What not to wear…a HUGE © WORD!

So this WAS going to be an artist profile type article. Not that I do much profiling with those ever, I usually just repost the artist’s work, say “this is cool” and link to their site. But today’s will be link-only. Take a look at Jeff Miracola’s site, and browse through some of the images in his portfolio. Great work, BUT there’s a GIANT “COPYRIGHT JEFF MIRACOLA” directly in front of every image. And in most cases its so big it delivers a kick in the nads to the art itself.

UPDATE: Jeff’s site no longer has giant watermarks on the work! Yay. We can see clearly now. And thanks Jeff for the response below! I’m only noticing it 3 months after you posted it! Sorry.

So I’m shelving this post in the Freelance Tips category. Please don’t repeat this mistake when posting work from your portfolio.  As soon as you publish something original, you’ve copywritten it. And the internet is a publishable medium. So when I hit Publish on this blog article, I’ve got some legal rights just by doing so. Is that as good as downloading a copyright application and sending it into the Copyright Office. No. But do you think newspapers submit copyright applications for every article they publish? Nope. That’s why the copyright laws are the way they are. Publish something, and you’ve got a right to it. Same goes for art. 

Here’s the only semi-harmful scenarios I can imagine for Jeff (or anyone) not-watermarking their images….

1: Someone decides to print the art and sell it. Well, a 1000 pixel wide image on the internet is BIG, but print wise that resolution would be terrible. That size might print a quality copy around 2 inches wide.  I doubt micro-prints would be a hot seller on Etsy.com.

2. Someone decides to print unwatermarked art, for the malicious reason that they just like it and want to hang it up in their locker. Harmless right. Well maybe the artist could have sold this fan a real print of their work. So a sale is lost because this fan can print a low rez copy….  I don’t believe that. If someone really appreciates an artist’s work AND they have the money, they’ll buy a high rez print. If they don’t have the money, let ’em print it low-brow, and  they’ll be advertising the artist to anyone that passes by their locker. 

3. Someone decides to pass off the artist’s work as their own. Okay, thats possible. Maybe someone will sign up on Elance.com and claim “I did this, hire me”. But if someone is going to stoop to that level, there’s nothing stopping them from downloading watermarked images and saying  “Hi, my name is Jeff Mircola Nice to meet you, look what I drew.”

Finally,  someone may comment (or at least think it) that this seems a little hypocritical coming from someone that sells video downloads with the CartoonSmart logo somewhere in the video. Well that logo is not watermarked overtop the software OR the script editor. So at no time would someone be like “ack, I can’t see behind that damn logo.” So I consider it non-intrusive, and not taking away from the content in the same sense that a watermark takes away from art.  Art can be obstructed.  Training videos can’t be obstructed like that.

Plus, I’m not saying that art shouldn’t be signed. Art should be signed.  Two great places:

1) Bottom Left

2) Bottom Right. 



3 thoughts on “What not to wear…a HUGE © WORD!

  1. These are wise words, but far too few heed them. The world of corporate giants is showing that paranoia and fear trumps reason in this department. Hence the DRM running wild, hence ridiculous statements equating piracy to an actual armed robbery. It’s ludicrous.

    I’m glad someone is sane.

  2. jeffmiracola says:

    Dood, I completely agree that it stinks when an artist puts a watermark smack over the middle of their art. But scenario #1 is exactly what happened to me. My art was swiped from my site and reprinted in an art book courtesy of some company in China. I may decide to remove the watermark at some point, but I’m still a little bitter over having the stuff reprinted without my permission. And US copyright law means diddley in China, so whereas someone stealing art in the USA may think twice, the rest of the world’s criminals couldn’t care less about our laws.

    Oh, and thanks for diggin’ my work, bro.

  3. Holy cow! I didn’t notice that Jeff Miracola actually saw this post and replied. Or maybe when I saw the comments before I read your name as Jeffmira Cola. Somehow 2 plus 2 did not equal 4.

    Wow thanks for adding some insight here. Thats insane that someone actually had the gall to claim ownership of your stuff, AND reprint it. I guess the joke is on them though if they were ever asked to actually illustrate something as good as your stuff. Well, I would be cautious too after that incident, but its great to see your work now without the watermarks. You are one of the best illustrators around!

    And yeah, US Copyright law doesn’t mean squat. Here’s to a one world government! So say we all. =)

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