I recently found out that my Wrestling Women series of paintings, etchings and woodcuts that I did as part of my undergraduate art degree have been stolen by an internet porn site, and there is nothing I can bloody do about it.
Here is my Facebook Page share on the matter:
So, my paintings and other work in my Wrestling Women series have been stolen and co-opted by this ‘free porn’ site. And I’m really not too happy about that! I suppose there will be many thinking: What did you expect? You painted naked women wrestlers and put them on the internet. Duh!
I’m pretty f*ckin pissed off about it. Skitcafe [dot] com did not ask my permission, they simply stole the images, changed the titles slightly, and are showing them COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTEXT OF THE WORK’S ORIGINAL INTENTION, WHICH IS TO QUESTION THE AGENCY OF THE WOMEN DOING THE TYPE OF PORN THE PAINTINGS ARE PORTRAYING.
If you click on the individual painting’s images, you get a smorgasbord of really graphic porn in the side bar. It’s not only offensive to me and my work to be shown in this context, but it’s completely pointless and asinine of the company to have my work on their site, because it isn’t porn, just because it’s ABOUT porn (and a critique thereof).
And the worst part about it is that MY NAME has been co-opted by this porn site. That’s pretty messed up considering that I didn’t ask to have my work or my name there, nor was I asked for permission, nor did I authorise my work to be mis-used in this way. I’m also not getting paid for my work to have been used in this way! Talk about exploitation and taking liberties!
Probably the most f*cked up thing about this whole thing is that one of the paintings isn’t even one of mine, although my name has been put to it. It’s a work by an artist called Derek Jones and was used (with his permission) as the image for marketing for a group show we did back in 2011 at the Lloyd Gill Gallery, Bristol entitled: Art’s Sharp Edge.
If anyone knows artist #DerekJones‘ work, you’ll know it doesn’t belong on a porn website!
A computer generated trawl of the net automatically picked up the key words Wrestling Women Wives Oil and an algorithm recognised that the painted depictions represented images of female bodies without clothes on and being a computer wasn’t able to discern that they were paintings, not photographs. And though the work could, at a push, be considered erotic art, it’s isn’t porn. Oil Paintings of Wrestling Women are not necessarily the same thing as photos of Women who are Oil Wrestling for the porn industry.
Below is the email I sent them in response to the infringement
You can deduce the background and context from reading further. But please note that the following is NOT SAFE FOR WORK and PARENTAL GUIDANCE IS ADVISED. If this post were a film it would be rated R or even X, though I have deleted some of the more graphically offensive images, however, even the images I left in the post may still be cause for offence, especially if, like me, you are a feminist and not a fan of Page 3!
It’s not particularly well written; it’s certainly not a legal document – and it repeats the same points a lot, but I was pretty shocked and wanted to get something off to the person in charge of the website’s copyright infringement section immediately, so I wasn’t as bothered about wording as I might be in another context.
Dear DMCA Agent for SkitCafe
I have discovered my oil paintings on http://skitcafe.com/eldi-dundee-wrestling-women-wives-jacob-oil/
I am the artist, creator and copyright owner of all the images on the above page link (bar the one painting by Derrek Jones, details to follow) that have been lifted from elsewhere on the internet and used without my permission, consent, authorisation or, until know, without my knowledge.
It would have been very easy for whoever stole my images on behalf of your website and cavalierly put them on it, to have googled me for my artist contact info, to ask consent/permission to use my images BEFORE putting my artwork on display on your website. It has been known to happen and I have been known to grant consent where I felt it fit to do so. But I would never have given consent or permission for my work to be shown in the context of skitcafe’s pornographic smorgasbord.
I want my name, my works’ titles and all images of my artwork taken off the site with immediate effect.
I am the SOLE copyright owner of my artwork and all images of my artwork.
My copyright is being infringed every minute that my images, titles and personal name and other details are shown on the website in question. I haven’t even been offered compensation for their use!!!
