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The Art Theft Discussion

Tue Jul 7, 2015, 3:39 PM
Art-Theft-Cover by ProtectArt

The DeviantArt community has always been deeply concerned about art theft.

We are committed to providing a completely open conversation on this topic. With your active and constructive participation we can become a leading voice on how we adapt to the challenges of being artists on the Web.

This Journal frames the continuing conversation and concern about art theft in general on the Internet and on DeviantArt. Each section links to a more specific and expanded treatment of the topic with additional links to useful materials and readings. Your comments to this Journal will be reviewed by experts and comment threads of general interest will be linked into the expanded topic sections.

Something to keep in mind at the outset: we are all guided by a code of decency, honesty and the expression of mutual respect. So, try to be tolerant and understanding even when reviewing these materials. Ethical behavior is a reward and a duty larger than laws and rules. Sometimes people interpret right and wrong differently even when both people have the exact same good and ethical intentions. Keep in mind that everything anyone does will be right if it’s also decent and honest even if some rule of law or contract was technically broken.

Artist Creditkozispoon

Art theft is stealing a painting from a wall.

  • Sometimes the term “theft” is accurate and it always attracts attention.

  • The word “theft” can be used casually, sometimes to describe copying any part of an artwork. The term “theft” also defines actual criminal conduct and is associated to a harsh moral judgment that may go too far.

  • Stealing an object is theft. Using artwork without permission is frequently called “theft” or “stealing.” But it might, instead, be copyright infringement or the violation of a contract that just feels like a theft.

  • More About Stealing

Artist Creditkozispoon

Not all copying is wrong.

  • Everything comes from somewhere. To some degree all people copy what other people do starting with talking, walking and eating. And, the same is true in writing, art and music. There is a limit to the originality of any artwork in any medium.

  • Basic standards of decent, respectful and honest behavior — and the law — will prevent copying when it will harm another person economically.

  • Copying can be permitted because it’s an accepted practice or sometimes because the laws directly permit it.  As an example, there is a rich history of using tracing for learning and some artists want their work to be copied.

  • Protection from copying is also time-based. Copying very old things is a way to preserve them and keep them relevant in the culture.

  • Entire fields of recognized fine art such as collage and “appropriation art” (like Andy Warhol) depend on copying and the law is favoring this development.

  • More About Taking

Artist Creditkozispoon

Copyright laws are powerful tools that protect art and artists and can prevent the misuse of artworks.

  • Copyright gives the author the exclusive right to copy, distribute, alter or base other works on his or her original work.  These rights are very broad.

  • Those who violate the rights are called “infringers” and can be made to pay money damages or can be made to stop their behavior.

  • Copyright laws also create a balance between the needs of artists to protect their work and the needs of the culture to express itself by protecting people who want to use copyrighted works for specific reasons such as criticism, comment, political speech and sometimes it protects the actual use of artwork in another artwork.

  • Copyright only protects the way an idea is expressed. It does not protect the idea. Anyone can use an idea, even if it’s original. Patent law or trade secret law could protect an idea, but these laws have strict requirements. They mostly apply to making useful things, and almost all artworks don’t qualify.

  • Every country has similar copyright laws but with many technical variations and differences. It can get complicated.

  • More About Copyright

Artist Creditkozispoon

Stock, even free stock, comes with a license. The license is a real contract.

  • On or off DeviantArt, the word “stock” means the artist or company intends other people to use a photograph or another form of artwork — and it always means that there are conditions to using it.

  • The conditions for stock use could be very open, such as “use it anyway you want, at anytime, for anything” or they could be very restricted specifying size, uses, changes, payment, credit or all of these.

  • Every time someone gives you permission to use a work it’s a contract and you need to be as clear as possible about how far that permission goes.

  • If you use stock and violate a condition, then you are breaking a contract and maybe also engaging in copyright infringement.

  • More About Permission

Artist Creditkozispoon

Fan art as love is different than fan art for sale.

  • Fan art usually takes characters, situations and sometimes directly copies artwork from all kinds of media including films, television, comics, books, or games. Typically, the original version is protected by copyright laws.

  • Most major media companies that control the properties most fan art celebrate are OK with fan art made not for profit. But, the companies will rarely admit this because it would compromise their need to protect the properties when they have to. This “fan art understanding” is entirely within the control of the owner of the property and they can withdraw it when they like.

  • When fan art is sold in multiple copies it tends to become a problem for these companies, which is a problem for artists as well. It can be a violation of both copyright law and trademark law.

  • Fan artists recognize that there are also ethical issues in reproducing and selling fan art.  It is considered different than selling an original drawing or painting that is fan based.

