ART THEFT! Again...

4 min read

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Meredyth's avatar
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.

Stand up!

P.S.: My own facebook site: Meredyth on Facebook
Thank you for your support!
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DarkLiminality's avatar
Thanks for putting this info up - I only just read this. Found one of my paintings (from an older profile of mine) on there, harshly cropped to remove my name and with the contrast altered horribly... makes me want to put copyright signs in even more prominent places and only release very small images, but like you say it ruins it for everyone else who just wants to enjoy looking at the art online. I'm happy with re-posts, but only if art is unaltered and credits me, which should be easy enough to do! Sad to read you suffered from this too.
Meredyth's avatar
It even gets better - just found out there is someone on ebay who sells furniture based on one of my designs :roll:
These things happen time and again. On facebook, at least it's easy enough to get the things removed, but the ones you notice will only be a minority.
Well, let's not get down by stuff like this. If someone can only just copy, it's a sad state to be in ;)
Arnolf's avatar
I perfectly understand your disappointment !
Art should be shared but author have to be aware and asked before any public publication (hehe public public-ation =) ) !
Moreover many authors would be honoured to have their production promoted , (I would !) but it's seems it's hard to ask ...
Internet is a communication mean and no one use it to communicate ... Sad !
Meredyth's avatar
Thank you for your sympathy.
Much truth in it... fortunately there are many incidents that show that communicaton here can work and involve mutual respect. I am thankful for all exchange I had - by the deviantART platform alone - that led to exchanges, projects, and even collaborations. So there is no reason to give up hope :)
Arnolf's avatar
That is the good way : take the better of everything ! =)
Meredyth's avatar
IlmarinenKowal's avatar
I confirm, no one asked me for permission o.O
Meredyth's avatar
It's disgusting. Well, at least I can bang the drum and make some advertizing for the ones concerned I know.
Just gave your deviantART site a feature there. Maybe we gain some proper fans that way ;)
STelari's avatar
From the works they steal on this page, I've recognised IlmarinenKowal's (post from Oct 31st, 2013, Sep 5th, written your name so you'd get a mention of this journal, Kowal), and I'm pretty sure a lot of these works were stolen from dA, too, even though I don't recognise the authors.
One of the reasons I stay away from facebook, it's just... 
Meredyth's avatar
I'm afraid you can't escape scum like those. They salvage any place, impossible to track all those blogs...
I knew you'd care. Thank you :)
STelari's avatar
Damn, and what a horrible birthday gift. I've been always throughly disgusted with this kind of people.
Well, I hope your birthday wasn't bad despite this, belated best wishes from me (:
Meredyth's avatar
Oh, thank you very much.
Well, writing that journal helped, and every incident is an inspiration of sorts. Besides, so many good things here around to lift me up.
So let's go and try to create something beautiful instead of moping :)
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