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The Art Theft Discussion

Tue Jul 7, 2015, 3:39 PM
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

Design: marioluevanos
Illustration: kozispoon
Writers: Joshua Wattles, Rom Bar-Nissim
Add a Comment:
YaZoV Featured By Owner Edited Nov 2, 2018
I have a problem, the description of which i did not find anywhere else in the site rules.
Let me explain... I'm Translator and i'm translating Zootopia comics and arts of various authors into Russian. I do the translation and publish them here ONLY after i get the author's permission. But this year i was the victim of a false accusations of theft by a couple of authors working together under a nickname AoiRemArt.
As i understand it, it was done after these authors stated that they would no longer draw "original Zootopia" content and demanded that everyone who translated her works, must remove "translated arts and comics" from all resources: "We're writing you this message to ask you to delete from your Tumblr and DA all the translations you made of our comics. Back then, Rem authorized you, but since our old works are being deleting from the original source by the will of the original authors, we're sure you understand why we're asking you to remove the translations".
Ao demand by YaZoV  
I agreed, but even before the end of the agreed period of time, the authors filed a complaint Copyright Violation on the first page of the translated comic submitted here 2017.03.26(!!!) in response to my comment on the peaceful resolution of the conflict between us and considering the possibility of saving translations on my page:
   (2) by YaZoV  
No discussion, comment or note, just "Copyright Violation" strike!
My comments have been marked "as spam" and deleted:
Operation Dinnertime - 28 [ENG]
Aoi Comments by YaZoV  

Authors accusing me early: "translations were made illegally and without any permission" and i'm stealing their work. But this is a lie, because i did translations with the permission of the artist, received 2 years ago via Tumblr. After that, i notified the artist many times (about posting of translations here on DA and Tumblr) and received an answers from her and reblogs all my translations on Tumblr:
AoiRemArt - 1 by YaZoV   AoiRemArt - 3 by YaZoV  
So statement that the translations were made illegally and i did it with "Copyright Infringement" is just a lie and an attempt to use the site’s rules for personal use.
1. I did translations only AFTER artist permission.
2. I always put links to the originals.
3. I always notify the author about the completed translation, so that the author can put a back link from the original art or comic.
You can check all this by going to my gallery and selecting any of the published translations. 
Currently i'm doing a translation for this comic:
Born To Be Alive - 01
As you can see authot did back link to my translation.

I ask for help and protection from inadequate actions of these individuals AoiRemArt. But because of their actions i have already received 2 strikes "for nothing" of the 3, agreed by the rules of the site.
I ask you to investigate this situation and drop the unfair charges of theft from me.
YamiReo Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2018
Please give this guy a warning and ask him to delete the image which was not drawn by him.
The art of anime by FLUFFY-W0LF

Drawn by zizi, a Japanese.
Larikane Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There's this guy who's been bugging me for a while, he likes to trace my friend's drawings to make robotic versions of his characters, and recently he traced a drawing of my bird sona to make a robotic version of her, and he's claiming her as his own character and is even using her to roleplay with other people. And I honestly don't like the idea of other people roleplaying as myself.

Here's the original made by my friend: Larikane - Me Hearty by SammfeatBlueheart

And this is the traced version: Larikane-bot by RoboBlu2003
Ibitz Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Got another art thief here for you guys:…

Everything is his gallery belongs to Lbely and she has warned him about it and reported him but he won't take any of it down. 
havic-reignss Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I’m actually here to report my self while I didn’t claim it as my own I didn’t give credit give credit as I didn’t know who to give credit to or in all honesty didn’t know to give credit as I found it on web search bing to be pasfic but ignoreance of the law is no excuse for breaking it plus it’s eating away at me now that know I want to make fix transgression as I broke the rule out of stupidity not Ill intentions like the genus I am I just said hmmm I wish to show off my taste in waifu though I know not where waifu comes from or who to thank for waifus existence I just said well if I put not mine didn’t make it as the title would cover that and make it known that I was not claiming it but sharing it but I should have read the rules as such I have broken them and for what it’s worth I’m sorry
Insidiax Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2018

This guy’s Gallery is nothing but stolen art

l3ombyx Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Rain-Adopt (OPEN) by HitoshiTotsu
This person is trying to sell this character, they did not draw the character, except for the chibi on the side.

