But first things first- here's clause 16;
16. Copyright in Your Content
deviantART does not claim ownership rights in Your Content. For the sole purpose of enabling us to make your Content available through the Service, you grant to deviantART a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, re-format, store, prepare derivative works based on, and publicly display and perform Your Content. Please note that when you upload Content, you allow third parties to copy, distribute and display your Content.
Now the concern is over that last bolded line. That line is there to make certain that people are aware that others may download, view, display and use their art for personal uses. A good example of a Personal Use is my own personal screensaver which rotates through a wide selection of awesome artworks I've downloaded from deviantART expressly as part of my screensaver and for inspiration for my own original projects. When Im not actively working my computer monitor becomes a changing digital canvas displaying artwork in my living room.
The problem is that people are interpreting it to mean that anybody is allowed to take your art and do whatever they want with it, and if you read only that one clause or stopped reading there that's certainly how it appears.
If you actually read the full Terms you'll see that this isn't the case- you really cannot read just one portion of an agreement, contract or terms statement because many clauses can be affected or modified by other clauses. It is always vitally important to read the entire document.
For those who are looking at Clause 16 in isolation I would like to introduce you to Clause 19. This clause as written contains a lot of distracting material because it tries to pack all the possibilities into a small space. For clarity I will remove all but the portions which directly relate to the subject of this article;
..... You must have the legal right to copy, distribute and display all parts of any content that you ..... download and otherwise copy, distribute and display. Content provided to you by others, ..... (is) are protected by copyright and should not be uploaded, downloaded, or otherwise copied, distributed or displayed without the consent of the copyright owner or as otherwise permitted by law.
Clearly you can see that the Terms of Service, when read in its entirety and not selectively quoted from, is not a 'free-for-all' contract for thieves and brigands. Thats not to say there are not those out there who will insist on reading selectively from the Terms and twisting the true intent but this official news article can now be used as an educational weapon against those who attempt to do so.
Read the the Terms of Service in full here