At the bottom of the posts here on Springwolf Reflections, you may notice a seal with Japanese characters. Some folks have asked what that is. Well it’s not a cartouche, it’s called a Japanese Hanko and it’s my copyright seal for my work. I use the seal on articles, art, and even student certificates.
These seals are still used in Japan for professional and personal purposes. Most requiring registration with local government offices, much like a trademark is registered in the U.S. today. Like a signature to a Westerner, they are indispensable tools for Japanese adults in authorizing a myriad of transactions, from automobile registration, to bank activities to setting up house utilities. Nearly any occasion that would call for a Westerner’s signature would call for an impression of a hanko in Japan.
You can learn more about this Copyright Seal and find some links for more information and where you can get your own hanko.
If you have a website or a blog, do you wonder if your words and artwork are safe from thieves? Sadly there are many who steal bits and pieces of the work of others and claim it as their own. I’ve even found complete articles of mine posted on someone else’s website with “By their name” at the top of the page. It amazes me that people think they won’t be found out.
Every now and then you should spend a day doing a Google search for your name, recent article titles, or graphic images. My attorney recommends you do this every quarter. When you find someone has stolen your work, email them and call them on it. Most will respond with ok I’m sorry. Some will simply take down the work. Others will change their open forum to a members only forum and you won’t be able to tell if they’re still stealing your work or not. And some will be down right belligerent and ignore you or write you a nasty letter in response. At that point you will need to decide how irritated and angry you are about the theft.
There are some tips to putting the law on your side. I’ve added some information and helpful ideas on my own Terms & Conditions pages, specifically a new page entitled Image Credits.
The new page also covers how to help others work from being stolen without credit. From copyright language to image searches, I hope this information is helpful to others who are concerned with the proliferation of stolen work. Whither it’s yours, or someone elses.