If you are a reasonable person, please feel free to.
I believe reading and comprehending this will benefit the community at large. And it will save them a lot of the hairs they so violently rip out in their rage- excuse me, "emotional reactions".
Every day a large number of people on DeviantART claim they're the "victims" of "art theft".
However, DeviantART isn't the only place you hear these claims. Nah, if it were just DA, I wouldn't mind so much. Millions of pointless things are complained about every day on DeviantART. I won't lie, I often find myself amongst the complainers.
However, all across the internet, artists and their "fans" are hounding people in search of "art theft".
Before I continue, allow me to suggest you go actually read the copyright law of your respected nations as well as the laws of the United States (as DeviantART is located in the US).
I suggest you avoid DeviantART's "Copyright Policy" as it sadly misrepresents the law and doesn't provide the reality.
There's such thing as "Fair Use". DeviantART very carefully skirts over this issue without addressing it on their "Policy" page. I recommend you all familiarize yourselves with this term and what it implies.
Because, from what I've seen, the majority of users on DeviantART seem to have a sadly misconstrued idea of what is and isn't "Art Theft".
I stumbled upon a quite popular editorial the other day from a girl complaining about "Art Theft" (this very ominous and notorious crime that's worse than mass murder apparently; or so you'd think from the comments of many raging Deviants).
What was this "theft"? Well, apparently she found someone with a Myspace page using her image as the background.
EGADS! LIFE IS OVER!
No, not quite. In fact, it had never really affected her in any way. She was still quite popular and, were she making her prints available for sale, I don't see how this would've affected her business.
After all, it's some random guy using her picture as a background on his private profile. One which probably only his friends will ever see.
Regardless, she had people send him messages demanding its instant removal.
"What...?" I was kinda dumbfounded. "Are you serious?" My mental reaction in a nutshell.
What next, children? Are we to burst into highschools and demand every student remove every picture from their locker that they found on the internet and printed out?
Are we going to create programs to spy on people's computers to make sure they don't use your image as a Desktop background, or -dare I say it- RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE TO THEIR "MY PICTURES"!?!
Now, to be fair, she didn't get emotionally "worked up" until she found out that her images were being used by a "company" that made Myspace layouts for a small commission.
Ok, now THAT'S a copyright infringement.
They're making money off your work AND claiming it as their own.
I do insist that you feel free to do something about this. This is indeed a case of felony (though don't get your panties in too much of a mess- it's not the end of your life or career).
Another artists on DA was recently asking that nobody user her images in sigs or avatars, and that if they post it on a forum, request her permission first and link to her page. She also asked her "fans" to seek out and find any usage of her images ANYWHERE and in ANY circumstance, and demand it stop being used.
Good heavens, lady. Do you want a diamond ring with it?
Yet another artist was throwing a fit because an avatar she made for herself was now being used as an avatar all over the internet.
AND - OH NOES - SHE HAD DISCOVERED PEOPLE BOLD ENOUGH TO USE IT AS THEIR AIM ICONS!!!
Now, before you ask for links to these people's pages, I will tell you now that I refuse.
While I disagree with their methods, I will in no way reveal who they are, as they have a right to their privacy. I'm not about to unleash a horde of people angry at kids for overreacting on their pages. That's even more unreasonable than what they're doing.
Another trend that I find especially pestilent- fans of the artist and, so I believe, the artist herself have trolled a younger sibling of mine for quite some time across the internet because on one private group page he created for some friends of his on some random kids sight, he used one of her images as the banner.
He claimed no ownership, made no money- it was just a middle schooler and his friends on a site designed for kids to just message each other.
But these other kids and the original artist are all in his face because he's using her image.
HERE'S THE IRONY: Not only was this image one of copyrighted Nintendo characters drawn without Nintendo's permission (so the artist already can't claim to own full copyright status), but all of the accusers had screenshots and official art of this Nintendo game plastered all over their private sites, sigs, avatars, and other locations.
Yet they were all yelling at him, "You're using someone else's creation that they spent time and effort making! How dare you!"
This brings me to two points:
Yes, I know many of you claim you are perfectly original but just draw the excessive fan art because you like the characters and not because you can't think of any of your own and most certainly not because you desperately crave attention.
But remember that, in doing so, you're using someone else's ORIGINAL creation. They probably spent time and effort making as well.
Funny how "Fair Use" now applies.
Secondly, don't throw stones if you live in a glass house.
Oh ye hypocrites.
If you'd like, we can arrange to sweep the entire internet for any accounts you may have ever owned in your life. We'd also like you to turn over copies of your hard drive and pictures of your room. If we find that you have never had any screenshots, official artwork, OR ANY ARTWORK THAT WAS MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE (YES, THAT INCLUDES STUFF FROM TV SHOWS- except more so, since those people actually register and purchase rights and teams of lawyers to defend those rights)- NEVER EVER USED SUCH IMAGES, then you're free to throw the first stone.
Why is their such an obsession with claiming to be the "victim" of "art theft"?
Well, for the attention of course.
Being the "victim" immediately means you can complain all you want and have tons of people (each of who wants attention as well when their art is supposedly "stolen") wiping your every tear away.
It also makes them feel important. They can go "la di da! someone stole my artwork! look at me everyone! my artwork is worth stealing!".
I've actually felt this before.
I made a design a few years ago and a few months later found a very popular tshirt company using the almost exact same design (including the words that wen with the design) on a tshirt.
Someone reported it to me, which made me feel even better. "Wow! Someone's watching my back out of loyalty! Imagine how many people will react angrily with me out of loyalty!"
So I write up a very official e-mail and send it right away, huffing and puffin my way to attention.
I'm just about to make an angry journal about it when I realize, "What am I doing? Why do I care so much? I never did anything with this design. Besides, it's possible that they came up with this design on their own. It happens quite often that multiple people have the same original idea. After all, there are 6.7 billion people in the world, so the odds certainly aren't bad. Am I just overreacting for attention?"
And when the company wrote back an e-mail asking me if I'd be willing to talk with them to pursue it further, along with pages of legal junk, I figured it was a worthless pursuit and let it be."
And these people were making money off of it.
The point of this story isn't to say not to defend yourselves- but to merely point out that feeling and desire for attention that spur on these outraged responses.
Now, that's not to say copyright infringement isn't very real and doesn't happen.
A good friend of mine here on DA just recently had a group steal one of his images (the exact image) and slap it on a tshirt and put a price tag on it.
Needless to say, he was rightful in pursuing this. They were claiming his works as their own AND making money off of it.
A flash artist saw a site that he quite dislikes steal one of his animations. They slapped their watermark on it, put it on their page, and started making a lot of money off the ads they surrounded it with.
Some innocent internet user found an image, edited it a little, and made it his 45x45 icon on some random forum, without claiming any ownership of it and without making any money.
COPYR- WAIT. What's wrong with that?
Really, all I'm saying is, quit crying bloody murder all the time. Familiarize yourself with what is legal and what is not.
Don't use it as another vehicle for gaining attention.
Finally, make sure you're not being a hypocrite here. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And he who lives by the sword dies by it (I like that one).
Chill out a little, and quit seeking attention.
That is all.
Have a nice day.