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Wallpart: Online Print Shop “Stealing” Arists’ Work is Not What You Think

Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 30, 2015

We have to start with this warning: please do not visit Wallpart’s website (you’ll read why). Earlier this spring, illustrators were up in arms when it appeared that an online business, Wallpart, was appropriating their work and selling high resolution prints. Social media was inundated with reports of people finding their work on Wallpart’s website, articles were written on photography and illustration blogs and forums, and a petition – of questionable effectiveness – was started to shut down the website.

A closer investigation revealed the Wallpart is not what it appears to be. First, a search we conducted on Wallpart’s website pulled up on odd collection of poster “art.” In addition to illustrations and paintings, search terms pull up nonsensical images such as snapshots, web banners, and random web graphics. (The site’s Twitter account also shows a similarly random selection of web-based images.) Search results are inconsistent; illustrators searching for their own work have been stymied when repeated searches showed vastly different results. Secondly, the site’s Terms and Conditions claim (in broken English) that they “…don’t steal photos or images that other people have shared and pass them off as your own. We have no base of images and doesn’t host and store the image on servers… the site uses the data of the most known search engines.” [sic] And third, the site’s counter, claiming over 3,000 happy customers, is in fact a static image.

It now appears the Wallpart is actually an elaborate phfishing scheme, devised to trick visitors into entering in their personal data. Comic artist John Ponikvar summarized his findings on his blog, Peter & Company. The site features a prominent “Report Violation” link, which appears to collect the personal data from anyone filling out the form. As Ponikvar reported, the Report Violation form “…is actually the main purpose for the site’s existence – they completely anticipate artists being upset about their work supposedly being sold, so they developed a system to exploit those who complain.” Additionally, the site‘s source code is larded with malware and malicious code; one of our board members reported that her personal computer was hijacked by the website as she was looking into the site’s functionality.

The site’s search feature appears to use web scraping software, which funnels Google’s image search results into Wallpart’s storefront layout. That explains both the oddity and inconsistency of the search results. People seeking to report the site to Wallpart’s webhost have been confused on where to report the website. The site appears to frequently change webhosts, and utilizes CloudFlare software, which acts as a reverse proxy for websites, delivers content quickly and, ironically, protects sites from online threats such as spamming and DDOS.

Below: Wallpart's footer includes a prominent link to what appears to be a DMCA/copyright infringement reporting page (highlighted). The Report Violation form in fact collects personal data used in pfishing.

Wallpart screenshot

Guild Member Discount for Design Thinkers 2015 Conference

Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 27, 2015

Design Thinkers 2015 logoWith over 2,000 attendees and 30+ speakers, DesignThinkers is Canada’s largest conference for visual communicators. It is a must-attend for any informed, forward-thinking creative, communications or marketing professional or team.

The inspiring event, now in its 16th year, breeds change agents who become drivers of innovation. DesignThinkers 2015, taking place November 12 & 13 at The Sony Centre in Toronto, will delve into industry trends with visionaries from a range of communications-related disciplines including design, user experience, advertising, branding, consumer engagement, film, social media and entrepreneurship.

Sessions teach delegates how to create effective communications by exploring cutting-edge innovation, the latest technology, demographic and ethnographic trends, strategic management techniques, cognitive theory and much more.

Speakers include:

•    Coralie Bickford-Smith, book jacket designer for The Odyssey, Little Women, the Sherlock Holmes series & more
•    Cap Watkins, BuzzFeed's first-ever VP of Design
•    Annie Atkins, lead graphic designer for Oscar-winning “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
•    Robin Hunicke, co-founder, Funomena gaming studio
•    Manuel Lima, Design Lead, Codecademy & Founder, VisualComplexity.com
•    Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
•    Austin Kleon, best-selling author of Steal Like An Artist
•    Hjalti Karlsson, co-founder, karlssonwilker inc.
•    Chris Dixon, Design Director, Vanity Fair
•    Karim Rashid, renowned industrial designer
•    Art Chantry, poster designer & creator of the grunge style
•    Nathalie Nahai, Web psychologist
•    Frank Chimero, author & founder, Another

Graphic Artist Guild Members are invited to register at the discounted “Group/Org Member” rate on the registration form. Click on the radio button next to “Member of Partner Organizations,” and select “Graphic Artists Guild” from the drop-down menu. Note that the Early Bird rate deadline is coming up on October 2!

Click here for information on travel discounts. Get full details and register at www.designthinkers.com.

