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Monday, July 24, 2006

Art Scam Alert?

I'm very suspicious of an email I received a couple of days ago. In the past there have been numerous art scams in fake exhibitions and painting shipments, but this is the first I've seen that involves publishing artworks in books. The company that wrote to me has a web site that looks legit, so I could be wrong about this.

Here are some of the problems I have with this email:
1. The email was addressed to me, referencing my book Exploring Color, but the salutation reads "Dear Sir/Madam," suggesting a boilerplate letter.
2. They request high resolution tiff or jpg files of two works that appear in my book, along with permission to publish the images in their book. As publishers, they should know from the copyright notices in my book that only the artists can give that permission.
3. They have disclaimers about needing the permission of Singapore authorities to publish, so what happens if it is denied and they still have your images? They might use them for prints and posters.
4. They wanted this material within a week. This is an impossibly short lead-time for such a request.
5. They claim they are publishing their book September 1, 2006. One month to publish an art reference book? Hard to believe.
6. They call it a "techincal" book, which could just be a typo, but I have a hard time with publishers who don't proofread their own emails.

Maybe it's legit, I don't know, but it has some very suspicious signs. For my own protection, I don't feel I can name the company here. But be warned about this and other possible art scams. Don't send your images to someone without investigation and don't let them rush you. I forwarded the email to the artists (with a warning) so they could make up their own minds about it.

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