Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Different Approach

Those who read my last post know that I have effectively been kicked off of Society6 for speaking my mind and for calling them out on their lack of artist protection. Jerks.
But I have to express my gratitude to those jerks.
Posting on their site was easy. Upload, set price, do nothing. I made a couple of sales, which was rewarding, and found some great fellow artists to connect with (the only aspect that I'll truly miss).
But seriously. They made more money out of the relationship than I did. And that just isn't right.
On the day after my account was suspended, my daily horoscope told me that I was relying on connections that weren't going to get me anywhere, that I needed to branch out on my own and trust myself, my talents, to get the success that I want.

It struck a chord with me. And as someone who believes that everything happens for its own cosmic and karmic reason, I took the injustice from Society6 to be a sign that it was time to go in a new direction.

I'm now in the process of doing just that. I had a semi-defunct Etsy shop on which I used to sell some jewelry, but now I'm going to turn it into a site for selling my photographs. I changed the name and information and added my new store logo this morning:

I also started to look for professional print labs to print my images. I placed an order with a company out of Maryland that has good reviews, and I'm anxious to see what my print looks like. A talented artist friend suggested another site that I plan to look into, as well. Then, it'll be a matter of setting up my shop!
Fingers crossed, this is the direction that I'm supposed to take. We shall see!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Act of Civil Disobedience

I post much of my photography on the Society6 website for sale. I haven't made enough to retire (Ha ha), but I have made a couple of sales, which is very fulfilling.
Last night, while perusing the artwork of others, I came across this post from a fellow artist:
Out of curiosity, I looked through the offending site and did, in fact, find one of my images. I took two courses of action. First, I posted a review of my product calling out the site for copyright infringement (so I may have called it outright "theft") and asked my friends to do the same. Then, I sent a letter to Society6's copyright agent. I was a little ticked off, but I didn't feel that it was too strongly worded:
Dear Society6,

What are you doing about this:

This site is blatantly stealing artwork from Society6 and its artists. That piece in the picture is my photograph, posted on your website, and stolen for use on another website. My intellectual property and rights (And those of apparently hundreds of your artists) are being spit upon and your reputation is suffering.

So what are you doing about it? Has a cease and desist letter been sent? Have you notified the parent company of the website to have it shut down? Will you send out a form letter in reply to me stating the usual blah-blah-blah?

Awaiting your reply to see whether I keep my Society6 page...

Okay. So maybe it was semi-strongly worded. But I was, admittedly, ticked off. Not too long after I had sent the message, I got this in reply:
Hi Nichole,

Thank you for contacting Society6 Support.

It is incredibly important to us that you understand that we do everything in our power to maintain your trust as an artist - and also to take proactive measures to ensure that we help you sell more of your products.

Our product previews are presented at 600px, even though 800px is now the industry acceptable standard for product previews. It has been determined that at this size (and at screen resolution) there is no way to reproduce a decent printed product. We are confident that your images are currently safe, and have limited the preview size with that consideration in mind.

Disabling right clicks is not a true protection and anyone that is stealing images understands how you can still grab a right click disabled image. Furthermore, even if you disable the click, you can always take a screen shot.

If your desire is to sell your products, then we have to take every action to both protect your images but also make them compelling for customers to purchase, and easy to promote thru social media, blogs, and other websites on the Internet.

We really appreciate your understanding and appreciate your continued support.

Yup. Just as I had predicted. A form letter. The exact same one that others had received. Well, now I'm really ticked. I realize that they don't have time to send a personal reply to everyone. But still....So I replied. Perhaps my ire was rather apparent:
Thank you for sending me the usual form letter, the same you send to other artists contacting you with the same issue. It must feel quite rewarding to work for a company that provides you with the opportunity to be an automaton.

Though this is obviously an exercise in futility in my part, I will endeavor to get a personalized and human response.

Perhaps you didn't look at the link provided in my initial contact. Had you done so, you would see my intellectual property on an unauthorized website. Sure, your site may offer a less-than-ideal screen resolution that "prevents" theft...

...But obviously theft is occurring. And if someone purchases this less-than-perfect image from that site...well, guess what. They are still purchasing it. And someone else is profiting from MY work.

Then again, so is Society6. Perhaps that is why I get the same laissez-faire form letter as everyone else.

Go ahead. Prove me wrong. Prove that real human beings who really care about the artists are involved in Society6.

I'm waiting...

Perhaps it was too much, for this is what greeted me next:
Touche, Society6. Touche.
And I'm not the only one. From reading the comments to the original posting, at least one other has been suspended for voicing her dismay. And when people began complaining on the Society6 Facebook page, they shut down the ability to leave them comments. Hmm...
So here is my newest reply. We'll see what happens next:
A "temporarily suspended" account.
Shall I assume that it was suspended while an investigation into the offending website (which seems to have since been shut down) was launched? Or shall I assume that you didn't like my reply to your form letter?