WARNING: MAJOR RANT AHEAD.
I took upon myself to monitor and report art that got reposted and edited without the artist's consent throughout the internet. It's been a while, and I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle, even when my friends/artists are helping me.
First of all, there's too many. We 'convinced' one to take down the piece, others popped up. Internet it's a big place, and unless the account in question gains some attention, it's hard to track down.
Second, the ignorance. Some of them simply don't know. Those are easy to settle. But for some that refuse to understand. That's the hard part. Standing from their
point of view, I've collected a few reason they dished out to justify it:
- A lot of other people do it.
- It's the internet. The moment you put something on it, it becomes public.
- It's fanart. You have no copyright to it.
- They can't find the original creator who drew it.
- Are you drawing for the sake of drawing or you just want attention?
- They don't claim that it's theirs.
The list can go on, but I summarized some main arguments here. To be honest, I hardly see any valid in these arguments for the following reasons:
- Lot of people do a wrong thing doesn't make it right. Parents used to use physical punishment on their children in the past, deeming it an efficient discipline method. Would you beat up your kid nowadays?
- Singers publish their songs to the internet for download, but it's still theirs and you need to pay for it before downloading. You're lucky we didn't charge you to view our arts.
We know we don't have the right already, and we're not even trying to claim it. But the piece, THAT SINGLE PIECE, was made by one of us, and he/she owns the right to THAT PIECE. The core content of that piece belongs to its respective owner, but how the artist sees it, from his/her point of view, how they put it on paper, how they visualize it, plus the amount of time and skill they invest into it... are all THEIRS. When someone draw a Superman picture, everyone knows he belongs to DC, but the picture itself belongs to the artist who drew him.
- Make the effort to do it. You saved the pictures from at least somewhere, trace back. And usually, the artist put their signature and watermark on it. Google them up.
Please help me fill in the last bit to counter the last two arguments. You have your personal reason to post your picture to the internet. And the last one is just plain stupid. They're not claiming, but they didn't put any credit on it either. The viewer will think that the picture belongs to them by default.
I'm having a headache just to think of a way to convince these hard-headed people. But that doesn't mean I'll give up. I'll continue my work just as I promise. For the meantime, I kindly ask my friends, the artists, to do the following:
- State in your piece that it's fanart, the content belongs to their respective owner and you make no profit from it. You can avoid a lot of trouble should someone decide to sue you.
- Put you signature/watermark on it. It doesn't have to be big and obscure, but noticeable and can't be removed by other drawing program or cropping.
Or how about just don't post art publicly altogether?
Sorry, I went a little too far there. If there's no art, there's nothing to steal, to edit. But that's just me. I'm fed up in your stead with these people. We share art for the joy of seeing the beauty in it, to inspire and be inspired, to learn. If we stop we're just burying ourselves...
Some artists I love and admire went into hiding because of this, Japanese ones took it the hardest, for Japan take the copyright problem very seriously. I hope you still draw despite all this...