I decided to try and reverse image search a few of my paintings, just for kicks. I started with this old tree I never got a proper sized picture of:
this: (link doesn't work anymore, as it's been removed)
The background contrast is blown up, so it looks like shit, but that's my tree.
That's definitely my tree!
Combing through the sales list of only 31, I saw that they'd sold my tree image once on some earrings.
Summoning up my best scary language I messaged the shop owner that they were using my image and illegally violating my copyright.
Despite being in hong kong, I got a response back in a half hour late on Saturday.
The first one was basically "Oops, my staff made a mistake (uh huh). I didn't know it was yours. (What? You think magical internet elves make those images you download and slap in cheap tin to sell as hand-made jewelry?) I'll take down the listing (at least hiding the evidence also works in my favor)"
Then it got kinda weird. I wasn't purposely avoiding it, I was working out some rage and kinda watching Doctor Who.
I got two more messages from FlowerCatJewelry asking if I was the owner of the picture and again blaming it on some magical staff for a place that's only had 31 sales. Yeah, staff, sure. All ten fingers of them, I bet.
This last message is so weird I have to show it in its glory:
I search some inforamtion around an hour.
I believe the picture comes from you. (As there are several guys sending a conversation to me, I am not sure which one is owner before.)
I just also discussed with my staff.
He told me that he saw it from other website (not your etsy, not your deviantart, !! I believe you are the picture owner!!).
I am trying to find that website to show my unintentional and apology now( It really my mistake for haven't checked detail)
The thing I can do now is trying my best to find that website and compensate to you"
I don't give a flying fig shit where you stole it from. And trust me, you got it off deviantart. I just did a reverse image search, I know where it's wandered off to. Walking back to a bank and saying, yep, that's the one I robbed, doesn't get you off scot-free. Figuring out which website you ripped it off of really doesn't alter the facts. Nor does blaming it on that mythical staff.
Painting, stolen, more than likely along with all the other images stored inside FlowerCatJewelry's pieces. She just made a mistake and swiped from a little guy, who occasionally gets bored and googles her own shit.
I was forgiving of Dark Candles using my image as their catalog picture. It wasn't actively making them money or being sold as their shit. I still wasn't happy, and am hesitant to want to do business with them again, but I can let it slide with some attribution.
But for this...that's a big ol' nope! At least the response to getting caught wasn't to double down and insist they were "in the right. Their second cousin twice removed had actually painted it." It probably helped that so many of my friends reported the listing (thanks guys). One voice can be ignored, a multitude not so much.
It's gone, and that's probably the best I can hope for. Any mythical compensation would mean I'd have to give more than my shop info to someone in Hong Kong (or god knows where) that steals paintings. I'd rather not.
I think I'm gonna avoid reverse image searching for awhile.