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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:
ThatDamnTenPin Featured By Owner 1 day ago  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.
Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner 19 hours ago  Professional Digital Artist
Which person?
ThatDamnTenPin Featured By Owner 8 hours ago  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 1 day ago  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 18 hours ago  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 11 hours ago  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 11 hours ago  Hobbyist Writer
(You're welcome.)
webkilla Featured By Owner 3 days ago  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 3 days ago  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 4 days ago
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 4 days ago  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 5 days ago  Student General Artist
Animal Jam : Play Wild Items by mimadopts

This shouldn't be allowed. 
mimadopts Featured By Owner 5 days ago  New Deviant 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 5 days ago  New Deviant 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 5 days ago  Student General Artist
Someone is selling animal jam items here, which is not allowed in animal jam. 
mimadopts Featured By Owner 5 days ago  New Deviant 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.
charusan Featured By Owner 5 days ago  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.
LeoSFernandes Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Here is a LIST of stolen art.

The Thief's username is honey-kissboo , they have stolen multiple art pieces, have been called out by it but refuse to take down the stolen art and apologize to the original artists.

The original artists have been notified.

Even though this probably will take a while to reach you, DeviantArt, I hope you see this and help us deal with it.
A few months ago I reported:iconkingdomheartsventus7:for posting stolen images and nothing has been done.

Peach and Daisy on Hop Balls (Request) by GreenDayLuigi Let us hop together by HappylikeHappy  Rapunzel and Pascal by HappiUsagi

Peach And Daisy Poster by kingdomheartsventus7 Tutu And Kraehe Poster by kingdomheartsventus7Kissing Pascal by kingdomheartsventus7

Hussein-Sonic Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
I think every deviant has had the honor of stealing art either from website, DeviantArt or even other art websites now. This was number fourteen.
Pinkgirl234 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2018  Student General Artist
This user stole art from this user. PLEASE deal with this issue as soon as possible!

animatedartlover Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist… kept stealing arts from a famous furry artist Null Ghost's other social media(…).

He claimed himself to be Null Ghost. However, Null Ghost is actually an Asian who lives in Taiwan, definitely not an American called Derrick Scott Spelman...

Though there are others who tried to reveal the truth, supahblonde50 has successfully blocked them all and hidden their comments.

It has been nearly a year since supahblonde50 started his art theft, can you please take action and stop this art thief?
animatedartlover Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And the original artist already made his announcement in his Twitter…
Untitled by animatedartlover
jiesi Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018 Repeatedly steels from multiple people and claims it as their own. It's obvious, the work is so inconsistent in style and ability. They aggravate my friends  and ignore when being addressed. Please shut them down.
YashaTigerVampiress Featured By Owner Edited Jul 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist… this person has been stealing from my friends and other people and also out right attacking them with cyberbully, this guy needs to be stopped at once... this has gone too far!!! My friend is even thinking of killing herself, thanks alot for doing this to her. THIS IS WHY CYBER BULLYING IS WRONG, DELETE THIS PERSON, HE IS NOT EVEN HIDING THE FACT HE IS STEALING EITHER!!!
overlordxord Featured By Owner Edited Jul 18, 2018
There's a user called kakizaki86 who takes art from the game Fire Emblem Heroes and edits it, this might not seem so bad until you realize he actually removes some things from the art,(also the edits are fetish edits which might make the artists uncomfortable)which is not okay. A lot of different Japanese artists draw for the game so he didn't get permission to make those edits. Here's a list of all the artists that have drawn for the game(so far) and it shows the original art.…
MettaSplaat Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2018  Student Digital Artist
SexyCuteLailaArtys has traced wolfychu's artwork, can you take it down, please?

Original: I couldn't find the direct link sadly, :( But I found this…

Traced: Neon-Chu~! by SexyCuteLailaArtys
AnimeRPer1998 Featured By Owner Edited Jul 16, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist

          rinihimme                    LemonHoneyMaye           qwerhellur                    Shirouu-kun                               
[cb] cherry pudding oni by rinihimme    ~Amethyst~ Chibi by LemonHoneyMaye    Nemuuu? [AT] by qwerhellur    C | Missy by Shirouu-kun   
                  Powder-Puff                                      Milavana
C: Ninelives17 by Powder-Puff   (AT) What did you say? by Milavana


RENEW: Contract 0003 by JaminForJewls  RENEW: Contract 0001 - Kami's work by JaminForJewls  RENEW: Contract 0002 by JaminForJewls  Lana ! - 2018 ! by JaminForJewls  

commission 001 by JaminForJewlscommission 002 by JaminForJewls
DetectiveShadows Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist…

The following deviant has stolen art from various people
a comment under each piece links the original artist
GlorysiaMelodyYT Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Evil-Flippy303 has

Original by funnytime77  Lottie Loud by funnytime77

Stolen  Lottie Loud by Evil-Flippy303
EnvySkort Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018
This "discussion" has been up for 3 years, and it does not solve any of the problems it purports to solve.

The fact that you have completely removed the option of reporting users who willingly and enthusiastically break the rules of conduct here is one thing, but here's something you may have overlooked...  The blocking feature is abused frequently by art thieves who don't want to get reported, so if they block the original artist from their page, the original artist cannot go through the gallery to locate their stolen work to report it.

You just get a big screen that says "BLOCKED!"

