This company (Elastoform) has shamelessly stolen images from my website and blog and are using it to promote their own product. In addition to that, they have stolen my logo form along with the graphic, added their own type to it, and to add insult to injury, they have watermarked the entire thing with their company name. Watermarks are done to prevent others from stealing, so you can imagine how I feel about this.
The company is in the Ukraine, so legal recourse is basically unavailable. An effort to email them has had no response. I explored the rest of their site and discovered that they also stole this image:
In addition to my work, I recognized the work of 8 other resin artists that I am familiar with. I have emailed all of them, and they are understandably upset. One of them happened to speak Russian and alerted me to the fact that there is actually an “I stole the photo. What can be done” section on their site:
So this happens often enough that they don’t care. They put the onus of proof on the victim of the violation. They ask for EXIF data which, because I work with graphics in my day job, I am familiar with, but which I bet very few others are. Furthermore, EXIF data can be altered in any number of ways; they edited my graphics on another machine, the original might be a screen grab, there is metadata removal software etc. The other option is equally absurd – send them an unprocessed high resolution original to prove my ownership? Are you mad? “Here, let me facilitate your theft with a better quality file that you can edit easily” Right.
I’m pretty angry. This is my personal artwork, of our one-of-a-kind creation and our company logo, lovingly made, staged, photographed and processed and it hurts to see it stolen and altered. It is, for all intents and purposes, a photo of us. This is their attitude towards it (taken from the site):
“We would like to draw your attention that according to the user agreement:
«Prom.ua is not responsible for the use (both lawful and unlawful) third party information posted on the website, including reproduction and distribution, carried out both within the portal, and any other means possible.
All the information posted on the portal is considered to be the property of Members to place it as long as there is no reason to believe otherwise. Portal users do not receive any rights to use the information posted by other Users are solely responsible to the owner of the information for its misuse. “
At the same time, all the information contained on this website is owned by the user who posted.
There is an email for reporting abuse of intellectual property rights; firstname.lastname@example.org which I will be practically spamming until they take my work down. I don’t know if they will listen, and I don’t know what other options there are if they ignore me. If you’re reading this, and you’re one of the other artists who has had work stolen by this website, I encourage you to email the heck out of them as well.
While I was loathe to play into their BS (and I will not be providing EXIF data or high resolution originals) I also submitted their form here for reporting image abuse (Google translate link). Here is what happened when I tried to submit the form:
So that’s obviously not something they pay much attention to either. The fact that I’m even dealing with this makes me sad and disappointed. This is a disgusting business practice that steals from the talent and hard work of others and it needs to be shut down. I will not drop this and let these people continue to use my work and my logo with impunity. If anyone has any suggestions beyond social media exposure I would love to hear it!