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December 16, 2010
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In a particular art-theft report fiasco that my friend had to experience, I decided to clarify what it means to be an art thief.  This is a hot topic it seems.  Everyone's on a red alert for art thieves these days:

At thieves come in different forms and motivations.

DEFINTION:
:star: An art thief is someone who posts another artist's work and gives PROBABLE CAUSE for others to potentially ASSUME that they were the -original creator- of the artwork. :star:

There are four types of thieves that fall into this definition.  Let's call them Type A ("Photobucket/Google Image") thieves, Type B ("Altering") thieves, Type C ("Trace/Copy") thieves, and the most malicious kind, Type D ("Identity Theft") thieves.

A Type A Thief (aka. "Photobucket" Thief):

• Comes to DeviantART thinking it's like Photobucket or MySpace, and they post their personal favorite Google Search images because they want to show off their favorite work, while participating in DeviantART as a community.  The images usually still have watermarks, and have not been resized or edited.  They don't know any better, and they don't know how to navigate the site.  They don't have much experience on the site, so they are not as familiar with the rules.  These thieves come in two types as well.  Just like there are benign tumors and malignant tumors, we have Type A-I thieves, and Type A-II thieves.

•• Type A-I Thief / (aka. "Sorry, I Didn't Know Any Better!"):

- Confuses DA with Photobucket.  The minute they realize they made a boo-boo, they immediately apologize for the confusion and take down the image.  This is a benign thief.  They meant no harm, and they simply were naïve.

•• Type A-II-i Thief / (aka. "I'll Post Whatever I Feel Like, TYVM")

-  Uses DeviantART AS a Photobucket, even after being alerted it's against the rule.  The minute a Type 1-A-I Thief learns the rules, and then decides to say "Screw it, I don't want to delete my gallery because I LIKE the pieces there," they become a Type 1-A-II.  This type of thief will ignore comments to take down the images, and refuse to believe they did anything wrong by minding their own business and not claiming they did the work.  In their view, they are innocent art appreciators, and in the eyes of the community, they are guilty art thieves.  This type of user is a malignant thief.  However, things could be worse.  Much worse.  At least they're still aware they didn't actually MAKE the work, and they didn't go out of their way to confuse people about ownership of the copyright.  However, their gallery of Photobucket-like images is still against DA policy, and they are well aware of it, but they're still risking it.

There even two kinds of Type A-II thieves. Type A-II-a thieves (aka "I'll use DA as my Photobucket" thieves) post the images without claiming credit, but usually don't edit the images and refuse to take them down.  But there's are STRAINS of them that are the -dangerous- kinds.  The kinds that -get away- with posting other's artwork AND EDIT the artwork.

Those that EDIT existing arwork are classified under Type B thieves:

A Type B Thief / (aka. "I Altered Yours, So That Makes It Mine"):

• These thieves are special because they believe they own the rights to PARTS of the image.  They think that if a section of the image is altered, then that small PART of the image belongs to them.  They think the -idea- of the image is theirs.

Type B Thieves come in three types:

•• Type B-I Thief / (aka. "But I Changed the Hair Color, So it Makes It My OC!")

- Uses DeviantART as their Roleplaying database.  Whether or not they realize that posting an original piece by someone else is against policy, they FIRMLY believe that if they change the hair color, clothes color, or general overlayed outfit on a fan art or existing screenshot, then it makes the image their own.  If the character is meant to look like Sasuke, because he's Sasuke's long-lost-twin-brother-who-was adopted-into-ROOT-but-trained-by-Madara-and-Superman-and-Batman-and-joins-the-Teen-Titans, then it makes the character theirs.  After all, how else can people envision their particular version of Sasuke's twin's clone's brother's car dealer's mother's former college roommate's jedi master's youngest star ninja pupil of Konoha?  (Unfortunately, these are some of the most common thieves, and the most gray-lined thieves that get away with what they're doing.  In general, if they choose to draw over a screenshot or someone who is not on DA, they get away with it more often than if they draw over an existing DeviantART user's artwork.  This, makes them some of the most malignant thieves on DA.  They're a kind of malignant tumor thief that continues to grow, and if everyone on DA did this, it'd be the end of art as we know it.)

•• Type B-II Thief / (aka. "I Edited Your Image / Dialogue to Make It Even Better!")

- Usually familiar with DeviantART's posting process, they're searching for material to fill their empty galleries, and they immediately think of artwork that they like, but they feel could be even better.  So, two different images of characters are spliced so they they look like they're kissing. Or maybe one is now angry, when originally he/she was happy.  Or maybe they're SAYING something different, with an altered speech bubble.  Or maybe the color palette is changed a bit, to portray more emotion.  Or maybe the image is cropped differently, to give better layout.  Or this, or that, or this.  In essence, the image is altered for the "better" however the user imagines it, or wishes it to be.  These thieves also come in two forms: the kind that are willing to delete the images, and the kind that are not willing to.  Either way, they are very conscious of the edits they made to the piece.  These thieves are usually benevolent.  They usually don't mean any harm in it, and they hope their work isn't reported, because they honestly believe their version should get some exposure for being an even better improvement on an already good piece.  However, they're a gray-lined area.  It technically is thievery, but in cases like this, if they contacted the original artist for permission, the original artist may potentially be okay with it.

