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I’ve talked to several people in the last few weeks who either have found out someone is using their work (photos, writings, etc) without their permission; or they suspect someone is doing so. Please remember when you see a beautiful photo or painting online, or a poem that really touches you – someone worked very hard to produce that, and they deserve the credit for their work.

I’m sure most artists would be glad to talk with you about using their work. And I’m equally sure they don’t mind if you share their work on Facebook, Pinterest or other social medias sites. Just remember that just because you can find it in a web search, it doesn’t mean it’s out there for free. Do the right thing- contact the owner of the work and make sure you give them the credit they deserve. Besides being the ethical thing to do- it’s the RIGHT thing to do.

And if you think someone is using your work, you can use Google to check. For your photography or artwork, go to Google Images and drag a copy of your work into the search box. Google will do its best to find duplicates or similar images; if you find sites using your work without permission, write a letter or email (make sure you document it) telling them that they are using your work without your permission and ask that they immediately take it down. If that doesn’t work you’ll need to contact a lawyer.

The same process works with written works too- just copy the first few sentences of the text and search on Google. If you get any results, follow the same process- contact them, ask them to take your work down and contact a lawyer if necessary.

In fact, it would probably be wise to include a statement in your original correspondence that your lawyer will be contacted if they don’t comply.

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