An Artist in Sheep’s Clothing

By Andrea Freedman

Since my writing career began, I have had moments of victory and celebration as well as many disappointments. Learning to deal with rejection and killed publications has been challenging enough, but not nearly as big of a letdown as when I recently discovered that I was the victim of copyright infringement.

I had been writing newsletters and other marketing and promotional materials for a business for a while, and quite enjoyed the work. I had never met the company’s graphic artist in person but had always admired his work; however, my feelings changed when I realized that he was taking credit for more than just his illustrations of the newsletters, but also for my written content.

It was as if the wind had been knocked out of me. I felt hurt and betrayed. I had thought that writers and other artists were from a different breed, and that there was an unwritten understanding when it came to how precious our creations are to us, whether they be in the form of the written word or otherwise. I may not have been as shocked if something like this had happened in the cut-throat corporate world, but I found this form of backstabbing heartbreaking.

As I have a difficult time with confrontation at the best of times, at first I was only too happy to leave this to the owner of the store to resolve with the graphics gentleman directly.

I tried to convey what a serious (not to mention illegal) infraction this was, and that I did not intend to let it go unrectified. All I really wanted first and foremost was for the false information to be fixed, and within a reasonable time frame (in other words, right away).

In my opinion, the person who so blatantly committed this violation against me should have actually been fired and, if I really wanted to, I could justifiably warn others in my industry about him. Although what I would be saying was 100% true, my ultimate objective was not to damage someone’s reputation. I simply wanted his name (and picture) removed as the “writer” of my work.

While I know that I am not the company’s first priority, and that the guilty party was perhaps more important to them than I was, I nonetheless refused to be put off indefinitely. This was just too important.

I knew if took my grievance too far (for example, getting a lawyer involved, which I was very close to doing), I may likely lose this business as a client in the future. Having said that, although I am always trying to build my client base, money is not nearly as important to me as my artistic integrity is.

How someone could take pride in a job that he or she knows full well that they did not do, especially knowing how hard another artist worked on it, is beyond me. Theft of others’ work is something we should all know better about.

I am happy to report that the matter has finally been dealt with and I can now put this behind me and move on, but the experience was a harsh reality check. Copyright infringement is in fact stealing and we need to protect and stand up for ourselves if we ever fall prey to it. No matter what form of the arts one is in, we need to stick together – not stick it to each other!◊


Has anyone ever taken credit for your hard work? How did it make you feel?


Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2016.


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on February 9, 2016, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’m really sorry this happened to you, Andrea. I had a situation a couple of years ago when I was working for an agency. I was never paid for 15 pieces of work that I had ghost-written and it took me weeks to get this work either taken down or re-credited to myself. I didn’t mind knowing I wouldn’t get the credit so long as I was getting paid. Luckily, most of the websites where understanding and rightfully credited me after I could prove I had written them. For the others, I simply had Google remove the pages under DMRC.

    Unfortunate that not everybody has the same integrity that we have.


  2. I know exactly how you feel. I am in the Retail business and when I have a customer’s garments on hold for when they are in a position to pick them up, and another employee of the company takes it upon themselves to put their name on this article or articles of clothing, it seems so immature and to be so insecure as to have to make themselves feel important, that they have to steal someone else’s thunder, makes me feel sorry for them, and, hopefully, someone will recognize this injustice and call them on it. People are what they are, and we can’t change their ethically behaviour. Good for you that you did something about this situation. I hope they learned their lesson.


  3. Robbyn Goldstein-Roman

    Wow! I had no idea. Good for you!

    Sent from my iPhone



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