Right you are. A blessing and a curse. I haven't had any issues with AW. They have always gotten back to me.
A comment about watermarking prompted me to bring this up in a general discussion. I see very little mention of intellectual property here. It seems to be a topic that brings on plenty of debate which I find interesting because, as artists, we are only protecting what comes from our minds. I'll start with sharing my experience. Infringement of my work happened in a major way back in early 2016. My work was shared all over Pinterest without my knowledge. How did I find out? People were posting copycat works in Facebook groups that I belonged to and taking full credit and compliments for my designs. When confronted, these folks informed me about Pinterest. I went to see exactly what that site was about and when I saw how much of my art was posted there, I came close to complete heart failure! I personally felt the exact opposite of flattered. I felt violated! I pulled all of my work off of the internet, sent over 15k takedowns to various site hosts, received legal advice on cease and desists as there were a couple of people selling MY art online and then I completely disappeared for 2 years. I no longer shared anything online, lost my Facebook following and certain parts of my mind. But my internet hiatus was not a loss. I spent that time learning a great deal about the legal aspects of art, copyright law, DMCA reporting, cease and desists, IP lawyers, watermarking and the illegality of removing someone else’s watermark, copyright registration, metadata, etc. I am still hesitant in sharing online and do monthly image searches to report any infringements I find. This is why I now register, add metadata and heavily watermark everything. So my questions - Has this happened to you? How did it make you feel? What do you do about it? How do you personally “attempt to protect” your online work? Have you had to contact lawyers? If you are in the US, how do you feel about the new upcoming small claims case act? Do you think currently protected site hosts should be held accountable for the infringing material that their users upload? I'm really interested in your thoughts on this.