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Today, a DD was awarded to a nice acrylic painting (below left) which was painted from my photo (below right) -

Westcoast landscape by Rpriet1 Last Look by IvanAndreevich

Just about the only thing I don't like about is the strong cyan tint, which seems to be more associated with the photo of the painting rather than then painting itself. Overall it's definitely one of the best derivative works I've yet to see based on my photos. I really enjoyed exploring how all the little details differed between the two.

Rpriet1 did not ask for my permission, or inform me of using my photo. A DA gallery moderator just messaged to ask whether I would like the deviation removed, and the DD revoked. I think most artists who've had their work "stolen" would be outraged, but for me the answer was a very unambiguous no. This is a complicated issue, and I think that the vast majority of the readers will disagree with me at this point, so let me explain my position carefully.

The concept of intellectual property, the way it exists today, is not legitimate. If you have ever downloaded an MP3 file, a movie, or some software without paying, yet you are outraged at art theft when it happens to you or someone close, then you are a hypocrite. I actually think that should cover the majority of the readers of these words.

Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, is one of my personal heroes. He could have been a multimillionaire via the specter of copyright law, yet he chose to pass it up and effectively released it without any rights reserved. He saved an untold number of lives - both by inventing the vaccine, and by releasing it the way he did.

Some of you may be aware of the patent battles currently being fought in the smart phone arena between companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung. It's a waste of time and money. Software patents (like some of the ones Apple holds) are stupid in general. Imagine being able to patent the following actions -

1) Walk up to a door
2) Put your hand on the door knob
3) Turn the door knob
4) Open the door

..and then suing the fuck out of everyone who does that and doesn't pay royalties. Yes, some of the patents they hold are really THAT pathetic in terms of software engineering.

So, who does intellectual property favor? Not me or anyone I know. I don't have the resources to navigate the convoluted judicial system and pay ludicrous lawyer fees. I don't have time to copyright every little piece of junk I can think of. Big corporations have those resources. They have legal departments, and file tens of thousands of patents per year. Just another example of big business in bed with the government pursuing policies which favor both of them at the expense of small businesses, and private citizens.

What would be the outcome of me getting the DD removed as "stolen" work from DA? Would I be any richer, more famous, or derive ANY benefit at all from it? Nope. The drawbacks for other deviants are clear - they would not get to enjoy a quality work of art. It would certainly be nice if the artist included a link to my deviation and thanked me for my work (which she did later, by the way), but let's get real here - my work is "stolen" all over the place on the Internet.

You can't stop it, you can't even meaningfully slow it down. The circulation of information happens at warp speed, and that's the main advantage of the world wide web. Trying to fight it is being a 20th century dinosaur, it's the paradigm of pathetic losers like RIAA who pick out citizens to be scapegoats where a single song download is valued at a year's worth of median salary. And guess what? The moronic government court system goes right along with it.

Should Paul McCartney be making tens of millions of dollars passively on royalties for a song he wrote 40 years ago? To think that this notion "promotes progress" in any sense of the word is nothing short of ludicrous. If you download his song "illegally", and get caught - a man with a gun sent by the government will come to your house and throw you in jail, ruin you financially, or kill you if you resist. This status quo is ridiculous.

Every time someone copies one of my photos, it does NOT make me poorer in any appreciable way. In fact, if I watermark, the sharing effect gives me more visitors and would end up being a clear net benefit to me as an artist trying to promote my work. That definitely changes my commercial possibilities, but not necessarily for the worse.

I think it's time to start a big discussion on phasing out the concept of intellectual property within the art community - especially for non-commercial purposes. It would lead to a flourishing of ideas, and more innovation and beautiful art - not less. Old tyrannical ideas of using force to punish for the act of sharing (or heck, even lying and pretending its your own work) should not be a part of the modern society. Just like lying is not a crime in the broader society, contempt or ridicule are sufficient societal pressures for people who use without attribution.

Does this mean you can "steal" my work? I can't stop you, and I probably won't even bother trying. However, so long as we live under the current stupid paradigm, if my work is used for commercial purposes then I may just sue you unless I get a fair cut :p
  • Reading: 50 psychology classics
  • Playing: volleyball
  • Eating: cereal
  • Drinking: tea
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:iconnakkurussu:
Nakkurussu Featured By Owner Edited Feb 7, 2019  Hobbyist Artist
Art theft is a crime. You're clearly a supporter of art theft and/or possibly a thief yourself.
To everyone who agrees with this article, you deserve to be locked up. All of you turn yourselves in right now.
Reply
:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2019  Professional Photographer
Hahaha wow. I didn't know that's how freedom of expression and thought works. Convicted for thought crime by some kid. 
Reply
:iconllirbwerdnadivad:
llirbwerdnadivad Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2017
I think art theft is a crime, but I agree with your viewpoint on this other than in terms of what to call it. I acknowledge that there are points where it can be an issue, but I acknowledge that there are also points where it isn't. When it comes down to it, I think that whether or not to be upset about it is up to the artist. They're the ones that have the right to decide on this subject. I, personally, would be flattered if someone stole art from me.