•• Type B-III Thief / (aka. "Character Bashing", or "This Mustache Shows How Much I Hate You, Sakura"):

- I wouldn't even bother mentioning these kinds of thieves, because they're so innately obviously going to be reported, but there are those who also post artwork that is edited for the pure trolling lulz of "character bashing."  They grab artwork, they defile it, and post it to feel better about themselves, with the intention of getting others to laugh a bit.  In this case, the user would not be confusing DeviantART with Photobucket, but rather, 4-chan.  The good news is that character supporters immediately jump on this kind of thievery and report it en masse.  It gets removed fairly quickly.

A Type C Thief / (aka. "If I Trace It, Copy It, or Color It, It's Like I Made It!"):

• A FOREWARNING:  As a word for the wise, it is NOT against DA policy to submit traces of artwork, and so therefore Type C "thieves" are a very gray-lined area.  It seems that the community has established an unwritten rule of thumb:

**  It is OKAY to trace and/or reference copy OFFICIAL PUBLISHED AND LICENSED artwork without permission** and, ** It is NOT OKAY to trace and/or reference FAN artwork without permission**

However counter-intuitive it all seems, that's just how DA community policy works.  

There are two kinds of Type C Thieves:

• Type C-I Thief / (aka. "The Vector/Line/Trace Artist"):

- They're everywhere, and admit it, you have at -least- one or two manga traces in your favorites somewhere.  It's very tempting to favorite a trace or vector of a chapter cover, especially.  The more "official" the artwork is, the more likely you'll accept when someone takes it and makes a bootleg copy of it.  After all, it's higher resolution, it's cleaned lines, and holy moley, look at all the people COLORING IT!  I feel bad even mentioning these artists, because these artists aren't technically art thieves here on DA.  However, the ISSUE of these artists has been a LONG drawn-out debate among the community.  I still remember when DA made the announcement that traces were allowed, and ALL the buzz that flew around both pro- and anti-tracing.  Because traces are SO controversial, the community has grudgingly accepted traces of official work, but still JUMPS on the first line artist that comes along and tries to vectorize a fan artwork.  In almost all cases, I'd say just leave these guys alone, or you'll get half of DA siding against you, no matter which stance you take.  Unless they vectorize fan art.  Oh God, have mercy on his/her poor soul if that's the case.

• Type C-II Thief / (aka. "The Amazing Colorist!"):

- I feel like I'm stating the obvious here.  There are users who love to color official manga pages/panels.  However, that's against DA policy.  So this is where we meet another SUPER GRAY LINE.  This is like, the super mega ridiculous gray line of all of DA that could swallow all other gray lines into a giant vortex.  Here's the deal:  You ARE NOT ALLOWED to color OFFICIAL manga panels, but you ARE ALLOWED to color the TRACES of the official manga panels.  So, this is where the giant vortex of thievery comes in.  People HAVE TO trace the panel in order to color it.  An unnecessary first step, for what purpose?!  In the end, it looks like a colored manga panel!  But NO, if it's a regular colored manga panel, then it's AGAINST DA policy.  That makes you an ART THIEF.  Only if you trace the lines, can the image be considered your own.  Figure that one out.   My advice is, have pity on the poor souls who don't realize this extra little DA "step" they have to take in order to be within legal limits of deviation submission.  It's VERY common for people on forums sites to color official manga panels, so it's a bit difficult for them to understand that even though they MEAN WELL by submitting colored manga panels here, it's against policy unless they find a vector artist willing to help them out.  Nevertheless, it's against DA policy.  Manga colorings are an example of art theft.  But it's totally okay if they're colored traces.

• Type C-III Thief / (aka. "I Referenced This," and/or "This Is My Version Of Your Drawing"):

- This artist is usually (but not always) a starting amateur artist who comes to DeviantART, is inspired by other artists, and tries to develop their own drawing style by sourcing from artists they enjoy.  This usually means doing a drawing study by re-drawing existing artwork.  The artwork that they source from can be either official artwork, or fan artwork.  It doesn't matter, as long as they can study the style of it, and get familiar with the gestures of it.  Ultimately, the up-and-coming artist is left with a nice piece they're very proud of, so they post it to their gallery as a way of showing off their developing skills and hoping for positive feedback.  The good news for these artists is that they usually get a "ping" of some sort by the community... a momentary "grace period" of sort to properly credit the original source... but if they don't respond back ASAP and change their description, then sh-t could really hit the fan.  The "ping" is usually from what I term as being a "scout", a fan of the original artist who recognizes the work and usually leaves a comment like "It would be nice if you credited the original artist" and often times leaves a link to the original artist as a favor to the amateur n00b.  This is where Type-C-III thieves get split into two different categories:

