It was brought to my attention recently that a company called Wallpart.com were selling my images online. They do not have and never have had my permission to do this.
Not only do they have my work, almost 1000 pieces, offered for sale but they also have the work of thousands of other artists. Before you go to their website to see if they have your work remember this, they are a Phishing site. They will gather information, from email addresses to credit card details so DO NOT fill in their forms complaining they are using your images without permission. They know this. They don’t care. And get off their site fast, because you don’t know what forms of malware might be lurking.
It would seem that they have harvested these images from facebook, websites etc. All are low resolution. None would print off to give a viable product, but that’s not really what Wallpart seem to be about.
They run google adds on their website. This will give them a source of revenue. They are also, maybe, just taking payment from people, gathering credit card details etc. Who knows. The very least they are doing is attempting to steal from artists by offering their work for sale.
If you are an artist take a look at their site and if they have your images on the website then report them to Action Fraud, either online or by phone. Talk to your network of artists, friends, make them aware of the site. Reach out to your followers, buyers and supporters and tell them under NO circumstances purchase anything from Wallpart, explaining why. The more people who take action, the more people who talk about this, the more chance there will be of shutting them down.
They are a company based in Russia in Kostrom. Their current ISP is ENOM, but they have been moved 4 times already. You can write to Enom, I have, but received no joy there. Spread the word as much as you can to make people aware that these people are thieves. With luck it will stop anyone buying from them. Write to the Arts Council, your local MP, Baroness Neville-Rolfe ( Parliamentary Undersecretary of State and Minister for Intellectual Property).
Why should this matter?
1. I work hard to create the work I do, and am lucky to earn a fair living but many artists struggle in these times, and it is not right for these people to profit from our work. It is theft.
2. I have worked hard to build up a following for my work, not ‘fans’ as such, but people who engage with me as an artist. Along with this comes a level of trust, so when people see these images, know me, and my work, they trust the site. I don’t want people to be lured into parting with their credit cards details.
3. I have publishers who I work with including companies like Graffeg who have invested time and money into bringing out a range of cards, and hopefully soon posters of my work. They pay me a royalty and they have in house staff who depend on their sales for their income. Sites like this can put at risk legitimate companies like Graffeg who also sell online by undermining people’s confidence in purchasing online.
4. I hate to see my work alongside images of soft porn, ugly images.
So please spread the word. At the end of the day I don’t think these people are taking money directly from artists with their business practice, but what they do undermines and demeans us all.
If you have any similar experiences please use the comments here to relate them. If you can think of creative ways of fighting back please add those too. Let’s share ideas. We are creative. There must be ways to stop them. And if you are an artist then DO report them.
The one good thing about this horrible scam is that it is bringing artists together, making connections with makers and galleries all around the world, bringing people into conversation. I feel that the best thing we can do is shout as loudly as we can about it so that people who love our work don’t fall into the trap of sending them card details, ask our trade boards, The Arts Council, The Association of Illustrators, other gilds, politicians and police to do something about it, and then get on with what we do best, which is making art.
I discovered this scam when Wallpart tweeted one of my images, The Guardians. It sat on a twitterfeed surrounded by images of children and also images of soft porn. Sickening. This image is available for sale from me, as an original, as a print, but also from the Syracuse Cultural Workers in USA who have a legitimate licence to sell posters of the work.