I think the situation is ridiculous on both sides of the equation. On one hand, there are people who prefer downloading a free copy of a song rather than paying 99 cents. On the other hand, there are points where artists are so stingy about the art that it hinders them and the people viewing it.
Reply
:iconlolleepoptarts:
lolleepoptarts Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You have got to be kidding. Art Theft is most certainly NEVER okay. Nobody takes another art piece they didn't make and CLAIMS it. That's definitely NOT OKAY. This is a very stupid article. :/ 
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:iconjesshh:
Jesshh Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2017  Student General Artist
what sucks is that my dad kinda pressured me into copyrighting literally all my artwork even though you have to go into some fight to even get anything back from an art theif, it pisses me off to see people say "hahaha I told you so, you need to copyright your artwork". no, why would I copyright my artwork if I don't even care about people stealing my work and making money off it, and also in a world where millions of artists submit art without copyright on it and im for some reason one of those rare people actually doing it because??? im not a special snowflake and being pushed into copyright is my literal worst nightmare.
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:iconphilhellenike:
Philhellenike Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't care if someone copies my work. I do care if someone makes money off my work. THAT is what intellectual property law is for. It doesn't cover something that nobody is making money from. Imperfect though it may be, it is the only way we have currently for ensuring that artists get paid for their work. History has unfortunately proven that this is the reality of the situation.
There is actually an etiquette for copying another artist's work, and deviantart should post that somewhere. The correct way to label a work that is a copy is <Title> by <deviant> after <Title> by <deviant>. For example "Mona Lisa by Raphael after Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci". That's a real sketch by the way, made by Raphael when he visited da Vinci's studio. That is how it would be labeled if it were hung in a museum. If you credit the deviant who originally created the work by doing this, then nobody can slap you with a lawsuit. 
If you have simply used a drawing by someone else as part of your artwork: such as when I colored KidaGreenleaf's sketch, then it is appropriate to include a link to the original in your description and to notify the artist. It is not necessary to ask permission beforehand, although many people including myself appreciate this very much. 
Don't like intellectual property? opt-out. Put the words "public domain" or "commons" in your description. Or, if all your work is going to be this: put it in your artist bio thingy on your profile page. If these things are on your artwork and/or your profile I'm guessing the moderators will quit bothering you about it. 
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:icondream-seer:
dream-seer Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is quite a beautiful way of thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :love:
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:iconbackup12051997:
backup12051997 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013
what is DD and I must say that copyrights are at times way too overate(offended someone? tell about that to me. I just... a bit annoyed of the Digital millenium copyright notifications at the Google when I attempt to search for something scarce(like the old movies that I ever watch but I forgot)
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:iconbbchild:
BBChild Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013   Traditional Artist
I agree with you a lot on the part about photography being used as a direct reference. I mean, sure, it's not always easy to capture a beautiful moment with a camera, but it's not like you own the mountain or creek you took a picture of. An artist could go to the exact same spot and paint it, and that'd be nearly the same as painting from your picture, right? x'D It would be nice if people asked for permission, but ah.

However, when someone takes an artist's actual work, like the drawing or painting, re-uploads it and claims it's theirs, that's when I see some damage done, and when I believe art theft should be stopped. I, for one, would not mind someone taking a character of mine and using them, but if they actually took my drawing, I would probably put up a bit of a fight if it was one of the drawings that took a lot of effort and work.
It's basically them piggy-baking off of my hard work. Like some people say the government does this; they get huge salaries paid by taxpayers money, and what do they do? Raise taxes. XD Meanwhile, the people who are actually working hard aren't benefitting because their hard work is being "stolen" in a sense.

As for the music and movies... I think downloading these is a lot different than the art industry because music and movies are very much a business. Rise of the Guardians didn't raise much money at all because people were watching it illegally online instead of paying to see it in theatres, and this is hardly fair for the movie's producers, actors, artists, and all the individuals who spent time trying to make a profit. Downloading songs without paying for them may seem harmless ("what can not paying 99 cents do?"), but every dollar counts, and without realizing it, you may have downloaded a hundred songs and "robbed" the artist of 100-or-so dollars. Maybe the artist needed to make a thousand dollars in order to continue singing, but only made 900 because you didn't pay up. Once again, piggy-baking off of someone else's hard work, but in a difference sense, and I don't think anyone should be allowed to do that.

Anyway... just my thoughts. I think it mostly depends on the situation.
Reply
:iconsyntheses:
Syntheses Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I came across this who knows how, and you make a good point, but I'll have to politely disagree.