Type-C-III-a Thieves:  These are the artists that immediately change their description to link to the original artist if anyone discovers that they haven't linked to a source.  Many times, they didn't realize that they forgot to provide a link, or they forgot to, so by simply "pinging" them to put a link in there, they'll put a link in ASAP.  They never meant to cause harm, and they posted the work as a tribute to their favorite artwork and as a display of pride in their own developing drawing skills.  They don't want to upset anyone, so they're more than happy to give a link.  It's preferable they link to the original ARTWORK, but most often times, they don't bother to go that far, and usually when the original artist is referred to the thief, the original artist is happy enough to get whatever credit he/she can, and may even make a nice comment on the user's page to give a little encouraging support, even if they're not entirely 100% happy with having their artwork referenced.  After all, it's a team effort and a community on the site, so we're all trying to work together as a big family, right?  Well, people may still report this kind of user anyway, jumping the gun because they assume they might in fact be a Type-C-III-b thief, which brings me to my next category:

Type-C-III-b Thieves:  This category of thief is what I consider to be a "Third-Degree Identity Thief." This person is -consciously- unwilling to link to the original art source or artist.  He/she chooses NOT to, because it'll make people think that they aren't as good as they claim to be at drawing.  It's the first category in my entire list of potential art thief categories that I would consider to be a real threat to the original artist.  So, I'm going to copy and paste the idea of this kind of thief and, instead, re-label this kind of thief as the first of the TYPE-D class of art thieves.

•• Type D Thief / ("I'M THE REAL POKEFREAK!  I PROVED IT BY RE-WATERMARKING IT WITH PEDOBEAR INSTEAD!"):

Let me start this out by saying, Type D Thieves DON'T survive on DeviantART for long.  If you're a Type D, you WILL get journals written about you, by either the original artists, the fans of the artists, or even both.  You'll probably also get your name submitted to some art-thief murdering community, and you'll probably get the heavens and universe and ban-hammer all slamming down on you at the same time.  You may go into it thinking it's funny, but it's exhausting.  Even trolls get exhausted after a while, which is why the more severe instances of this are very rare, and DANGEROUSLY ILLEGAL.  Kids, don't try this at home.


• Type D-I Thief / (aka. "Third-Degree Art Thief," or "It May LOOK almost EXACTLY Like Sharingan-Devil's Piece, But My Image Is Totally Original!"):


Here's the situation of the thief:  the amateur artist decided to reproduce a piece that they liked, decided that because they redrew it, it's their own artwork and they own the copyright to it, and they post it claiming it to be theirs, while CONSCIOUSLY not giving credit to the original artist.  The image itself is not the same medium as the original, so people who stumble upon it may end up being confused, quite sure that they've seen the image SOMEWHERE before, but not entirely sure WHERE.  So, until they can go out of their way to figure out who the original artist or source art is supposed to be, they grit their teeth and ponder over it.  (This, by the way, is the first motive one has to writing a journal.  People source to the image, ask if they've seen it before, and if anyone can place who the original source artist is).  Often times, the artist will reply to comments claiming to be the original artist of it (as is with ALL the cases of Type D art thieves).  After all, they drew it.  And, they never give credit to the original artist EVER.  It's a little hard to take down these particular thieves because it's sometimes difficult to locate the original source image, and often times, people don't even realize there IS a source image out there, and the thieves are off the hook indefinitely.  However, this is most certainly a Third-Degree Identity art theft.  Somewhere out there, the real artist is NOT getting credit for the work they did, and worse, not getting EXPOSURE for what they did.  The exposure instead is being given to someone who refuses to share it with the original artist.  If I were the original artist, I'd be pissed as heck.  That's a classic art thief.

• Type D-II Thief / (aka. "Second-Degree Art Thief / "But I Made The Original.  I Don't Care If NT-Devont Already Posted It.  It was Mine To Begin With"):

