When someone decides to disrespect an artist and take their work, whether claiming it as theirs or not, and uploading it to dA, it can causelets face itan emotional hurricane.
Insults fly, profane language is thrown about, vowels are forgotten and punctuation is non-existent, spam ensues Just a great big mess. Dont get me wrong, I want all the art thieves off of dA just as much as you, but things are likely to be handled much faster if the reporter is calm and collected.
I started this article right after getting done dealing with an art thief who was just adamant about how she did not break any rules (My artwork as been up for a month and no one has complained! ) and refused to take down the stolen work.
Finally, after deactivating their own account once other members stepped in and reported her work too, I was at this point just fed up and angry at anything that walked. I started this article, but soon came to realize that this was not how I wanted to tell my opinions. So, I completely re-wrote it into a less vindictive piece, and now I feel that this will better get my point across. Sure, I could have pointed the finger at dA for not having a better policy against art thieves, but I dont want to work against dA, I want to work WITH them.
Having said that, I have written this article to provide my thoughts and opinions, plus a few tips to the following audiences: Art thieves (and those who unwittingly support them), the members who report art thieves, and members of the dA staff.
Nine simple tips to follow to not be dubbed an art thief or an enabler.
1. DONT steal art. You would think that this would be the simplest rule, you really would. Guys, the fact of the matter is, if you didnt draw/collab/create/paint/render/have anything to do with it, then it is not your art, and you should not be uploading it.
2. DONT upload screencaps, scans, wallpapers with copyrighted works and the like are not your art. I get that some members want to share their favorite manga scans or pictures with people, but uploading them to an art site is not the way to go about it. Create a fan site, link them in your journal, but please do NOT click the Submit button!
3. DO report stolen art! Please, PLEASE. This is probably my biggest pet peeve about members on this site. I cannot tell you the number of times I have come across a stolen piece of artwork or a screencap/scan/wallpaper that members KNOW does not belong there on the front page, and the first thing people do is :+fave: it like mad and then comment saying, OMG I love Kakashi! or Yaaaayyyyayay bleach is so kewl thnx for sharing! If you know it does not belong there, please do not favorite it because you like the show, or the character, or what have you. This makes the person who uploads it feel like they have done something okay, and they will continue to do this, thinking they will only receive more praise. Please, there is plenty of legitimate fanart of your favorites shows and series here on dA for you to look at.
4. DONT ignore art thieves just because they give you praise! This is another one of my greatest peeves. If I come across someone who favorite one of my works or watched me, and come to find out that they steal art or upload art that is not theirs, I WILL report them. I will warn them that they have stolen art, not thank them for the watch/fav and then ignore the fact that they have taken someone elses work. Do not be afraid to lose one watcher because you were too afraid to report them. If it bothers you that much, report them quietly without telling them so, but PLEASE do not ignore the blatant fact that they broke the rules.
5. DO ask artists for permission to use or color their work! Many people who are dubbed art thieves seriously dont do it intentionally, but they also dont realize that they need to ask the original artist first. If an artist upload a lineart that you would like to color, ask them first if you may color it, and if they give you permission, give them credit for the original lineart! If you would like to use any part of an artwork, or use it for pose/hand/face etc. study, please ask them if you may upload it to dA or any art site afterwords.
6. DO respect the wishes of stock artists! Stock artists are an essential part of the dA and art community as a whole. They provide royalty free photos, models, renders, etc. for other artists to use, and they really do not have to. It is at their discretion as to how they allow others to use their stock. If they require that you give them credit in the description of the artwork you use it in, PLEASE do not go against their wishes. Either give them the credit they desire or find a different stock to use. I have seen firsthand what happens to artists who do not follow stock artists rules, and believe me, it is not pretty.
