Sellers now have such a huge selection of unique and high quality images to choose from for the products they create and many have become clipart hoarders (which is completely fine by me..lol).
It is truly important that you do a little research on sellers offering commercial use clipart BEFORE downloading the free or paid files and/or using the images in products you create & here's why...
I recently came across a fairly "new" shop (or it seemed new) offering free downloads of images that were copyrighted images she found on the web and put into one free file to offer from her shop as her own creation.
This is absolutely unacceptable and illegal by the way.
Buyers who download the free images left comments to "thank" the seller for her generosity and showered her with complements,completely unaware that the images they just downloaded were stolen. This sort of unethical behavior just drives me crazy. For one, it harms both the seller's integrity AND it puts the buyers at risk of also being sued for copyright infringement for using images they do not have permission to use.
This particular shop did not have any restrictions or specific terms listed in the description, other than to state that...and I quote,"Use these free images to create your own resources!" In a small line underneath that, she placed the following text:
For one, that site is a treasure trove of stolen images they have no right offering from their site... and I have had to battle with the site's domain host on several occasions to get my images removed. Take a peek at that site and they clearly state in their terms that they are NOT giving users permission to use the images and that they do not claim to own the rights to any and all of the images that can be found on the site. They steal images from many artists I know personally and the ONLY purpose they are doing this is to DRIVE traffic to their site to earn free ad revenue! In my opinion, the site should be taken down based on the amount of complaints they have against them, but it is going to take some serious cash and a legal team to really make a difference with sites doing like this.
This TpT seller and her "super cute art" (according to the feedback left on her shop) seems to think it's alright to steal images from any site on the web, place those images in a downloadable file and offer them from her shop. One of the other bundled clipart sets she was offering did not include the small credit to the site she stole the images from. It seems strange to me that someone would not notice that every single image in the set was completely different style, resolution, and line styles.
I was mostly amazed that not one of the comments in the ratings even mentioned or seemed to take note of the lack of terms for using the images she was giving away for free. Instead, they downloaded the freebie without thinking and thanked her for her generosity!!
BE WISE PEOPLE!!! Do your homework.. especially if you are planning on using images you download to create products to sell. You have a responsibility to your buyers and it is really important that you pay attention to the details and avoid feeding the egos of shops like this...
This seller, without any hesitation, took the credit and thanks for offering the stolen images.
Secondly, and probably even more important..... many of those shops that offer stolen clipart for free might be giving you a computer virus within the downloaded freebie... SURPRISE!!! Just because something is free does not mean you should download it onto your computer without doing a little research ahead of time. Read the description... it only takes a couple of minutes and if it seems peculiar or is lacking details, then you most likely should pass up the freebie with a NO THANK YOU!!
Here are a few little tips from me to help you all to try to spot the shops to stay clear of...
1. If every image in the set is a completely different artistic style and appears to be drawn by several different artists, chances are... each image probably was drawn by a different artist.
2. If some of the images look familiar, do a quick Google image search using some of the keywords or title words used by the seller. Chances are, you will quickly spot where those images came from if they were, in fact, stolen.
4. Ask a reputable and trusted artist what they think.... trust me, I never tell anyone who not to purchase clipart from, but I will honestly tell you to be careful.
Now for a happier tip for TPT sellers using commercial use clipart in products you sell or plan to sell...
I will be booking my very last bunch of custom blog designs for the month of August and then I will be taking a long break from custom design work for a while. I look forward to working with all of you!!