Save The Artist – Join Ban Cam!!

Save The Artist – Join Ban Cam!!

ban hi-def camerasToday we finish the LA ART Fair, 1/15-1/20/14.

The time has come to address the predators that attend high-end art fairs as a means of stealing and re-distributing high definition images of original works. The “photographers,” often from a distance, using large lenses, blatantly shoot images with the sole intent of stealing. This thievery is unacceptable. Artwork that took artists’ months to complete was stolen away in seconds!

Much time, money, and energy was spent during 2013 to end a blatant copyright infringement upon one of our gallery artists. A “painting mill” in China was selling copies of work at low prices; undermining the integrity and subsequent sales of her limited edition, signed and numbered archival prints. Our gallery is not the only one to fall victim to such underhanded and shameless abuse. We must work collectively to protect the rights of artists and those that support them.

A plan of action is necessary and there is but one solution.

Hi-Def cameras, excepting credentialed press and public relations specialists, must be BANNED from art fairs. If not, then expect images of artwork to be made available on the streets by thieves before originals have sold. We appreciate legitimate press, and the many on-lookers using smart phones to photograph images out of curiosity and respect, or as a means to recall an artist’s name or booth number. Hawkers, however, are not welcome and are, in fact, breaking the law in many cases. We must position ourselves to protect against the thieves who feed images to the “painting-mills.” Stealing images can be stopped.

We ask the artists, management, and galleries to DEMAND an end to this practice. The first step is simply to ask that large cameras, save for legitimate press, be banned from all art fairs.

If you are made aware of an infringement, we offer and suggest the following steps to help mitigate and bring an end to your abuse.

  1. Immediately copyright your artwork! It is not expensive, an easy process, and gives you rights, and helps to protect you from this abuse.
  2. Encourage your gallery and collectors to report such abuse.
  3. Alert the e-commerce platforms. We prepared a complaint to PayPal, using their in-house dispute mechanism, in an effort to block payments to the infringer, and it was successful.
  4. File a complaint with the local copyright administration bodies. If they can be shown a shop or warehouse to raid, they may do something. The estimated cost is between $3,000 to $4,000 + disbursements plus time charges to follow up with the local authorities.
  5. Sending a cease and desist letter. It isn’t expensive — up to about $1,200 + time charges for follow up — but they already know they are infringing, to be sure. If they just ignore it, there is nothing really available to us except to sue, and your copyright filings will support you.
  6. Litigation. This can be expensive and obviously is an option solely to be used for major infringements and as a last resort.

Let’s do this!!

Richard Demato
Art Dealer


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