

I couldn't do a thing about it.

Almost a year later she wrote to me again. She wrote to apologize to each one of us, one by one.

She said she was hated by everyone and after spending all that money on domains that closely matched ours, she never got a single sale.

She said she invested hundreds of hours setting all of that up, only to have it fail and cost her a small fortune.
Good.

She said she received tons of hate mail and she was cussed out by sellers and buyers alike.

What goes around and all that.

I guess she didn't realize that though there are a lot of us doll makers out here, we're not enemies with each other. Many of us look out for one another. There's room for us all.
The doll community is small enough that our work stands out. Buyers and other doll makers basically know who we are.

I've been doing this online for nearly 12 years. I've done quite well without having to resort to such tactics and underhanded ways in order to be successful. And the same can be said of you. We're not of that ilk.

You've made me smile, friend. You've made me smile!!!
Off to tell others that she's OUT of business...for now.

Catt

CraftyGamer said...

Added her as a friend and it seems that she took down all your photos, but I will definitely keep my eyes on her. Makes me raged seeing her trying to rip off my favorite artist!

Yve said...

God, Colleen, what is wrong with everyone lately? I'm so glad you got this taken down (at least for now) and feel your frustration and anger as I have been dealing with my own Art Theft issues this week.

There just seem to be so many skanky low-lives out there trying to rip off artists, we all need to be vigilant and watch each others backs.

LoopyBoopy said...

My Gawd Catt! LOL at least she finally saw the error of her ways. You know your right though I find doll artists and artists in general stick together in stuff like this. It truly is a blessing and a wonderful community.

Crafty I cannot find her page. Are you telling me that all the other artists work are still there just mine are removed? Cuz that just won't do for me.

LoopyBoopy said...

smooches Yve!!!

Jess Schleicher said...

Ahhhh... that stinks. Just started covering my butt in case of things like this. Thanks for bringing it up and I hope everything works out.

CraftyGamer said...

It doesn't looks like she has any other artists stuff. She just has a folder with wall photos that are just a bunch of quote pictures. And a folder with a bunch of pictures of shoes. She could have blocked you and that's why you can't see her page.

Blue Kitty Miniatures said...

Words (almost) fail me for once Loopy. Makes me wonder just how low some people will sink down to before they hit the bottom.

bomobob said...

Presumably she's selling prints of screenshots downloaded from your Etsy shop.
Yeah, the quality must be superb...

I love the way she says she made the dolls, but oh wouldn't you know it, she has none left.

Geez

Knot said...

It's always a shame when such blatant theft goes on, but especially in the name of charity. The mind boggles.

Iris O'Connor said...

hey Loopy, Iris here.
I saw that story first thing this morning on Facebook, a friend shared the link and I did the same to spread the message.
I suppose that is the one good thing about the whole bloody mess that through Social Media the story spreads like wild fire and everyone gets to hear about it and can help.

Keep us informed!

cherrylippedroses said...

That is not right, I am so sorry, hon. I'm not on FB, but I'll help spread the word.

cherrylippedroses said...

I'm so sorry, Loopy. That stinks - I'm not on Facebook, but I'll help if I can.

Heartsabustin said...

That is just a crappy thing to do - I'm so sorry, Loopy. I'm not on FB, but I'll see what I can do to help.

LoopyBoopy said...

Hey y'all thanks a lot! Like I said its not just me but other artists that shes stealing from for 'the cause', I'm just the loudest:)

Lurena Sheary Williamson said...

So very WRONG!!!!!! I fear this kinda crap will continue as we become more of a cyber world. I don't like pininterest either! So what - people can just collect pictures of your work?? I don't get it. I feel like it is stealing too and infringing on copyright! Errrrr

Static White said...

Heya,

The page is still there but if you can't see it she's likely blocked you. Did you get my message on FB? Seems to me she's selling the prints & reselling the purchased dolls at that gallery I mentioned. She's showcased her "work" there before from what I've read.

Amazing are some of the things people will stoop to doing.

CrystalW said...

Hi guys, while I'm not an artist I can fully understand your outrage. I am on FB, and am not blocked from seeing miss fraudsters site ;) I can tell you that all pictures of artwork have been removed, although im sure she has copies still to be printed and the original dolls she bought to sell at the benefit. I am truly sorry that this has happened to some of the most talented artists i have come across! For future saftey, please SIGN, WATERMARK or ENGRAVE your creations. I have had some of my pictures of Fashion designs stolen last year... The dead giveaway was that I was the model, so i recognised them as not only my designs but also ME!! So no, there is no level that people will not stoop below. I subsequently watermarked all my images, which google doesnt like. But i dont like their 'No Watermark' policy.

Dont stop doing your best work guys!

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I am so sorry to hear this. I saw on ebay last year a seller duplicating the artwork of "Cart Before the Horse", cheap knock-off's of her work and style. Nothing she could do about it either.

I've recently had someone repeatedly contact me pressuring me to sell her my dolls undressed at a bargain basement rate (so 'she' could dress them) and I refused, because I figured it'd be too easy for her to put a crappy dress on it and sell it as my work for a profit.

My sister's work is regularly featured in magazines and she was contacted a couple years ago by a fellow 'designer' who wanted to purchase one of her velvet purses, and next thing we knew, we saw it featured in a magazine as the "designer's" own work. Fortunately the magazine printed an apology and the perpetrator was 'outed' as a fraud.

Hard to trust anyone these days.

Sara said...

Just here to say: that sucks, Loopy! (and Catt, one of my favorite Etsy sellers, and I'm not even a weird-doll person).

Sara said...

Just here to say: that sucks, Loopy! (and Catt, one of my favorite Etsy sellers, and I'm not even a weird-doll person).

tinypearl5758 said...

Isn't there anything you can do about it. On Peoples facebooks, isn't there a button you can click to report a member? I am sorry that someone has scooped so low. Obviously she has less than average morals. I wish you luck and protection for all your future work. xxx

Catt Alexander said...

((((( Sara )))))

Even with her stealing pictures of our work, that's copyright infringement of our intellectual property.
And the fact that she used the United States Postal Service to perpetuate this fraud is a federal offense.

I just finished posting my 'story' and photos of my dolls on the Facebook page that's been raised in order to spread the word on this fraudster.

BlacknickSculpture said...

Sorry to hear of your work being ripped off! I'm glad that this persons page on FB is kaput. After a photograph of my sculpture was used for a calendar without my permission I've started watermarking EVERYTHING!

Unknown said...

I think you should report her to the police. Cyber-fraud has been committed and she should be brought to justice. I believed her and am so ashamed to have been scammed.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yarrow said...

So sorry to hear about this shocking behaviour. It's something I worry about too, with my paintings.

A friend suggested to me that as well as a watermark, only upload photos of around 350pixels as they cannot be enlarged to use as quality prints.

Take care and thanks for bringing this to light, it's a timely reminder to us all. Knowing that you have so much support from other online artists must be a consolation though. Hugs.x

MegansBeadedDesigns said...

Wow. What a terrible thing to do. And the nerve! You would think she would realize how well-recognized your work is at this point.

It's like if I were to post a picture of Lady Gaga on my Facebook and say "This is me."

Uh........ not gonna fool anyone!