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is proud to be an active member of

the Equine Arts Protection League
...a growing organization of over 130 artists, photographers, sculptors and craftsmen working with vigilence to enforce copyright protection by searching online venues such as ebay, cafepress, flickr and other sites and watching, reporting and serving legal notice to people who steal the works of others.

Are you aware that not only is it a federal offense
to copy someone else's work,

or to paint their photos without their express permission to do so

but that

it also subjects you to steep fines and financial restitution,
especially if you are creating work for profit and are not licensed by them to do so.

Below is what we have to share about thieves.

Are you one?

If so, we hope you'll be reformed

If not, we hope you'll join us in fighting this scourge.

Idea and design theft is an ongoing problem for those of us who sell online. Ebay has their share as do other places, such as message boards. This is why we register all our designs with the Library of Congress as federally protected copyrights. Not only does this strengthen the court's ability to slam the hammer down on thieves, it also allows us to collect damages and force infringers to relinquish all items they have produced illegally. The intent of the law is to make it more costly and difficult to steal designs and images than it is to profit from them. Fortunately, the world has become much smaller due to the internet, making it more difficult for thieves to get away with it. Our customers from all over have helped us catch several people at stores, shows, fairs, flea markets, internet sites and auctions... people who had stolen our photos and designs. Our works are our life blood and our stance is that violators will be (and have been) prosecuted to the fullest extent of the federal law, and that means we collect attorney's fees, court costs, post public notices, siezure of goods, and everything we can to create a loss of income and reputation for this scourge of the internet. We retain a copyright attorney specifically for this purpose.

We are grateful for loyal patrons who have spotted some unscrupulous people. Thanks to them we have been successful in catching several design thieves from Idaho, California, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, California and Texas and stop them in their tracks. Any potential thieves will regret testing our resolve on this issue!

But it is not just about us. We are extremely concerned for other designers and innocent photographers, too. We keep our eyes open on behalf of fellow artists and have reported to them when we find people on or offline, illegally selling their designs or making copies inspired by their works. We have found that supporting each other in this manner has helped the ongoing fight against people without ethics who troll the internet, lurking for opportunity to profit off of someone else's original creativity.

We encourage people to develop their own individuality and not degrade themselves by stealing from others. It's more costly to your reputation and pocketbook in the long haul, especially with our growing network of fellow artists. As some have already found out, the internet has made this a very small world. We would prefer to be your friend and support your creativity and not be your enemy and fight your theft.

We also ask that when you encounter a design theft that you choose to not patrionize the copycatters and instead let them know you disapprove when you come across them and forward the information to the original designer.

If you are in the business of creating and selling designs on T-Shirts, Mugs, Mousepads, Cards, Giclee and other printed media, we invite you to join us in fighting this problem and not contribute to it. YOU could be the next person who gets ripped off. And it is very much a slam against you when you steal the works of a fellow creator for your subject. Word travels fast. Develop some ethics and creativity of your own! You'll be happier and and so will those in business around you.

Thank you!

Tommy & Sharon O'Brien-Lykins

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