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Submitted on
March 10, 2010



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Journal Entry: Wed Mar 10, 2010, 8:47 AM

Beware of staff impersonations

At least a couple of times a year we get reports of someone impersonating deviantART staff.

Sometimes its a fake profile like DeviantARTVersion7 or deviantartpolice; you can always tell real staff members from the special symbol in front of their name ($) and actual volunteers by the symbol in front of their name (^).

Sometime we get people just claiming that they are "staff using an alternate account" to explain why their profile doesn't look like a staff account in any way. While some of us do maintain alternate accounts we don't parade around in them claiming to be staff while trying to get you to do something; that's why we have our actual staff accounts.

Lastly we have the people who try to pass themselves off as staff by rigging up fake email accounts or fake IM accounts.

Currently there is some troll running around on a fake Hotmail account pretending to be our beloved ewm- you can see the poor grammar and lack of research done by the troll by visiting ewm's journal here…

It's important to remember that deviantART staff will never contact you via email or IM program and there is no reason why we would be using hotmail or yahoo or gmail or hellokitty to do it (while our current Support system does use email it's in response to you contacting us and not us contacting you first).

If you get a suspicious email "from staff" out of the blue don't be afraid to actually contact us and ask if it is real, and if it isn't we'll ask you to send us a copy so that we can file a fraud complaint with IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center).

Problem groups

We are aware that some of you are discovering Groups which seem to have purposes which seem pretty "iffy". Out of the several types the ones we're looking at more closely at the moment are the "vigilante" Groups and the way they tend to be used to form lynch mobs and encourage witch hunting type behavior, not to mention the fact that they tend to 'market' themselves as an "alternative" to the staff or otherwise being able to "address" one or more types of problems.

Rest assured that we, the actual staff, are aware of your concerns and the problems which are built into these types of Groups so keep your eye out for an official response from us in the near future.

Until then continue to let us know via our Support Center of any problems or harassment issues stemming from these Groups.

"Art Theft"

Some of you may be aware that I've been involved in many conversations over the last few weeks concerning the concerns of the community about "art theft" versus the staff concern with actual Claims of Copyright Infringement.

The issue is complex and certain to cause a lot of feedback and discussion so I'll leave that off for a later journal for when I have a bit more time to write it but I do want to address some concerns which have been voiced that I am difficult to approach on the subject.

I'd like to simply state, for now, that I am more than willing to engage anyone on the subject and take the time to fully explain anything which you do not understand, however I do want it understood that anyone who adopts an aggressive tone with me or who bases their half of the discussion on popular misconceptions, incorrect information or who insists on using the wrong terminology should expect me to immediately correct them.

I don't do this in order to "retaliate" or "talk down" to anyone, or for any other reason except for the simple reason that you and I both need to be discussing the same subject matter.

Like it or not, a concern about "tracing" is not the same as a concern about "copyright infringement" so we have to either discuss one or the other and if it is obvious that what you actually want to discuss with me is copyright infringement them expect me to correct you as to which terminology you should actually be using.

A lot of the popular slang terms, like "art theft" simply do not mean the same thing as "copyright infringement" so forgive me if I correct you so that we are both talking about the same thing and using the correct terms for the discussion.

Part of my responsibilities here is to make certain that the community understands our policies and where they come from so expect me to correct you if you are working from a misunderstanding or popular misconception; it is not me arguing for the sake of argument it is me simply making certain that your half of the discussion and my half of the discussion are about the same thing.

If my information is mistaken or inaccurate then I will admit that and correct what I am saying so I will naturally expect you to do the same if your information is mistaken or inaccurate.

In any event I will address this whole matter at a later date but feel free to engage me on it through this journal since those discussions will help me ensure that any address I make at a later date addresses as many points properly as possible.

