How I detect possibly stolen stocks

5 min read

Deviation Actions

StarsColdNight's avatar

- Legal Stock Sites - Photo resources

- Non legitimate stocks and how to report them

- DA users we do not trust

-A UPDATED LIST HERE Stocks I dont recommend

I get his questions a lot when I decline a work with a stocker I do not trust.

There is however a list of those here and I also have my own as they come along.

Hope this can help you too.

Help us have a clear path for our imaginations to flow!

The tips below doest Not mean ALL those users with similar characteristics are illegal stockers. Its up to You to determine it.

Most important issue:

Google Is not a stock site, is a search engine that shows you images from all the websites online.

This means, You are taking other artists Photography to use as your own.

Which is a copyright infringement and illegal. More about Copyrights ©

Public domain crops of pixabay.

You may use the stocks from the stock site, you should not re-share it as a stock is My personal opinion which applies to all my groups.

You are taking away the traffic and work from that user. (traffic on some sites generates them profit to which they can continue to share their stocks with us)

Even if its a public domain site, doesn't mean you should abuse it.

Use the original site, help the stocker grow!


I´ve been on da for over 10 years and have found ways to determine and or directly not trust some type of users:

1 - The file size is too small, even pixelated.

A image lower than 900px, often these are the size google images search will provide, if the image was taken by a camera, the minimum resolution is always 1500px and above.

2 - Check for Copyright Data.

In a DA submission, at the bottom where the file Information is, there is always the Camera used, the settings and sometimes the program used to edit. (this seems unavailable in Eclipse)

You can do it manually or via a website

Elephant by Sylvana Creation
Spynh by Sylvana Creation Images page click the little camera icon in the search bar.

4 - There is just One photo of the subject:

Which could have been added more variation and angels if it was actually shot by the user. Granted, some dont take it even if its their own, but to is worth to take a note.

5- That One photo seems too smooth and perfect:

In comparison to their other photos on their gallery. If it was a small image like google usually provides, using the smoothing tool to remove pixelated or noise that comes from google images to make it look HD when in reality it was Not and then resize to fit the criteria.

A real photo usually contains a little grain or noise.

6- Their gallery seems too random:

There are 3D CG files with photos that dont really match the same quality or sizing.

Some are too HD and others very pixelated.

The typical moon and cat cropps just makes me skip them entirely.

If you see CG figures of real animes or movies that are clearly painted, it was cropped, its illegal, move on.

Granted sometimes users like to share a variety of files, that doesnt mean its stolen unless its painted.

7- Its just so perfect.

If the photo looks so perfectly shot, camera, lens, lighting, clearly profesional, then its 99% fact its stolen, could be a real stock but I would avoid it since those photographers can track down their photos and you are in for trouble if used commercially or otherwise.

8- Do a same wording google search:

If you see the same file posted in billion other one sites, ABORT AVOID.

You have no idea where that file came from.

NOTE: PNG sites

Are the biggest thieves among us, they are all the same most likely managed by the same people (I found most are created in asia or india) I use the site to track owners and report them to their Hosting sites.

I find my own stocks there more often than not, we will not be accepting any of those sites, please take a look a our list gathered by several deviants around DA for guide if you are unsure.

Most sites offering stocks like this, are illegal sources, the better the stock looks, the more likely is its cropped from another art or stolen form other stockers like me.

9- If in doubt, don’t use it.

Most photographers do Not share their photos as stocks, because it IS their Art.

Dont risk it, To protect their livelihood, copyright owners often actively monitor for cases of unauthorized use of their work.


Then its up to the artists to determine how to proceed, this is just how I have found stolen or cropped files here, doest Not mean ALL those users with similar characteristics are thieves.

Unfortunately once cropped is very hard to find your own photos here, so...

LETS HELP US, TO HELP US and avoid using ¨stocks¨ with unsure backgrounds.

Do you have any tips on how You spot them?

Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Branka-Artz's avatar

I totally agree. PNG sites are the biggest art thieves :(

VinZo-Art's avatar

Thanks for this 😊

StarsColdNight's avatar

:wave: please share if useful!

VinZo-Art's avatar

I did that right away ♥♥♥ :wave:

CarlosAE's avatar


Ah I understand! All the tips of numbers listed from the list that stated "How to Spot Them" on your journal really sums it up nicely. Of course, we have each other to help take down thieves for stealing work online. Identifying watermark on any images spots the images, whether they're pictures of any art, is a big one or spotting them.