Yes, a lot of people download illegal music and movies, but not many claim it to be their own. That's the worst part of art theft, claiming it to be your own. If I was a photographer, I would allow people to use my photographs as a reference freely, as long as they don't trace or re-post it, because it's the same as drawing from the actual landscape in front of them, but a lot of people can't be in that landscape. A lot of people think differently, though, and it should be their choice whether people can use it or not, because they put work into getting the right angle and composure in that photo.

Drawn art though, in my opinion, is a different matter. Landscapes and objects can be seen through your own eyes without a photo, but a drawing can't be seen in real life. It's something that comes from inside someones mind, even if it's created from looking at something. Someone made those lines themselves, and copying from them takes hardly any talent and imagination. That isn't made your own. That's taking something that someone made from their own mind, and re-creating it. I think it's pathetic, and shouldn't be allowed.

In general, yes, drawn art and photography take the same amount of imagination, but I think that the effort put into drawn art really makes it your own, so it's basically theft of a small part of your mind when someone steals it in any way.

Just my opinion, everyone has their own, and I respect yours.
Reply
:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Professional Photographer
| Yes, a lot of people download illegal music and movies

First of all, do you think this should be illegal?
Reply
:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Digital Artist
You think downloading music that is also sold on CDs, without the artist's permission, shouldn't be illegal? Wow, yeah, lets throw all the hours of creating it and years of practice to reach these skills from the window.
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:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Professional Photographer
Yes, I think it shouldn't be illegal. 
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:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014   Digital Artist
Wow, yeah, lets throw all the hours of creating it and years of practice to reach these skills from the window.
Reply
:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Professional Photographer
The false dichotomy you are presenting is invalid. 
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:iconsyntheses:
Syntheses Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I think that once movies have stopped making money, they should be available to watch for free, (But not making money off of it or making derivative works from it) because no one is gaining anything off of a movie that no one is buying/can buy, because it's not heard about or stocked in shops anymore. I think this because it's near impossible to "Claim" a movie as your own, which is what is done with art.

As for music, It's a difficult thing to say what's right and wrong about it. Having it for free or for money benefits the music artist both ways, and I agree with having it for free on the internet because it's on the radio anyway, which people listen to for free, yet it makes money for the artist, and the music being listened to on youtube gains more awareness for the artist. I don't think it should be free to download though, because you can already listen to it on youtube for free, but downloading it is owning a copy of it, and I think that should be a privilege that should be bought. I don't think music should be edited and redistributed, because it is a form of theft, like art theft.
Reply
:iconnightowl103:
Nightowl103 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist
I agree with you quite a bit in this.. And I'm glad you let the person keep the DD and such... As many of your points are very valid... But Mostly because most artists learn from looking at art that they look up to and copying it.. And submitting it onto the internet to show how they have improved is a sure way for them to get critic and help.
In your case I think it the painting of your photograph is quite marvelous! I looks very like the original, I just think that the person should have given credit to you in the first place. I think completely stealing someone's exact work is wrong but it happens.
But a fact of life is that it can't always be helped that someone 'steals' another's work as media makes it so darn easy. So kudos to you for being the mature one in this issue you had!
Anyways i'll quite rambling on now! ;)
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:iconharmonyre:
harmonyre Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
So you believe ripping off artists is like cheating and lying (they're wrong, but shouldn't be illegal)?

Considering that it is extremely difficult to prove that you are the original creator and it is extremely difficult to prevent rip-offs, I agree with you.

But, I do have a problem with not having any legal protection if (to use an extreme example) some Nazi organization decided to use my artwork in their campaign. What's your opinion on that?
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:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Photographer
Interesting point, but what better way to discredit them than to say that it is your creation and use the publicity to LOL at their pathetic views?

Should the inventor of the light bulb be able to sue a Nazi for using the light bulb to further his means? I don't think so.
Reply
:iconharmonyre:
harmonyre Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
lol! Touché! Good analogy with the light bulb :)
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:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Photographer
It's more than an analogy. It's precisely why "intellectual" property is a bogus idea in my mind.

You own the RAW of your photo. If someone wants a print, they need to buy it from you unless you choose to release the full resolution photo.
Reply
:icontakeoverallbows:
takeoverallbows Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
Whether art theft is a crime or not shouldn't even be discusses. It's wrong. There are things that are illegal that aren't necessarily wrong. That being said, there are also things that are LEGA, but still wrong.
Reply
:iconcat-on-the-moon:
Cat-On-The-Moon Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So does that mean you support instances where companies take artist's work without their permission and sell them for profit without notifying said artist?
Such as what Turbosquid is apparently doing to kuoutsu ( [link] ) and what Chinaglaze had inadvertently done to Abigail Larson ([link])? I've heard Hot Topic does this relatively often as well, and Todd Goldman likewise comes to mind with his 'derivative artwork'. Should China Glaze not have apologized and made amends with the artist? So far they're the only large company I've heard of that has actually done this.

