The Art Theft Discussion
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By ProtectArt   |   Watch
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Published: July 7, 2015
Art-Theft-Cover by ProtectArt

The DeviantArt community has always been deeply concerned about art theft.

We are committed to providing a completely open conversation on this topic. With your active and constructive participation we can become a leading voice on how we adapt to the challenges of being artists on the Web.

This Journal frames the continuing conversation and concern about art theft in general on the Internet and on DeviantArt. Each section links to a more specific and expanded treatment of the topic with additional links to useful materials and readings. Your comments to this Journal will be reviewed by experts and comment threads of general interest will be linked into the expanded topic sections.

Something to keep in mind at the outset: we are all guided by a code of decency, honesty and the expression of mutual respect. So, try to be tolerant and understanding even when reviewing these materials. Ethical behavior is a reward and a duty larger than laws and rules. Sometimes people interpret right and wrong differently even when both people have the exact same good and ethical intentions. Keep in mind that everything anyone does will be right if it’s also decent and honest even if some rule of law or contract was technically broken.

Artist Creditkozispoon

Art theft is stealing a painting from a wall.

  • Sometimes the term “theft” is accurate and it always attracts attention.

  • The word “theft” can be used casually, sometimes to describe copying any part of an artwork. The term “theft” also defines actual criminal conduct and is associated to a harsh moral judgment that may go too far.

  • Stealing an object is theft. Using artwork without permission is frequently called “theft” or “stealing.” But it might, instead, be copyright infringement or the violation of a contract that just feels like a theft.

  • More About Stealing

Artist Creditkozispoon

Not all copying is wrong.

  • Everything comes from somewhere. To some degree all people copy what other people do starting with talking, walking and eating. And, the same is true in writing, art and music. There is a limit to the originality of any artwork in any medium.

  • Basic standards of decent, respectful and honest behavior — and the law — will prevent copying when it will harm another person economically.

  • Copying can be permitted because it’s an accepted practice or sometimes because the laws directly permit it.  As an example, there is a rich history of using tracing for learning and some artists want their work to be copied.

  • Protection from copying is also time-based. Copying very old things is a way to preserve them and keep them relevant in the culture.

  • Entire fields of recognized fine art such as collage and “appropriation art” (like Andy Warhol) depend on copying and the law is favoring this development.

  • More About Taking

Artist Creditkozispoon

Copyright laws are powerful tools that protect art and artists and can prevent the misuse of artworks.

  • Copyright gives the author the exclusive right to copy, distribute, alter or base other works on his or her original work.  These rights are very broad.

  • Those who violate the rights are called “infringers” and can be made to pay money damages or can be made to stop their behavior.

  • Copyright laws also create a balance between the needs of artists to protect their work and the needs of the culture to express itself by protecting people who want to use copyrighted works for specific reasons such as criticism, comment, political speech and sometimes it protects the actual use of artwork in another artwork.

  • Copyright only protects the way an idea is expressed. It does not protect the idea. Anyone can use an idea, even if it’s original. Patent law or trade secret law could protect an idea, but these laws have strict requirements. They mostly apply to making useful things, and almost all artworks don’t qualify.

  • Every country has similar copyright laws but with many technical variations and differences. It can get complicated.

  • More About Copyright

Artist Creditkozispoon

Stock, even free stock, comes with a license. The license is a real contract.

  • On or off DeviantArt, the word “stock” means the artist or company intends other people to use a photograph or another form of artwork — and it always means that there are conditions to using it.

  • The conditions for stock use could be very open, such as “use it anyway you want, at anytime, for anything” or they could be very restricted specifying size, uses, changes, payment, credit or all of these.

  • Every time someone gives you permission to use a work it’s a contract and you need to be as clear as possible about how far that permission goes.

  • If you use stock and violate a condition, then you are breaking a contract and maybe also engaging in copyright infringement.

  • More About Permission

Artist Creditkozispoon

Fan art as love is different than fan art for sale.

