There are some artists that allow people to take their art and put it on another site with a link to the artist’s home page (e.g. taken from DeviantArt and posted on Tumblr, or taken from Tumblr and posted on Facebook). The reason why some artists allow this is because it provides exposure of the artist to wider parts of the internet. However, not all art on the internet wants exposure.
The simple fact is that artists like to know where their art is and what’s being said about it. There will be some really nice artists that will let you take their work and put it on another site if you ask them, but the key fact is that they know where their art is and how much traffic is gets. Sometimes this is because of countries putting up online barriers that artists want to work around, sometimes this is because they think the exposure from you will outweigh the loss of control they have over their artwork. Sometimes, artists don’t let people take their art to put somewhere else because they could potentially get into trouble with their real life work!
The best course of action when you want to share art on another part of the internet is to get in contact with the creator and ask for permission.
But artists put their art on the internet where it’s pretty much up for grabs by anyone! Why does it matter if I ask for permission?
It’s a common courtesy that should be extended to all artists. An analogy for taking art and posting it without permission is like walking into someone’s house, picking up their painting hanging on their wall, hanging it on your own wall and then hosting a dinner party where all your invitees ooh and ahh over it. Maybe one or two of your guests ask ‘who painted this?’ and you’ll say either ‘I don’t know’ or ‘it was this person I took it from’, but the one who’s hurting the most is the creator with the empty wall.
Just like asking to borrow important objects, everyone appreciates being asked before being taken from. And please, if the artist says ‘no you’re not allowed to take my art and put it somewhere else’, don’t post the art anyway and disrespect the artist’s wishes.
I don’t really care, I just really want to share this art! I mean, I’m not hurting anyone!
Well, then you’re an asshole that hurts artists.