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January 24, 2019

The Fight for Copyright: Eric’s Story

copyright pic.bmpWhen you put your blood, sweat and tears into creating a masterpiece that showcases your uniqueness, the last thing you want is your work being improperly used or even stolen, especially if your art is your livelihood. Unfortunately, many professional artists of all backgrounds and fields deal with copyright infringement every day.

Granted, those who have high enough incomes predominantly benefit from today's current laws, but the same can't be said for the average professional, like Eric. Check out Eric's story on the battle for the rights to his own image:

Eric is an illustrator and cartoonist in San Diego, CA, and creates graphic novels. His graphic novels are registered and published in print. Eric discovered that someone had scanned his entire printed graphic novel, Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships, and was offering it for free digital download on a website that had many infringed comics, web comics, and graphic novels.

Other rights-holders had sent DMCA takedown notices to the website, and the infringers had posted the DMCA takedown notices with snide and defiant comments such as, "You can't do anything about it."

The legal recourse he would have sought, had he been able to sue the infringer, would have been to enforce the takedown from the infringer's website, destroy the unauthorized digital file, and collect actual damages including a licensing fee for usage and potential lost profits from the number of illegal downloads; largely dependent upon discovery of number of illegal downloads from the website.

This story and many others are the reason that a Small Claims process can be a game-changer for photographers and creative artists. It will help them enforce their copyright in cost-effective and efficient ways. We need everyone to support Small Claims at!