  • Fan art usually takes characters, situations and sometimes directly copies artwork from all kinds of media including films, television, comics, books, or games. Typically, the original version is protected by copyright laws.

  • Most major media companies that control the properties most fan art celebrate are OK with fan art made not for profit. But, the companies will rarely admit this because it would compromise their need to protect the properties when they have to. This “fan art understanding” is entirely within the control of the owner of the property and they can withdraw it when they like.

  • When fan art is sold in multiple copies it tends to become a problem for these companies, which is a problem for artists as well. It can be a violation of both copyright law and trademark law.

  • Fan artists recognize that there are also ethical issues in reproducing and selling fan art.  It is considered different than selling an original drawing or painting that is fan based.

  • It is a good practice to label fan art if there is any risk that someone would confuse it as official, licensed art. It is never OK to label fan art as coming from the original owner or creator.

  • More About Fan Art

Artist Creditkozispoon

“Moral Rights” protect artists from others harming their artwork and protects artists from people taking false credit.

  • The right of “integrity” protects against harmful damage to artworks and permits the artist to step in to protect his or her art even after a work has been sold or licensed.

  • The right of “attribution” defends artists against people taking false credit for the artist’s work and against people who claim something was made by a particular artist when it wasn’t.

  • Not every country has these laws or they have very weak ones. The U.S. has very weak protections but they do apply to artworks published in limited editions of 200 copies or less. France and Germany have the strongest protections.

  • There should be an obvious ethical obligation not to claim false credit and not to damage another person’s artwork.

  • More About Moral Rights

Artist Creditkozispoon

Ways to protect your art on the Internet.

  • Putting your own work on the Internet is not giving it away. A blog or a website is a display or a distribution of your work. But, it isn’t a statement that other people can use the work or copy it.

  • A website or blog’s terms and conditions are a contract that defines what the site and what people who visit the site can do with your work — read it and decide.

  • Automatic copyright protection is available to all new works of art and in most countries you do not have to place a copyright notice on the artwork.

  • Placing lower resolution files for display on the Internet is an excellent technique to prevent many commercial uses of artwork.

  • Sites like DeviantArt offer watermark options on submission.

  • Post with a clear notice saying what people can or cannot do with your work to remind your viewers that they have only limited rights.

  • More About Protection

Artist Creditkozispoon

Resolve disputes with a conversation, if you can.

  • Misunderstandings about using artworks and taking credit for things that may go too far are very common. Use the messaging system or comments to give people the chance to do the right thing after they find out what the right thing should be.

  • If messaging and conversation doesn’t work, consider using a website reporting function, contacting the administrators, filing a formal copyright takedown request or contacting a lawyer for assistance.

  • More About Resolving Disputes

anonymous's avatar
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BorromeanProductions's avatar
There's a user named Dragonrider333 who's been going around making edits of other artists' artwork without permission. One example that I had recently learnt of was an edit of a picture made by bbmbbf.

Here's the original picture made by bbmbbf :iconbbmbbf: back in 2012:

Mature Content

Pasadena by bbmbbf

And here's the edit in question, made nearly a fortnight ago:

Mature Content

Edit request 2 A messy little baby by Dragonrider333

Also when I spoke to the original artist, not only was he completely unaware of the edit as no permission was ever sought, but he was also disgusted by the (fetish) nature of the edit to the point it offended him more than the fact it was edited without his permission. I didn't know this edit existed until the person who requested it linked in in the comment section of my front page as a 'gift'.

Again this is only one case of art theft / non-permitted editing done by Dragonrider333. There are many pictures in his gallery that are clearly edits of other people's art (mostly MLP artwork), most if not all were likely done without permission from the original artists given the fact this example wasn't. This user could even be considered a serial art thief/editor, so it may be a good idea to inspect his gallery for other cases.
sjokisk's avatar
sjokiskNew Deviant

This guy is stealing sprite work and uses it to edit it off of someone else's hard work. He creates a loophole where he credits the owner, which is nice of him and all, but he still and never had gotten a valid permission from the owner himself. When confronted, he only says it's for "preserving" but the thing is that, he explicitly credits it as his own work under a disguise of thanking the owner for the "art".

