Art Thieves, What Should We Do With Them? (Updated)

I search Amazon a lot. I’m always looking for some free, or cheap stories that will kill the dull time through out the day. Usually I write, but even that can eventually make me call for something else, something different. So here I am staring at an image I know the artist who created the book cover (I’m not going to accuse anyone of anything, especially if the job was and could have been done by someone else) did not make. Why? Because I was involved with a bigger Art Theft a while back and two of those same stolen images are being used for this author’s books. I’ve contacted one of these artist before and I  contacted him again, today.

This is his image: (Image is now different)

and this is the book cover:

There’s also another one that was stolen from a poster from a movie called Creep:

So what do I do about them? Last time the culprit stole images ranging from Marvel to Indie Artist. I contaqcted each artist first and made sure they were given without permission and then contacted each author. Those author’s didn’t create the images, the publication did. So one man was at fault.

Now, it’s a smaller incident. One where an author thought he could google an image and use it as a cover. (Again, I’m assuming.) I contacted the artist and left it in his hands. I let him know, that he needs to report it to and email the author.

But what should the procedure be. This is what I want to do:

1) Post it up so everyone can see what a bastard he is.

2) Let the artist know.

3) Add him to my ban list. (Anything by Trestle Press is on it.)

4) Get people to troll him.

5) Contact him with a angry email.

After the last incident, I have the power to do all that. People love to troll thieves, I like to send crazy email; but the author’s got super upset. Mostly since it wasn’t their fault. They were given “Free” covers by their publisher. It was his fault, the publisher/cover designer/sales team/jerk/idiot/mongrel that stole the images to make a quick 15 cents off one of their books. I never blamed the author, but readers did. It really hurt the inde-publishing market as well as many aspiring writers.

So, I’m curious to hear what the AKAQ (A Knife And A Quill) community thinks. Everyone here is either an avid reader and/or a learning writer. We are more open to ideas then throwing stones, we talk and converse to decide decisions but overall we like to write. We write about our feelings, about other people’s feelings and I like to think we know a bit more about how people tick. So what do you think?

Update: Artist has contacted writer and writer’s wife, and has reported the author to amazon.



  1. Is there any chance at all these could be royalty-free photographs that the author paid for? I’m trying to keep an open mind here.

    • Small chance. The top image is an image from deviantArt. IT was actually used in another book durin the Trestlepress scandal, so I’ve talked to the artist before. The thing is, the writer, uses them for short stories which are like 9-12 pages long. And his facebook profile says he’s unemployed. So it just makes me question some things.

  2. The Trestle Press thing was awful and I am so glad I didn’t go with them as was my intention.

    I think new indie writers are scared half to death of using images that they shouldn’t be using and I myself have spent bloody ages searching for sources.

    It really is too easy to take an image and Piknic it, or whatever and come up with a quite passable cover. Newbies most likely think they have something original and don’t realise that there are people out there who are going to recognise the background immediately.

    My conclusion is that you either take your own pics, or pay someone – there are plenty of cover designers out there queing up for the work.

    Loving this blog by the way – always interesting and always informative.

    • I agree. And a lot of artist would give out there work for free. As long as the get credit.

  3. I have wondered about this. I recently reviewed a book and a short time later I saw the same cover on a different book with a little bit different foreground. There was no mistaking the image though.
    Great topic Luis.

    • Many times people purchase the rights. And because of that many people can have the same image, and it’s legal because they pay for it. But a lot of times they steal it from google. If you ever think someone stole something let me know. I once had an army of people helping bust art thieves.

  4. Don’t ever believe pictures are royalty free, They may be on the site where you find them, but they have often been already ripped.
    Even if you make an image unrecognisable from the original the pixel counts can still be matched. Always acknowledge images, then at least if you have been unable to contact the owner you are not hiding anything.
    Lastly, don’t assume that the person asking for money is the source owner. Do your research.
    I actually had a profile image on LinkedIn taken down, which I had copied from a so called totally free source, Rightly so.
    On this score, I have lots of worries about Pinterest. Again, acknowledge sources, even though most people on the site are failing to do so. Pinterest protects itself, but not you.

    • Royalty free doesn’t mean free image to use. It means an image that you buy that doesn’t have any royalties to it. There are no “free sites” per se unless you have discussed it with the author.

      I think maybe I should write some post explaining how to go about finding images legally. And how to find the real artist using TinEye.

      Oh and you’ll love my post on pinterest. Please give it a read I agree with you completly on how it’s illegal and people must watch out.

      • I think a post about how to find images is a good idea. I know that I went with a fellow through DeviantArt who did a short story cover for less than it costs to buy a nice pair of jeans. It was so easy, but it took me a while to work up the nerve to do it and then to find where folks who wouldn’t rip me off (starving writer that I am – not). Anyway, it is an issue, and artist deserve to be paid and respected like everyone. But, trolling is not the answer.

      • I love deviantArt. The community is great and they’re the ones that help make my work popular. Everyone is friendly there and helpful. I like to think most people are. 🙂

  5. Thanks for this. The author of the book has since taken down any content containing my art. The image was supposedly obtained from a royalty free site. Mark was apologetic and humble.

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