The internet’s a great place for sharing art, but saving online artworks and posting them somewhere else without saying who created it can really hurt your favourite artists!
Here’s some tips on how you can share art that you like:
- Show your love!
A lot of online art sites have the ‘Like’, ‘Bookmark’ or ‘Favourite’ option. Even if you’re not an artist yourself, you can help both the site and the artist by signing up for an account and liking the art. Plus there’s the added benefit of having more site accessibility as a member!
2. Stay tuned for more!
Like ‘Likes’, you can ‘Follow’ or ‘Watch’ the artist! It shows support for the creator and encourages them to create even more content. Nothing feels worse for an artist when their hard work isn’t noticed.
3. Tell the artist that you liked it!
It’s the internet so there’s no need to feel shy when talking to artists that you admire. Leave comments on the art saying ‘I really like this because ______’ or ‘This looks really cool because _______’ and I can guarantee you, the creator will be tickled pink. Not only are you giving the art recognition, but you’re also letting the artist know that you really, really like their hard work.
4. Share within the site!
This changes for each website, but a good website will make it obvious for you. You can share peoples’ art on your own accounts by bookmarking, reblogging or adding the work to a favourites album. It lets people who follow you see your favourite artist’s work without stealing from them and taking away from their hard work!
5. Tell other people about it!
Everyone likes being shown things that other people think they’d enjoy. You can send your friends the URL of the art that you like so they can see it too. This is a great way to help spread your favourite artworks around without taking away from the original artist!
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.
Copyright is complicated and we’re going to make it uncomplicated right now. Move over, DeviantArt.
Copyright is a law that gives ownership of work to creators, whether they be painters (digitally or physically), musicians, or writers and outlaw others from stealing their hard work and profiting from it.
All artwork is immediately placed under copyright law when it becomes something tangible. Whether it’s written on paper or messaged to someone online, that idea becomes yours. However, ideas are things that cross over easily with other peoples’ ideas so copyright of ideas is still a very murky area. Pictures, paintings, dances, music, writing, etc. are all protected by copyright and are automatically owned by the artist. Copyright law prevents anyone but the artist from illegally using or redistributing their work if they do not wish it (which is mostly the case).
The creative commons license is a set of rules enforced by copyright law that allow non-artists use of artists’ work. No artwork is automatically put under the creative commons licence without artist consent, meaning no artwork is immediately available to the public for any use aside from looking at it. There are a lot of really nice artists and photographers who put their work under the creative commons license because they want to share their art with everyone around the world. However, just because you can’t see the work under creative commons or don’t know if the art is shared under the creative commons doesn’t mean you can use it as you wish. Please try to contact the original creator about redistributing their content yourself and respect their wishes when you receive an answer!
P.S There’s no such thing as copyleft! However, it usually means the work is available for use under creative commons. Please make sure with the original creator whether or not you can use it if you’re not sure!
You might have heard the war cry of the DeviantArt artist — “This is my art, no stealing!!1!” — and laughed at the sloppily recoloured image of a Sonic the Hedgehog character or a badly traced My Little Pony horse. However, do you know how long it took the artist to edit the image? Even if these characters are just different colours with different names, do you know about their detailed backstory? What can people use and call their own and what is stealing art? Why am I even making a fuss about online art theft at all?!
Copyright is confusing as is without bringing the online world into the fray, but this blog aims to give some insight into what artists and non-artists can do with the cool pictures they find on the Internet. One day, there will be a world where art is free to be shared without the fear of theft. #deathtoarttheft
This is a social media campaign run by a third-year student for a university course in 2015. The campaign aims to educate artists and non-artists of the rights held by original creators regarding the work they put online, and act as a resource for information. While this campaign aims to run over the course of 6 weeks, the effects may affect people much longer than the projected time.
The owner of this campaign takes no responsibility for any damages and/or losses incurred by individuals or groups resulting in disputes over copyright. This campaign remains purely ideological and philanthropic. Page views, discussion, feedback, etc. will all be gathered as data for assessment and will be treated with full confidentiality.