  • It is a good practice to label fan art if there is any risk that someone would confuse it as official, licensed art. It is never OK to label fan art as coming from the original owner or creator.

  • More About Fan Art

Artist Creditkozispoon

“Moral Rights” protect artists from others harming their artwork and protects artists from people taking false credit.

  • The right of “integrity” protects against harmful damage to artworks and permits the artist to step in to protect his or her art even after a work has been sold or licensed.

  • The right of “attribution” defends artists against people taking false credit for the artist’s work and against people who claim something was made by a particular artist when it wasn’t.

  • Not every country has these laws or they have very weak ones. The U.S. has very weak protections but they do apply to artworks published in limited editions of 200 copies or less. France and Germany have the strongest protections.

  • There should be an obvious ethical obligation not to claim false credit and not to damage another person’s artwork.

  • More About Moral Rights

Artist Creditkozispoon

Ways to protect your art on the Internet.

  • Putting your own work on the Internet is not giving it away. A blog or a website is a display or a distribution of your work. But, it isn’t a statement that other people can use the work or copy it.

  • A website or blog’s terms and conditions are a contract that defines what the site and what people who visit the site can do with your work — read it and decide.

  • Automatic copyright protection is available to all new works of art and in most countries you do not have to place a copyright notice on the artwork.

  • Placing lower resolution files for display on the Internet is an excellent technique to prevent many commercial uses of artwork.

  • Sites like DeviantArt offer watermark options on submission.

  • Post with a clear notice saying what people can or cannot do with your work to remind your viewers that they have only limited rights.

  • More About Protection

Artist Creditkozispoon

Resolve disputes with a conversation, if you can.

  • Misunderstandings about using artworks and taking credit for things that may go too far are very common. Use the messaging system or comments to give people the chance to do the right thing after they find out what the right thing should be.

  • If messaging and conversation doesn’t work, consider using a website reporting function, contacting the administrators, filing a formal copyright takedown request or contacting a lawyer for assistance.

  • More About Resolving Disputes

Design: marioluevanos
Illustration: kozispoon
Writers: Joshua Wattles, Rom Bar-Nissim
Add a Comment:
NINJAGOCOlE1234 Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Interface Designer

This person steals arts and harassment
EricVonSchweetz Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Student Digital Artist
HowfastcanIgetbanned stoles multiple arts from the What's Hot section, including: Something BeautifulDaily Paint 1787# Pika-boo!A little somethingCozy and +Teen Halloween+.

Also one art is stolen: stolen and original
SparkMaster37 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
STOLEN DEVIATION: Annoying (posted Oct 4, 2017)

ORIGINAL DEVIATION: do you ever just feel like annoying by frostyskeleton (posted May 25, 2016)

(this reporting system makes it harder to report thieves)
LunarLeaf100 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 10, 2017  Student General Artist
There is this loud house art thief going around,I found him from stealing one of my friends art. The original was on September 18,
Yorucoll Featured By Owner Edited Oct 9, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Princess Angel AQ 2
My news wallpaper
The original artist's artwork is Yorucoll. But the artist is copying my friend OC on Gift - Close friends.
I hope that I can get some solution, thanks.
Sadistic-PurinSP Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2017  Student Artist
RED Scout vs BLU Sniper
This artwork is traced.The original artwork is Scout vs Snipah and there are still more.
KatnissWolf Featured By Owner Edited Oct 5, 2017  Student General Artist they're stealing art from Sno-berry
DieHerzogin Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Pretty sure all of this is stolen…
Indicators are:  None of the pictures seem to have watermarks or mention the models. No info on the camera, lens, iso etc. either. Most have cheap filters. The quality of the pictures varies very much.
Crni-Zec Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2017… is stealing cannon art of characters as well as ocs and commissions of those ocs
Most of their gallery is actually stolen 
nouseyourname Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2017  Student Digital Artist

Person is stealing art.
sharpbeakedtoucan Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2017
I have a question for you ProtectArt

If someone draws a nice fanart drawing and someone takes that image and reuploads it to another site, can the original artist file a DMCA to get the stolen fanart removed?
awooko Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist

they've stolen works of art from the artist Kada-Bura on tumblr and many more art pieces from various artists 
CalamityVII Featured By Owner Edited Sep 30, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist

They're a sexist art thief and bully, planning on selling artwork.

They stole my friends' work and mine.

