Honoring Intellectual Property of Artists

I do not consider myself an artist- but I am friends with many whose income comes directly from their ability to draw or their musical skills.  I see outrage when a political party uses a song without permission by the artist who performed it without asking permission first and, rightly, the artist has the right to that rage since usually, when their work is used in such a fashion: as a symbol of a movement, person, or organization- that the ideals of the organization who co-opted the work is in direct opposition to the beliefs of the artist in question.

This too, is especially true for those in graphic design and the tattoo industry.  Clients ask for a specific work to meet their idea, the artist agrees or declines to create the work the client requests, and if there is mutual agreement, the art is created for use as a tattoo, logo, or even just art for the sake of art.  It is a business transaction.

Despite our Heathen ethic of Integrity and Honor- I am finding little honor online for my artist friends who have their work stolen, not properly credited, modified, and even worse, used without permission to represent organizations without permission or payment.  This is theft-  no different than going to a craftsman of a physical piece of work, such as a drinking horn, stealing it, and then adding your own modifications, claiming it to be your own, and then mass-producing that horn to which you never had the right in the first place.

Take this picture for example, it may look familiar:

Then…there is this,

Dez modified

Desiree’s artwork…but someone learned how to use a color filter.  The ability to color another artist’s design is neither frithful nor ethical.

Although the “second coming” of the design is more colorful and dramatic- it does not respect the initial artist in the sense that she designed the original for a client who had it tattooed upon his chest- he wanted it to be unique, it was his symbolism HE requested, and now we have found that the new, modified version has been shared hundreds of times, seen by thousands of people, and now is being used as a symbol to represent movements and organizations that have not contacted the artist for consent, nor is she even credited for her hard work in creating the original which is shared as if it were fair-use instead of copyright. (my writing is fair-use…I don’t care who shares what I write, by the way…because I feel my writing is pretty self-explanatory.)

I blog. I do not get paid for what I write, and writing is very easy to me.  However, I sat next to Desiree over many of the days she spent working on the original design.  Some artist appreciate the exposure, however, given the controversial nature of the implied symbolism, the exposure for this image and subsequent modifications put the artist into a very uncomfortable position of seeing her work being used to represent people other than the client who paid her for the initial design.

Please, in this age of pinterest and tumblr, it is still important that graphic artists receive credit for their incredibly hard works and efforts, and that their wishes are respected in the use of the images they create.   If any artist of any picture I share objected to my credited use of their imagery, I would/will remove it.

I would not modify a piece of hand-drawn art and represent it as my own, even if I had the inclination, unless it was strictly for my personal devotional use and not to be shared with others so as not to take away the credit from the artist.

All I am asking is this:  If you are going to share artwork, please make an effort to find the original source of the work.  If you do not know it- use google image search or write “artist unknown, will credit when found”…and please, out of respect, honor and frith, do not modify the original artwork and falsely claim it as your own or “release it into the wild” without the permission of the artist.


Value the intellectual properties of artists and musicians- this is what they do to feed their families, and their work being used out of context not only is theft, but can cause them a great deal of personal hardship if the people who steals their images as a representation of a cause or organization can adversely affect their ability to continue to sustain themselves or place them in the terrible situation of their work being used to represent causes they do not themselves support.

Thank you.




3 Responses to “Honoring Intellectual Property of Artists”

  1. What is good for my clan is others not taking our shit… so yes, definitely right to be angry about this.

    • Tyrienne Says:

      Good. Then share this far and wide for the benefit of all of our talented artists and musicians! 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Owl Hill Farm and commented:
    This is not cool.

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