Tordronlin Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Art Thief. This person's art is all stolen. Please take them down and remove them from the site.
Insidiax Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2018

This guy is steeling art like crazy

Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Edited Oct 17, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
You misspelled it wrong. There is no such thing as "steeling".  There is stealing.
Insidiax Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2018

Acutely there is such a thing as “steeling” but you’re correct I meant to say stealing.

ENERHEL Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2018
Stolen:  Bowsette by po214  Original:  Bowsette by Evomanaphy

Stolen:  Bowsette by po214  Original:  Bowsette and Jr by Kaiend

Stolen:  Bowsette by po214  Original:…

Stolen: Bowsette by po214 Original:…

Don't you find it awful that somebody steals the arts with popular character to get hold of popularity?..
Kaiend Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2018   Digital Artist
ty.. i try to report it but its too hard to do lol.. u need to put ur address and so.. sigh
Username-91 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2018  Professional Filmographer

Does this team of lawyers read these complaints? There are over 10,000 if I'm not mistaken. They claim that this literature is meant to help illustrators, but I don't see this "assistance." Three years have passed since this magazine was written, and since then no changes have occurred. Sometimes I ask myself whether this team of graduated or they have received their diploma at the lottery. Looking at the comments they wrote, you could see that they didn't finish their education, and they don't know how to talk about this topic. Since we got new unwanted updates, everything went wrong. Now when the user blocks us, we need to create a new account so we can see what they are doing.

I don't know what to say except that this place is falling apart, it collapses, and the situation is worse and worse. The new platform of the help desk that they launched several months ago looks more like a cheap tutorial that explains how to solve the problem that you have with your computer. You can find something like this through Google search. No, logging off solves nothing! If the thieves made stolen illustrations available only to members, then you have no choice but to create an alternative, profile. Or that, or rent your friends to view their gallery and send you the URL of infringing work through letters so you could be able to report copyright infringement.

Sometimes I wonder where this world is going. Over the past few years, since the unwanted changes on this site have occurred, I see many dead profiles, complaints, and warnings that the illustrators will never come back because of the way the site works. I suggested returning the old helpdesk platform as well as all the categories that existed because the navigation on the old platform was much simpler than now. They refused to do so regardless of my suggestion that got almost 50 positive votes and about 17 comments.

My next suggestion was to hire more people as well to return the old guard who built the site's core because the site became so dysfunctional that in the past three years it has become frustrating to wait for an official response from the Administration. When we receive an answer from the Administration, it is a typical canned answer that sufficiently shows that they don't care about our problems whether you are a victim of that problem or not. All complaints about abuse and cyberbullying on the site are always ignored. They always ask the victim to report it, and when the victim does, they tell her to ignore it because according to their logic, it's a personal conflict. 

Such a thing like this in the world doesn't exist. Why FBI or local police department don't apply the method the Administration applies to its service? The answer is simple; the chaos would occur because no one would control it. Only victims would be questioned, only victims would have the right to vote, and there would be no evidence, testimony, and witness. Briefly, it would be a breakdown of the system. It's not just about America; it's all the countries of the first region. The problem is a problem, and a solution for it must be found. Unfortunately, I don't see the Administration doing that. It's a tragedy what this site is doing.

RayMcCall-ErronBlack Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2018  Hobbyist
User TeensyWziard360 stoles pics of other artists and claims it as her own.

1. Stolen- Sookie Blue Music Wallpaper (posted on July 13th that year).

Original- Sookie Blue Music Wallpaper 2 (posted on July 3rd 2007).

