When it comes right down to it, no image posted on the Internet is safe from being stolen, altered or — in the case of 350 DeviantArt artists — reproduced.
This is what Deirdre Reynolds, an artist from Hot Springs, Ark., believes. Reynolds has compiled a master list of 350 DeviantArt artists who claim that their work was stolen and reproduced by Art4Love, an online art retailer.
We wrote a story about the issue yesterday and just interviewed Reynolds by email. She talks about the ease of stealing art from the Web and shares her thoughts on this controversy.
We have also are trying to find the man at the center of the controversy, Chad Love Lieberman, the co-founder of Art4Love and nephew of Sen. Joe Lieberman. But he is elusive — and we’re not the only ones trying to reach him. A reporter from the South Florida Chronicle also has been trying to reach Lieberman by phone and email and has had no luck.
Below is the email interview with Reynolds, edited for clarity and brevity. Lieberman has not been charged with any crime that we know of and we have not seen evidence that any law enforcement agency is investigating. Clearly, these are just allegations.
Daily Dot: Is stealing artwork online as easy as saving the image to one’s computer and using Photoshop to enhance it to the point that it can be printed?
Reynolds: Yes, unfortunately, it is that easy. “Right click, save as” is all you have to do. Even if the artist has not enabled downloads for the image, the ability to save the preview image is always available. If an image has a high enough resolution it is possible to get a decent print off of even a smaller size image.
DD: How would Art4Love have stolen more than 300 pieces of art, as alleged, especially if some of them are copyright protected?
Reynolds: Many of the artists whose art was stolen had placed watermarks and signatures on their work, but it doesn’t take much for someone with a little knowledge of what they are doing to remove these in an image editing program like Photoshop.
Chad Love Lieberman was very careful to change the titles of all of these pieces and never credit the actual artist. The only way an artist would ever find their work would be through a reverse image search engine like TinEye. Most artists have hundreds of works of art and simply don’t have the time to diligently search the web looking for thieves.
DD: What do you think of Lieberman and what people believe he has done? Have you heard from him or if any legal action has been taken?
Reynolds: Obviously as an artist, I think that Lieberman is lowest form of bottom feeder on the food chain. I would sincerely love to see him forced to pay each and every artist back the thousands of dollars he bragged about making off their artwork and every client who purchased his fraudulent art; and then see him behind bars where he belongs.
No one that I know of has heard from him. He has pulled all his websites and social media. I have heard that he has registered a new domain, but there is a lot of speculation going around at this point. The only thing I know for certain is that artist Vitaly S. Alexius is trying to round up as many artists as possible to file a class action lawsuit.
Image by Deirdre Reynolds