No matter where you go, and where you publish your work, anyone is bound to steal it. I haven't had my art stolen though (considering its low quality), but I have had experience with those who have gotten their art stolen. The most recent art theft I have encountered inspired me to make this journal to help out those who potentially find stolen art or have had their own art stolen. Although this journal was designed for browsing DeviantART, you can also utilize some of these skills in other websites where stolen art is found.
I will use this image below as a demonstration.
Identifying Stolen Art
This image up here is the latest one I found stolen. No, this is not the stolen image, this is the original image (Check out the artist's work, btw
!). The stolen image appears here :
Now lets look at the signs of a potential art theft
* High quality and professional artwork can use a DeviantART watermark, but it is very uncommon for them to do so. Senior and professional artists use their own signature to separate their watermarks from others. If you see a detailed piece of art with this watermark provided by dA, don't go straight into calling them a thief, but also be cautious before crediting the user who posted it.
Also, I forgot to include this in the screenshot but I found that most theft art would include blank descriptions.
Also, you may find that some people are stupid enough to import their stolen art via. DeviantART Muro. Everyone can replay your speedart, y'know?
One thing I should've pointed out in the beginning is upload date. Those are one of the most important ways of identifying art theft. However, this should be only be utilized when finding the original art.
Okay, here's the juicy part.
So you feel like the art is stolen but you don't know where to track the original. How can we track the original artwork? Luckily, your friend Google is capable of more than you think.
Right click on the stolen image (I know I used the muro work but the watermark art was what i meant to select). Move your cursor down to "Search Google for image" and click on it.
Now you've found some pretty irrelevant results. Sure, they appear on different websites. But before we check out those websites, we need to check to see if the art originated from DeviantART. In the search browser, include the text site:deviantart.com
on the search engine. This text will filter the search engine to provide links ONLY
from the DeviantART website.
Good work! Using the upload date trick that's been provided, and doing successful comparisons, you've found the original work!
If the work doesn't appear on DeviantART, it may have been stolen from another website.
If the results aren't from DeviantART, only go to art websites you can trust if you're willing to report. It's very important that you scan an untrusted website with an anti-virus browser extension or use TotalVirus (Scans files & URLs for viruses using several different anti-virus applications) before going straight into the website.
Reporting the Stolen Art
Awesome, now how can I report it?
Depending on whether you're the owner or don't own it but know it belongs to someone else, here's two guides.
Reporting Theft (Witness/Not the Owner of the art)
If you're not the owner of the work but know 100% that it was stolen, try to contact the owner and let them know that their art was stolen by another user. From there, the original artist will take care of both the art and the account (There's no need to report to xxNIKICHENxx about the stolen art I demonstrated, i've already done that). Although the thief could cause more shenanigans and make more accounts, it's good that you let the artist know about the situation.
Another important thing to is to go to any Group the stolen art was submitted at and send a note to each group saying that the art is stolen and should be removed from the group. Be sure to include a link to the stolen art AND
Reporting Theft (Owner of the art)
It's very important that you let DeviantART know that your art was stolen AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you waste time, the art thief could :
- Gain views & comments that you won't.
- Start selling your work as prints.
- (Unlikely) Report YOU for theft art and take your deviantART account down. Although this is very unlikely, don't take any risks to let this thief stop you from stopping them.
The best way to report your stolen work is from this link. This will take you to a form involving "abuse" (but it can be used for art theft).
Unless you are highly professional or represent a company, PLEEEEEAASSEE do NOT try to file a DMCA report. It's far too much trouble and is not even meant for independent artists. It's built for businesses who don't want their intellectual property being stolen or used for illegal purposes.
If you also happen to find people liking or crediting the stolen art, try to let them know you're the original artist.
Some people make very terrible choices and choose to steal art instead of making their own. Please, do not be that kind of person. Every artist you steal from have started off drawing stickmen and awful lines. If you push yourself and improve your work, you'll become just like them. However, it's no walk in the park. It takes time and dedication. Strive to improve and put your heart and mind into your dreams.