EDIT: I omitted to say that, unlike Mr Sen, I did the courtesy of emailing this letter to him more than 24 hours before publicly publishing it. With no acknowledgement and no appearance of my letter on their website as requested, my only recourse was to publish it here and on my blog.
Dear Mr Sen,
Thank you for your open letter to me which I stumbled across this morning. I do not frequent this website often and am fortunate indeed that I found yourletter and am able to respond.
Most of the points you raise in your letter were discussed with you at length on my facebook page last night, however since you have now deleted all of your comments, along with some of my replies to those comments, I will respond again here.
- Regardless of UK copyright law (which guards against theft of all images whether they are created by professional artists, hobby artists or students) it is common courtesy to ask permission before taking an image and using it at will. A simple reverse image search would have brought you right back to my website from where you could have easily contacted me. The answer would have been a polite no, and “Clockgate” as you are now referring to it would never have happened. I am alarmed that even now, in possession of the relevant copyright facts, you still seem to think that it is OK to use the work of students and hobby artists without asking for permission first.
- I have NOT known about this for months as you claimed last night in one of your (now deleted) facebook comments, nor have I known about it for more than 6 weeks as you now state.
- I contacted the echo just over a week ago as I felt it was important to highlight UKIP’s lack of commitment to your manifesto pledge of ‘Protecting jobs and increasing prosperity’ and the local party’s statement that ‘UKIP will incentivise small businesses’ - not, as you imply, to self publicise or to politicise.
- At no time have I claimed any hardship and I have not at any time asked for any financial compensation for your use of my painting.
- I stress that I do not want my work associated with ANY political party, your being UKIP is completely irrelevant.
- The UKIP response to the Echo newspaper group acknowledged the image and promised to remove it ASAP. That message was passed on to me last Thursday so you have had a week to take it down, plenty of time to action your website developers. Furthermore, contrary to your (now deleted) facebook comments last night, at no time did I request that my details should be kept from you.
- I do not deny that I wanted to maximise impact and I stand by my comments on my facebook page; indeed you will notice that I have not deleted any of them. The issue of copyright theft is very important to ordinary working artists and photographers and this kind of thing needs to be brought into the spotlight.
- If visitors to my facebook page feel strongly enough to contact you then that is their absolute democratic right.
Now addressing your reporter’s points in the blog post but not included in your letter to me.
- The article was not printed in the Liverpool Echo, only in the smaller Ormskirk Advertiser - a weekly publication relevant to the people of Ormskirk.
- It really does not matter how much of your website the image occupies, it was still used without permission and I find your unwillingness to acknowledge this fact disconcerting. Again, it doesn’t matter that the piece’s title and my name were missing – a quick and easy reverse image search would have found me.
- Further, if you click on the Pinterest link that you have provided in your blog post you will be taken directly to my old shop. This shop is now empty but my name is very clearly provided along with contact details and a redirection to find my new shop.
- I only came across your open letter to me by chance. You posted some, but not all, of the content on my facebook page last night, content which you have now deleted.
Finally, as a dedicated mother myself, I am utterly horrified that you have brought your 3 year old daughter into this discussion. Regardless of whether your wife and daughter chose the image for the banner, it was very clearly your decision to use it on your website. I find it appalling that you feel it is acceptable to hide behind your 3 year old, exposing her to media attention in this way. I sincerely hope that you have not made her feel in any way to blame for her father’s current predicament.
Since there is no way for me to create a login ID in order to publically respond on your blog I would like to exercise my right of reply and expect to have this letter published in full within 24 hours alongside your open letter to me.
If you’d like to communicate with me, please feel free to write to me via email on StephanieGuyFineArt@gmail.com – something you could quite easily have done all along if only you had done that reverse image search.
You can read Mr Sen's letter to me here