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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:
AnimeRPer1998 Featured By Owner Edited 1 day ago  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 2 days ago  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 4 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Evil-Flippy303 has

Original by funnytime77  Lottie Loud by funnytime77

Stolen  Lottie Loud by Evil-Flippy303
EnvySkort Featured By Owner 4 days ago
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 1 day ago  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?
JNUniversal 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  New Deviant 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.
MatLPlays Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018
You guys talk about this stuff yet a lot of people still get away with stealing on here.
TrustyArts Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018  Student General Artist
This user stolen this artwork  HOS Item Avengers Infinity War by heysharm

Original belongs to this artist…
SphinxLuvDuvWuv Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
and they're not allowed to either. they are also breaking the rules. If someone started stealing things but got away with it because they weren't caught would you do it too? 
superfoxdeer Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2018
Come on man some people do screenshots too 
dioni81 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2018
Hello, how are you guys? I have a question about the images in Deviantart. for example, if I am uploading an image on my personal computer, is it illegal if it is only for my use without any sense of duplicating it or exchanging it online? For example, if I want to treat it as a hand drawing, thank you and if I duplicate it, I have to give the author credit.
Inky-creationz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Gonna tag ://
here. Tho I doubt he will care. Since not actually art, but a screenshot of a copyrighted tv show. 

Why am I even trying? It clearly wasn't made by the user, but it' not someone else' art either. And that seems to be what needs to be in order to actually report something. 
theaquapainter Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2018  Student Artist
This user blatantly traces art from games/anime in use for their commission work. Like they're actually being paid as much as over $50USD depending on the piece and do this.
PrincessJewel95 Featured By Owner Edited May 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This person's been stealing art from artists on other websites (Specifically Supobi and a few other artists on Twitter and Tumblr that I don't recognize by name). The stolen works that I recognize currently have nearly a hundred, if not hundreds of undeserved favorites: numbers that will continue to grow as unaware viewers continue to be fooled.
I don't know how much I can do considering a) none of the artists that she's stealing from (that I know of) have DA accounts, and b) she blocked me shortly after I called her out, so I figured I'd just leave this here.

...And also this.

Mainly because of how pathetic and hilarious I find it.

Slow Clapping Intensifies by PrincessJewel95  
xxGreenHeroxx Featured By Owner May 27, 2018
Almost everything:iconkingdomheartsventus7: has posted is stolen.

Here are a few

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

Peach And Daisy Poster by kingdomheartsventus7 Tutu And Kraehe Poster by kingdomheartsventus7
ENERHEL Featured By Owner Edited May 26, 2018

They takes other people's art, puts them in their profile without credit, and they even directly say under one of the works about this. Other works they exhibit as their own, although it's vary greatly in style and have already been published on other sites for several years.
ThomasKong Featured By Owner Edited May 25, 2018  Student Digital Artist

Quirk2 Featured By Owner May 20, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
just gonna put this here and say that everything on :iconfiyaway:'s account is stolen
the account i sless than a day old

everyone theyve stolen from:

iopguts and nashobapaws were most affected by this user, and dognoises was stolen from only once
LucyJayy Featured By Owner May 16, 2018
I figured. I guess everyone is on their own these days.
After all the years of dealing with art theft I don't blame them I guess.. It would be annoying.

Well any help would be appreciated in any way. 

If anyone cares please help report user :icontorturekate12:

She has stolen many pieces of art from :iconthe-midnight-knight:

Here is the proof. 

Mature Content

My Evidence (Language Warning) by LucyJayy

The-Midnight-Knight Featured By Owner May 16, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
If I can 1+ a comment,it would be this
LucyJayy Featured By Owner May 16, 2018
Khab had the right idea. This is the problem though. "Nobody cares but you." That's how it is now.

