It is now day three after my discovery that several of my images have been copied, mass produced and sold to various large retailers in North America and the UK. I’m still in a state of shock and I haven’t slept more than three hours since this nightmare began. I’ve been getting many emails from people reporting the various places where they have spotted these knock offs- some people even had assumed that I had created lower level versions of my own work to mass distribute. I even drove out to one of the stores today and purchased the knock off version of my ‘Dancers‘ painting with my own money and took a picture of myself with it as I don’t know what else to do.
So far we have had some cooperation from a couple of the retailers that were carrying the copies and they appear to have been unaware of what they were carrying. Product has been removed from their websites and stores and will be destroyed we have been assured. But the distribution of my images is much more widespread than I could have imagined and there are still no answers and no clear route as to how to handle it. The actual manufacturers of the product are in the Far East- likely China but we are not being told who exactly is behind it. I want to know and I feel I have a right to know who has been manufacturing my work and selling it to distributors and likely making a tidy profit off of it. It’s not me. I haven’t seen a penny and I likely will never get any compensation for this. If anything I will likely have to pay a lawyer at some point to try and get some answers.
I feel as if someone has broken into my home and stolen from me but I can’t call the police- can I? Who protects artists and writers whose intellectual property has been taken from them that don’t have the financial resources to investigate it? But most importantly, how can I stop it? For all I know these people are continuing to manufacture copies of my work and sell them to a whole new batch of retailers and the whole nightmare will continue on.