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Tseng-Akera Featured By Owner May 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
now i got a question, when it comes to the groups that you are claiming are vigilante.

if you have a group that does silent reporting, aka the group find a person with possible copyright infringement, one person will give a warning and the rest just silently report and find the original artwork and let the original artist know. now you have one or two renegades that decide to troll or harass the user that happen to be in the group and the user in question even after having their work removed by DA decides to get all pissed about it and instead of just blocking the user that harassed her decides to report the whole group.

would the whole group get in trouble for one idiots mistake?

also a few more if you don't mind, all involving copyright infringement.

i know DA has been very iffy about the use of Tineye as a means of identifying copyright infringment, now what if we find an image that is 200x 195 (as an example) and the artist claims that she is the original artist *we're talking like very complex work that no way in hell would be that small* and we find a result on tineye that is wallpaper size but no original artist. would DA still take that as proof that this artist isn't the original?

also "tracing" has been the biggest battle i fight with some of the more aggressive "hunters" as you would call us. they mainly are attacking those that create "line art" from official images or manga's and post them on here as a free to use line art. is that copyright infringement since it was a direct copy of the original work but they are giving it out as free to use.

now say a user post the line art up, admitting it was copied directly from the original image, is claiming no copyright and is posting it strictly for educational purposes to help other artist with clean line art to increase their skill in coloring. would that still be considered copyright infringement because it is being used for educational purposes?

i know i am one of the bigger thorns in your side since i made this account, but if you could answer these it would be greatly appreciated.
retroboy78 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2010
Okay. An iffy group I have seen is :thebullyzone:. And also please keep an close eye on #flash-army. I can definitely already sense spam already as I have my suspicions from the founder of that groups founder and her attitude.
Ltspongebob Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2010
So just to some things up. Say there is some random person who took a drawing from someone else and recolored it. Is the maker and only the maker of the original drawing allowed to report the stolen artwork?
realitysquared Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
That depends entirely on exactly what you mean when you say "recolor".

If you mean that they copy an existing work and change things like the colors or other minor details, then yes- the original copyright owner will need to have a problem with the copy and file an official complaint.

If you mean "recolor" as it directly take somebody's work and scribble on it in MSpaint so the hair is green instead of black then you could report it as it having "Permissions Issues". Your report however will not carry the same weight or urgency as a complaint from the actual copyright owner and it's important for you to remember that.
Ltspongebob Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2010
Oh, okay. Thanks!
8Anubiz4 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2010   Digital Artist
Please, I need help. :(
I've just asked a persona why would have she/him pissed people around. But then she explained me something different. When I tried to calm her/him. she/him started talking nonesense. like she/him said I was stalking this and now I'm making FAKE ffriendship and more. I really want to report her. But sinse I do not have enough reasons, I wany some tips on how to make her stop awhile and forget on doing this... Please reply :(
realitysquared Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Just add them to your Block list and never talk to them again.
8Anubiz4 Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2010   Digital Artist
Thank you very much for helping. :))
Insanity-24-7 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2010
I understand the idea behind needing the person with the copyright involved. It makes legal sense. However, there are a couple things I keep wondering.

Are we saying that, until and unless I know about it, it is perfectly fine for someone else to upload my art?

Also, if I know that you cannot contact the original artist, is it okay for me to post their art? For example, *Jewel-Reaver passed away last summer. You cannot contact her. It is impossible. Am I allowed to go through her gallery and take whatever I want since you can't prove she wouldn't be okay with it?

I feel awful for suggesting such a thing but that is what I keep wondering ^^;
realitysquared Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
In answer to your first question; take a moment and look around at the world- there are easily billions of different artworks out there which can be considered to be copyright protected and probably a matching number which are either public domain or otherwise free to use.

If someone were to pick out your artwork specifically and place it up on a random art website somewhere how is anybody going to know that it is yours if they aren't personally familiar with your work?

Unless you are famous in some capacity the chances are that nobody will know that your art was plunked down somewhere by someone other than you.

Now even if some random passerby shows up and recognizes your work they don't necessarily know the story about how it got there.

They don't know if it was put there with your blessing, they don't know if you licensed the use for a fee, they don't know if it was used without your permission, and they probably don't know if you even care.

All they can do is make assumptions, and without knowing the back story those assumptions can be dead wrong.

So in answer to the first part of your question; No it's not okay for someone to use your work without your permission and you care about that sort of thing but unless you actually show up to protest chances are nobody is even going to know it was your work and that you don't want it used like that.
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