Can we please stop stealing people’s art without their consent?
Especially Japanese artists?
Because believe or not, when you take a dojinka’s art and post it somewhere else without permission, not only will you make them very sad (not to mention angry) when they find out, but you could cause them some serious legal problems as well.
I am not lying. Artists are in danger of losing everything they have if distribution of their parody work gets out of hand and the original publishing company gets wind of it (and decides to prosecute). Quite a few artists have already had their lives pretty much ruined because of the thoughtless actions of irresponsible western fans.
The reason why the dojinshi industry and sites like pixiv are even allowed to exist is because of the implicit understanding that artists who make parodies will control and limit the circulation of their digital artwork, and that printed dojinshi will only be made available to a limited audience. When you take an artist’s work and upload it somewhere else, you are taking away that control, and putting them at risk.
Re-posting art without the artist’s explicit permission is not okay. Adding a source does not get you off the hook either. Neither does not adding a source at all, or saying you don’t know the artist. You took something that wasn’t yours without permission, and that means you stole it. Reblogging and liking such posts only gives re-posters the incentive to steal even more art - making the situation worse for the artist. For the love of god, have the decency to respect the rights of other human beings.
Still not convinced? Then let me take an example of an artist I’m sure you’re all familiar with: emi (of the 10-RANKAI circle).
Thousands of western fans have constantly been stealing her art for years. As a result, not only she has changed her website url multiple times, but has now renamed her circle in an effort to shake off the so-called fans who keep going against her wishes and stealing her work.
Unfortunately, her new url has already been found, and her gallery has been plundered of its copyrighted content. And it seems that re-posters can’t read, because they clearly don’t heed what she says on her site; in FOUR DIFFERENT LANGUAGES, including plain English:
DO NOT UPLOAD MY FANWORKS TO OTHER WEBSITES, COPY AND REPRODUCE THEM, PUBLISH THEM IN FANZINES WITHOUT PERMISSION.
There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to disrespect the wishes of artists like her in this manner. If this continues, she will no doubt block foreign servers from accessing her site, or perhaps even stop sharing her work with others altogether. I’ve seen this happen to so many other artists who couldn’t take this abuse before.
But pixiv artists don’t say they don’t allow re-uploads on their profiles.
This art theft has gotten so fucking bad, a flipping union has been formed to try and protect amateur artists’ rights. I shit you not (and by the way, emi happens to be a member).
But where will I get my fanart?
You’re free to browse artist’s galleries, save art to your hard drive, and enjoy them at your leisure. Just don’t upload the art. It’s not yours. You have no right.
But I wanna share awesome pixiv art with my friends.
Then link them to it without re-uploading the damn image. It’s not hard.
But I wanna share art on my online communities.
There are many wonderful artists with tumblr accounts. Look for them, enjoy their work, reblog from them. Your support will inspire them to create more, and encourage other artists to come in (I can’t tell you how many times a tumblr artist has said they won’t make art for the SN/NS fandom because there are too many unscrupulous art thieves in it).
Quite a few Japanese artists are here too (a popular Korean narusasu artist, um-mmma, gets their art re-posted here all the time, yet they actually have a tumblr). You could always learn to draw as well. You might turn out to be good at it. It’s fulfilling to make your own fanwork (and it’ll also help you appreciate the feelings of other creators). If you can’t, you can always just ask artists if you can share their stuff.
But I don’t know Japanese!
Most pixiv artists have a basic grasp of English. Keep your sentences simple and they can manage. You can always make use of Google translate, and you could also use these templates. It’s not hard, and artists really appreciate it. Why give them headaches when you can make their day?
I asked the artist and they refused/I got no reply.
If the artist hasn’t replied, then do not re-post. If they say no, do not re-post. Ever.
