Quebec artist shocked to find phony prints of her work being sold out of China
MONTREAL -- A Quebec artist is furious after she says she has found her original work being pawned off by online retailers who are selling bogus copies.
Ishita Banerjee is an cubist painter in the Cote-des-Neiges borough of Montreal and sells prints on her website for between $40 and $160.
She was browsing the Internet in January and was shocked to see what looked like her work on Pinterest.
“I just happened to be looking for some inspiration, and these pictures started popping up with my artwork on it,” said Banerjee.
She says she found copies of her work being commercially sold by home décor sites for a fraction of what she charges. An original painting titled “Krishna,” for example, was listed online for less than $14 when she would sell it for $495.
“it was completely a shock to me,” she said.
The sites don’t even mention her name as an inspiration.
“They are not even plagiarizing,” she said. “They are taking my exact images, using my exact artwork, without any credit, without authorization, without permission.”
She convinced some companies to halt selling her work, and when she asked where they acquired her work from, they said it was being shipped from China.
The Chinese corporate giant AliExpress, which was where the companies were told the prints were coming from.
Banerjee says there’s virtually nothing she can do, and lawyer Mark Bantey agrees.
“The problem is enforcing any order she might get either in Canada or in China,” he said. “It would be tough to enforce. It’s a big problem.”
Banerjee said five of her paintings have been copied and sold on various sites.
“I feel violated,” she said. “I was extremely sad.”