Witch fairy sprites

This is one of many sprites he rips off of "Monty". He's blatantly tracing off of the owner, having the attitude of that "this is the internet so he can do whatever he wants to because it is free and it cannot control him, not even the government can". If you check his gallery, you can see a clear disparity of his actual work vs the obviously stolen/traced from. It would've been okay if he didn't try to disguise credit of his own when uploading others' work while claiming there were permissions given to him. There's not. Please report him for art theft, as these kind of attitude destroys a lot for the owner. Views would go to this guy instead, making the source less visible and known. Art world is already filled with these, let's make it less harder for artists and creators alike.

Art thefter: K98deviant

ArtStationHuntThief's avatar

Deviantart let the use of stolen images from fraudolent sites?

So Deviantart accept to copy stolen artworks from fraudolent sites and paste them here?

This following user still copying complete artworks from the net also from fraudolent sites like the various famous wallpaper sites full of stolen art! and paste them here on Deviantart as they as without apply anytype of skill. Only simple copy and paste! Im surprised like a site like this let this type of activity. The funny thing is this journal is called protectart!! Where is the protection? If you spend 1-2 minutes to check his gallery you'll notice as this user don't care about Deviantart rules!



Deviant user:


Activities like this of this fake artist :iconoliverink: destroy the activity of people who spend their time to study, to do practice and above all time to follow and respect rules.

Im angry because many artists put their art or in storage or they deactivate their accounts...thanks these people who break rules.

I hope you'll take in consideration this situation but not for me, but for all those honest people here on Deviantart

Thanks for the time

ArtStationHuntThief's avatar

This user keep spreading wrong information about use of images...He copy and paste protectected complete finished artwork of great authors into his gallery.


Following image concessed to back courtesy of Disney.

and stolen without permission

Author of article Brady MacDonald | | 

Contacting also Mr. Brady to inform him about copyright infringement relative Copyright © 2019 MediaNews Group, Inc.

Happy New Year!

Foxesrain's avatar
FoxesrainHobbyist Writer
There even is one that I've found out just recently, simply re-cropped the copyrighted art of a Japanese Artist that got an account on Artstation and Twitter too! It pisses me off that you can't report him for that with a link to the original artist and their art as proove...
Captain-Koekie's avatar
Captain-KoekieNew Deviant

This is the biggest joke of the site. This is one of the reason why there is so much copyright infringement and stealing on this site.

IllyDragonfly's avatar
IllyDragonflyHobbyist General Artist
Reporting Heartgold96 their work 'copy of some jerk copying my art' is the blatant copy of :iconproxytato: fanart Earth Puppy by Proxytato and yet Heartgold claims it's their creation! Look at her gallery, the style of this work doesn't match the gallery at all!!!!
Proxytato's avatar
ProxytatoHobbyist General Artist

Arrow Bullet (Red-Orange) - F2U!…
Many thanks for letting me know, :iconillydragonfly: and sharing the word about this art-theft.

The user in question is Heartgold96, the reuploaded picture question is
copy of  some jerk copying my art by Heartgold96
(They didn't even bother to remove my watermark...)

I sent a report for hate speech, as clearly this and the last few deviatons I checked contain a plethora of wrong accusations, insults, threats and other tasteless remarks towards my person.

The user has been unfollowerd and I'll wait for a day to give the user time to explain themself to me. If the picture is still up by tomorrow, I will take legal steps.

replay398's avatar
I find an art thief 
hedgehogfairy224's avatar
hedgehogfairy224Hobbyist Digital Artist

I'm worried that I might of have copyright infringed by tracing, and then editing and adding features to most of the work I posted...:worries: :scared: revamp

GrandMoffPony's avatar
I'd like to report the following piece as blatant art theft: 

Mature Content

Summer Samus Aran bottomless by Migueldm90

This artist edited (and badly so) this piece created by raikoart, including replacing Raiko's signature mark with their own, and has posted as a content of their own creation.  (link:  Summer Samus by raikoart

To that point, the artist is trying to "flag as spam" every one of the many users who are rightly calling them out for said art theft.
YouAreNumberOne's avatar
YouAreNumberOneStudent Digital Artist
This user has been kicking around for a while now and has been tracing and stealing, then recoloring, owned/adopted characters and is trying to sell them as her own. 