Or is it just when money isn't being made off of the works that it's all alright by you?

I suppose the theft of artwork isn't making someone any poorer, per say, but that COULD have been income for the original artist.
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:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2012  Professional Photographer
| So does that mean you support instances where companies take artist's work without their permission and sell them for profit without notifying said artist?

No, I don't support that at all.

| Should China Glaze not have apologized and made amends with the artist?

If they are a decent company, they should.

Is the difference between being for something, being against something, and believing that something should be a crime punishable by law clear?

The reality of the current situation is that it is the big corporations with massive legal resources who use copyright law to own small artists through the convoluted corrupt government court system.
Reply
:iconjayxbriar4ever:
jayxbriar4ever Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with you, but have some questions about your theory:
Is this to say we should be okay with other people using our work for commercial purposes and making profit when we haven't given them permission? Personally, I'm one of those people who if you ask permission and are not using it for illegal (I don't know how that would work, but just in case XP) or commercial purposes, I'm down unless stated otherwise. Anyone else see what I'm saying?
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:iconkach-back:
kach-back Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012   Traditional Artist
Personally I think you should just stop uploading such damn good photos and you will have no further problems. ;p
Reply
:iconfineartbyandrewdavid:
fineartbyandrewdavid Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Professional Photographer
i would love to have the opportunity of being allowed to use some of your work in my creations either way i would ask for permission and credit you too
Reply
:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Professional Photographer
Go ahead, you have my permission :D
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:iconfineartbyandrewdavid:
fineartbyandrewdavid Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Professional Photographer
thank you
i will note you with what ever images i use plus provide a ink back to any of your original work
Reply
:iconkalikala:
kalikala Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Student General Artist
Makes sense.
Reply
:iconpicedwrites:
picedwrites Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
I very much agree with you here. Intellectual property rights are an old concept that were originally meant to help small-businesses thrive in that it allowed great ideas made by individuals and small-businesses to be protected by the government, so large corporations could not get by just "stealing" the innovations of the 'little guys.' However, today's world has gotten way too liberal with the concept, as we now put copyright labels on just about everything. There is a place for intellectual property rights, but the way we use it now is, like you say, ridiculous. The WWW is made for the free sharing and dispersion of ideas, art, creativity, news, technology, science, etc., and intellectual property agreements are really working against this, which is a completely backward way of thinking. I usually think your political views are a little to 'activist,' but I do agree with you 100% here.

By the way, if someone painted one of my photos and got a DD for it, I think I'd feel more "Wow they thought my photo was good enough to paint? Thanks, I feel honored!" than "Damn art thief, give me back my work! Oh wait, you just copied it..." Sharing is caring, right??? :D
Reply
:iconslobo777:
slobo777 Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've always thought that copyright lengths for artworks are far too long. It should be completely legal to download mp3's of recordings from the 80's by now. The artists and producers have been paid 10 times over for the work they've done.

A fair payment for a good piece of work is surely the goal here? Otherwise we could not have nice things like blockbuster films and well-produced modern music.

It's how much is fair, and how to make it fair to both producers and consumers which is not answered yet.

And I agree, power in copyright law is too much in the hands of big companies and governments as it stands.
Reply
:icondalekmercy:
DalekMercy Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This really is quite a challenging issue. One that needs to be addrressed or at least brought to the attention of the admins.
Reply
:icondemosthenes1blackops:
demosthenes1blackops Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
a patent and a copyright are distinctly different things.
Reply
:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2012  Professional Photographer
The concept of intellectual property overrides both of those.
Reply
:icondemosthenes1blackops:
demosthenes1blackops Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
overrides? did you, perhaps, mean "under-writes"?
Reply
:iconinfinitexinsanity:
InfinitexInsanity Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Reply
:iconmdsme8:
mdsme8 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2012  Student Photographer
Go ahead and steal my shitty work, if you make money off of it though, I would love some credit and or compensation kicked back to me! Thats my thoughts though.
Reply
:iconpuffymarshmellows160:
PuffyMarshmellows160 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2012  Student General Artist
I would get furrious if someone stole me work but in this case i would let it slide beasue
1. once you upload something to the internet you cant get it back so its no longer technacly yours
2. that artist acttually did work herself
so yea this case its fine but if some one copyed my art and called it their own THEN i would be angery.

you read 50 psychology classics? No wonder your so good at explaining things!
Reply
:iconsanoo32:
Sanoo32 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think many people have different opinions to what "stolen" means in terms of art at least here on DA. If someone had taken your photo and claimed it as there own, then that to me would be stealing your work. In this instance your photo was used as a reference to make something new with a completely different medium. It would indeed have been nice for them to ask permission or told you what they did straight away, but it is in some aspect a co-operation between the two of you (the final work produced).
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