Also she doesn't credit authors of bases, even if on description of their bases are 'Please, credit me for the base' and 'Send link to your finished pic'
MaximumBanana Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2018
:iconrealravenravenraven: is an art thief who is masquerading as the official Artist, they are using their name using their art and claiming to be the actual artist
Chocotee Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Original:  Treats For My Good Boy!!! by Arachmom   stolen:  Mangle by POINTS-MONSTER
ENERHEL Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2018
Stolen:  CrazyLOLs12 Yandere Simulator genderbend Cosplay by CrazyLOLss12  Original:  Yandere Simulator Cosplay Senpai by NSBrem

Stolen:  CrazyLOLs12 Yandere Simulator Cosplay by CrazyLOLss12  Original:  Yandere-chan Cosplay by FlippysMostInsaneFan

Stolen:  CrazyLOLs12 Yandere Simulator genderbend Cosplay by CrazyLOLss12  Original:…

Stolen: CrazyLOLs12 Yandere Simulator by CrazyLOLss12 Original: Day and Night by Shyua

Stolen: CrazyLOLs12 Yandere Simulator by CrazyLOLss12 Original: Yandere-chan by lNAN0

Okay, I will not continue, because ABSOLUTELY EVERY DEVIATION is stolen. Please block her. Thank you.
yellowsami Featured By Owner Edited Sep 14, 2018  New Deviant…

^that person is using bases without crediting even from animes like blue exorcist and comics like ghost rider and tracing sometimes recoloring them.
Rayadra Featured By Owner Edited Sep 6, 2018  Student Digital Artist
deidaraakatsukinya :icondeidaraakatsukinya: 
Steals art (included mine) and post it again as soon as it's taken down.
Also blocks everybody who tries to ask nicely to take it down
please report^
Rayadra Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2018  Student Digital Artist
SpiderFingers15 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist…
Almost all of the art here is stolen,Please take them down
LittleTwistedMind Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know if people can say as long as they give credit to an artist BUT don't ask for permission, it's still theft according to the DA guidelines

:iconjkid902: jkid902 has been stealing art for months, despite him giving credit, he almost never asks for permission and he should be taken to justice.
Bubble-s Featured By Owner Edited Aug 21, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist


ART THEIF please report^
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Edited Aug 22, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Sure, the artist can report the art thief for stealing art. If that happens, we will take them all down.
Bubble-s Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
they have been deacitivated
ThatDamnTenPin Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Recently this month, an artist drew a picture that she worked hard on. Then a member made a post about her artwork and accussing her of tracing another artist work. The person that accused her did not talk to the artist posting the work, but went ahead a reported the work to the artist she assumed she was stealing from. This artist then had her art work removed without her knowing. Is there something that I can do to solve this problem. Should I talk to the person making these accusation or talk to the artist, that was assumed they art was stolen, about the misundersatanding. How can someone make those accusations even if they dont have evidence to back those assumptions up.
White-Wolf-13 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you know these accusations are false?
ThatDamnTenPin Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
The artist that was accused was my girlfriend. I watched her draw it. Then when she showed me the message about this accusation, so we looked up the artist she was accused of copying. It was a artist she and I didn't even know about. they drew the same fictional character but not in the same style. I feel that the person who made they accusation just cut out the middle-man and reported it without providing proper evidence.
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Which person?
ThatDamnTenPin Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Are you talking about the person that accused of art theft, or the person that made the accusations?

LadyIonia Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2018  Professional General Artist
Out of curiosity, what could one do about a person deriving/tracing/editing your work without permission and saying it's their own work? Zero permission and zero credit given. Especially when I have a notice regarding no derivation/copying/etc. I obviously don't want to file a DMCA and waste time if nothing can be done about it.
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Edited Aug 20, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
It's illegal, and as long as it is illegal, one person has to be deriving/tracing/editing the work without permission and saying their own work. It's considered art theft. The zero permission and zero credit were given. Also, you have a notice regarding no derivation, copying, etc.
LadyIonia Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2018  Professional General Artist
See, that's what I thought. I just didn't want to dive right on in with a DMCA. The part about 'not wasting time' and 'you can have your account removed' kinda sent a chill up my spine. I know that it's wrong what this artist is doing, but I wanted to double check to see if it fell under the right categories of 'wrong' before I did anything.

