Very Concerning DeviantArt.com License?
|9 min read
jon-rista's avatar
By jon-rista   |   
6 21 7K (1 Today)
Published:


Earlier today, I went to submit a new piece of art, and encountered a popup asking me to agree to a new license agreement. The agreement was titled Submission Policy, and as I read Section 3, I become fairly concerned. The subitems in bold below are of most concern, as they essentially do the following:

1. In item B, Take the right to use MY work in any publication, in any media, known now or invented in the future...WITHOUT ROYALTY to me, the artist.
* While I understand the need for DA to protect themselves in relation to displaying my art on DeviantArt.com, I in no way intend to give them royalty-free right to use my work in ANY form of media, now known or yet invented, at their own whim. I don't mind giving DA license to use my work in various automatically generated sections of this site, such as the prints gallery page or any of the normal gallery pages. I find it despicable that they want me to grant them the right to use my work without compensation in any media, anywhere, for any purpose.

2. In item D, Takes the right to sublicense MY work to any other PERSON or COMPANY as they see fit.
* I do not see ANY reason why the normal operation of DeviantArt.com, the web site, requires the right to sublicense my work to anyone, for any reason, commercial or otherwise, ever.

3. In item D, Takes the right to prevent me from having any right, title, or even INTEREST in works created WITH MY WORK!
* I suppose this is a form of protecting DA and whoever they decide to sublicense my work to according to Item D from ME!?! Where is my right to be compensated for the use of my work here? If this stated "for the purposes of operating DeviantArt.com", I could understand...sometimes you have to farm work out to other companies to meet a deadline. The license does not state that the usage is specifically for the operation of the web site where I am uploading my work...they could use my work, and sublicense it to any organization, without compensation to me...for any reason. Again, despicable.

Farther down in the license, in section 5, they state that for any "commercial" uses, they will contact the artist before sublicencing any work. What happens when DA sublicenses my work for some supposed "non-commercial" purpose, and that entity sublicenses my work to someone else FOR commercial purposes?

I do not remember the DA license agreement being this heavy handed or overreaching before. I am not sure if any of my previously submitted work falls under this license or not, however so long as DA has a license agreement that allows them to sublicense MY work to other entities for ANY reason, without any compensation to me the artist, I will no longer be submitting work here. If I find that DA has used my work in any publication outside of the context of DeviantArt.com, the online website...in ANY medium (invented or yet to be invented), I will probably be removing my work and moving to other online artist sites.

I am extremely dismayed at the overarching, overreaching license and level of "rights" DA is trying to grab here. It is in extreme dis-service to the artist to take rights to their work, and protect themselves and their "sublicensees", from any kind of legal action the artist may try to take to protect their intellectual, artistic property. Shame, DA...Shame!

DA Submission Policy - Sections 2 & 3 - Rights Usurped


2.      Ownership. Artist at all times retains all right, title and interest in and to the Artist Materials provided by Artist hereunder (including, without limitation, the copyrights in and to the Artist Materials), subject to the non-exclusive rights in the licenses granted to deviantART under this Agreement. Artist is free to grant similar rights to others during and after the Term of this Agreement.

3.      License To Use Artist Materials. As and when Artist Materials are uploaded to the deviantART Site(s), Artist grants to deviantART a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to do the following things during the Term:

a)      to prepare and encode Artist Materials or any part of them for digital or analog transmission, manipulation and exhibition in any format and by any means now known or not yet known or invented;

b)     to display, copy, reproduce, exhibit, publicly perform, broadcast, rebroadcast, transmit, retransmit, distribute through any electronic means (including analog and digital) or other means, and electronically or otherwise publish any or all of the Artist Materials, including any part of them, and to include them in compilations for publication, by any and all means and media now known or not yet known or invented ;

c)      to modify, adapt, change or otherwise alter the Artist Materials (e.g., change the size) and use the Artist Materials as described in Section 3(b); and

d)     the right to sublicense to any other person or company any of the licensed rights in the Artist Materials, or any part of them, subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement.

