Dear Preston: When Someone Steals Your Work


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Dear Preston:

I am an event designer in Dubai. I recently found out that someone profiled my work on their website and claimed it was theirs. I am so upset and don’t know what to do. Has this ever happened to you?

Victim of Theft

Dear VT:

I am so sorry to hear this. I have no idea why others need to do this, but yes, this has happened to me before. In fact, I had someone use my name in a very sneaky way that seemed even worse than outright stealing my photos. This man listed the work as “The Preston Bailey Set” on his website.

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The way he has it listed is very misleading. They name it in a way that pretends to “honor” me. In reality, I had nothing to do with this design and had no knowledge of it until my editor found it by Googling my name. This means the man has done SEO work with my name in it so that his design would come up when people searched for my work. This gives him free advertisement and confuses potential clients. I am honored that someone would think to name a set after me, but this is false advertisement. What I find more upsetting is that this set is gorgeous on its own. He does not need my name to promote it and he could have simply used his own.

So yes, VT, this is something we all deal with. Unfortunately, there are people out there who lack the confidence and moral fiber to stand on their own two feet and on the foundation of their own talent. You can demand the person take your work down or even take it further with a cease and desist letter. This is up to you.

Question: Do you think I should call this designer to tell him to take my name off of this design or be honored and let it go?