PREMADES #Photomanipulated SubmissionRules CHANGE!

15 min read

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kuschelirmel's avatar

First, let me clarify: I'm not just talking about premade backgrounds, but also about cut-out stock and brushes or anything else where people use images (their own or other people's) to create the resource. And while this is mainly geared toward members of Photomanipulated, I do hope that this journal will also be able to shed some light on things for others.

Personally, I've never been a fan of premade backgrounds, but I'm also not the type of person who thinks everyone else should do as I say just because I have a bad feeling about something. So far, that held true for premades: I steered clear of them because I feared copyright issues, but I didn't have much more than a bad feeling and some research on my part to confirm this. Now, an official dA blog has strengthened my believe that as an artist, using premades will do you more harm than good.

Copyright is something that often falls by the wayside with premades. And if it turns out the images used to create the premade were not legal to begin with, the end result is that not only will the premade be taken down, but all the images created with it (in good faith!) will be deleted along with it! This is especially upsetting if you've been using the premade for a commission/prints/etc. but even if you've "only" created a manip as a hobby, it still sucks to see your work to to waste just because someone else wanted to be in the spotlight (and premades are a good way to get some of that these days) for a day.

How can you prevent this?

Either, you steer clear of premades completely, or at least you check their sources! If anything feels off, don't use it - and don't fav it either! No more spotlight for those who can't be bothered to check/credit their resources!!!

How do you know if the sources are legitimate?

Often, this is hard to find out, because no sources are listed. This is against dA policy (see this article), but it still happens. I would suggest to not use those AT ALL. At the very least, an indication of "images shot by me" or something along those lines should be present to tell you they shot the images themselves. If you really like the premade (or brush etc), ask them where they got their images from ("Did you shoot all these different things yourself?").

If sources are listed, do follow them and check the terms of use (i.e. the stock rules) these are licensed under. There are a few things that should set off alarm bells with you:
  1. Professional stock sites (such as, fotolia, dreamstime,...), whether they are for free stock sites or pay-sites - do NOT allow their stock to be redistributed - and that is the word that is usually used in their terms of use: "The images may not be redistributed on their own or along with other images; you are not allowed to share the images with others!" or something along those lines.
  2. Just because someone on dA is okay with their stock being used for manips does NOT mean they are okay with it being used in premades/brushes/etc. Unless there is explicit permission given for this kind of use, assume the use for premades is not allowed! Premades is a relatively new line of stock, so many stockers may not have heard of this before and as such have not had the chance to rule this use out or allow it.
  3. Websites offering "renders", backgrounds, wallpapers, etc where anyone can upload love to have a clause in their terms of use that basically states "the site is not liable for any copyright infringements because anyone can upload anything" should be treated with extreme caution. Now, don't get me wrong, this clause on its own is very common. After all, the site has to exclude the possibillity to be sued for the misdeeds of an individual. BUT the shady sites in question usually have very short Terms of Use and the main part is "we cannot be held responsible for what our members do". Be wary of sites with a lot of celebrity images, too. A site offering legitimate resources should at least be trying to comply with copyright laws and not just claim they aren't liable making plain that they don't care!
On top of that, conditions set by the original copyright holder MUST ALWAYS be fulfilled!

So, if you find that one of the resource providers is okay with use in premades BUT you need to always credit him/her, too, then you HAVE to do that! The restrictions set forth by the original copyright holder can under no circumstances be nullified by the creator of the premade! For example, they cannot allow you commercial use if the original stock wasn't allowed for that etc. So be careful what you can and cannot do!!!

Which brings me to the point of fairness, that is not written in the rules, but that has prevented me personally (and probably the professional stock sites as well) from offering my own stock to make premades with: the person creating the premade puts work into it, that is undeniable, BUT if the photos are not theirs, credit is in my opinion (!) also due to the original stockers. And I've rarely seen that done. Just something to think about...

So, what does this mean for photomanip submissions at Photomanipulated?

This is the tricky part. In groups I run I tend to trust my members. And that includes not requiring credits in the form of direct links (unless the stocker's rules say so, of course). Which in turn makes it nearly impossible to monitor for premades used that may be illegitimate. Besides, it is YOUR job to get your resources straightened out, not ours (= the admins of this group). It will be YOUR image deleted and not ours. And, most importantly, most people here do not even want to use illegitimate sources. They may not know they are doing so (which is a reason to write this journal), but if told, they'll change their ways to comply with the law.

We are not going to play police just so we can point fingers (and feel righteous). And certainly, we are not going to condemn everyone in this community of manipulators just because there are a few idiots out there spoiling the fun for everyone else. This is NOT what this group is about. We want to educate people and be clear on the fact that the responsibillity lies with you as photomanipulator using images you did not shoot yourself to make sure those images are legit. However, we will tell you in a comment about what using premades might entail if we stumble upon questionable sources on the premades used in your artwork. We are not going to go looking for them. But sometimes, we have more time to check or see something we've seen before, so you may get a comment while others may not (for the same "offense"), with your work most likely* still being accepted.

