Some of my customers found an image of one of my custom costume on someone else’s website. This other individual was attempting to sell spine armor using one of my images as an example of their work, without my permission, of course. My customers came to my defense, and the issue was discussed on several Klingon costuming web groups. I want to thank everyone who came to my aid. The funny thing was that when I first heard about it, I thought that the perpetrator had scrubbed the watermark off the image. Then someone sent me a screenshot of the conversation, and lo, and behold! The image was from a time when I had it on my website sans watermark. Not only that, but that very same image was appropriated many years ago by another costumer who apparently had no images of his own work, and claimed he thought mine was a set costume. and was using it as a “place holder”. After that first episode, I watermarked all of my images. The current version of that image has been cleaned up to remove annoying background shadows, and I have added more classy watermarks to all images on this new site.
I will be the last person to claim that I have any ownership for the concepts that I portray in many of the custom costumes I make, but the workmanship is mine! I started before the internet was such a big thing, and social media was more mail and phone, and somewhat emails and BBS’s. Most of my customers saw my work firsthand at cons and other events. It has to be a lot harder to get started strictly online these days, but any honest artist knows that you don’t put someone else’s work in your portfolio! These days, social media won’t condone that sort of thing.
For the buyer of services like mine, take advantage of the internet and vett any potential craftsman. I hate to see anyone get snookered.
P.S. That guy was selling my spine armor for $5 more than I charge. Maybe I should raise my prices!