Plagiarized paintings in East Lansing

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) Paint Your Poison owners say their artwork was stolen recently and then taught at a local painting class for profit. They're speaking out about the loss because they don't want this to happen to them again, or to anyone else.

"This is our baby and it's like someone is stealing it from us," says owner Adrienne Gelardi.

Adrienne Gelardi and Amanda Lekche share the business and have been making their own original artwork for the past year. They say starting up a business from the ground up wasn't easy, but they couldn't imagine doing anything else. 

"We've done so much work for this business -just starting this year and it's really important for us to our paintings are ours," Gelardi said.

This is why someone taking an original piece of artwork they created was so devasting.

"I know other artists use work as an inspiration and you can maybe tell it was off of another painting, but this one was an exact copy of the layout and the colors. There were no changes made. It was a total exact copy," co-owner Amanda Lekche said.

Not only was the work plagiarized, but it was also being used for profit. Something that doesn't have legal restrictions currently, but something the owners say is a moral decision.

"We assumed that putting our name on the painting, having our website on there, saying this is property of 'Paint your poison' would be enough but we need to go through and copyright legally everything we create from here on out," Lekche said.

Owners say they're in the process of legally copywriting all of their work so this can't happen in the future, but if it does, their work and livelihood will be protected. 

"If there was some loophole where she can do this and sell it in our market, that's morally wrong. It's just morally wrong. Rather it's legally wrong or not," Gelardi said.

Paint Your Poison emphasized that they just want to uphold the integrity of Lansing's art scene.

At this time, the person accused of taking their artwork has not responded back to us for a comment, but the post has been removed.