MY ART IS MY LEGAL PROPERTY.
IT IS NOT YOUR RPG CHARACTER.
IT WAS NOT CREATED FOR YOUR USE.
Just because you fancy it does not give you rights to it. Respect the work, and the person who created it.
"Unauthorized use or redistribution of artwork or photography as well as copying, tracing, altering, or heavily referencing without permission is considered art theft. You and/or your guardians can be sued for plagiarism and/or copyright infringement. Do not assume that little changes will make it all yours and that you will not be held responsible. Re-using the exact piece as-is, such as for online role-playing, even if you do not claim it is your own, is unlawful redistribution. ALWAYS ASK THE ARTIST."
Copyright Facts Links
Why is Art Theft Illegal(source for above quote)
Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, & Creative Commons
Art and Copyright
(Fantastic wording and links provided by the lovely wiccix.deviantart.com)
The simple explanations:
ANSWERING THE "HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS CONSIDERED ART THEFT" QUESTION and THE "BUT I FOUND IT ONLINE/NO SIGNATURE" EXCUSE:
~*~Only the legal owner of an image or resource has the ability to offer the work for reuse and images taken from print or film, images of celebrities, models or manipulated "renders" are not considered valid stock or resources. Any website offering these materials is not regarded as a valid stock and resources site.
The lack of obvious copyright information does not imply that the imagery is free for use. Images that you have found via internet search engines or in books are commonly protected under copyright.~*~
What is Copyright Infringement?
~*~To simplify this question, copyright infringement occurs when you do certain things with a creative work which someone else produced without first getting the proper permission.~*~
Some examples of copyright infringement (this is only a partial listing) can include:
~*~Placing someone else's photograph or creative work online without proper permission.
~*~Using a creative work commercially without permission.
~*~Adapting someone else's creative work found in one medium to another medium, such as making a book into a movie or a photograph into a painting.
~*~Modifying or editing a creative work without proper permission.
How Can I Avoid Infringing on Someone's Copyright?
~*~The best way to avoid infringing on the rights of another creative person is to use your skill, talent and imagination to create your own completely original work. When we use the word 'original' we don't mean that you must come up with an idea which hasn't been used before - recall that copyright does not protect ideas. When used in reference to copyright "original" means that you created your work without referencing or deliberately copying anyone else's work during the process.
Ensure that all parts of your work, both visual and audio, are your own original creations. If you have used materials which are owned by other people or companies make certain that you have obtained proper permission or licensing for the use before you place your work online.~*~
You can also obtain permission to use a copyrighted work by license.
What Sort of Things are Copyrighted?
The easy answer to this question is that just about any creative work that is less than 150 years old you might find should be considered copyrighted by default.
A work is not required to have a copyright statement printed on it or near it in order to be considered copyrighted so do not assume that the work is unprotected simply because you cannot see a notice written anywhere.
Also do not confuse the fact that a work is publicly available with the idea that it is in the public domain or free for use. Being easy to find on the internet does not affect a work's copyrighted status.
There are many exceptions to the 150 year guideline, but you are best advised to obtain legal advice from an expert if you intend to rely on the possibility that a modern work is not copyrighted.
~*~In most cases it does not matter how much of the material you have used, whether it's a single frame, a few moments of audio, a short clip of video or any other sampling it's still considered to be protected by copyright and you still require the owner's permission for use.~*~
~*~It doesn't matter how you obtained the material, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
It doesn't matter whether or not you've credited the proper owner, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
It doesn't matter if you are not selling it or making a profit, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
It doesn't matter if you can find other people using things without permission, it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
It doesn't matter if you've edited it a little bit or made a few alterations, if it's recognizable it's still considered copyrighted and you still need permission.
Read licenses carefully to understand the type of permission they provide. For example, there are many versions of the Creative Commons - each giving different permissions.~*~</b>
Can I use things created by other people in my submissions?
Our copyright policy, in brief, states that your submissions may only contain materials or images which were created entirely through your own effort, authorized stock or resources and materials or images for which you have obtained permission for use in the submission.
This means that content such as screenshots, celebrity photographs, video game sprites, and other similar materials are not typically considered to be valid resources for use in submissions to your deviantART gallery unless you have obtained written permission from the copyright holder.
Failure to obtain proper permission for the use of materials protected under copyright can leave your deviantART submission vulnerable to being removed by our staff following a valid claim of infringement against it.
(Provided by DeviantArt.com)
Please do not support art theft by commenting/supporting/encouraging those who debase and reuse the hard work of others without mention, credit or most importantly; without permission from the legal owner/creator.