I'll keep this short and simple.  This is what happens when a classic case of a"Photobucket" Type-A Art Thief becomes possessed by THE DEVIL.  This is someone who honestly THINKS... they THINK they can get away with this monstrosity of an idea, that they can post EXACT copies of the original artwork, and use their limited Photoshop skills to ERASE THE WATERMARK, and in many cases, REPLACE THE WATERMARK WITH THEIR OWN SIGNATURE.  There . is. a . reason. for. watermarks!!!  The fact that the thief went in to ERASE the watermark, and REPLACE the watermark is a form of identity thief.  Not just that, but EXPOSURE thief!  Imagine if some DA soul came to the page, really liked the art, didn't know who the original artist was, and LEGITIMATELY WAS FOOLED into thinking that the thief was the original artist?  What if the poor soul went to a forum and POSTED it?  And other poor souls would then be completely confused as to who really made it!  It's not FAIR to the artist.  This isn't just about not giving exposure.  This is about taking AWAY exposure.  This is not just robbing them of their artwork, but robbing them of potential FANS!  The watermark is there to at least insure some kind of security in case a Type A "Photobucket" artist comes onto DA and doesn't know any better.  But a Type D-II thief DOES know better.  They do it so they can experience the rush and thrill of being a talented artist, and receiving an inbox of praise, faves, and a whole supply watchers.  At the same time, though, this type of artist is delusional.  They often don't realize HOW. FAST. the fan base .WILL. discover them, and it will NOT be a pretty sight.  For however many lost poor DA naive souls there are who can be fooled by it, there WILL BE HUNDREDS MORE who DO know better, and they make it their mission not only to flame the art thief's deviation page and their profile page, but they reply to EVERY COMMENTER who -was- fooled by it, to source the original artist and clarify the true ownership of the artwork.   I don't know what the art thief would be thinking to truly attempt a misdemeanor of this sort, but it DOES happen.  And they very quickly realize that it's only sparkles and rainbows for the couple dozen pageviews, before it quickly turns into a giant roasting pot of flames.  Because of this, we can only suspect that TROLLS attempt this crazy feat.  No sane person could withstand such heat from the community without having some kind of meltdown.

But even THAT case scenario isn't as bad as this ultimate one, which is the king of all Art Thievery, to the point that it's beyond that.  It's worth suing over:

Type D-III Thief / (aka. "Identity Thief" and/or "Hi, I'm AnauchihaD!  I Just Moved Accounts!")

This is the WORST situation for an artist AND a thief to be in.  There's NO mercy here.  The sky will not only fall, but it will rain hammers and shards of glass into the eyeballs of the thief.  It's bloody, it's not pretty, and the worst part is people LOVE to participate in this kind of drama.  To an art thief hunter, this is like the smell of blood to sharks.  A Type D-III thief is someone who posts an ENTIRE GALLERY based on ONE ARTIST'S WORK.  And on top of that, they claim to BE the original artist.  They "moved accounts", and this is their "new" account.  And, until the original artist gets wind of what's going on, they can pretend to BE the person for whatever window of time they might have.  It's a momentary thrill of stepping into someone else's shoes for a day.  Or an hour.  Or 10 minutes.   Or however long, really.  Until the original, official artist signs online and publicly states that they're NOT the impostor, the impostor/identity thief will run rampant in the community. This is the classic case of art thief that will almost GUARANTEED get a journal entry written about them by someone.  And they are GUARANTEED to be hunted down and banished from the face of DA.  And not just DA.  This often happens OFF of DA.  This is the reason why watermarks are SO important, because the identity thief will go to a site like drawingnow.com and make a username based on an existing artist, and submit their entire gallery, and PRETEND TO BE THE ARTIST WHO DECIDED TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT ON ANOTHER SITE.  They get away with it!  It's more than just a window of time.  It's a whole set of time, really.  The more unfamous the original artist is, the longer the thief can continue to prance around in the original artist's shoes.  This is TERRIBLE.  Absolutely revolting.  Especially if they interact with other people and give other people some kind of IMPRESSION of how the original artist is.  I'm not even going to say it's not fair to the original artist here.  It's more than that. It's unfair to the entire COMMUNITY when something like this happens.  It's the worst kind of theft that can possibly happen.  I hold no remorse for this kind of thief.  Nobody does.  Not one single person in the entire world holds remorse for this kind of thief, so you can bet there will be an ARMY of people out to rip the thief to shreds.  It'd almost be a beautiful sight if not for all the digital blood XD  So a word to the wise, don't be an identity thief.  Not a good idea.  Not a good idea at all.  Watermarks are there for a reason.  Respect the original artist.

:star::star::star::star::star:

So in closing, I want to say that I'd RATHER be either a naive Type-A "Photobucket" deviant, or a Type-C-III-a "Reference with a link the original artist and drawing" deviant.

I'd also like to establish that if you get an artist's permission to do anything, then you're totally free to do whatever you want.  I mean, dude, if an artist tells you it's totally okay for you to steal their identity, man, GO for it.  All they have to do is write a journal saying "I'm moving accounts" while linking to your fake account and voila, you're a legal art thief!
Add a Comment:
 