They have been taken and used without my consent.
These works are specifically:
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #1 Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Unstretched Canvas
Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #8 Installation Detail Stack Wrestling Canvases Eldi Dundee
Installation Detail Stack Wrestling Canvases
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #2 Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #9 Untitled From Wrestling Women Etching Series
Untitled From Wrestling Women Etching Series
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #3 Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #10 Wrestling Women Etching
Wrestling Women Etching
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #4 Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Canvas
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #5 Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #6 Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil Unstretched Canvas
Wrestling Women Wives of Jacob Oil
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #7 Performative Installation Consisting Female Wrestler Imagery
Performative Installation Consisting Female Wrestler Imagery
Eldi Dundee Wrestling Women Wives Jacob Oil #11 Jones Man Being Measured Oil Canvas
Jones Man Being Measured Oil Canvas
The last one isn’t even an image of my work. It is the work of a painter named Derek Jones whose painting was featured on the promotional material for a fine art exhibition which took place at the Lloyd Gill Gallery in Weston-Super-Mare.
I doubt very much if Mr Jones would be happy to have his work shown in this context:
Details of the works of mine that were in that particular exhibition can be found here. http://www.thelloydgillgallery.com/Eldi_Dundee.html
You may contact Lloyd Gill (cc’d above) for further details of his involvement in this show and of your website’s misappropriation of the promotional image made by Mr Jones.
I’m sure you will be hearing from both gentlemen in due course.
I reiterate my stance: I have given skitcafe.com absolutely NO authorisation or permission whatsoever (implied or otherwise) to use my artwork or images thereof, and to misrepresent me or my in this way. I am personally very upset and shocked, not to mention insulted and angry, that all this has been done without my knowledge or consent.
Apart from taking my images without consent, the titles accompanying the artworks have been grossly misrepresented as well.
A look at my page at the Lloyd Gill Gallery (link above) and at the screen shot provided will give you all the proof you need there.
The images of my own photos of my own paintings with my own name put to them and a bastardisation of my own titles have been put on the skitcafe website, a porn website, and completely misrepresents me as a person, as a professional, and misrepresents my work and its context. It could be proven to have had damaging effects on my artistic career and my reputation as an artist/painter who happens to have a family.
1) I did not seek out your website for representation.
2) You did not approach me for permission to use my work.
The association of my work with your porn site is both psychologically damaging for me personally and for my family who will see it taken out of the original context (which critiques the porn industry) and shown in a graphically pornographic context (which undermines the original intention for the work)
NOTE: Due to the intense nature of some of the pornographic images that popped up in the sidebar accompanying images of my stolen work on skitcafe, I have deleted the most offensive screenshots from this a-n ‘conversation’. But I have left some of the less graphic of the lot so you can get an idea of how the site’s algorithms work in trying to show similar images to my paintings.
(FOLLOW UP – It appears that I am unable to show the screen shot images on this platform without adding them manually – I had copied and pasted directly from the email and it’s showing up in the unpublished version on my screen, but coming up blank on the published screen. That’s probably a good thing, though, as even with the editing and censoring, they were still offensive!!)
I trust you have enough evidence of the infringement of my copyright (and that of Mr Jones) to be going on. Mr Gill will no doubt be authorised to act on Mr Jones’ behalf, but as my name and titles of my work have been put to his image, I am authorised to give you the notice to take it down immediately. I want to make it very clear that I do not want my name or my images to be associated with your website.
Lloyd Gill, of gallery in same name, has not replied to being copied into this email. I will have to make sure I have his correct contact details and re-send. Derek Jones has replied and thanked me for making him aware of the infringement of his copyright by the site in question.
DACS is unable to help as this matter of copyright infringement has not occurred (as far as I am aware) in print or on television. If it had, they would perhaps be able to lobby on my behalf.
AIR has responded to my query of advice with an apology they can’t offer any in this matter.
What is left, dear reader, short of solicitors/attorneys and/or Civil or Small Claims Court?