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Teen Sparks Drama For Not Allowing Their Artwork To Be Used To Raise Money For A Classmate After A Car Accident

A high school senior was livid after seeing their artwork was used without permission to sell t-shirts connected to a GoFund Me campaign.

Redditor "artsyornah" was particularly upset because the cause benefited a classmate she didn't like who suffered extensive injuries in a car accident.


The Original Poster (OP) asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for not letting her classmates use their artwork for the GoFund Me campaign.

"In December one of my classmates got into a bad car accident that did a lot of damage."
"She had several surgeries, and is in need of more for her face. Her insurance won't cover it, hence the GoFundMe."

The OP explained why they did not like the injured classmate.

"I was never friendly with this girl. She spread nasty rumors about a friend of mine, and I always had a tainted view of her."
"Outside of that incident I never talked to her, and didn't know she knew that I existed."
"So my classmates are sending around a GoFundMe and a link to T-shirts for sale and I see that my artwork has been used!"

The artwork was a class assignment that was later shared on Twitter, and the OP didn't expect to see it repurposed.

"My artwork has nothing to do with her cause, it was a Picasso style self portrait that was an assignment for class. I posted it to twitter."
"They were using it on T-shirts and in promotions without my permission."

The people responsible for the T-shirt tried to negotiate after discovering the identity of the artist.

"I got into contact with the girl and her friend who is running everything and asked them to take my artwork off of their GoFundMe."
"At first they said that they didn't know it was mine, and would credit me (they cropped my siggy out though...) I told them that I didn't want it credited and preferred it to be taken down."

The charitable cause turned ugly, and soon the OP found themselves becoming the target of online vitriol.

"They told me they already had T-shirts, people recognized it for her GoFundMe. I honestly didn't care."
"Then they started guilt tripping me about it, and I told them I would go through other means to get it taken down."
"Then the girl posts screenshots of our DMs on her twitter, directing people at me, and telling them how heartless I am. I am getting tons of hate messages, and people telling me to just 'let her use my sh**ty artwork.'"
"I can't even open up any social media without fear of getting sh**ty messages from my classmates."

Even the OP's mother agreed with the general consensus of letting it go.

"I talked to my mom about it and she thinks I should have just kept quiet about it as it's hard not to look like an a**hole for refusing to let her use the image."
"I'm feeling pretty confused, because I think I have the right to say where my artwork goes. AITA for not letting her use my art?

Redditors weighed in to declare if the OP was either of the following:

  • NTA - Not The A**hole
  • YTA - You're The A**hole
  • ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH - No A**holes Here
"NTA she used your artwork without permission AND cropped out your signature." – dontbreakmystar
"NTA. It's your art. She's not your friend. You're under no obligation to do anything for her. You didn't cause the accident."
"People seem to think that if it's to do with 'charity' you should just accept it, but it's your work and it sounds like it's a personal thing too being a Picasso styled SELF portrait."
"They had the chance to ask you and chose not to." – Queepish
"At this point she's making money off your art. That is an open and shut copyright case."
"You already did her a solid by letting her know up front. She could easily have to forfeit everything she's made, plus damages, and legal fees, and everything else."
"She doesn't realize how badly she could f'k herself on this."
"If I were you I'd go to a lawyer, especially now that she's essentially defaming you and directing harassment at you as well. Just because she f'ked her face up doesn't mean she gets a free pass to keep bullying people." – Trauma_Hawks

This Redditor believes the mother should've been more supportive.

"NTA. And really I'm sorry that your mom didn't have your back that was pretty crappy of her."
"And your mom needs to read this and know that she was wrong to not have your back."
"I know the easy answer is to say 'it's hard to not come across as an a-hole' but the proper response would have been to say that while other people will think what they think I'm your mom and I have your back and what they did was wrong and we're going to figure out a way to make this right together." – PerelandraNative

The OP was given an option to pursue legal action if the artwork was not taken down.

"The most important aspect of this story is that the art is yours. It's your intellectual property. Therefore, others must have your explicit permission to use it regardless of their purpose or intent."
"When notified of her 'mistake' (I presume she knew she didn't have permission to use the artwork even if she didn't know its source), this girl should have said the following."
"I'm so sorry. I'll take it down immediately."
"Instead, she tried to humiliate you."
"I would demand your artwork be taken down at once. If there is any resistance or delay on her part, threaten legal action." – BobbingForBunions

After tensions escalated, the OP's mother took over her child's Twitter account to handle the bullying.

Redditors suggested the mother make a "blanket statement" in response to the hatred with the following:

"I absolutely sympathize with her situation and I wish her a quick and easy recovery."
"If she would have asked to use my self portrait for donations, I may have considered. My primary concern is that she is SELLING my work to pay her bills."
"She has made no agreement with me over how my work will be used, where the money is going or for how long. On top of that, she removed my signature and tried to profit without my knowledge."
"This has naturally raised a red flag. Since there is no trust or agreement, I cannot allow her to continue selling my work. I wish her great success in future fundraising and paying her bills." – GrayDawnDown

Readers also encouraged the OP to contact GoFund Me, who will investigate the situation and remove the campaign accordingly.

"Or, tell her that since she's using it, that there will be a user's fee attached. Otherwise it's a copyright infringement. GoFundMe does NOT like that at all."
"You could simply report it, and she's basically lose her GoFundMe." – jessdb19
"File a complaint with GoFundMe and they will investigate and pull her fundraiser down."
"You will not get anywhere asking her to stop using your work, and you've seen that it's a popularity nightmare for yourself, when you're just trying to protect your rights and work."
"In the alternative, you could contact her parents and offer a license and royalties agreement for them to use your art."
"Since they've already invested capital into using your art, her parents may be inclined to not lose out on that cost and just pony up some percentage of sales to pay you for the use."
"I know it's not what you want - you seem to want for them never to have used it in the first place - but I doubt that they'll just throw away the shirts and stuff they had printed."
"You'd have an enforcement problem; even if GoFundMe pulled their campaign, they can still try to sell the shirts they printed already. This is one way to make lemonade, so to speak." – meganp1800

The OP confirmed earlier in the thread that the victim hit a tree, but did not know if she lost control or was texting while driving.

With Reddit being Reddit, they declared the tree was definitely NTA.

This shirt is available here.

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