*If it does not get accepted, you will be told exactly why. For example I could imagine a case where the so-called premade is just so obviously not legitimate that we have no choice but to say you knew what you were getting into. And that in turn would be like missing/false credits or credits to illegitimate sources: we just won't accept this because there is a clear line we can draw.

In Conclusion

Please don't disappoint my faith in dA manippers. I firmly believe that everyone should know as much as possible about copyright and decide for themselves how much potential trouble they want to get themselves into. And while there are some clear-cut lines we can draw here (as outlined in our guidelines: credit is a must and legitimate sources are, too), there simply are some things I am not willing to play judge and jury over - and premades and their legitimateness are one of those things. In part because if we start to check every credit layer, we will get caught up in all this and the purpose of the hroup - to share art and resources - will be lost on the way.

However, if I find that this group gets overrun by manips made using premades with shady sources, I will have to rethink this pollicy. This would result in direct links becoming mandatory and us declining any manip whose resources so much as smell off.

I really don't want to go there.

Do you?


PS: please note that for resources submitted to the group, we WILL check your sources nd decline ANYTHING we are not comfortable with. I think this is more than fair.

Take a look at these, too:

Of Copyright + Premades

Disclaimer: I'm no lawyer, I do not work for deviantArt, I'm merely someone who has been doing photomanips for quite a while and has taken the time to read quite a few articles on the topic. The views expressed hereunder are mine alone. They do not reflect any "official dA opinion" nor are they to be taken as "legal advice". Furthermore, you may live in a country that hasn't signed any of the treaties that govern international copyright law, so you'd have to check with your country's national laws.
I strongly urge you to not only read the journal, but also the comments underneath it as there are a lot more examples of what you can and can't do as well as more links to information being shared by your fellow deviants!
What is Copyright?
I'll paraphrase/quote the wikipedia article on the topic for this:
"Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclus
Stock and Resources: Policy ClarificationThe Stock and Resources community is an integral part of deviantART, both for having an active community of its own as well as providing high quality stock to all deviants. 
As this community has grown so much over the years, so has the amount of invalid stock and resources that have been provided by some deviants. The Stock and Resources community feels like this reflects negatively on them, the volunteers have a hard time trying to teach people about valid stock and how to use it correctly, and it gives an appearance that deviantART Staff tolerate so-called “art theft” or copyright infringement.
In this article our aim is to reinforce our policies regarding stock and stock use and clear up some misconceptions.
Stock and Resource submissions to deviantART:
What are Invalid Stock and Resources?
In short, invalid stock or resources are anything which you do not have full permission to upload. This incl
Premade Backgrounds and Group Submission ChangesToday we’re going to address the “Circle of Stock.” Cue Disney’s “The Lion King” theme song and call me Mufasa. Just like in the circle of life, what we do affects another group, and returns to affect us again. We have a responsibility to the artists that use our stock to provide legitimate and safe stock resources. As an administrator for a few art groups as well as stock groups, I have seen what happens to the artists who use invalid stock resources. They have had their art declined, or had to replace stock elements through no fault of their own.  This especially includes those who includes celebrity or otherwise copyrighted material, even if it was uploaded to the Resources and Stocks section of :devart:. It isn’t fair to the artists who use the “stock” and hurts the credibility of not only the stock provider who uploads it, but the stock community itself.
Premade backgrounds have always seemed to be flo

The last one especially - it has not been linked in the text of the article, but it explains even more comprehensively what you could be getting yourself into by using premades without credits. For example, did you know that you won't get a DD for anything when your sources don't check out?!

Articles and Links
Photomanipulation for Beginners

an article about what photomanipulation is and what you need to try it - and on the ever so important issue of "where do I get pictures to play with?"

--> read article <--


Of Copyright & Premades
is an article that strives to explain what copyright means, who it protects and that simply putting work into something will not make using something without permission okay.

Know your Basics - article series:

A series of articles that try to explain some basics in art that you may or may not have heard of before but didn't know what to do with them. All of them are written especially for photo- manipulators, but the principles should hold true in any genre.

--> Know your basics - Colour Theory <--
--> Know your basics - Composition <--
--> Know your basics - Perspective <--
--> Know your basics - Textures <--

Tutorial Treasury

--> 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 <--

Journal Stock Credits: Kaotiksymphony-Stock and iMouritsa.
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Asheraine's avatar
I don't really do very much photo-manipulation and this will sound kinda silly here, but what's a "premade"?