Can’t we be more creative as a fandom and not get by through stealing? Is that how we’re going to support our pairing? Through plagiarism? Are we gonna keep appreciating dreadful thief blogs like sasunaruyaoigirl? Are we that desperate to get notes? Are we gonna keep abusing these artist until pixiv blocks out all foreign access? Tbh, our pairing tags are a fucking eyesore, far worse than almost any other Naruto pairing I’ve ever seen. We’re better than this. It’s possible (not to mention easy) to run a fandom blog without snatching art from somebody else.
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
i just wanted to clarify some things
artists know the risk they are taking when they post their art online. people are inevitably going to take it apart, color edit it, flip it around or otherwise post it uncredited.
saying that an artist shouldn’t post their work if they don’t want it bastardized is probably the stupidest stance on this subject you could take. if all artists followed this line of reasoning, there would be no art on the internet.
when an artist posts their work, they are trusting you to enjoy it respectfully. and when you betray that trust either knowingly or unknowingly, it’s like saying the artist’s time, skills and thoughts aren’t worth anything.
you are NOT entitled to an artists work just because they decided to trust you enough to share it with you.
an artist is within their right to feel upset that someone has used their work in a way they never intended it to be used. they are within their right to ask for it to stop and not happen again.
just because it’s “bound to happen” doesn’t mean it’s any less deplorable.
I’d like add something that’s rarely ever discussed, but happens frequently enough to cause concern…
There are several online subcultures that support people creating original characters or personas. Artists and commissioners use these characters as visual representations and extensions of themselves, or even mascots for their brand. As a result, people will recognize and identify community members based on what their characters look like rather than what the people behind them look like IRL. This sometimes poses a danger to people’s reputations and livelihood whenever a stranger decides to use someone else’s character/identity or intellectual property without consent. I use to think nothing of it when someone stole my art and claimed it as theirs. I use to find it flattering whenever someone would think one of my characters was pretty enough to use for RP. That all came to a screeching halt when several things happened over the years I’ve posted my art online.
Case 1: People had threatened to harm me if they ever ran into me in person. This was due to an unsavory, highly homophobic individual who was causing a lot of issues on a role playing forum. They weren’t using my name, but they were using a small 100x100 pixel image of my personal character as their forum avatar. That was enough for people to assume it was me all along.
Case 2: I’ve had people nearly post my name on a well-known artist defamation blog because someone had stolen my artwork, pretended to be me, and had cheated several people out of a considerable amount of money. My reputation as an artist was nearly ruined by someone who tricked innocent people into thinking they were doing business with the real me.
Case 3: There was a girl who quickly became infamous for taking part in numerous hotel orgies at conventions. She was using multiple con badges that had art of my character/persona on them. If it weren’t for my roommates vouching for me and proving this girl was not me, my relationship with my friends and family would’ve been obliterated. All because a very promiscuous girl decided to use my character.
Case 4: The worst incident happened several years ago at the very first convention I’d ever attended. I was gleefully approached by a young man I didn’t recognize, but he definitely recognized me from my character on my badges. After a moment of confusion and discussion, we both realized he’d been duped into believing he and I had been forming a year-long intimate relationship online through an adult role playing site. Not only did an impersonator tell this guy they wanted to meet at the convention, but during their time getting to know one another, they also told him they were very much into realistic rape role play. Had this poor guy been taller, stronger, or more aggressive in nature, I could have been dragged off to a hotel room and raped under the impression that I liked it. The more that unfolded, the more terrified I became. That moment was when I completely stopped thinking character and art theft was a purely innocent thing. It can easily escalate into something insidious if the wrong person decides to take advantage of it.
Despite all the experiences I’ve had, there are still numerous people who believe I’m overreacting, unprofessional, or being immature when I speak out against art and character theft. These things really can matter in the long run, and I’m not the only artist who’s had issues with identity theft linked directly with art theft.
Thank you for being awesome, OP. <3
Re-blogging for the most excellent reply. This stuff isn’t harmless.
I’ve mostly (to my knowledge) dodged the larger bullets but have had my share of being impersonated and dragged through enough RP site drama by people using my characters & creatures to know how miserable this shit is.