The only way to get around this is by logging out, going through the thief's gallery, copying the links to the infringing works onto Wordpad or MS Word, logging back in, pasting those links ONE BY ONE into the address bar, and filing the reports.  It is an enormously exhausting undertaking that puts more work on the victim's shoulders because of the infringer exploiting this site while the Admins sit back and do nothing to make the process easier.  A lot of people get so overwhelmed with the amount of work they need to do to defend themselves (SOMETHING THIS SITE REFUSES TO DO) that they give up and do nothing, which lets the thief get away with what they're doing with no repercussions whatsoever.

Same thing for when you want to report someone for stalking, spamming, or writing awful things like "kys".  If you are "BLOCKED!" by your aggressor, you don't have a way to backtrack to comments they made to you BECAUSE THE BLOCKING FEATURE MAKES THOSE COMMENTS INVISIBLE.

What kind of a way is that to run an art site that swears up and down that it cares about artist rights and user conduct?

When we see someone blatantly defying or breaking the rules here, we're told to ignore it because we're not direct victims.  Seriously?  We get so many assholes who join this site every day for the sole purpose of picking random targets and stealing their art and telling them to kill themselves, and all this site's Admins can do is shrug! 

This is honestly pathetic.  It used to be that objective evidence from multiple third-parties was enough to get spamming accounts, trolling accounts, and art theft accounts banned from this site.  Regular people, everyday users who were fed up with seeing friends or strangers get victimized again and again, took time out of THEIR day to inform YOU and other people in charge of this site that awful things were happening under their noses and that it was their prerogative to put a stop to it.  We were already doing your job for you, all you had to do was locate the accounts we informed you about, review the evidence, and get rid of them.

If you can't even be bothered to do that, then what good are you to anyone?
Username-91 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2018  Professional Filmographer

The team of lawyers is a bunch of jokers and imposters they don’t know how to handle our issues. They wrote this article as an excuse for laziness, arrogance, and disruption that they show toward us. They refuse to do their job for which the Company pays for them. I thought that affiliate with the Israeli Company would make some progress, but I don’t see any changes for the better. I deceived myself when I believed something would happen in the future, but nothing happened in the past year since the Israelis bought them. It turns out that the Company is equally bad as DeviantART Inc, is.  They won’t do their job, they won’t help you, and they will do everything in their power to ignite the life of everyone who spent decades on this site. They want to create a site to be dedicated only to hysterical teens and kids who are using the Internet to express their anger and their madness towards the other. If you want to blame someone, then blame the idiot who suggested this bullshit of a suggestion. Thanks to him, the reporting became impossible, and the new blocking feature brought more damage than the benefits.

UltraSomnia Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2018  Student General Artist
Is this copyright infringement?…

He uploads "bios" about the characters using official artwork and renders made by the companies and spams character tags with the submissions even if they're not related to the character or IP.
serpentstones Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2018   Digital Artist
it's so hard to look through hundreds of comments on this, all with proof of stolen art, and see that reports made months ago still have the stolen art up and openly viewable. is anyone actually taking care of it?
POB-DAWG Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2018  Student General Artist
Original:  LAURABAGGINS IS STILL A THIEF!!!! by JNUniversal

Traced (Stolen) Without Permission, and uploaded for the THIRD time: 

Mature Content

Spandy by laurabaggins
ENERHEL Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2018
Stolen:  Ayano Aishi (YS) by SallyWCP


I think other artworks are also stolen. 
Wystari Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2018  Student Digital Artist
so :iconnanutnu: traced this art  90s anime style [ Pastel Milk ] by BrokenDoll777


90s anime style [ Pastel Milk ] by BrokenDoll777             F63f4eff-d190-45bc-96b4-7c6199ee959e by Nanutnu
MariettaSuccess Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2018
Here is an artist, who stoles art:
Princess by GjschoolArt   Realms by GjschoolArt

This art is stolen from, copyright is removed:………
Coyote-Rayzor Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay. So :iconglitterqueenly: stole this art:  haha by GlitterQueenLy

Okay guys
this art was stolen from a user called "sorinaღ" on Google+
Link to her account:…
Or aka Yummoe 

This person also stole another art from the same person, being this art: 
My oc by GlitterQueenLy  (Hell selling stolen art+OC? Really?)
To make this worse this art thief even has the decency to put her own watermark on the stolen art.
RayMcCall-ErronBlack Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist
Tied in a chair by YazFly247
That user: drew this for MickeyMouse000024 (mickeymouse000024.deviantart.c…), but didn't get permission from Claire-Petal-Splash to draw her persona.

Coyote-Rayzor Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not only that, she is claiming the profile pic and selfie of her to be actually her when it is actually a dead 13 year old girl.
Link can be found here:…
CartoonyCanine Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
FREE TO USE!!! by freebases2usebyme  A stolen part of budderpupp 's work being passed off as a "free to use" base by the user. It is not a base, nor is it free to use. Please report the deviation if possible. Thank you.
Khoryu Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
I need help , i'm new on deviantart. I found a core membership with patreon - JuneJenssen - that she rework my pewncil drawings. I contact her send a message private with the hope she finish to redraw my works, but she block me and continue it. 

Please help me, i'm new, i sign in 1 week ago but it's impossible,

She steal me and rework, mirror and redraw my Kasumi and both OC girls. 

I delete my new profile if nobody help me. 
PikthePickle Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Adoptable by CuteMlpCat3
This adopt is stolen. It is made by an account who is a day old, a signature is blurred out, and instead of providing evidence they told me to 'shut up.'
Ruiwen-art Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist

They are posting works that belong to teachers and students of GJschool, however they are claiming that it's their own work. I cannot contact original artists since they are from mainland china and they have no access to dA.
Add a Comment:

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