:icongideonapollob:
gideonapollob Featured By Owner Edited Jan 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Im a C-I Thief on one-thirds of my deviations... *wanna cry because of guilt*. The original picture is 200px by 300px so i enlarge it but I'm already a thief...... I will now add credits to the original artist/s on my deviation. Im very sorry.......
Reply
:iconalien-psychopath:
Alien-Psychopath Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remember I drew my dog (he recently died 3 months ago) on dA muro back in probably 2012 and some thief had stolen it she was a Type A II-i thief. She then re-uploads it to her "possible" backup account. Seriously I have proof that he is mine because I have photos and other drawings of him. :no:
Reply
:iconmorganjent4:
morganjent4 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I do manga colorings but I always have a separate layer for the lines I did...I never color on the original. Most of the time I draw them out on paper first (looking at the computer screen and drawing them out) then trace over the drawing I did. After reading this I feel bad just doing that. Coloring them is quite fun...but this makes me not want to do it anymore. I mainly do it just to get people on my deviantART to look at my original stuff...but they never get noticed. I think I'll just quit the manga colorings all together now.
Reply
:iconcynfinnegan:
CynFinnegan Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, when I say that I'm reposting something from my old account, I mean I'm reposting things that I'd originally posted on my old account, which I closed after eight years.  I do revise old drawing, and yes, I occasionally use tracing paper when I do and usually to correct features, proportion or positioning.  If that makes me an art thief, then so be it.  I'm only "stealing" from myself.
Reply
:iconchokingames:
chokingames Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
not sure if you still read these, but i like your writing style in this. descriptive, formidable and fun!
Reply
:iconpavitpanag:
Pavitpanag Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2013
someone made a fake account of sandara. the type D-III
Reply
:iconlps100:
LPS100 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Student General Artist
I remember in "watching" 2 Deviants have the Type D-III Thief and, one of them which got that type of Thief was ~WoodenToaster, while the another I don't remember the name~

But, I remember my friend, ~Dat-Lil-Filly linking me to two sites which stole my Artwork.

That's the only thief I've got, two sites stealng my and another people's artwork, no more Art Thief stole my work :S
Reply
:iconcitycreek:
Citycreek Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Some sites steal my artwork, and claim it as their own, even though they keep the watermark and everything. XD
Reply
:icontoddntheshiningsword:
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I had a comic I made a few years ago that I posted. In it, there's a group of security guards bugging the main character, and one of them looks just like Garfield's mailman because I referenced him very heavily to draw those panels.

So basically, even though the entire comic is completely original and made by me, because one of the security guards looks a lot like Garfield's old mailman and I didn't give the credit for my work to Jim Davis, then that mean's my whole comic counts as a stolen piece of art?
This is that comic example. The guard in question stands out pretty good in that old comic of mine, now that I look at him again... ^^;
Reply
:icontoddntheshiningsword:
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think the word thief gets thrown around just slightly too much. If using another artist's work as a drawing reference gets you onto this list, then everybody's a thief except for the person who traces a published manga and then colors it. :XD:

Like, what if someone uses another work as a pose or anatomy reference? A human could easily just assume that pose anyway, but you probably wouldn't be able to get anyone to pose for you. An artist can't own a pose. If you draw a person in a certain pose, you own the picture and the idea, but you don't own the pose or own human anatomy, so if the person just used your picture as their pose reference, why should they act like their picture belongs to you? If they were drawing your person, that's one thing, but if they're drawing their own character, and their character is in the same pose as yours, why are they a thief? 
Reply
:iconetherealvalentine:
EtherealValentine Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with you here.
Reply
:icontoddntheshiningsword:
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The concepts are fine, but the word "thief" is badly overused. I guess that's the new art world. :shrug:

I'm actually glad you replied to my comment on their Journal even though it's months ago.
Reply
:iconetherealvalentine:
EtherealValentine Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree.
No one in the art world started out just being great. We all copied, and traced, and then showed those off to our friends and family. This doesn't mean we were all thieves. It's part of developing the skills to have your own style, and ideas. The author of this article actually mentions that at one point.
In my gallery I still have some pics of dragons I drew and coloured while looking at a "How to Draw Dragons" book. I firmly believe the author and illustrator of that book expect people to copy and trace their content. I don't think they would call it stealing, or theft. Now if I attempted to sell those drawings of mine, yes that would be wrong. If I didn't admit that I looked at books to draw them, yes that would be wrong.

Haha, you're welcome? xD
Reply
:icontemaire:
Temaire Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
So I am starting to learn how to draw and I am wondering if I am part of this art theft thing. I don't trace but I look at a paused shot of the anime I really like. But I do think I give credit since I say which episode it is from that I am referencing. I started out drawing statues I have and then I felt like learning anime. So am I in the wrong?
Reply
:icontoddntheshiningsword:
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're not wrong. Plus, copying is basically how people learn to draw. You look at something and you draw it. Plus, the creators of the anime most likely don't care that you're doing it and know that fans copy their work. BUT, you'd want to read dA's official rules actually to make sure you're not violating this site's policy. You're certainly not doing something wrong though. 

