Fighting Back Against T-Shirt Bot Art Thieves

One notorious problem for artists on social media platforms like Twitter is the proliferation of art theft. Post a piece that you worked incredibly hard on and chances are some art account on Twitter or on Instagram winds up reposting it, usually without credit. Even worse, oftentimes that piece can wind up on made-to-order clothing shops, profiting off of that stolen artwork, with small artists lacking the resources that a company like Disney might have to fight back.

Many artists, however, discovered a way to trick these websites into hosting unflattering content. According to this Gizmodo article, artists discovered that their designs ended up on clothing shops through the help of bots that scraped Twitter for phrases such as “I’d love this on a T-Shirt!” With this knowledge, they proceeded to get their followers to respond as such to images that flagrantly infringed on the copyrights of companies like Disney and called out the theft of their art that was occurring in these shops:

While these acts aren’t enough to get these websites shut down (the shirts were taken down, but the websites are still functioning), this act of dissidence hopefully will help spread awareness of the systematic way in which independent artists are taken advantage of and will lead to some support for their work!

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