(I don't want to tag their work directly since it'll alert them, but you can find the art listed on a journal by one of the people who alerted me to it: Art Thieftraced or derived by the thief TheGothicAngel13
Original art: by :iconladyionia:
TheNinjaSpoon Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
(You're welcome.)
webkilla Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This deviation:  The rainmoons by SuperBobiann

is made up of stolen assets from these following deviations:

Trixie and Trixie by Vector-Brony Applejack and Applejack by Vector-Brony Rarity and Rarity by Vector-Brony Fluttershy and Fluttershy by Vector-Brony Twilight Sparkle and Twilight Sparkle by Vector-BronySunset Shimmer And Sunset Shimmer by Vector-Brony

the artist who has been subjected to this art theft, wrote a journal about it: Name and shame

The problem is that the art thief has BLOCKED the artist, so the artist cannot report the art theft anymore! What should the artist do here?
SuperBobiann Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've already unblock the artist...what im about to do is block you because I'm getting really really worked up about this!
DanielaIvanova Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2018
Deeply concerned my ass! Where is the Report user button? Why is it impossible to report as a third party? If you guys cared so much about art theft you would not make us jump through hoops to report glaring and blatant examples of copyright infrindgement. 
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Probably was disappeared. Maybe report art theft through the "Report" button on several stolen arts. Art theft is illegal on this website, and I can't steal art from others.
186lilly Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Student General Artist
Animal Jam : Play Wild Items by mimadopts

This shouldn't be allowed. 
mimadopts Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I’ve seen other people doing it? They sell their accounts and items for points on here, so I figured it was okay.
mimadopts Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I’m not selling either, as I said on the post, I’m trading. I’m not selling their designs, I’m literally trading items on the app.
186lilly Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Student General Artist
Someone is selling animal jam items here, which is not allowed in animal jam. 
mimadopts Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Again, I’m not selling them. I am trading. I am trading animal jam items for points, you are making it seem as though I am stealing their design/art and selling it, I’m not and in the description it says I am ONLY trading. You might as well track down the thousands of other users trading AJ items for points then.
Sarasancalo Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Originals:  + Amongst the FIreflies + by SirFloofyFox Archer Alexander Chevalier - Reference Sheet 2018 by SirFloofyFox

Stolen:  love at first sight by Bluestreakkk alex by Bluestreakkk
ZeOddball Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2018

When I first came to DA, the Admins did their jobs and took down art that has been stolen. Now, they do NOTHING! I have reported this person’s gallery [which is full of official Winx Club pictures], SO many times, yet the pictures are still up in her gallery. I’ve even commented and told this person that DA IS NOT Photobucket and that she’s not allowed to upload official pictures/pictures that she did not draw..... She told me off. This is the gallery that has official art up that you Admins most likely won’t do anything about LouisdeFunes

Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Edited Aug 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
A few months ago, found some stolen art from other artists:

Original: Kawaii Pink Candy Canes by KawaiiUniverseStudio

Stolen: Cute Candy Canes by rainbow-artflame  

Original: Kawaii Pears by KawaiiUniverseStudio  

Stolen: Cute pears by rainbow-artflame  

Original: Kawaii Tiramisu by KawaiiUniverseStudio  

Stolen: A cute dessert by rainbow-artflame

She made another account and is doing the same thing in this one, though, she was accused of stealing art from other artists and has no life. I think she's not a normal artist.
rainbow-artflame Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2018
Excuse me?! This is my original art. I have only one account. If you want some one who is not a normal artist and is terrible go to honey-kissboo 
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
No, I completely ignored honey-kissboo after she stole more than other people's artworks.
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