A Copyright Lesson from A Black Heart

“The real miracle of individuation and reclamation of the Wild Woman is that we all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.”
- Clarissa Pinkola Estés (born 27 January 1945; American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst)

A black heart has taught me an important copyright lesson: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/10/tony-bennett-day-san-francisco_n_1269120.html .
I won't use any images of it but it *"is one of the HEARTS of San Francisco, which was designed to benefit for the San Francisco General Hospital foundation. The black one was commemorated on the Valentine Day, 2006, by Michael Osborne, who is the President and Creative Director of the San Francisco-based graphic design firm, Michael Osborne Design, Inc.

No matter what I paint, or digital work, I only use my own photos, that is why I do photography because I respect copyrights.

In 2011, I went to San Francisco and took a couple of photos of the black heart, which was located in front of a Wells Fargo Bank on Chestnut street. I cleaned up the two photos and replaced a red background for both front side and back side and posted on fineartamerica.com giving Michael Osborne 100 percent credit.

"In 2006, Michael started Joey's Corner, a 501 3 c non-profit design organization named after his son, Joseph Michael Osborne, who passed away unexpectedly in 2004. I went to his creative design workshop. It was one of the most inspirational ones I have ever attended. I love and admire his creative design and huge heart!"

Unfortunately, my intention was misinterpreted. March 27th 2013, I received an email from fineart america.com at night, the subject title is "Copyright Notice". I spent some time and found my three original images including the image with the designer's name I took in SF, which proved my intention to give the credit to the original designer. I even found this person's email, tried to explain the situation.

Interestingly, I found on his facebook https://www.facebook.com/MichaelOsborneDesign?fref=ts

"Thought any of you professionals out there might like to see what plagiarism looks like. I sent this yesterday, so please feel free to send to your friends or share. I'm having a hard time finding them:

Dear fineartamerica.com,

My name is Michael Osborne, graphic designer and artist working in San Francisco. I have recently been made aware of an individual named Xueling-Zou selling artwork on your website. This is the link to one of the pieces he/she has for sale:

The image is a heart sculpture named School Daze, and was created entirely by me, on a pro-bono basis in January, 2006 as part of the Hearts in San Francisco public art program launched by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation {SFGHF}. Proceeds from the sale of the 200+ sculptures created since the program's inception in 2004, directly benefit the SFGHF, which in turn funds the hospital's day to day operation, programs, research and much more. I have created 7 of these hearts over the years, and this particular sculpture was purchased and is owned by Wells Fargo Bank, and currently resides in front of a WF branch here in San Francisco– where apparently its unofficial portrait has been taken and is for sale.

All artists enter into legal contract with SFGHF when they are engaged to create a heart. The contract is comprehensive, and in provision #3 it states, "Please note that you {Michael Osborne} retain all rights in the work and are free to grant licenses to other parties in addition to the license granted to the Foundation." I own the copyright and licensing rights to School Daze, and have not granted or extended these rights to Xueling-Zou.

I am under legal advisement to extend this notification to initiate a dialog in regard to the display of the School Daze heart on fineartamerica.com, and to reconcile any and all funds collected by all parties through the sales of any products featuring any image of the School Daze sculpture.

I created this piece of art on a pro-bono basis for an extremely successful art program, conducted and worked on by hundreds of people for the benefit of the worthiest of causes, and the thought of someone financially gaining from these efforts under false pretenses is sickening to say the least. I look forward to your response by the end of this week, 3/30/2013 at which time my council will extend advisement.
Michael Osborne"

Wow, I wonder why my email was not responded to, but fineartamerica.com's email told me, "Michael is not giving permission. He says if the image is not removed immediately, the Council and he will take immediate action.

It is against copyright to take a photo of someone elses property and creation, and profit from it without their permission. You did not, nor have you, their permission.

You must remove that, and any other images you do not have permission for, if it is someone else's creation.

He explains that he is even more upset as the work was made for a charity and he retained full copyright, including the right to grant licence. He does not grant license."

Well, everything is very clear to my own question about why this heart was black, so I removed two images from my site with all my respect of copyright for such a black heart. Good lesson to learn, and to share with other artists as well!

Here is the link of other beautiful San Francisco's Hearts project:

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