tl;dr – Buying stolen images on cheaply made products on aliexpress to resell with copyrighted images doesn’t excuse your laziness and is still a copyright violation.
Ok, so I’ve known for quite a while now that there are multiple, like MULTIPLE, sellers on aliexpress that are selling my art. It’s a literal shit show to try to have anything removed from that website (worse than amazon,) and honestly it’s a second job to go through every.single.listing that has my art being sold without my permission. Now, while *I* am aware that just because you buy an item for pennies with art on it, doesn’t mean you can turn around and sell that. Are there really that many people who see a picture and think “OH! I can sell this phone case that I bought for ten cents with a cute cat image on it!” and not realize that image might actually be copyrighted? A simple google search of “autumn coffee cat” will show you who the actual artist is…and some typical amazon (literally like aliexpress) stolen art items.
Every day, there’s some new Facebook sponsored ad or new page that just popped up overnight sharing images of stolen art on t-shirts, phone cases, whatever. And every day fans will tag me in a comment or message me asking, “Do you know about this?” “Did you authorize this?” and every time it’s the same. “No, definitely didn’t authorize this…” and I go fill out multiple Facebook copyright reports to have the images removed. But it never ends. I have tried all sorts of different watermarks on my images, and it honestly doesn’t matter. They remove them, or simple sell the item WITH the watermark on it. No, seriously, you’d think seeing © RYAN CONNERS across the image would be a deterrent, but it isn’t.
But I digress. I’m here to give a head’s up to people who are starting their new “ecommerce” website selling items from aliexpress or amazon, or etsy (yes I’ve seen them there as well) – those items with those cute little images, those images are copyrighted and somehow my fans will always find them and let me know about them. Then I’ll have to report you. It cracks me up when said people message me on my ART PAGE on Facebook, asking me to prove that it’s my work. Like…you’re messaging me on my art page, look around. It’s your responsibility to do some due diligence in finding out whether those images are free for use or not. It’s 2019 people, we’ve been on the internet long enough, “I didn’t know” isn’t an excuse. You’re lazy, you didn’t care. That’s your truth.
Now, back to painting for me, because like my art, my time is wasted every damn time I have to address stolen art. GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH. Use it.