They are planning to sell my main OCs (Lola, Doc, Marie, Evelyn/Ripper and Calamity) on other sites. I already have a story planned out for them and two of them are already in use in my webcomic, 7 Shots. (Calamity and Evelyn/Ripper are both already in the webcomic)

every time you try to argue with them and make a good point that he can't deny, he replies with something like "you're stupid".

I didn't wanna be a "tattletail" by doing this but I had to.

They are on several different accounts as well.

Their main one is EvanPd.
The second one they are attacking me with is terminated100.
and kontiko is the one that they are actually reposting artwork on.

They have a few more accounts but I cannot remember the names.
sondow4ever2 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2017
animal-jam-official.deviantart…     is stealing multiple artists work
FeatherQuartz Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2017
They are stealing art from artists on the game Animal Jam, for example search up Chocolate4froggy on Ig, Or Hyenine1 on google, another aj artist, or Snowyclaw on youtube (with speed paints as proof)
sondow4ever2 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2017
I don't think they will listen they don't even let you report anymore
FeatherQuartz Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2017
FeatherQuartz Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2017
I do not believe any of the artists who had their art stolen have DeviantArt accounts, but here-
Nope by FeatherQuartz    <-The thief (they claim they made it with watercolors, but you can see clearly that its not)
True artist by FeatherQuartz  <- True artist (The art is made from a digital studio on the game Animal Jam)

Fake by FeatherQuartz  <-Thief again
Real by FeatherQuartz  <- Real Artist (its a full pic as you can see)

And theres was more than this
Nova-00 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
romance <---This is leaked Patreon Content.

And I must also respectfully say that these journals are a very unproductive way to resolve issues within the community.
aq1746950 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2017
Princess Angel AQ 2
delete this fucking piece a shit...
sAkora1 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man, fuck this shit! This is just a excuse so the staff won't do there fucking jobs. 
eveblues Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist

this person is stealing art and photography from people (specifically one person; that one person doesn't have a DA account). Please take them down.
Chinxee Featured By Owner Edited Sep 27, 2017  New Deviant Student Artist
There's a person going around stealing people art.

(Her DA: )

She has been stealing a lot of art. if you can do something about it, thank you~
She also stole one of my Best friend Art. Mostly that's all I have to say. But thank you if you check this person Account out~
Turtle-Scribbles Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't get it. So how do I report someone? lol

Drawing of a grandma and her granddaughter by Erinaot  without proper credits to:  2012 summary by loveariddle
Ty-the-Mew Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2017  New Deviant
There is a person called desudesukitty. He has been stealing art from two others (CreampuffandZane and Mobris), and possibly more. The proof is in "his" drawing titled "SYLVESTER the vampire!". You can see CreampuffandZane 's signature at the bottom. I needed to say this so that he can stop.
Ruiwen-art Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This person pretends to be Fenghua Zhong
He also pretended to be him on Artstation, but that issue was resolved.
oO-Kiri-Oo Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
701643 by Jiq777
jiq777 has stolen this from xong, along with numerous other artworks.
Dragonfire0316 Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2017  Student General Artist
has stolen a lot of art from
One of my charters was drawn by Norah and avocado will steal it!!!
StrawBerry-PopRocker Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist We have an issue here, this person has been Selling/Stealing other's art for a year or so now. And NOTHING has been done.
bookwormsteve Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017
please help me im trying to help these two
bookwormsteve Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017 this guy is the thief I you look youll see my friends ocs on here he had no right to upload them
bookwormsteve Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017
well some one stole and uploaded Andrews and andreas oc withoutpermission hes name is joshuas p
zeldaprincessgirl100 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man DA used to be way more simple years ago, i've been here for 8 years, the reporting system is much more complicated now, like what the crap.
Hidden by Commenter
Underdoggs Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
omfg will you stop already??
we settled down!! Okay?
no need to bitch in like this.

i am currenly changing it's
design, stop!
som2-0 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sure, thank you for taking the image down. 
I wouldn't call it exactly bitching in. I was trying to help my friends <3

But I can hide my previous comment on this journal,since the problem is luckily solved
Underdoggs Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
you didn't really help your friends by
making the problem worse.
it was long solved before you made
such a big deal out of it, tbh.
som2-0 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lol you started this trouble. The problem was that you stole art. YOU were the problem. Reporting it ,which is my right btw didn't made the problem worse. If i would have ignored the fact that the idea,love,passion and hard work of two artist who don't deserve to be harmed, were stolen. WHEN i would have increased the problem. You apparently don't care for what a hard job it is to be an artist and if you can't value art when idk why you are even on this site.
It really just makes me mad to see how you apparently don't feel any regret for your deed. People have to pay their bills,food and water and you just feel ok by taking their property and reward yourself with a new good looking character and the praise and respect of others for your skill,which you didn't had in this case.
it IS a big deal. There is absolutely nothing to discuss about that. You don't just walk into the next store and take stuff from there.

