EBay Rip-off Artist Caught With His Pants Down
“It's a huge issue affecting so many artists, and I am eager to do everything I can to raise awareness,” said Paul Richmond, an artist shocked to discover knock-offs of his original paintings selling on eBay. “It was very upsetting when someone notified me that they saw my artwork in someone else's eBay store.”
Even after Paul Richmond filed complaints, the rip-off artist continued making hundreds of sales from the six thousand “original” oil paintings listed in his eBay store.
That is when Paul and his friends decided to try a different approach. Posing as retailers interested in placing an order for a large number of paintings to stock a fictitious art gallery, they contacted the rip-off artist.
Paul “punk’d the copycat using Nigerian-spammer befuddlement tactics.” via Boing Boing.
Documenting his email exchanges with the rip-off artist on his blog, Paul turned the situation into an opportunity to bring attention to the issue of eBay seller copyright infringement.
He also started a Facebook group called "Ebay, stop sellers who blatantly rip off artists!," to serve as a community for artists to join forces to watchdog eBay.
As a result of his efforts, Paul was invited to appear as a guest speaker at the Art Institute of Chicago to share his story with art students there, and continues to receive attention from bloggers sympathetic to his cause. In Carolyn Edlund's article, "Have You Been Knocked Off, Ripped Off and Pissed Off?," on her Artsy Shark blog, I first learned of Paul Richmond’s project to fight back.
I contacted him for a project update, to learn that, just two days ago, Paul discovered the bootlegger's eBay store had finally been shut down. Perhaps it was due to the individual complaints lodged with eBay, combined with all the attention his campaign brought to this issue. Paul will continue to monitor eBay, expecting the rip-off artist to reappear with a new store.
Paul Richmond's hilarious “EBay Revenge” YouTube video can be found here.