Something that happens once in a while - which some say is a compliment of sorts. Someone collecting your artwork to embellish a website, his online profile, maybe printed matters, too. They even may use it for a book or cd cover. Why not? They have found it 'somewhere on the internet'. It happened that someone ripped off pictures from deviantART, printed them and sold them as his own work for lots of money during an art market in England. This is not a compliment. This is criminal.
I'm not a professional artist. Sometimes I work for money, sometimes just for the fun of it. Either way, there is work involved. Hours of drawing, colouring, and before - maybe a lot of research to get the details right for a historical piece, taking photos under awkward circumstances to find a special pose as a reference for the drawing, that gives the piece a unique touch. There is skill involved, and heart, and passion. And at least that deserves some respect, don't you agree?
Sometimes people ask if they can use a picture - for personal use, for a blog or a website, or a design for customization in another medium. A lot of my work are reinterpretations of Northern mythology; therefore I am occasionally approached by webmasters who manage Heathen sites on the web, and usually I say yes, unless there are tendencies there I can't identify with. It is nice to be asked, and it is nice to give permission. But I loathe to see someone using my imagery without permission, to promote his or her own agenda.
Just happened on facebook. Sharing pictures is a major issue on facebook, and maybe part of what that site is all about. It is easy to share, copy, and use pictures there without crediting the originator. Providing a link and crediting the artist should be considered good manners, even there. But good form aside, there are laws even in the www.
There is a German speaking group on facebook calling itself Germanische Götterwelt - here is the link: Germanische Götterwelt (Facebook)
Until yesterday they used one of my pictures to promote their profile. More, they use a multitude of art related to Heathenry to illustrate their posts without crediting their sources - THEY EVEN DELIBERATELY HAVE CUT OFF OR REMOVED ANY SIGNING OR MARK CREDITING THE ARTIST! THis doesn't happen by accident, and it is not the act of an uninformed kid that dabbles along. It is vile and it is criminal! They have a lot of pictures on their site that I have first seen here on deviantART!
I have written a statement on their page, demanding they stop to use my art and remove the stolen (and altered) pictures. They no longer use my Odin picture for their site, but they erased my comment from their board.
Please check out their site and the pictures. Report them if you recognize your art or pictures you know are ripped off from other places! Spread the word here on deviantART, so that artists affected can take action themselves. The more the protest, the better the result!
Visual art is impact! It is the art that made them hit 66.000 'likes', and none of the artist gets credit. This is shameful, and besides it should be considered unworthy of people promoting Heathenry in any way!
The logical consequence of incidents like this would be to post no more artwork without a big and distinctive watermark. I have pondered this once and again and always decided against, because I myself love to look at artwork without them. But the more often this happens, the less pictures will be made public without watermarks, bars, logos imbedded that are so prominent you can't remove them without destroying the entire image.
It would mean the end of sites like this. Like deviantART. It would be a sad thing.
P.S.: My own facebook site: Meredyth on Facebook
Thank you for your support!