By pure coincidence my eye fell on a blog that showcased my designs.
Now that always makes me sit up and take notice. Sometimes they do a little article about my work, show something out of one of my shops with a link or just share a pic of a design they really like.
I was not that lucky :-)
This blogger used GCU as her main hunting grounds (I know this because she gives 'credit' to GCU) to get to my images, alter them to make into buttons and other elements, then put them together in themed scrap booking kits for the digiscrap crowd to download and enjoy. The kits were labeled 'freebies' and even though my name appears at the bottom of her post as the generous benefactor, she makes sure her own brand is on the kit itself. She had made several digiscrap kits using my material (and that of others).
She never asked me if she could use my stuff (even though she states earlier - back when she started to make these kits - that she would probably have to ask the artists for permission. Yup folks, you should always ask first.
This is one of her mixed kits, some of the stuff is mine...the rest is from other GCU artists. She's clearly having fun and there is nothing wrong with that. I know that as soon as you put your work out there it will be taken and 'doodled' with. What bothers me is not so much the gathering or altering, but the re-distributing of my work to other scrap bookers and putting your own name on the package. Freebie or not, it is still illegal!
Anyway, I wrote her a nice letter asking her to take all of my material off her site and explained her why it was not OK to play with my stuff the way she did.
Along with my email she must have gotten her fair share of messages from other GCU artists as well. She says she is giving credit to the artist (where is the back link to the store?) and never claimed it as her own (then why put your name on the kit?). I appreciate that she likes my work, but a real fan would support me by purchasing something or promoting my work with a link to one of my stores, or a blog post about a design they like - not theft. The only "freebies" of my work are ones which I might give away myself.
It looks like I just robbed her of a hobby, but my violin is very small, I'm sorry. Fact is, she could still enjoy digiscrapping (or whatever they call it) if she wanted to on her own computer, not distribute it to her friends and anybody else who happens to wander by.