While many online are now incredibly familiar with advertisements featuring stolen artwork on t-shirts, it seems the artists have now found a way to get even with the bots. Artists across Twitter are using the so-called magic of Disney, or at least Disney’s legal team, to crack down on art bots profiting off of their work.
Beating The Bots
While 80% of malicious online attacks happen from within a business, it’s not uncommon for thieves to cash in on the hard work of big companies. Plenty of Twitter bots have previously allowed art thieves to cash in on other’s work in a simple, albeit creative, scheme. These bots would scan through Twitter and find posts of artwork where fans of the artist would respond with comments about how they would love to see the work put on a t-shirt. This practice is fairly common and is usually used to show support for the artist; after all, as of August 2017, women’s apparel was the number one top-selling item on the internet. These thief-bots would then replicate the artwork on printed t-shirts, regardless of copyright law.
However, Twitter artists have now found a way to fight back. Artists are creating “artwork” featuring text that exposes the art as stolen, and then tell their fans to retweet with the phrase “I would love to see this on a t-shirt.” The bots then expose themselves as art-thieves, helping people avoid them in the future.
An Unlikely Hero: The Mouse
Some artists have cleverly taken the plan one step further by invoking the infamous wrath of Disney’s legal team. As they’re creating art to trick Twitter’s bots, they include clearly copyrighted characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and more of your Disney favorites. This makes it far more likely that the art thieves will be faced with legal consequences when they reproduce the artwork on t-shirts.
These clever artists have found a way to get legal justice against those who have stolen their artwork without needing to summon an entire legal team of their own. For artists, the ability to prove that their artwork is their own is essential to their success. While 35% of customers at a local brick-and-mortar business find out about it from seeing its sign while passing, modern artists often find their audience and buyers through the internet. When bots steal an artist’s work, they steal their business as well.
Have you ever had your art stolen by bots on Twitter? Are these artists cleverly beating the system, or should they have found a different way to get even with the Twitter bots that didn’t get Disney involved?