They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, but when do you draw the line?
Being a professional only voice over talent website, The Voice Realm, have heard talent submissions for screening that were clearly not the talent’s own demo – amateur talents who pass themselves as professionals by using other people’s voice.
Several times we came across voice talent websites that copied our rate card almost to the letter – one site even copied the whole page that he forgot to edit our name out of “his” rate page.
A former talent on our site registered a similar business name as ours to probably confuse and entice other talents and clients to his business.
We may all have a story or more to tell about our work being imitated or copied in one way or another. And quite recently we noticed a quote photo we made posted on a Facebook page with our logo cropped off. But before we can notify the talent, we came across several discussions on different voice over Facebook pages about the actions of this talent.
We reached out to Kevin “KC” Cady, a voice over actor of 8 years, to get his side of the story, and what may have compelled him to copy off some of the works of other talents.
Amidst the numerous personal threats he has received, he respectfully declined the interview, as he “feel certain that it is too soon, and it will only exacerbate the entire situation.” He shared with us though his apology.
I regret what I did. I meant no intentional harm to any individuals affected by my inexcusable actions and in no way did I gain anything from it in fact, I suffered tremendous loss. I make no excuses. I humbly and sincerely apologize to the entire community. My immediate and long term focus is on my family and my continued voice acting success. I wish all the best to everyone.
With technology at the tips of everyone’s fingers it is easy to “copy and paste”, “save as” and extract files, photos and recordings off the internet, so how can you protect yourself as an artist.
The legal test to determine whether or not trademark infringement is taking place is whether there would be a likelihood of confusion by consumers as to the source of the goods. In the eyes of the consumer, the test for trademark infringement asks whether the ordinary consumer — not looking for subtle differences or fine details — would believe both products (and services) came from the same source. (1)
Here are some of the things you can do to protect your work
Protecting your Photos
No Right Click – Use a plugin that will prevent users of your website from right clicking your images
Keywording – You can add keywords into the EXIF data of your photo, so that Google or other search engines can pick up those terms
Copyrights and Captions – Put in copyright information on the data of your photo by adding details in the creator, copyright, and author areas
Reverse Image Search – protecting your photos also means scouring through the internet similar photos. Google has a reverse image search wherein you can upload your photo and check where else would you see your copyrighted photos.
Protecting your Audio
Watermark – add watermark to an audio; watermarking audio is similar to watermarking photos, it is embedding audio signal in way that it will be difficult to remove or extract
Prevent audio download – again similar to how you prevent right-clicks on a photo, you can add plugins to your website that will prevent any audio to be downloaded or “saved as” to a local drive
Protecting your Website
Display Copyright Notices – sometimes by simply putting a copyright notice or trademark it can thwart website visitors from copying your content
There are other ways to protect your content, but as you search through methods to prevent the more tech savvy users from stealing your content, you may need to balance protecting your content and keeping your website or profile user-friendly.
Do you have any tips in protecting your work online? Share them with us below.