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Filipino artist calls out website for stealing his design and selling it as merchandise

Online art theft or the act of redistributing artworks without asking permission (for the sake of profit!) from the original artist has become a common thing in the world of creatives. And with the internet being an open space for anyone, every content you post there—whether it’s a photo or a video—is exposed to the risk of online theft.

A good case in point is the story of The Art of Cry Allen, a member of an art group in Iloilo called UGHYON, who has recently found out that his artwork is being sold on a website called GEARSHUNGRY.


Speaking to POP!, the artist mentioned that the incident happened after he had posted his illustration—which was inspired by Ardie Aquino’s works—on Reddit.

“So I posted my illustration to Reddit on r/philippines last night. And a few hours later in the morning, someone had the audacity to sell my artwork in their online shop.”

And what’s really concerning about this is that the art-napper even had the guts to comment on his thread with a link to the said website.

“Not only that, the idiot linked their shop in the replies. They even removed my watermark. I’ve sent an email to the website, but no replies yet.”

Screengrab from The Art of Cry Allen

Another case of bootleg bots

While the artist deals with this sleazy bot, a Facebook user mentioned in the comments that it’s one of those bootleg bots that arduously looks for specific keywords, turns them into shirts, and then put them on sale. In fact, an artist named Nana even made an experiment last year to put a stop to this illegal act.

Asking whether the website has replied to his complaint, The Art of Cry Allen said that “No they didn’t. The account is deleted but I’ve checked their profile before to see if they posted anything related to their reply.”

He even went on to say that, apparently, they made a new account.

“Turns out it was a new account. They didn’t make any posts, only 2 comments. Their comment on mine and another on a different post. I forgot what the comment was about though and I didn’t take a screenshot of their profile, unfortunately.”

In an article posted by BBC, Rob Schamberger, a professional artist who works with pro wrestling company WWE, told the BBC that some of these websites pirate other artists’ designs and could just be luring people into spending more money on the items.

To avoid getting tricked by these scammers, The Art of Cry Allen is encouraging everyone to check out their group’s new zine with the theme: “Deconstruction Then Reconstructions” to be released in November. The said illustration is going to be included in this year’s ZineFest.


Read more from InqPOP!:

Dating app advises to maintain ‘social distance’ amidst coronavirus scare

Artists on Twitter expose bootleg bots that constantly steal artworks from them

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