In the pre-internet era, art theft meant stealing a physical item. A painter would create a work and then have it stored at their studio, or sent to a museum or gallery, and anyone looking to steal it would have to take the physical item from that location. Naturally, this was very hard to do.
But the internet has changed that. It has made it easier than ever for people to steal art with the click of a button. After all, people often don’t even need the original physical copy. An artist may be making digital art or they may have made digital copies so that they can create prints of their art. Someone else could steal these files and begin making products or prints themselves.
What can you do?
This is a very complicated situation because it can be difficult to know what to do when you see someone else selling something that you know you created. How do you prove that it’s yours? How do you stop them from benefiting from it? If you contact them, couldn’t they just block you? There’s a level of anonymity on the internet that can make it difficult to discover who is actually doing something like this and to put a stop to it.
At the same time, you know that the theft of your work can have a highly detrimental impact on both your earnings and your reputation. It’s very important to consider all the legal options at your disposal so that you can protect the artwork that you’ve created. Even if it’s complicated, there are always options that you can pursue.