Plus, anime isn't like real life. What I mean is, if you wanted to learn how to draw a dandelion, you could draw someone else's drawing or photo of a dandelion, or you could go outside and look at a real one. But there are no real anime people in real life. The only way to reference one is to draw what someone else has drawn.
Reply
:iconscampercat101:
Scampercat101 Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Although, for D-III, the jig could start going unsteady for the impostor as soon as the original artist actually uploads something NEW on their real account, still not even knowing that someone's imposing as them. IF the undiscovered thief is the "original artist" and MOVED from the other account, why would something be uploaded on the account they moved from?
Reply
:iconneko-hitomi:
Neko-Hitomi Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2012
To me, only the first few seem legit. The ones after look too nitpicky. Think about copyright on music and movies etc.
Reply
:iconhanayuuki:
hanayuuki Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
copyright on music and moevies is different. but i think, it depends on the country you live in...
Reply
:iconthetommykitty:
TheTommyKitty Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hmmm...what happens if you create a piece of art that is entirely unique...except you traced the eyes from someone else? Or say, you just traced or referenced a small aspect...?
Reply
:iconwhatthehellxd:
WhatTheHellxD Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
i didnt see anything with my problem. Dx
what if yours and another persons drawing style seem almost exactly alike?
i was accused of stealing something that i posted, and it looks like this OTHER thing that someone else posted, but i had it posted before they did., and i had never seen theirs before. its like they think i stole something that technically didnt exist yet (???)
but i thought it turned out like we just had the same style. the way we draw everything is almost exact. x: so they think i copied their style but i never met the person before. and copying someones style sounds plain impossible. X:
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:iconjizzanthepuss:
Jizzanthepuss Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
I'm sure you get questions all the time but I have to ask....
** It is OKAY to trace and/or reference, copy OFFICIAL PUBLISHED AND LICENSED artwork without permission** and, ** It is NOT OKAY to trace and/or reference FAN artwork without permission**


Are you sure that's the policy? It seems to directly contradict the rules laid out in FAQ #306: Does "Crediting" let me use whatever I want?
Official written permission or license is required whenever you wish to use artwork or photographs created by someone else; it is also required if you wish to use screenshots, official artwork from a video game, scans from an art book, or any other source material which is considered the legal property of another person. Permission is still required even if you have planned to manipulate, color over, blend the original with other images, or otherwise digitally work over the original work.


I don't mean to challenge you but I'm just curious. Can you give me a link to where it says that in the rules?
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
One of the moderators, $fourteenthstar posted about it in her journal: [link]

It is okay to trace official work. Just, when you try to trace fan work, the uproar causes the mods to delete the work. That's just how things work around here. I know all form of fan artwork is illegal/gray area, too, so it's a bunch of thieves screaming "thief," but if the moderators allow it and/or don't allow it, I follow the moderators' mindsets.

I wrote that not to say what the law is, but rather what the cultural approach is around here, and what the moderators deep as violating terms of service or not.
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:iconarch-guardian-angel:
Arch-Guardian-Angel Featured By Owner Edited Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I know this is an old post but WTF the admins ugh I just want them removed :/
no its not okay to trace official art work 

because they ARE under copyrighted law and can be directly reported to the artists by just simply emailing them
like Disney THEY absolutely HATE for their work being traced, used or stolen they take this very seriously how'd I know
because I actually directly emailed Disney themselves...

and that journal that idiot of admin did was disgusting :/
or am I misunderstanding that you are against it?

or are you actually agreeing with that foul admin like the rest of them that run
this site :/
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:iconmucha-chan:
mucha-chan Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012
it has helped me, thanks :)
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:iconyoshizune:
Yoshizune Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012
You seem to be very well informed.
I remember there being a time where colored manga was against dA policy, and tracing was against dA policy, but now both seems to be ok (as long as you bring in your own unique touches). I think this will help beginner artists set foot here.
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:icondeathofasalesllama:
DeathOfASalesLlama Featured By Owner May 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
How about someone who gets gift art from a friend, posts it in their own account (saying that it's okay for them to do so because it was drawn for them, plus they wrote "By ___" on it), and refuses to take it down? Aka someone who just treats dA like Tumblr...

I've tried telling them that they should remove it, but they keep insisting that it's alright to post stuff directly as it is, because they say they "gave credit for it"... What can I do? How can I convince them otherwise?
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner May 27, 2012
It sounds like art theft. They even acknowledge they didn't make it, if they have to give credit for it. The copyright holder is the one who either drew it, or the one who commissioned it, depending on the contract signed. If no contract is signed, then by default, the artist will have claim to the copyright. If the person who received it as a gift will not remove it, then it should be reported. Real friends would never ignore the pleas of their friends. If they want to post it as their webcam, it's one thing, but to receive favorites and comments on something that they didn't personally do steals the thunder from the original artist. Report it, so they learn their lesson.
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:iconbonbonaj3:
Bonbonaj3 Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is good that you posted this. It will definitely help some people. I just have to laugh at that last paragraph, though. XD
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:icondeliciousbutdeadly:
Deliciousbutdeadly Featured By Owner May 2, 2012  Student General Artist
This clarified a lot. I know a lot of people extremely paranoid about art theft and well I'm curious if it's legit. What do you think could happen if someone who has never met the other person just happened to develop a "SIMILAR" but not identical character, as in the visual looks similiar but names are different and what not? I'm curious of your opinion :D
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner May 4, 2012
If the characters are completely identical, the copyright of that design goes to the person who invented the look first, according to all records. If they are different enough to be identified differently by most people, even though they're similar, then the characters simply are similar, and not the same character. There are people who think all anime and manga looks alike, and for some genres, even I agree on that one, on some parts. However, the mannerisms, the expressions, the body language of a character... all of that usually gives light to which character it is. Ultimately, a character doesn't just boil down to character design. A character has a bio, a background, a personality, a set of facial expressions, a turn-around, a few quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. A character usually is much deeper than just the design, and because of that, an author's style at some point will make it evident that the character is his or her own. There are no two artists who draw exactly alike. None. Drawings to an artist are like handwriting. There isn't much difference between drawings and handwriting, actually. Your wrist is inclined to move a certain way, and there's muscle memory there that makes some strokes harder to override than others. That's why a lot of professional artists and figure drawing artists stress using your -entire arm- to draw, not just your wrist, so you can truly capture the shape, figure, and motion of the body's curves, instead of defaulting back to your drawing style.