Here is her page:… 

The traced/stolen adoptables are here:  winged kid adopts by tiffany-tiff-tiffany

(I also believe that the stolen adoptables directly violate DeviantArt's rules, last I checked)
Helion98's avatar
A new Art Thief had emerged. The name is Jeffyhater64 and Jeffyhater65 He/she blatantly copy-pasted artwork from a dear friend and... well, quite frankly deserves a ban.

Tail by Draigar-Fire-Crystal   Long journey by Draigar-Fire-Crystal

Blatantly reposted without permission:
STEALING USER ART by Jeffyhater65   STEALING Draigar-Fire-Crystal ART WORK by Jeffyhater64   STEALING Draigar-Fire-Crystal ART WORK!! by Jeffyhater64  

There are more examples on his page of stolen art, and they even admit to doing it in all caps. 
Lei2578's avatar
713 articles have been stolen.(7000 pics stolen)
Mostly are #Egypt #mylittlepony Pony, #dragons#animal portrait art, #insects......#atlantis…………?

Animal Totems(types Zhile recognize steeling):…

Some original artists I knew:…
Here's the other Main website:

As well as ZHILE(Wechat id=ONE MASTER) stoles music. It should not be allowed.
"原创" means Original article!!

"like the Author" on the bottom is leave money to the art theft
Please contact someone you knew or any group chats in artists/Instagram, xx
Thank you.
MysteriousLikeness's avatar…

Stolen plushpons adopt and many others it would seem claiming it’s theirs.…
CookieCandyCat's avatar
CookieCandyCatHobbyist Digital Artist
Wasn't very helpful. I happened to stumble across this art reposting account, but can't really do much since most of their postings are from artists outside DA.

I commented on one image, linking original artist's artwork and advised them to read DA's policy (gave links), but they just deleted the picture and thus my comment. I also told them on that comment that reposting art isn't allowed or okay on DA.

Now they included this passive aggressive comment on a newer submission:
"I don't own this image. I'm simply reposting it. I would tag the artists but I don't know their name. Please don't inform me about this. If you don't like me reposting images or drawings than don't visit my profile. Thank you."

Can someone help?

These are the original artworks the account has been reposting
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist
Memento by faestock
 -118 by scorpioshechka

Robed 3 by Peace-of-Art

 -34 by scorpioshechka

DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist
Memento stock pose reference 31 by faestock

 -119 by scorpioshechka

Memento 25 by faestock
 -120 by scorpioshechka
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist

Armour Stock 1 Preview 2 by Cobweb-stock

 -84 by scorpioshechka

Armour Stock 1 Preview 5 by Cobweb-stock

 -82 by scorpioshechka
DraakeT's avatar
DraakeTHobbyist Digital Artist

Bells Falls 34 by faestock

 -105 by scorpioshechka  -106 by scorpioshechka

The winter by anastasiya-landa

 -60 by scorpioshechka

American-otaku-art's avatar
American-otaku-artStudent Digital Artist
also another art theft
American-otaku-art's avatar
American-otaku-artStudent Digital Artist
this person has been posting art that does not belong to them.
here is some proof of that.

Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 6.37.06 PM by American-otaku-art   Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 5.27.54 PM by American-otaku-art   Screen Shot 2019-11-09 at 3.27.18 PM by American-otaku-art  
RobertFiddler's avatar
RobertFiddlerHobbyist Digital Artist
Original artists: SkeletonguysAndRagdolls
made in March of 2017

Thief: :iconspiritedwolf1000:
Zootopia Violet-Wilde-Hopps Comic pg. 5 by SpiritedWolf1000
posted on November if 2019 as her own work

anonymous's avatar
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