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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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

red2blaze's avatar
red2blazeHobbyist Photographer

I see someone that is posting others work, but is linking to the creators profile

So far was unable to get info from the creators if its posted with there premison or without

I assume its an issue but nothing here seem to talk about the subject, is that allowed or is that an issue? is there any system to deal with this, or dose each artist need to report there stuff?

Clonesaiga's avatar
ClonesaigaHobbyist Digital Artist
This journal doesn't help!

Seriously you didn't take into a account not everyone has a deviantart account!
Meaning they can't report their art stolen if it ends up here!


Especially with the rise of commissioned art!
Thinking-Silence's avatar
Also every normal page (instagram, facebook, amazon, 500px, etc. ) let's ALL users report stolen artworks and not only the artist himself.
Professional artists do not have the time to make 50 accounts on 50 websites just to report stolen artworks.

I found today again so many stolen works and I cannot do anything about it.
Fortunately enough I found ONE owner who is already on deviantart, so I could contact her.

It is ridiculous that dA seriously suggests to kindly ask the thief to take down the image.
This is like telling a bank robber: Please give us back our money, because you have stolen it!

birddoctorart's avatar
birddoctorartHobbyist Digital Artist
my mutual's art has been stolen and has been reported multiple times.  unfortunately nothing is really being done about it, i'd really appreciate any help i can get.

here's the stolen piece made by @/SADandEDGY My babyyy boy by SADandEDGY

and here's the original made by @/rottenbites now that you know i'm trapped.... by rottenbites
Elden-rucidor's avatar
Elden-rucidorHobbyist Traditional Artist
So... my fanart has been stolen and posted by another here on DA. What do I do?

My originals.  We're not through yet by Elden-rucidor Oh no, it was Ch'rell all along!! by Elden-rucidor

The stolen.  Old shredder by Saiyanking02 Ch Rell by Saiyanking02
4LadyLilian's avatar
4LadyLilianHobbyist Digital Artist
Here is the stolen artwork:  Shinikami1   Rage Rage   Periods in a year  png by Shinikami1

Here is the Original artwork  4LadyLilian  Bg-58 by 4LadyLilian

down because stole the frame from me!
I could prove with a psd file that mine

outrageous!!Rage Rage 
Frozenandge's avatar
FrozenandgeHobbyist Digital Artist…

is guilty of stealing art from Crabtoe on Instagram. 
They took the images straight from her Instagram and I'm 100% it's not them because I'm best friends with Crabtoe and the way they typed is different, also, the "glowy cat" post they made, it's actually Crabtoe's main sona and they wouldn't label it "glowy cat".
Nyghtcaster's avatar
NyghtcasterNew Deviant

How would one go about citing an artist here for academic purposes only?

Naeomi's avatar
NaeomiHobbyist Digital Artist
0/10 on removal of ability to report stolen content. 
Thinking-Silence's avatar
This is insane....
And unique in the whole Internet art world.
radekke's avatar
radekkeHobbyist Digital Artist
toxicpeacat is art theft and copycat she Stealing gif artwork from ShiftCat
Here is the stolen artwork  myoc wolf by toxicpeacat

The Original artist is ShiftCat 
Here is the Original gif artwork  Wolf Tongue Icon for TacoNoobGamer by ShiftCat

Also she stolen artwork from ToxicCiren

Here is the stolen gif artwork  cat icon by toxicpeacat

Here is the Original artist is ToxicCiren

Here is the Original gif artwork  Cobra Icon by ToxicCiren

Other Artwork stolen from @ShinjuTsukuda

Here is the stolen artwork  wolf icon by toxicpeacat

She's also copycat she copy characters from DepressedHeaddress 

Copycat character this is myoc by toxicpeacatmy old drawing by toxicpeacat

The Original character by DepressedHeaddress

Original character Snuggling under Mystery's tail by DepressedHeaddress The Clan Leader by DepressedHeaddressSomething- by DepressedHeaddress

Copycat characters snow and moonlight by toxicpeacat

The Original characters Holly and Forest (Redesign) by DepressedHeaddress

Holly and Felidae (PvZ ocs) by DepressedHeaddress

Copycat charactersthis is ice by toxicpeacattoxia by toxicpeacat

Original characters Destiny (PvZ oc) by DepressedHeaddress~Alone with you~ by DepressedHeaddressI'll forgive you, you know... by DepressedHeaddressMystery and Destiny by DepressedHeaddressMysterys Daughter by DepressedHeaddress

And more characters that she copy from artist his name is DepressedHeaddress 
radekke's avatar
radekkeHobbyist Digital Artist

That user is recoloring artwork so badly
He is 16 years old (underage artist) recoloring sexual artwork 
here is the picture Green Shadow Summer *In-Color* by Gamingfan1935

The Original artist is Anubis-13  Green shadow summer by Anubis-13

Also he submit art that not Belong to him. 
That means  art Thief 
NivixTheLucario's avatar
NivixTheLucarioHobbyist General Artist

so this person stole some stuff from a friend of mine
headless rosalina

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon- Arrow up this is one of the things they stole
ThomasKong's avatar
ThomasKongStudent Digital Artist

The user is known as stealing cartoon characters from somewhere else and violate the copyrights.
ThomasKong's avatar
ThomasKongStudent Digital Artist
The Olivers by kaylor2013
(Notice the glass with Spongebob and a Dora-styled character).
Just, please.
MwryCrystal's avatar
MwryCrystalHobbyist Digital Artist
Excused I would like to report a user who stole and copy the art of my friend 

The username is ---> "toxicpeacat" <----
She /he's side "I am don't take people art" And in truth is a lie

This is not the first time it is reported but the second because it was warned by one of my followers 

The journal :…

Warning The user is very stubborn if I try to tell "him/her"  he/she will delete  your comment or block you 

So please help him no longer bear because they are so much all I want you to help him
DarkBlack315's avatar
DarkBlack315Hobbyist Artist
vonotto  took my work and put it on a crappy cartoon image i told him id let it go but i blocked him im just letting everyone know  we got a art theif here 

ArtStationHuntThief's avatar

How is possible this thief is a BetaTester? Wow for me sci-fi seen his gallery is completely

created using stolen art and without no type of permission!

Stolen Art Direct link

Prepare Ye The Way

+ Stash link in the case he erase the image

Thief Oliverink


Stolen Art direct link

Morgan's Mutiny

+ Stash link in the case he erase the image

Thief Oliverink 2

REAL OWNER Donghwan Kim ---->

ImperfectXIII's avatar
ImperfectXIIIHobbyist Digital Artist
lovelygirlartist has been blatantly posting other people's art and making POOR attempts to pass it off as their own.

I'm not interested in reading a fucking journal. I want a more efficient method for reporting art thieves.
STARWARRIOR001's avatar
This person copyright characters without permission

anonymous's avatar
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