The only time I would ever truly stress to steer clear from a certain image is when someone tries to claim a trademark image that isn't theirs. Trademarks, from what I understand, override copyrights. So don't ever draw or trace this: [link] and then try to sell it, or as South Park would put it, "you're going to have a bad time."
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:icondeliciousbutdeadly:
Deliciousbutdeadly Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Student General Artist
This was really helpful. I really enjoyed your journal because you sounded like you understood it more rationally. Thank you! I didn't even think about muscle memory and I agree thoroughly that like writing, there is a difference even at times it might be hard to see. Thanks again! Your info has been so helpful :highfive:
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:iconmajor-link-fan:
Major-Link-fan Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Bookmarked and favourited. That is all.
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2012
I'm glad you enjoyed it : )
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:iconjmk1999:
jmk1999 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
hey, can i create a fake account in your name and sell art prints and make money? i just wanna be totally legal and legit. :D

lol... but in all seriousness, nice journal entry. i gotta say i feel bad for the manga colorists. there's some awesome colors out there yet they can't "legally" do it because it's not traced? give me break. :unimpressed:
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
Yeah, it's really stupid and I think the reason why it's allowed is due to some loophole from their rules, but they're not sure how to actually change the rules to be tighter and clearer without affecting an entire mountain of submissions they'll have to remove from the site. It's a really crazy and confusing hole in the system here.
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:iconinsaneroman:
InsaneRoman Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
This is the best thing I have EVER READ. And I am linking it every chance I get. I think I was just impired to do something similat but with types of trolls. May I?
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
That'd be amazing. I'd love if someone really organized the different kind of trolling one can do. It'd be a fantastic reference. There are a lot of people who don't understand what an art thief is, and there are a lot of people, especially my parents' generation, that has no idea what a troll is, and there are a whole ton of people who never sat down to really think about the various forms and the severity. Maybe some advice at some point on how to deal with a troll may be helpful. Like, for example, how you should never feed the troll by defending yourself. I'd love to read it when it's done.
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:iconinsaneroman:
InsaneRoman Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I've got it done! I'm a little afraid of people seeing it and getting offended or something, so I explained that it is as much satire as it is fact. :XD: I want people to be informed and still go "lol so true!", you know? But sure, here it is: [link] If you have any ideas to add, feel free to shoot them out. :)
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:iconrakkiya:
Rakkiya Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Student General Artist
This will be a standard link used by me if I ever stumble upon art thefts.


One Fun thing to know: There is also a Type-A-I-a thieve: Not knowing any better and even sharing it in dA-Groups. xD

