As I was making major changes to my Redbubble site and cleaning out old posts from my public Facebook page, it struck me that today is "May Day," that statement that means "emergency" of some sort.
Well, not an emergency for me or my site, but some drastic changes. I will no longer be selling reprints on my Redbubble site. I removed at least two-thirds of my portfolio and replaced remaining images with small, low resolution, prominently marked versions.
Why? Mostly because of a serious infringement problem.
It would not be a big deal if I could just do an occasional reverse image search and send an occasional DMCA takedown. But it has steadily grown to the point where it's a part time job. So something had to go, and that in this case was the nice clean images I uploaded to Redbubble to make reprints.
I used ALL of the site's available options for image protection. The watermark, right click disabling, and no-pin code. They are all easily bypassed! The money from the prints was simply not fair compensation for the risks it caused, and that cost me time, money and energy, and I didn't feel I could be as productive or happy when infringements loomed over me like a constant dark cloud. Simply ignoring the problem was not a solution, as the infringements were often of a commercial nature and robbed me of sales, as well as diluted the value of my work and caused confusion over ownership of it. Those are all damages to an artist who does this as a profession, and should even be of concern to those who do it as a hobby. Like the video game maker who is pirated so much they can't make anymore games, artists, photographers, writers and musicians alike need to protect their work or they can't keep doing it.
I WILL still be making the giclee type fine art prints available for Hen Party and Giant Coffee Drinking Chicken! Those are totally separate from Redbubble or any site, and do not rely on an unmarked image being uploaded to make them. The printer here in town has a copy of the huge file the prints are made from. I will have them made on an "on demand" basis. More info about them here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack/journal/9663660-large-fine-art-prints-big-chicken-paintings-giclees