e)      Artist acknowledges that Artist will not have any right, title, or interest in any other materials with which Artist Materials may be combined or into which all or any portion of Artist Materials may be incorporated.

f)       During the Term, deviantART's licenses under this Agreement include the right to use any part of the Artist Materials in the promotion, advertising or marketing of the DeviantART Sites.

g)      As used in this Agreement, the term "Artist Materials" means any content uploaded to the deviantART Site(s) which may include without limitation Artist's name(s) (including professional names), trademarks, trade names, likenesses, photographs, biographical materials, audio-visual materials, artwork, liner notes, and other graphical, textual, video, film or audio materials and any and all "skins," computer-generated images or other artwork or images that Artist submits to deviantART in any medium or format whatsoever.



DA Submission Policy - Section 5 - Limitation of Rights



5.      Limitation Of Rights The rights and licenses granted to deviantART under sections 3 and 4 of this Agreement require deviantART to obtain Artist consent before deviantART makes any commercial agreement with anyone else to separately buy, license, re-sell or re-publish or commercially use any Artist Materials not in association with deviantART but as an individual work of art or as a group of works from a single Artist in isolation from any other works. No additional consent is required for any other licensed uses under this Agreement of Artist Materials either as part of the deviantART Site(s) or in connection with the distribution of content groups from the deviantART Site(s) and/or for uses of the Artist Materials made at the discretion of a visitor to the deviantART Site(s) or other users under agreements with deviantART. deviantART will contact Artist in writing about any individual commercial uses of Artist Materials instigated by deviantART.

Comments21
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Fakskis's avatar
FakskisHobbyist Digital Artist
English is not my primary language so I have a bit of trouble understanding some of the stuff in these new 'rules', but what if I just put a big transparent watermark on top of my art and un-check the 'allow users to download' thing?
Then no matter WHAT DA does with the picture, everyone will still be able to see that I as an artist made the original drawing!
Geekygami's avatar
GeekygamiHobbyist General Artist
Thing is, if the file is on your screen, being displayed on Deviantart, then it has been downloaded, along with the whole page.
So from that you can gather that the file is most likely in the source of the page.
I'm not a 100% sure about this, but I do believe that to be the case.
Fakskis's avatar
FakskisHobbyist Digital Artist
I ment that you could just write your DA name/signature on top of your picture IN the actual Png./Jpeg. file, then they wouldn't be able to use it without there being a giant transparent name in the middle of the picture.
Geekygami's avatar
GeekygamiHobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I guess that would work
Diagon197's avatar
Diagon197Student Digital Artist
Welp. I'm not posting art on Deviantart anymore. Off to the Tumblrverse!
wdphotografics's avatar
wdphotograficsHobbyist Photographer
Jon, the first sentence in item 5 of the 'Submission Policy Agreement' would seem to clarify things as to Artist's rights.

"Limitation Of Rights The rights and licenses granted to deviantART under sections 3 and 4 of this Agreement require deviantART to obtain Artist consent before deviantART makes any commercial agreement with anyone else to separately buy, license, re-sell or re-publish or commercially use any Artist Materials not in association with deviantART but as an individual work of art or as a group of works from a single Artist in isolation from any other works".

DA cannot use your work without your consent for anything other than use in relation to the website. I'm no Lawyer, but that's how I understand the situation.
irrevenant's avatar
DA's statement at [link] seems to back up your interprtation, !wdphotografics
tomoecchi's avatar
tomoecchiHobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this, I was rather concerned about the policy pop-up.
Gellidius's avatar
has this been solved? and how?
jon-rista's avatar
jon-ristaHobbyist Photographer
Nope, has not been solved. The only reason I am still using this site is because I somehow ended up with 36 months of paid membership time (I don't remember buying THAT much...), and did not want to waste it. I have also made sure that all my content is rather small in size, and not really worth stealing or capable of meaningful reuse in anything DA, or their illegitimate subcontractors, might decide to try using any of it in.
RealTimeBrush's avatar
I would have to agree with the concerns of the original poster, licensing always gives me pause for thought. DA would better serve themselves returning to a license that supports them in running the services and empowers the artists that provide them with content that draws many eyes in to their pages.
Thomas-Koidhis's avatar
Definitely need a sort of guild to help artists protect their rights. I know a few people who would not only be interested but would offer great advice and knowledge
jon-rista's avatar
jon-ristaHobbyist Photographer
Yeah, I agree that artists need a better way to protect their rights. Sad thing is, whenever you put any small group of people in a position of control and power, you inevitably end up with people in those positions who covet power and control, and serve themselves rather than the community at large. Even a guild would eventually fall prey to the vileness of greed, as every organization that gets large enough needs someone to hold it together, maintain its charter and initiatives, etc...i.e. people of power.