Laughed my ass off while correcting that person.
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:iconkalinascope:
kalinascope Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2012
This is the God journal of all art theft opinions.
Thank you for clearing *everything* up.
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Thank you so much : ) I wonder how people find this these days. I have no idea where to even begin to look for News now, since they made it all so hard to find.
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:iconkalinascope:
kalinascope Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2012
Haha I guess we're magical... ^^
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:iconcrischromatic:
Crischromatic Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012
thanks for the info
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:iconmeowmeep499:
meowmeep499 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2011  Student Writer
Love your post, I do a lot of reference drawings but I never post any of them, I just keep them to myself lol, but I do make a lot of backgrounds and icons, and on every single one, I always, ALWAYS contact every artist I can, wait for their reply, and then post what ever it is that I want to. I have several favorite artists of pairs that I have permission to use whatever as long as I site them, and I always do, and whenever I get a comment like 'I love your art!' I always say thanks, but its not MY art work, and I direct them to the artists home page, or the particualr pcture I used for an icon. and if ever a artist asks me to take down a picture I added to a background, I do so without question, because its theirs.
there was only one time I ever got real complaints, and it was from a fan of the artist of one of the pictures I used in a background, they told me that I was horrible for using others art and this and that. I afterward imidatly went to every artist I could find that I had used a picture of, asked to use it, showed them where I had put their art, and not one told me to take it down. After I told this to the angry fan, they yelled at me some more telling me it wasn't up to the arist, that this was a community and blah blah blah, so they went to the officials, they messaged me, I messaged them back, and I never heard a word from either this angry fan, or the officials agian except for an appology of having bothred me.
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:iconfaster-by-choice:
faster-by-choice Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011  Student General Artist
I have a question. What do you do about those people who use your art as avatars without your permission?
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2011
I think it's great, to be honest. Many artists draw, paint, color, write, and create so that the audience/readers -identify- with the work. If there is someone who connects with a piece so much that they wish to use it as their avatar decoration, then I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Nobody is making money by selling prints of it, and at the same time you're getting free advertising and marketing as an artist. Imagine if everyone online, on YouTube, 4chan, DeviantART, etc etc etc... imagine if -everyone- in the world suddenly switched their avatars to be Coca Cola icons, even though the logo is trademarked. Coca Cola would LOVE it. They'd have been able to advertise a million times more, and a million times cheaper than a Superbowl commercial. So, I'm under the impression that avatars are free territory for someone to borrow the image if they identify with it, as long as the person isn't posting other artists' work in their galleries. Usually a borrowed icon is temporary until the artist with the icon produces enough of his/her original work that they change the icon to their own work.

In an effort to deter people from using my icon, I've personalized mine. By putting my initials on it, I've made it a lot less likely that someone else out there will identify with the icon and decide to sport it. However, if someone else did, it's all on them, and it's perfectly fine with me. Same with forum banners. Free advertising is great. There's an expression that is used in the field of advertising actually; "Without advertising, something terrible happens: Nothing."

I don't believe that it's possible to fight to remove peoples' rights to create avatars of their choosing. I'm under the impression that avatars are universally accepted on the Internet as being derivative works that are profitless, unless you consider potential pageviews resulting from a great avatar as Internet currency.

There's nothing stopping someone from protesting the universal use of avatars, though. People can protest anything. But there will always be thousands more people in the world who are -not- artists than people who -are- artists, and all of those people who have never drawn anything except stick figures in their lives will most likely look to other sources to identify themselves with. Avatars of celebrity photographs are copyrighted material by either paparazzi or studios, avatars of animated characters are copyrighted to a studio in the animation field, avatars of trademarked characters like Barbie and Mickey are owned by a business or corporation. Even fan art, as derivative work, such as your own avatar, and my own avatar, are fan art of someone else's character. The original creators of Phineas could easily be offended with someone drawing Phineas with a flower in his head and dislike an avatar because it does things with their character they may or may not have chosen to do themselves, but ultimately there's no way to control that currently, and I don't think that anyone would really pursue anyone else for it, because while you have an icon of Phineas with a flower in his hair, I look at it and say, "I'm in the mood to watch that show now," and before you know it, cable just got one more person to turn on their TV today to watch the Disney channel.


In conclusion, the best advice I can give is to create an icon that only you identify with, if you want to have a unique avatar. Put your initials on it, crop it, paint it, animate it to be personal to you. Avatars are like a fashion statement in a way. You can be the trendsetter or be the one to copy the style.

If you ever do have someone else copy your work to use it as an avatar, and you disapprove, and disregard that it is acceptable, there is also an option of contacting the person personally to ask that they change their icon. There are a lot of people who will be agreeable about it, because they don't want to look at their icon and feel that it has bad karma that they should be ashamed of. Many people who use borrowed work as their icons choose that piece because they really, really like it a lot, so it's a bit like a personal hero letting them down and waggling a finger at them if they find out that they've upset the person whose work they admire.

There will of course always be people who may not listen to the request to change the icon, too. I don't think that's controllable at all, but they will live with the fact that they are doing something that upset the original artist. People like that usually have attitudes that come across online as them believing they are above everyone else's opinions, and believe me, they will never make it popular on DA with that kind of attitude and behavior, so they're not even worth arguing about.

I hope I was able to answer your question okay. Avatars are a bit of a can of worms, because they're so open for discussion.
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:iconsilveeerwii:
silveeerwii Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2011  Student General Artist
woow! its really good to know!
btw, [link]
I traced that as you see, shall I delete it?
or is it ok to keep?
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:iconlauraneato:
lauraneato Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011
In general, it is best to use stock photography as backgrounds. If you use artwork or a photo that is exclusively owned or licensed by a party, you should ask for the permission to use their work. My impression from the source image is that is it stock image desktop photography, so I wouldn't worry too much on your behalf. I think you should be fine.
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:iconsilveeerwii:
silveeerwii Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2011  Student General Artist
ok, thank you ^^
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:iconthatsmyass56:
thatsmyass56 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
lord have mercy.... i knew about the editing and the photobucket, but the the res,t i didn't even know about! 0_0
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