Yesterday, a concerned reader of my blog alerted me to the following: An Etsy seller named "youandmegogreen" is selling prints of my copyrighted image of my white lamb in a sweater. Here's what she say in her listing: in "about this item" description "Handmade by youandmegogreen and made to order."
Here is a screenshot of the listing. I am contacting the owner of the shop and telling her to take down the image which is clearly mine and copyrighted. I have already contacted Etsy about this. This image "White Lamb in Sweater with Crochet Flowers" is available as cards and postcards here on my website. I do not sell on Etsy at this time.
A few weeks ago, another friend sent me an email from a "nail salon." She told me a local Colorado beauty salon had used the same White Lamb in Sweater with Crochet Flowers image in their mailing. I didn't respond to their unauthorized use. I should have and I will today. They did not take my name nor copyright sign off the image. They should have asked me to use the image. I may have said yes. Now, I am just plain upset. They should have at least linked to my site.
I have been fuming about this for over 24 hours now. What should I do? Write about it on my blog or just let it go away and forget about it. But I have decided I just can't let it go. I sell cards of this image here on my website. My website is the only place the image is and should be sold. I do not wholesale the cards and image - they are exclusive to my site and my work. The little lamb is our lamb. I knit the sweater, crocheted the flowers, stood in the snow to photograph and get exactly the right shot (three separate days to get it just right). I processed the image and it is clearly mine. Why should this woman named Laura at "youandmegogreen" make a profit from my work? She shouldn't.
So why am I bothering to bore all of you with this problem? Here's the thing, I have many loyal readers out there, many kind people. They write to me asking if they can use an image of mine for their screensaver. I usually say yes. You all support me by buying my cards, my handknitting patterns. My family and I work very hard to keep this place going - just like most artists and farmers out there in the world. We have to pay our own health insurance and it is not cheap. We have a child with special needs and precarious health issues. We have to pay our taxes just like everyone else. I am not complaining about this - It just irks me to no end that people can take the image that My Farmer grew, I knit, photographed and composed, edited, and printed and say it is theirs and sell it.
I have had publishers ask me if they could use that same image. I have told them no. Seriously, do I need their $50? I would rather keep the image as my own for my future work. Once it goes into print in their book, my future publishers will no longer want me to use it.
So the moral of today's post is... please think about using other people's images. They are theirs. If you do use them, ask them, credit them, link them. It is only fair. None of us are getting rich on this. At least give the owner of the image proper credit and do the right thing by asking.
I thank all of you for your awesome support over the past years - of my knitting, designing, authoring, photography, farming and teaching. You all are fabulous. Back to regular programming tomorrow. Off to hug the sheep and puppy.