Small Indie Artist Big Corporate Problems: What to Do When a Major Brand Steals Your Work

Blood, sweat and tears go into your work. As an independent artist, you do everything yourself, working countless hours to build your brand and send your art, music, and creativity into the world.

But what happens when a bigger brand sees your work and copies it? Or worse, steals it outright? The internet makes it easy for people to stumble across your work and repost it or even claim it as their own, so what’s to stop people from thinking your work is not your own?

While fighting a larger brand can seem helpless, here are a few tips to help you handle the unimaginable.

Breathe and Think about What You Want

It’s easy to get angry, write an inflammatory post and just stew in the anger. However, all of the hate messages in the world won’t get a response. Ultimately, their fanbase is bigger than yours and you want to be taken seriously.

Reach out to the Brand

So while you’re calming down, think about what you want from this. Do you want credit for the work? Do you want some of the royalties? Do you want them to take down the stolen work? Think about this before you post at all online or reach out to them.

Find the most direct way of reaching the person who stole your work. Whether it’s email or direct message, you’ll want to speak professionally and give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s possible they didn’t know who to give credit to or that the work was stolen.

You’ll want to provide side-by-side examples of your work and theirs, describing how it’s similar. From there, you’ll want to let them know how the situation can be amended. Whether you’re seeking compensation or credit for the work, being able to calmly and professionally articulate your words will increase your chances of a response. Document

Get Help

Hopefully, you do not have to resort to legal means to get the credit or compensation you deserve. Even still, it might be useful to reach out to a corporate attorney to discuss your options. Not only will having a lawyer on dial give you a bit of weight in the negotiations, but it’ll help you prevent against future theft.

No matter what you’re seeking, know that it’s possible to succeed. Having these tools in your belt will help prepare you for that battle.