Artist remedies for image theft

Hi friends, In the last couple weeks I’ve had one person on Instagram steal a bunch of my images and put them on their IG wall as their own paintings and were catfishing people. And then I had a super creepy website steal one of the images off my website to sell cheap prints.

It’s super demoralizing to have that happen, and so I’m putting out some information about how I’m addressing the issue, in the hopes that it helps fellow artists if this happens to you.

Instagram: I heard from several artists that it is very difficult to get instagram to remove pages that are impersonating an artist. Since they weren’t using my name, and they stole work from at least 6 other artists, I filled out a copyright form and asked that they please keep the issue in the copyright department – not the impersonation department. But you’re encouraged to report as accurately as possible!

Here’s Instagram’s copyright complaint form: https://help.instagram.com/contact/552695131608132

And here’s their impersonation complaint form: https://help.instagram.com/contact/636276399721841

Instagram closed the IG user within 24 hours. Thank you IG!

Web site

I found out about the content theft because I have a google alert set up for my name. I recommend setting one of those up for your own name.

Here’s what I’ve done so far. Jump to the solution below for the fix.

  • used whois.com to try to find out who the website host is
  • they use a privacy listing, so I had to write to the privacy provider with my complaint and all my info before I could get the name of the website provider. The website provider seems super sketchy, but I followed the next step anyways:
  • write a cease and desist letter to the website provider
  • fill out an un-list request with all the search engines. Here’s the form for google: https://reportcontent.google.com/
  • fill out the cyber crime report with the FBI: https://complaint.ic3.gov/
  • waited several days and emailed the host again.
  • asked chatGPT to write a nice cease and desist letter for me (thanks chatGPT!)
  • SOLUTION for some reason, I went to the website with my stolen image and right-clicked the image to see the image path. It was a path to my own website!! They had not copied my image – they were just embedding it! So, I went back to my website and deleted the image and purged the cache and voila! The image is gone! Unfortunately, their web page with my name and description is still there, but at least the image is gone.

This issue is resolved (sort of), but I’m going to protect my images a little bit going forward since this is so annoying.

Next, I’m going to

If you’ve found other solutions to content theft, please post below.

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