Ann Marie Coolick
An Unfortunate Mess
The past few weeks I've been leading a group of artists in response to mistreatment by a company overseas. Many of us hadn't been paid in 6 months up to a year, we were never paid without asking first, and our payments were suspiciously similar and low. I was tired of dealing with this company, so I asked them to send me my final payments and remove all of my artwork from their site. I feel like it was fair to simply part ways. However, they continued ignoring me. I attempted to reach out through their website, to their payment and business departments, through instagram, and facebook. Nothing was working. Eventually, I reached out to my fellow artist friends around the world and they were going through the exact same thing!! How is it possible that someone could take advantage of artists like this!! We continued reaching out through our little web of artists friends and everyone concurred. The best way to deal with this was to come together as a group and demand regular payouts, honest and prompt responses to our queries, and removal of our work from their site as desired. See our first email below.
It didn't take long to get a reply, and in fact overnight I was paid for four months of overdue sales. I was satisfied, and the CEO Pankaj stated that they were having financial difficulties and that was the only reason for delayed payments. However, none of the other artists were paid. It took near public exposure on an Instagram post of mine and a few stories to get a few more artists paid. As a businessperson myself, there is no excuse for not paying artists when there is a royalty-based system in place. They are receiving the bulk of payments, and our commission payout for this particular company is a mere 10%. Withholding payouts in such small amounts isn't something that will prevent a ship from sinking.
The worst story is truly an example of fraud and copyright infringement. An artist commonly known as "Freeminds" had asked multiple times for Daily Objects to remove her work from their site. However, they simply removed her name from the products and sometimes even changed the titles, probably in hopes that it would be difficult for her to find her work on the site. She repeatedly asked for them to take it down, and each time they replied that they were working on it and they need two days. This was not a mistake, this was a deliberate action taken with at least 29 of her pieces. Below is her piece "Moon Cat" with her name removed. Also below is a screen capture of Daily Object's financial department lead Priyanka fraudulently confirming to "Freeminds" that they did in in fact remove her work.
I believe that if we continue to reach out to other artists partnered with Daily Objects, that each one will have the same stories to tell. I absolutely hate posting publicly about this, but it's about protecting artists and making sure that no one else is taken advantage of. I am asking again for Daily Objects to completely remove my work from their website, pay all artists for past sales, ensure royalties are transparent, and remove the work of any artists who wishes to terminate their contract. Any legal eagles out there familiar with international copyright laws and fraudulent arts-related activity who may wish to take this further?