7. DO reference, but DONT trace! Some people do not know the real difference between tracing and referencing, and this can not only keep them from growing as an artist, but also get them in a lot of hot water! Referencing is when you see the way an artist does hands that you particularly like, or hair, or poses, and you want to learn for yourself how to do create such lovely looking hands. First, ask the artist permission to reference their picture, and then practice drawing those hands in different posesnot tracing them directly under your paper! This way you will learn to create the hands yourself, which will lead not only to you being able to draw any hand pose you want beautifully, but also you will add your own personal touch to it, making it your own! Tracing, however, is a different story. Tracing is directly, line for line, taking any part of any image and claiming it to be your work.
8. DONT ignore a deviants rule-breaking simply because they are popular! A certain deviant (who will not be named!) not too long ago who has recently left dA was once a very popular vector artist and photomanipulator. While their photomanipulations were wonderful and broke no rules, they decided to pollute their art gallery by uploading vectored screenshots from anime. While they did make them look prettier, they were still not their original creations. Many deviants stepped up to call them out for their wrong doings, but many others still sucked up to her to get free features and gain more popularity for themselves. Its sick to think that some deviants are so worried about pageviews and popularity that they would actually enable art theft.
9. DO let them know how it makes you feel if they steal your art, or how the original artist must feel. I usually find that asking them how they would feel if someone came in and claimed their hard work as their own would make them feel works wonders. When it comes down to it, and art thief hates thieves just as much as we do. If they created something wonderful and magnificent, they wouldnt want someone to come in a steal it. This is often why art thieves stealthey want someone to be proud of their work, even if its not really theirs. They want praise.
10. And finally, if you run a club, you ARE responsible for letting stolen works in your club! Please keep this in mind. If I find that stolen artwork is submitted to a club, I will also warn the club and club admin that they have stolen art in their club and may be held responsible. So far this has worked wonders and artwork has been taken down immediately with the members banned or warnedmany club owners dont want their reputation tarnished by art thieves.
For those who are looking for a generally low-key way to let art thieves know that they are breaking dA rules, this is the template I use:
Fellow deviant: Im telling you this to inform you that you have stolen artwork/are using copyrighted artwork against the wishes of the original artist. If you would like to know what dA considers art theft, please read this: FAQ #8: What are violations of the deviantART copyright policy?. I have already reported the images I believe you have stolen. I suggest that you please remove said artworks from your gallery before a dA admin has to do it and possibly bans you. Thanks, and I hope we can resolve this issue. (Your username/name here).
Hey. I know its a little cheesy, believe me. But it DOES keep hate and insults from flying (unless the art thief just plans on being difficult anyways )
Those Who Report Art Thieves:
Six simple tips to being a good reporter of art theft, and how to not go overboard!
1. Dont flood dA admin inboxes with 50,000 reports a day. Dont feel like you need to ride in on your white horse and demolish all the art thieves in a single day. I used to think this was how it was done, but seriously, its not humanly possible. That, and the more reports admins have to wade through, the slower the process is to getting said art thief taken care of.
2. Stay calm. More likely than not, art thieves will think that all of dA is stupid and that we cannot possibly realize that this artwork is not theirs! If they think this, they are pretty dumb, yes. But please dont stoop to their level. Use correct spelling, grammar, and calmness to the best of your ability when conversing with them.
3. Go straight to reporting. There are many members who like to give deviants a second chance and ask them to remove their art before reporting them. While this does sound reasonable and makes the art thief in question less likely to retaliate in a seizure of anger, it also takes more memory to know which ones you need to come back to and check to see if theyve done what you asked. My solution? I report stolen works straight away, THEN I tell them that I have reported their images and why they have broken the rules. Then I suggest that they remove stolen artwork before an admin has to do it and possibly bans them. This way, to avoid a ban (unless they are just trolling for the heck of it), they will remove the artwork themselves.
4. Explain in clear terms why you have reported them and how they have broken rules. Please use clear language that they can understand easily. Let them know that they have broken dA rules and have disrespected the original artist of their works.
