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deviantART Artists Preparing to Fight Serial Copyright Infringer

September 15, 2011
via Alexiuss on deviant Art

Most artists and photographers who share their work on the internet are familiar with deviantART. The social network is a huge site with13 million registered members and 35 million unique visitors per month.

In August, an artist using the screen name Alexiuss discovered a “massive copyright infringement” scheme.

The scheme centers around a website (now defunct) called Art4Love and its founder, Chad “Love” Lieberman. Lieberman is a self-proclaimed celebrity who also claims to be both a relative of Senator Joe Lieberman and a friend of Paris Hilton.


Lieberman is also a content thief. Art4Love sold paintings and prints supposedly by Lieberman for a few hundred dollars a piece – only Lieberman didn’t create the paintings, he plagiarized them from deviantART artists.

deviantART is aware of the situation and issued this response.

The list of artists affected by this scandal is continuously growing, and a few of them are talking about filing an infringement suit.

As pointed out in this article at Plagiarism Today, most of the artists will likely be hindered by the formalities required by the copyright act.

Prior to filing any suit, they must begin registering their copyrights.

More importantly, though, they must have registered their works within 3 months of publication and before the infringement. If they failed to do so, they will not be able to recover any statutory damages – the big money in copyright infringement suits – or attorney’s fees to recover the costs of litigation.

Of course, registration isn’t required for basic copyright protection. The artists can register today, and still be able file suit for infringement. They will bear their own costs during litigation, and probably will not recover them. They will probably also be limited in their recovery to actual damages, which would be, at most, the money Lieberman made from sales of the stolen works.

Some of the artists seem to be international, though, and may find more favorable treatment in their home countries’ copyright laws.

If enough of the artists follow through, hire an attorney, and pursue their claims, even small damage awards add up. If the goal is to drive Lieberman to bankruptcy, a “death by a thousand cuts” strategy is as good as any.



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