She is a most talented young woman with stunning Hellenic good looks. She is a musician, a dancer, a scientist, a philosopher, and an artist. Maria Alexea, however, has fallen victim to that most common abuse of the internet, the usurpation of her work and its use for other purposes.
She has given numerous concerts throughout Europe and had exhibitions in Heidelberg, Florence, . The themes of her photographs and paintings are inspired by the ancient Greek art. They represent heroes, Gods, Nymphs and dryads dancing in the rhythm of nature, a metaphorical struggle for Life.
The Director of Goethe Museum, Professor Dr Volkmar Hansen wrote on Maria Alexea’s art:
“The fascination and evaluation of Goethe for the Greek Antiquity is summed up in his phrase” the ultimate product of a continuously evolving nature is the beautiful human being: this could be the signature of Maria’s art. Seeking with the soul the land of the Greeks” tells the poet in Iphigenia. Contemplating the images of Maria Alexea one feels intensively this longing, which Goethe defines in another passage as a universal existential longing for the Homeland- implying the longing for ancient Greece- as the unique in history humanistic formed place of human existence.”
To understand the nature of her work is to understand why her work was usurped. In trying to bring her work into public attention, and unaware of the complexities of safeguarding one’s rights on the internet, she posted a number of her vivid and very colorful pictures on photography community site 500px. From there viewers reposted images on social media Pinterest.
A certain travel site, named “travel2greece” took these images and re-pinned them, without permission, and in fact the pictures for some reason were now embellished with the tag Hermes campaign, Greece. In fact if you google the specific phrase, one of the pictures that comes up is of course Maria’s.
The artist sought legal recourse and the businessman complied, but through “re-pins” the photos continued to surface and always led viewers to the travel site and continued to imply that the pictures were part of the Hermes campaign.
The next step was to complain to Hermes. The company acknowledged that there was at least a reasonable demand and after a number of exchanges between company legal staff and Ms Alexea’s legal counsel. Months ago, Hermes promised to “fix” the issue within a matter of days. The artist feels the company did nothing. The site took down her picture only after her lawyer took them to task, three months after the first contact with Hermes.
They later admitted that they never took up the issue with travel2greece, and that they had simply just informed Pinterest. One can not but wonder why the legal department of one of the most prestigious luxury firms could do nothing to rectify an obvious breach of royalties issue.
One would also have to agree that the photo is aesthetically pleasing and alluring making it an eye catcher. Would it be in the firm’s interest to totally disengage itself from the photo, if even sideways it is getting its share of publicity.
The photos is still there alluding clearly to Hermes and sending anyone who clicks to the travel2greece site, which originally usurped the photo.
Perhaps malice is not involved, but there certainly has been no effort to rectify what is essentially the exploitation, of someone else’s work, by a firm that has been very keen to protect its own branding through massive litigation.