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featured image showing Liz DiFiore supporting the CASE Act

Why Children’s Book Illustrator Liz DiFiore Supports the CASE Act  

By Liz DiFiore

I am a full-time freelance children’s illustrator. With a passion for educating the next generation, I’ve chosen a career that utilizes my strongest skills, visual storytelling, to help make the future a better place for people. Since I started my business in 2018 I’ve worked on an indie video game, had a picture book published, put many smiles on faces through private commissions, and have an early reader coming out in Feb 2021 that will help parents talk to their kids about the pandemic. When I’m not working for pay, I spend my time volunteering with the Graphic Artists Guild to help lay the groundwork for other new professional creatives to start successful careers. I’m an active participant in the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, as well as local artist and writer critique and support groups. If I’m able, I’m happy to donate my services to charity causes I feel strongly about.

Through copyright infringement, artists of all levels lose the one thing they all wish for: the right to make a living from their skills. I mentor many budding artists through online communities and it breaks my heart each time someone comes to me with a story of their work being stolen. Their design showed up on someone’s stock art website and DMCA notices are going ignored. A piece of music has been used in a monetized video and the poster is ignoring all messages. Someone’s artwork is reported on multiple social media sites with no links or credit. Copyright infringement is rampant.

Everybody loses. The artists who have their work stolen lose, the creators on YouTube who have bad-faith DMCA takedown notices levied against them lose, and the general public who want to see new artwork in the world lose. Why should we create more if it will only be taken from us, with little means of recourse? Why should someone make content available if they are going to be falsely accused of copyright infringement?

How do I respond when someone new wants to be an illustrator, but is wary of putting their work on Instagram for fear it will be stolen? All I can say is “Hope for the best. We have to post or art directors will never notice us. It’s how the industry works.” What kind of a response is that? Hope for the best. Most artists can’t afford a lawyer to pursue a small copyright infringement case, but that is our only option when infringers ignore our messages. The problem is that the  potential award for a small copyright infringement case is much smaller than the legal costs.  If we can’t afford a copyright lawyer –and the large majority of us can’t – we’re stuck. . There is nothing we can do if copyright infringers ignore our messages. Each year, the stereotype of the “starving artist” becomes more real. There is no money to be made if our copyrights are ignored

Everybody loses. The artists who have their work stolen lose, the creators on YouTube who have bad-faith DMCA takedown notices levied against them lose, and the general public who want to see new artwork in the world lose. Why should we create more if it will only be taken from us, with little means of recourse? Why should someone make content available if they are going to be falsely accused of copyright infringement? 

Contact your senators and ask them to support the CASE Act. S 1273. No one will fight for us, so we must stand up for ourselves. Take 5 minutes today to stand up for your right to be paid for your work. Contact your senator directly through this link  or use this portal to send an email on your behalf.

I support the CASE Act, S 1273. It is a tool we can all utilize to make the system work better: a small-claims tribunal specifically for small copyright infringements . That would help remove the financial barrier to protecting our art. The small claims tribunal will also let copyright users (like collage artists and designers) get a declaration that their use of a copyrighted work is permissible. And people who have received DMCA notices or notices they think are faulty can have those cases heard too. Everyone wins with The CASE Act! The system needs changing, and maybe that’s too much to ask right now, but is it too much to ask for a tool to protect ourselves in the meantime?

Contact your senators and ask them to support the CASE Act. S 1273. No one will fight for us, so we must stand up for ourselves. Take 5 minutes today to stand up for your right to work. Contact your senator directly through this link  or use this portal to send an email on your behalf.



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