I commented on this Journal after I saw your first replies to the people who noticed your traced art. To me you seem unreasonable (and you still do),that's why I decided to contact the staff. I am glad that you took the picture down,that's why i hid my first comment so the staff wouldn't have to deal with you anymore

There is nothing to argue about and any more comments will just hurt your reputation even more and I just wrote this way too long comment because I hope you might understand after reading this. if you don't. i don't care. But i won't just sit here and watch artthieves going around. 
PrinceDumuzi Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017
Found an art theft: :iconkochiemaxx:………

Little trash eating weeb only look like a disgusting pig when she steals from others! She only wishes she could be called cute, like she doesn't even fit that word! With what she does she only deserves to be refered to as a lawless pig if anything! Plus she makes anime fans look bad, and not to mention I'm cuter then she will ever be and I'm a boy who even as an adult I'm considered cute by others!
xCHERRYBOMBZx Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2017
I had done a google search of one of my arts I created, with intent to sell to another DA user, just out of curiosity. I had only uploaded this to DA, like I do everything else. At the bottom of the google page I seen a DMCA notice of two removals, which I don't fully understand. I'm the sole creator of the art. I don't know if this website is trying to copyright claim my art, saying that it belongs to them, and for google to remove it, or if they just didn't want my image showing up along side of their ugly sweaters and various other things that they sell. 

"A formal takedown notice, only available to the copyright owner, should be a last resort. It is an official legal request by the copyright owner to the website requesting that it takedown specific infringing content. Nearly every website has a contact for takedown notices, also known as a DMCA notice (which stands for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Some websites, like DeviantArt, have an online form you can fill out with the necessary information. Always be sure to follow the website’s instructions carefully. Misrepresenting something on a DMCA takedown notice is illegal."

I was under the impression, from what I have read here in this information, that a DMCA claim can only be filed on the end of the copyright owner, which I am the creator of the art, therefor this copyright is mine.

Is there any opinion or any other information someone might have?

Here is the art I have created.
Sexy Mystic Fur Adopt: SOLD

And the DMCA claim link…
MozDynamite Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2017
Hello, seeing as it is hard to find a direct contact to deviantart, I will post my concern here. This particular member has many blagged Celtic images which he has just coloured in with photoshop and he seems to be earning quite handsomely from it. I feel that this is basically theft and I believe that deviantart should do something about it.
They claim on all images 'Inspired by:', however they are just copy/paste rip offs..............
So if anybody out there has the power to sort out my concerns, I would be grateful, as personally I don't feel that somebody should be profiting from work that is ultimately not theirs in the first place. I did contact the user but he was nothing but rude and offensive in reply.
Original artwork (by theEyZmaster :icontheeyzmaster:):
#XmasPinups - Tinker Bell  by theEyZmaster
And here's the stolen/modified picture (by Nielsvanderlinden :iconnielsvanderlinden:):

Mature Content

 Xmaspinups   Tinker Bell  By Theeyzmaster-d899vpi by Nielsvanderlinden
yamamudkips Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
So there is someone who stolen many artists hard work.  the  stealer
Code-Sonic Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2017  Student General Artist
I just got tricked by xxBeccaltxx
They stole these art works
CUTE ADOPTABLES OPEN by xxBeccaltxx and  More Cute Adoptables by xxBeccaltxx which are from originally here:  Fashion Adopt Batch (CLOSED) by rikka-chi and  Adopt batch (OPEN 2/4--ALL PTS GO TO DONATION) by rikka-chi

I ended up getting tricked on the 4th red one and the rabbit girl one... lost 400 points...
rikka-chi Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for posting this dear, i hope they can solve it!
Code-Sonic Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2017  Student General Artist
And I think it was solved :)
AXIS012 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2017
the user :iconxxbeccaltxx: stealing this:  Fashion Adopt Batch (CLOSED) by rikka-chi  and selling them here  More Cute Adoptables by xxBeccaltxx

There's two people who got tricked 
rikka-chi Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
bless you <333333 thank you so so much
SpoiledHelloKitty Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2017
The user The-danstyle-art has created a blatant copy of ACwhitewolf168 artwork. She has asked him and sent him a note to take it down but he has not done so.
Copy: Natsu and Lucy The end by The-danstyle-art

Original: Lucy And Natsu (End) by ACwhitewolf168
idontevenknow753 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2017
Wow, he's not even trying to hide it. What a scumbag.
Add a Comment:

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