A Case In Point

Online art theft can affect every artist at any age, level of skill, or style. Just because you think you’re an average artist at best, art theft still happens.

I had an interview with Huey, a queer digital artist, who discovered their art (along with many others) had been stolen from their site and posted on a stranger’s personal blog.

According to them, it’s very common for other people, usually friends or followers, to notify artists that their art had been stolen and used without permission. For Huey, their friend found a reposting blog and noticed their art on it. Can you believe that there are blogs actually dedicated to this?

“I didn’t believe it at first. Like, who would want to steal my art? I’m not very popular or anything.” It just goes to show that art thieves will take anything that they want from anyone without any consideration for their art.

What if someone drew R-18 art but didn’t want to show the general public because they knew it may ruin their reputation as a professional artist? Many twitter artists have private twitters in order to prevent sensitive images from leaking into the general online space, and yet their explicit art is still posted to other sites like Zerochan, Instagram, Tumblr or Pinterest without their knowledge.

Confrontation is always unpleasant but wouldn’t be necessary if people knew not to steal art from online sources. A mistake Huey made with their case was not dealing with it in a public space. “I sent them a private message and I tried to be serious but not mean. I mean, it could have been a kid who didn’t understand what was going on. Unfortunately, they didn’t wanna settle it peacefully. After some back and forths of ‘you stole my (and others) art’ and ‘no i didn’t!’ they just blocked me.” Ideally, artists should be able to resolve conflicts in a private way, but many art thieves refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing and shut out artists without ever fixing anything.

Most image-based websites have made reporting stolen artworks even harder, by removing a general ‘report’ button and forcing artists to file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) report, which requires full names and addresses artists may not be comfortable with disclosing. Essentially, websites take the responsibility of monitoring their users out of their hands and dump it on the artist. This is completely unfair toward online artists and a plain ‘fuck you, deal with it yourself’ to them.

“It took a while for the staff to respond to my art theft complaints. If it was easier and faster to have the staff come in and stop the art theft, then it would discourage thieves much more.” Huey told me in closing when I asked what they thought would help prevent art theft. But it seems the staff are all doing the opposite.

Time will tell if the online environment for artists becomes more hospitable for them.

–VZ

You can see more of Huey’s art here: DeviantArt

Image sourced from MorgueFile

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Theft Doesn’t Just Happen To Digital Artists

Art isn’t just grueling hours with a drawing tablet, it’s also grueling hours with a keyboard and a blank Word document. Writers are even more underrated artists of the online world and theft happens to them too.

I had a interview with a charming online writer named Bridget, and she told me about her run-in with a plagiariser whose identity will be kept anonymous.

While browsing through Fanfiction.Net, an archive for written works from around the world, Bridget came across a story that was uncannily similar to their own work. Bridget quickly realised that the other writer had copied and pasted her own writing and made minimal edits. These ‘edits’ being a shoddy switcheroo of some characters in order to fit a particular romantic situation.

Naturally, Bridget was angry. “…Seeing such a lazy move just really rubbed me the wrong way… Most of [it was] really out of character, another pet peeve that I simply cannot stand.” And it’s understandable! Bridget put hours of her time into writing and some lazy person copies her work without even asking and pretends it’s their own.

While Fanfiction.Net has taken a few steps toward protecting the work of writers, it’s simply not enough if plagiarism keeps happening. Bridget confronted the thief and she told me that it devolved into them denying that they’d done anything wrong.

“I wanted to scream…” There was absolutely nothing that could have helped in Bridget’s situation so there obviously needs to be more protection from fan fiction websites.

Eventually, Bridget was forced to drop the copyright infringement when it was clear no one would help her.

Should we rally and email the staff of Fanfiction.Net about their lax writer protection policy? I think it’s a good idea as any. Writers should not be forgotten on the road to a world where every artist is protected and has full control over their content.

— VZ

You can see Bridget’s Tumblr blog over here.

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image source from morgueFile user jppi

Digital art doll THEFT

Source: Digital art doll THEFT

Art moves from the physical to the digital — this artist has been tracing photos of dolls that other artists have worked on and then sold the works as prints for thousands of dollars! Mijn Schatje has been admired around the world for her stolen art and that’s just unfair to the people whom she copied from.

We need to call her out on her theft!

–VZ