Taylor Swift Listens to Photographers’ Concerns; Foo Fighters Not So Much

Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 24, 2015

As we reported in June, the publicity engendered by Taylor Swift’s protest of Apple’s licensing terms on behalf of artists brought to light the onerous contracts her management company had been requiring concert photographers to sign. Photographer Jason Seldon pointed out the hypocrisy of the contract, since Swift’s takedown of Apple’s iMusic license was undertaken, in her words, on behalf of creators. The outcry cast a spotlight on other troublesome concert photography contracts. Lady Gaga has been demanding all copyrights to concert photographs since 2011, and the Foo Fighters’ contract includes a rights grab of supernatural proportions: photographers are limited to one use of the photos, and the band is granted all copyrights “throughout the universe in perpetuity.”

le Soleil screenshotThe fallout on social media was comprehensive, with photographers, trade publications, and photographers’ associations decrying the contracts. The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) launched a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #fair4photogs. Some media outlets took a stand as well. The Irish Times declined to cover Swift’s sold-out Dublin shows in June, while photographers for six Montreal newspapers refused to shoot her concert there. Instead of sending a photographer to a Foo Fighters concert, Washington City Paper offered to buy fan photos and, tongue in cheek, promised not to ask for either their copyrights or their first born children. In perhaps the most creative response, Le Soleil in Quebec bypassed the contract by sending a cartoonist to document a Foo Fighters concert (right).

In an encouraging turnabout, in mid July, Swift released a new contract that has been lauded as a fair compromise with photographers. The contract is the result of negotiations between Swift’s representatives and Mickey Osterreicher, General Counsel to the National Press Photography Association (NPAA) legal counsel . The new contract permits photographers to use their concert photos of Swift in their portfolios and websites, permits news outlets to publish the photos more than once, and states that Swift’s agents can ask photographers not abiding by the contract to delete images, rather than destroy their equipment.

Unfortunately other musicians haven’t had a similar change of heart. The Foo Fighters management insisted to Washington City Paper that their contract is standard and exists to “protect the band.”  The Paper isn’t buying it. As they reported, “…that's not even close to being true. The Rolling Stones, to name one huge act, aren't demanding newspapers sign over their pictures and the Stones are in the middle of selling out half of the stadiums in North America.”

Guild Filed Response to the “Copyright Protection for Certain Visual Works” Notice of Inquiry

Posted by Advocacy Liaison on July 23, 2015

The Graphic Artists Guild has filed a response to the Notice of Inquiry (NOI) extended by the Copyright Office on April 24. The NOI, titled “Copyright Protection for Certain Visual Works,” seeks commentary on authors of visual works and licensees on five specific questions:
1. What are the most significant challenges related to monetizing and/or licensing photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations?
2. What are the most significant enforcement challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?
3. What are the most significant registration challenges for photographers, graphic artists, and/or illustrators?
4. What are the most significant challenges or frustrations for those who wish to make legal use of photographs, graphic art works, and/or illustrations?
5. What other issues or challenges should the Office be aware of regarding photographs, graphic artworks, and/or illustrations under the Copyright Act?

The Guild’s response can be read here.

The Sketchbook Project: A Mobile Library Like No Other

Posted by Rebecca Blake on July 08, 2015

The Sketchbook Project logoWell into its world tour, The Sketchbook Project takes the concept of a mobile library into territory dear to the hearts of artists, illustrators, diarists, and obsessive doodlers. Their Mobile Library is housed in a vehicle that strongly resembles a foodtruck, but contains a selection of books submitted by artists around the world. Visitors can thumb through a collection curated from the Project’s Brooklyn library of 34,000 sketchbooks, contributed from creators in over 135 countries. Currently, the Mobile Library is in the middle of its world tour, traveling the west coast before heading up to Canada.

The Sketchbook Project’s home base is the Brooklyn Art Library, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. The Library is a simple storefront lined with shelves upon shelves of sketchbooks, barcoded and searchable by details such as location of origin, media, and topic. Locals can acquire library cards and check out two sketchbooks at a time, or read at the library’s long tables. In addition to the Mobile Truck and Brooklyn Art Library, the Project has a Digital Library, where web users can browse view over 17,000 online sketchbooks.

The Sketchbook Project was founded by new SCAD graduates Shane Zucker and Steven Peterman in Atlanta, GA in 2006, and moved to Brooklyn in 2009. It was conceived as a way of combining hand-made traditions with new Web-based technologies. Illustrators wanting to participate in the Project can apply to submit sketchbooks through March 31st, 2016. The Project also organizes periodic collaborative challenges, such as their current Print Exchange. Participants create and submit 11 5x7 prints on the theme, “Greetings From A Distant Land” and receive back 10 prints, swapped by Project staff from other submissions.

The Sketchbook Project Mobile Library from Art House Co-op on Vimeo.

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Looking to keep up with industry trends and techniques?

Taking your creative career to the next level means you need to be up on a myriad of topics. And as good as your art school education may have been, chances are there are gaps in your education. The Guild’s professional monthly webinar series, Webinar Wednesdays, can help take you to the next level.

Members can join the live webinars for FREE - as part of your benefits of membership! Non-members can join the live webinars for $45. 

Visit our webinar archive page, purchase the webinar of your choice for $35 and watch it any time that works for you.

 


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