We had an interesting start to 2016 when on New Year’s Eve we watched as a video that we filmed ourselves, of our own work, went viral without credit to Laura Hooper Calligraphy and in some cases with credit to others that had no part in creating the art or the video. We have been sharing our videos on Instagram, and occasionally on Facebook or Twitter, and we were clearly very naïve to assume that no one has been stealing these and sharing them without credit or, even worse, with credit to themselves. When we share our videos, they are never for profit, and if we write a lyric or quote, we credit the original source {such as John Legend for the song lyric above}. We are very conscious on our own account to credit sources of images we share on our social media ~ photographers, designers, florists, etc. If we don’t know the photographer of a photo, we do not share it. We take the time to research sources that we don’t know. We credit people in the initial caption of a post so that it doesn’t get buried beneath the comments {we see a lot of accounts that credit in the first comment, but as soon as others start commenting, it covers the credits} and doesn’t get lost in the tags, which we know most people don’t look at when they are scrolling through their feed.

So while it’s incredibly disappointing when something like this happens, what’s done is done, and we won’t let it prevent us from sharing the art. We’ve spent the last few days asking accounts to credit @lhcalligraphy {some do, some don’t} and filing copyright infringement reports, which we assume nothing will come of, but we still want to do our due diligence, and going forward we will of course only share our videos with our watermark {as pictured above}.

Now on to this strange social media world of stealing/sharing! As an artist who makes a living off their art form, it is always sad to see your work shared without credit, but it is especially disturbing to see countless accounts that not only have stolen our work, but are putting their own watermark on the video. This has been especially confusing to us. Even if you don’t know who created a piece of art, video, etc, you do know that someone created it, and that that someone is not you ~ so what makes anyone think it is okay to put their own watermark on a work that they did not create? Even more bizarre is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Instagram accounts that do this ~ the entire account is created to share videos that other people have made, without credit to anyone but themselves. Apparently we’ve been living in the dark ages of an intimate, positive, collaborative wedding/stationery world of Instagram/Facebook/Twitter ~ and the glimpse we got to this other social media world was not fun! We even had people harassing us on our own account in response to us trying to get these accounts to credit us for our video.

Now for the bright side! Full disclosure: we were able to get credit on a few accounts, and this has resulted in tens of thousands of new followers to our own Instagram account. Tens of thousands of people that love the art of calligraphy, pretty writing, creativity & possibly small businesses too, who are choosing to follow along in our journey through social media. It truly warms our hearts that people have been tagging us on the videos they see that have been stolen ~ thank you for trying to help make it right! We’ve also seen many people comment on our videos, tagging their friends, saying things along the lines of “here I found her instagram”. It is such a good feeling to learn that people love our work enough to actually take the time to seek out the original artist of the video.

Unfortunately there is nothing we can do about the viral videos making the rounds without credit to us. We have no way to know how many times it has been shared or re-tweeted or re-grammed. But we welcome our new supporters & are looking forward to sharing the art of calligraphy with you!

As mentioned above, going forward we will only share our videos with our watermark and only on Instagram to somewhat limit the outlets that the videos are found & potentially stolen from.

Thank you & Happy New Year!
Alyssa + Laura

p.s. If you are looking to learn the art, we offer a video tutorial + starter kit as well as in-person workshops around the U.S. & in Toronto.