The best we can do it just hope enough people help out. It's better than nothing.
The-Midnight-Knight Featured By Owner May 16, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hope so
Space-between-spaces Featured By Owner May 13, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think this is an interesting turn of pace for the deviantArt staff. Are you familiar with the term "trolling"? It's a term used to describe when a person (or here on deviantArt deviant) decides to harass, aggravate, and bully other people just for a response. One form of trolling involves taking someone else's art and defacing it in an insulting or disrespectful manner to the original creator's work. This has happened to me, to others around me, and so on, so I am aware of just how long this process takes.

On average these trolling deviants use the deviantArt system in a way to bully other deviants such as blocking the person whose art they are stealing while using a secondary account to download original work. You may claim that the solution is to use the watermark feature to discourage this kind of behaviour but plenty of artists and viewers believe that this takes away from the original work and thus dislike having to use it. The blocked deviant cannot see the stolen artwork which means they could go for years unaware that their work has been stolen. This also makes resolving disputes difficult. When confronted about this the trolling deviant could merely pretend to be confused about policies and thus make it appear to not be deliberate.

Now if you reflect back on the deviantArt's methodology to handle this kind of problem, in theory a deviant could simply report a deviant like that through the use of the DMCA reporting option assuming they could find the page with their work on it which may get the troll banned but considering the easy accessibility of things like proxies, VPNs, and the ability to make new accounts/emails the most a victim of trolling could achieve is removing one head of a massive hydra. I should add it is extremely difficult for deviants with older accounts to access any sort of help desk reporting option, it's difficult for uninformed deviants to ask about policies, and even so the administration tends to rely on what appears to be heavily scripted responses.

It's my firm believe that if deviantArt wishes to deal with art theft or any policy violation that instead of waiting for the community to report these things that the administration actively look for them. Right now there are groups here on deviantArt that do just that, they inform artists of potential art theft, they report pornographic images, and they handle public disputes better than the deviantArt staff do/have. I understand this would be expensive but in comparison to the problems deviantArt has now? I've noticed a lot of big well known artists have left and made their own websites, some of which disable right clicking on images. Perhaps deviantArt could implement an option for something like that here?
Nat-Venas Featured By Owner May 12, 2018  Student Photographer
nekophy Featured By Owner May 8, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconsebollagm: stole someone's elses art and put their own signature on them. all their deviations are pretty much stolen- is there a way to just report a person instead of a whole gallery?
ENERHEL Featured By Owner May 6, 2018
Oka Ruto Chibi by Any-Ortiz   Oka-ruto by GineAPS

Practicing a chibi style by KittyCute154   Old art by KittyCute154

I am writing this post again, because the problem has not been solved yet.
XxShaym1nxX Featured By Owner May 6, 2018
:iconamythecutegirl: stole someone else's art

I found the original on pinterest:  Stolen by XxShaym1nxX  
Stolen:  What is your opinion on this ship? by AmytheCuteGirl
gaysnek Featured By Owner May 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
 Queen Bee  by jenniferart4449  one of examples of stolen art from this user. None of their artwork belongs to them, literally EVERYTHING is stolen from Warriors Amino (mostly from front page). Please, take care of this user as they're getting likes from something they never really drew. 
GlorysiaMelodyYT Featured By Owner May 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
RaimbowDrop1625 Stole

l + Next Gen + l Gleaming Note by Mintoria
MLP [Next Gen]  Happy Birthday sis by VelveagicSentryYT

Next Gen   sunny flame by RaimbowDrop1625
Mlp  Next Gen   I love you sister by RaimbowDrop1625
OshanxUmi Featured By Owner May 3, 2018
An other thief 'x' :

Helga. One Piece oc by TigerHelga   <--- thief 

Ace and Hatomi by HatoChan19   <-- original

Helga. One Piece oc by TigerHelga   <-- thief

Portgas D {Kasatori} Hatomi by HatoChan19   <-- original
GlorysiaMelodyYT Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A lot of Damn art

BATIM LH64 by LuigiHorror64

Autism luigi fixed by FNaFNationz
five nights at freddys gets angry by FNaFNationz
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