My work had never been stolen, untill 2012.
This year my work was rehashed and published after I refused to sign over my rights to Twenty Onwards Media (my ex employers, publishers of Itch You Can't Scratch and organisers of Comic Con India).
This was actually a 180 page book comic and my friend Adhiraj Singh had been writing for 3 years, and it was finally divided into three equal parts of 60 pages each.
We went through many artists for this project from India and in the flat world, trying to find a combination of the rate in our budget and style. (We were young and big fools at that time, we never paid anyone for samples. So artists, if you want me to take off your work from here, please let me know.)
Harsho Mohan Colored by - firstname.lastname@example.org
The tentative publisher - Twenty Onwards Media kept killing the project in middle by decreasing artist rates so many times that it felt like it would never happen. At one time they even challanged us if there was anyone who would want to publish this at the budget we had in mind.
Challenge accepted -
The tentative publisher - Twenty Onwards Media, finally came around and we also found an artist we were comfortable with -
Sumit Kumar (not me) a Delhi College of Art student who was interested in working with us on an incremental rate - After every fixed number of pages his rate increased.
We spent endless days, after our employment hours writing and discussing the artwork with Sumit. When we were 70% complete with the first book I left the company due to a rift with the business owner. I offered to continue working on the book. I got no reply from them.
I continued working on the book with Adhiraj until it was finished.
There was still no reply from the company.
On their official mail they denied the existence of any such book (Where they asked me to return something company had given as a bonus to employees - after I refused to sign off my rights the first time!!!) . This is what they wrote :
They kept negotiating the deal on the unofficial mail after their lawyer told them that they would need my sign to publish the book. What they were offering was demeaning.
Finally after complete refusal they went ahead and changed the story around and using the art they had paid for published this khichdi -
We decided not to go into litigation but the good thing is that our three part detailed script is safe, and with my new found Kashmir expertise it will only get better.
Also some said that "you should be happy if your work gets copied or stolen, it only tells you that its good enough."