Well, to make a little bit longer story shorter, I was contacted by a lovely fellow Flickr user to let me know that there's an Etsy shop stealing copyrighted images to use in their products. Here's the short of it...
This Etsy shop makes what are called Lomo Photo Stickers (among other photo products). Apparently, the stickers are quite popular in other places, but I had not heard of them before being informed of the theft of my photo. Although the actual for sale listing has been removed (it is an error message now), you can see my ripped off image in one of the shop's sold items. My felted heart flower rings photo is being used (without permission!!) in the last product image, second photo to the left on the top row. It may be a tiny sticker print, but it is still my image and my property.
I'm assuming, from the look of their stickers and postcards, that most of the images are being taken from Flickr or perhaps directly from Etsy sellers' listings. Considering the shop in question has sold over 7,000 items, there is no telling how many copyrighted images have been violated. Since the for sale listing was removed, I am also assuming that either Etsy made them take it down, or they were warned some other way and chose to take it down. Either way, in my opinion, the entire shop should be shut down for their blatant copyright infringement and profiting off the work of others. I have reported the shop to Etsy, but since the shop is based in Shanghai, China, there's probably not much else that I, or others based elsewhere, can do legally. This is very sad indeed! I guess the ball is in Etsy's court now, and hopefully, they will rectify the situation.
I am not nieve and know that there will probably be future occurrences of similar copyright infringement of my images and the images of fellow artists. (I came across another instance of copyright infringement with one of my scarves photos just the other day!) I just think that if there is going to be any real change, artists and crafters need to speak up and look out for one another. Do I always do this? Honestly, no, not as much as I should, but I am slowly working on that and hope that you will too. I sincerely appreciate my online community of artists and crafters!
Have a superb, fun-filled weekend with lots of crafting if possible!