5. Let dA know of these art thieves, but do not lead a spam-raid against them. If there is a club that you are a member of that fights art thieves, let the club know of these members. Multiple reports from different users will look a lot better than one report from one member. But PLEASE, do not spam or flame an art thief! This causes chaos, Ive seen it countless times. Club members yell and accuse, art thieves scream and carry on, dA lays down the banhammer, and no one leaves happy.
6. Leave positive reinforcement where its needed. This is going to sound crazy, I know, but hear me out: Some art thieves are in this mindset that they will never be good artists, and for this reason they steal, trace, and impersonate. How many art thieves could we save ourselves from having to deal with if we show them how good they can become if they try hard enough? My favorite example to show deviants who have been led astray is `sambeess Hope for the Hopeless: [link] doesnt get inspiration from this? It shows deviants who might have had no faith in themselves as artists that if they work hard and go about it the RIGHT way, they can be just as good as theyve always dreamed.
My thoughts on how dA Staff can better improve their tactics in dealing with art thieves.
I know you and I havent always been on the greatest terms, dA staff. We dont always see eye to eye on things, but I can tell you that while I may bitch and complain without thinking sometimes, I really do appreciate all the work you do for this website that I have come to love dearly.
In fact, if I didnt care for this website, would I take the time to write this article or to tell you how you can improve? If I didnt love this site, why would I even deal with art thieves, or take time out of my day to report them? Would I just leave, and let the art thieves take over the site? Of course not.
So, I thought I would set aside this last section completely for you, to let you know (God, I freaking love bullet and number lists!) about some of the things that have been worrying me lately. Even some sort of acknowledgement that someone has read this and taken to heart my thoughts is enough. I really hope that perhaps this will not only reflect my frustrations, but also the frustrations of other members of this site, for whom this article is written and speaks for.
1. Art Thieves and Subscriptions: One thing that I have taken the time to notice while dealing with art thieves is the fact that it seems to take a lot longer for art thieves with subscriptions with blatantly stolen work to get said art removed. Not only that, but when a member with a subscription is acting very much like a troll, and is in general violating other members rights, they are not banned or even warned, or they take a lot longer to get banned when the move on to more serious offenses. However, if a member with a ~ next to their name does this, its an immediate ban? I dont condemn the fact that they are banned, because the last thing dA needs is another troll, but all members should be treated equally. There are plenty other rule-abiding members of this site that are willing to pay you money (more than half the time, the art thieves with subs are not the ones who bought the subs in the first place), so why let the art thieves slide? Its just not fair to dA as a whole. Sure, I have a subscription, but I would hope the if I started trolling and stealing work that you would lay the banhammer down on me just as quickly as if someone else did it.
2. Please check Daily Deviations and the recipients of those before they are handed out. I hate to point fingers, but it seems that only examples can help my cause, since simply talking about it doesnt work. Daily Deviations are not perfect, and I am completely against yelling at artists over DDs, but if a person receives a DD for STOLEN WORK, I will REPORT it and tell the artist that it is stolen! I will not let things go. This is one thing that only dA staff can really help me with, so please. If you are a gallery mod, and I appreciate everything all the mods do, please check the background of the artist you are giving a DD to before giving them the DD! And, if after you have given them the DD new things about that artist arise that tells you that they should not have received it, please remove the work and warn the artist. Nothing gets members blood boiling more than art thieves receiving DDs for nothing.
So there you have it.
I hope this article has at least helped some deviants in some way, whether it was potential art thieves who now know the proper way of uploading art and how to better themselves without resorting to stealing, or whether it was someone who advocates against art thieves who now knows a more efficient way of reporting. Or perhaps even a member of dA staff who might take to heart what I said, because its not only my view, but the view of other members as well.
But most of all, what I really want my fellow deviants to take away from this article is I want them to realize that art theft affects EVERYONE. Never turn the other cheek to art theft. It is not only unfair to the original artist (who may not know that their work has been stolen and counts on YOU to report it for them), but also unfair to the thief who may never have the chance to grow and see just how great of an artist they can truly be if they try and learn the old fashion way.
Take care, and happy holidays to all my fellow deviants!