Its too bad our legal system is so warped that the creators and owners of art can't use the very system that was supposed to protect them. I guess thats another example of a system that has become corrupted with those who covet power and control, and use the system to service their own greed.
Thomas-Koidhis's avatar
I mostly agree. What I have to disagree with is an organization requiring centralized power. In fact, having decentralized power - where every individual is in charge of upholding what the organization pursues and in making its goals a reality - is much more efficient and "bona-fide" if you will. Money and power are not the objects of focus, ethics and law are (or could be).

The idea of requiring a hierarchical system in any organization, local or global, is a source of most of our problems as a race, even. Some individuals are allowed to sit at the "top" and do nothing, and enjoy riches and virtually limitless convenient at the cost of the masses. The "average man" sits at the "bottom" and works hard for every dollar. That kind of unbalance is completely unnecessary, and a detriment. It creates unrest. The crazy part is the only difference between you and me, and the richest man on the planet (other than our "societal position"), is the way we choose to associate ourselves with the rest of the world. We're essentially all the same. Some people of course have disabilities, which is unfortunate, but they have something to contribute too.

I spose that's sort of beside the point, and it's hard to exist as an organization like that in our current world. And even more unfortunately, philosophy no longer talks: the illusion of money does.
jon-rista's avatar
jon-ristaHobbyist Photographer
Can't really say anything other than I totally agree. ;)
Ilharess's avatar
this sounds like facebook now, where i don't put my art just because of that. and facebook is free, while here some of us pay subscription and hope our work is at least legally protected - you can't actually fully control or prtect anything on the web. and now suddenly they grant themselves a right to give away our work?!
jon-rista's avatar
jon-ristaHobbyist Photographer
Yeah, the web is becoming an extremely hostile place for artists. Its extremely sad. I wonder if it is time to create an Artists Guild where we have collective power to hire the necessary legal protection to fight corporations like Facebook and DeviantArt to stop stealing our rights.
Ilharess's avatar
thinking on what i might do at all, from where i live :( as for my photos, we have a croatian photography site where i can put them but places such as this and facebook makes better promotion for people who live from their art. as i said, i can almost understand facebook which is free and guy wants to earn money - don't get me wrong, stealing and sharing your work without even letting you know or asking is wrong. but here i paid subscription and this is how they return it? i will ask about it around here, to get an exact answer from someone who works for the company and if it's really so, regardless of the fact that i can hardly think of someone who's steal my work and the quality is poor at least in size/resolution, i'll make my images even smaller and put lrger watermarks on them so they would really be useless :(
jon-rista's avatar
jon-ristaHobbyist Photographer
Yeah, I don't intend to put up any work that isn't watermarked anymore. I may even put more intrusive watermarks on my work, even if it degrades the quality a bit. I certainly don't want DA to be stealing my art. I already shrunk the size of my uploads, and I will probably remove all of my prints so that DA does not have large print-quality copies of my images that they could steal.

Purely despicable. Its a crime what DA is trying to do.
GamerWorld14's avatar
GamerWorld14Student Interface Designer
Wow, is this really what they say in it now? Why would anyone ever want to agree to that?! I hope they make a change to that soon, or I may not hang around here at the site anymore.
Gellidius's avatar
wow wow wow !!! i never thought i would read something like this.
i would never never sign somethink like this and if they were to insist, then i just would leave DA without looking back.
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In