An Enchanted Spirit

Art Theft
Written by: An Enchanted Spirit ~ Nancy
Image by: Gina Neer ~LonesomeFaery


      It seems so harmless, a faceless, often nameless crime. I mean what harm can it be to just use someone else art .... Right?

Wrong!

      Art, be it via photography, sketches, cg art, paints, poetry, short stories, etc., belongs to the artist who created it. Not to anyone else. However, due to such easy access online, so many seem to think that using anothers art for their own purposes is no big deal.

      Now I am not talking about those who surf for a type of image and then save it to their computers. Yes, you are using someone elses art, but if you aren't sharing it with others, and just saved for the fact that you liked it. Or if you are saving it to say use to learn something. Yet not copy the work of the artist. I truly do not see any harm in that. However when you take it any other step beyond that, then you are an art thief.

      Those who save an image and then use for business purposes or promote it online as being your own work, yes those are art thieves too.

      Granted there is a lot of art and photography online that is free for personal use, or are posted as 'stock' images where they creator of them only asks for a small fee or even just a promotion of their art in compensation for it's use. Not to mention that some art is put online with no connection to the artist mentioned anywhere. So there is a lot of usable art online.

      But what of those who blatantly just use others images when they know who it belongs too? What can be done about them?

      It isn't just famous people who's art gets used and abused. No it has even happened to people I personally know before. Some of the thieves, even going as far as to not remove the original artists obvious watermark, signature, etc., yet still posting online as their own. This happens on many art sites, photography sites, even facebook and personal or business sites.

      I recently had someone I watch on an art site send out a message to people about a person who went so far as to steal and use their entire site, including the art, and just add their own name here and there. They didn't even get rid of all the original artists personal info or details used on her site.

      Yet, I am sadly not shocked by this. It seems to have become the trend of many people today. Thinking it is OK to do something if you can get away with it, or mostly get away with it. There seems to be no sense of consideration, honesty, compassion and self-control. Not to mention the caring that should exist and in some ways the awe of the artist. Yes, I do mean in awe. They have done a wondrous thing. If they hadn't taken the time to do what they did, you wouldn't even be attracted to it. Yet you show them how much you love their work by stealing from them? Theft of ones works is not a way to show any kind of appreciation.

      So many sites try to help. At least to a point. They have places to report the thefts, channels to go through, etc. However when it is on a separate site, say one you don't belong to, or on a persons own site (as happened to my friend) then what resources do you have?

      Sure you can go as far as to take it to their hosting company, if you can find out who it is, and see if it violates their rules. However that is another red tape journey. Then there is the ultra serious road, the lawsuit, but how to do that with such an area? Obviously most people just don't have the time and money to follow that route. Even if you are a paid and well noted artist, law suits just art not easy to win. Not to mention not cheap.

      So what do you do? How to do you stop this from happening to you? Sadly, I do not think that is possible. Yes, people should control themselves and use better judgment, however since the world today does not promote use of better judgment, we have to teach them ourselves.

      Yes, I know that is a daunting task, but living by example is one of the three options we have that are our best weapons. Three you say? I know, so now you are thinking, OK so what are the other two?

      The second weapon is your voice. Speak out. Tell those you know. Tell the places they post. Keep your voice, and the hopefully the voices of others, being heard. Most people do actually do this one, however they often do it wrong. Wrong you say? How can you do it wrong? Well that is quite simple. When you attack, insult and be vulgar to the person in question.

      OK, yes they did the wrong thing. What they did was bad, mean, cruel, horrible, etc., but that is no excuse for you, and those who follow your or fight for you, to cause more damage by doing the wrong thing. Yes, you should confront the person. Yes you should tell others and others should say something as well, but never stoop to their level by doing and saying the wrong things.

      Your third weapon is the government. Yes I shockingly mean the government. No I am not a big promoter of government involvement in peoples lives. However, since they are already getting involved with strange laws they are trying to enact to take away the rights of artists, then yes this is an area we should be using to fight the problems.

      Nothing gets done when everyone sits around complaining about things to themselves or their friends, but no one speaks up, stands up and says something to the people that can actually do something. Granted, it may not go as you want. It may not happen right away. You may even lose, but you can't win if you don't try.

      I am notorious for standing up and saying "I have a problem with this" at work. Granted it doesn't always get the changes I am hoping for. Actually, it doesn't more often than it does, but that doesn't stop me from speaking up.

      So write start a petition, speak up, ban together and help invoke change. I mean look how long art has been around! Yet art theft is still not considered a big deal. Why? Because artists and art lovers have not actually truly stood up and been counted. It is time to put your money where your mouth (drawn, photographed or otherwise created) is people and get it done.

      Then and only then will people truly take art theft seriously. And maybe, crossing fingers here, maybe people will also start to look at the way they act (not just in this capacity) and really start being the people they are meant to be. OK, I am not holding my breath, but I am keeping a flame of hope going.

Peace To You, An Enchanted Spirit

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