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Submitted on
June 9, 2011


461 (who?)
It seems that there is a terrible misconception going round DeviantART and I decided to share my opinion on that matter. The hype about Copyright And Copyright Infringement on DeviantART took on a extensive scale within the last years. A lot of people overreact when someone allegedly has committed "art theft". Maybe that's one of the reasons why many people get more and more wary on the matter. It's sufficiently known what is falling under Copyright Infringement. This article makes clear what is not.


Not long ago I published a poll out of curiosity asking the people :bulletblue: how many deviations from other artists they have you stored on their computers. The big majority merely keeps a very small number of pictures. So far there is nothing wrong with that but a considerable number of people commented that they feel not to be entitled to "own" a copy of someones work unless the download option is enabled. Some artists even said they don't want other people to save their pictures on the ground that would be stealing. Being slightly confused I started another poll and asked: :bulletblue: Storing images from DA: Copyright violation or not? to find out how many people are out there believing storing artworks from other artists is stealing. The result was startling. 9% of the voters believe storing is fine only when a download was provided. Another 8% believe that storing pictures from the web is art theft or close to art theft unless they are marked as stock or free resources.

Dear DeviantART family, I know many of us are worried about the Copyright of our creative work and it's totally reasonable and advisable to take care of that. There was a lot of drama in the past about Copyright Infringement and there still is, how to protect our art from it and how to deal with so called "art thieves". On not so rare occasions people got and get affronted, accused, harassed, doomed and whatnot by angry deviants for committed "art theft". Are we THAT paranoid now that even storing an image on your computer for convenient VIEWING makes one an "art thief"? We are NOT talking about redistributing, claiming it your own, selling, modifying, editing or otherwise using without permission here! I am getting right to the point and provide you with the DeviantART rules:

I'll explicitly clarify now why storing images from DeviantART or anywhere else from the web is in no way a copyright violation or "art theft".

"I don't agree that my posted images are copied and saved."

If that is the case you never should post your images ANYWHERE in the world wide web!!! Why are you posting your images and making them publicly accessible? Think about the answer. The main reason why we post our creative work here is - we want to SHARE it with others. What means sharing? Sharing means that others click on your deviations to view them, to enjoy them, to be inspired by them, to enjoy them again, to leave a feedback on them. During that process the pictures will be AUTOMATICALLY saved in the cache of your hard drive, if you want it or not. What you load into your browser resides on your computer and it's been downloaded and stored. The only reason why one would take one more step and put these pictures into a specific folder on their hard drive is patently obvious: to find them easily again for later viewing and enjoying.

"If the artist doesn't offer the image for download, I am not allowed to copy it to my hard drive."

There is also misunderstanding about the download option. What is it for? During the submission process you are asked if you want to allow the download of the original full-sized image. This option makes sense if you want to display a resized version as the deviation fullview for faster loading but also want to provide a larger version with higher resolution. Many people don't understand that system and keep the download option enabled even if the displayed image and the downloadable image are exactly the same size. But what happens when you click on the download button? You will be linked to the original image source on one of DA's image storing servers.


You drive me crazy by Yasny-chan


Downloaded Image:

What I want to say is that an enabled download option doesn't imply anything concerning the permission to copy an image. At least not on DeviantART. In both cases, loading a deviation page and loading merely the image embedded into the deviation page, the picture is (down)loaded into your browser. So if you really believe that saving an image from the web or DeviantART is stealing then so is downloading one.

"Me posting my images doesn't mean that anyone has the right to own a copy from any of them."

Saving a copy from an image doesn't mean I OWN the image. The ownership and the copyright is STILL with the artist who originally created the image. The artist keeps all rights at all times, that's a simple fact. Or would you say DeviantART "owns" your images because they are stored on their servers???

Read FAQ #226: Does deviantART own my art?

And my previous question again: Why do you post images in the world wide web if you don't want to share them? There are probably a lot of people who create their art for fun and mainly for themselves and are not keen on becoming a popular and widely accepted artist but in case that you ARE interested that people remember your name and recognize your artistic style I recommend that you encourage your audience to store and collect your works of art and display them as desktop backgrounds and even print them out so that they may be advertised and spread around the world.

"If you really like an artist's work you can bookmark the page or add it to your favourites collection."

Is there a distinct difference between saving by bookmarking and faving an image and saving by copying it to your hard drive? Basically not. Both methods are intended for later reviewing of the picture. But there is an important advantage of the copying method: if you save the online destination address of your favourite images it's possible that you lose them because the owner can remove them from the web. If that happens it's unlikely that you will find the respective images again or even will remember what exact images they were in the first place. So better keep your favourite images offline on your hard drive to make sure not to lose them. Oh, and create folders for easier and faster finding!


  • Don't post your images in the web if you don't want them copied and saved.
  • By uploading a picture on a website you agree that others can view it AND download/save it.
  • Be aware that an image is already stored on the hard drive when it's loaded into a web browser.
  • If someone saves a copy of your artwork that doesn't mean they "own" it.
  • An enabled download option is no approval to save a picture to your hard drive.
  • Sharing your artworks with others is the reason why we are here.
Add a Comment:
downoffthedragon Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
Some social media websites have it as part of their terms of agreement that if you upload your artwork to their site, they are allowed to use or sell your work as they see fit without compensating you or even letting you know!
DaniloFuckYea Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
share art is not problem, the problem resides when someone say "no, thats mine!"

I dont care if others pick my art, but it is MY ART.
renaboo Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011  Student Photographer
I do not know why people are claiming that merely downloading the work is "art theft." That is a bit extreme... and unreasonable, as this article states, because they posted it here to share in the first place.

Personally, if I see a piece that I am inspired by, I download it in order to achieve ease of viewing for the future (rather than "spamming" my bookmarks menu.) For me, browsing through a folder of really top-notch works provides me the motivation to get creative.

Now, when someone downloads that work, re-uploads it, and claims it as their own (which is seen all too often here on DeviantArt), THEN an art theft has occurred, and proper steps need to be taken. No artist likes seeing a thief gain recognition through a stolen piece. :disbelief:
lorddelta Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
Good article.

Though it makes one stop and think; no wonder some people put up with such idiocy when it comes computer files (DRM etc)
SpacialVortex Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011
I have lots of pictures i've saved to my computer over the years from here but i only do that because i like the pictures or works i have no intention of claiming them as my own or editing them is that really such a big deal?.

I'm not an artist myself in fact i'm pretty bad at drawing but i come on here to view and enjoy the work of other artists but that's it and if people don't want their stuff to be taken IN ANY WAY then don't post it publicly on the internet. Seriously i think that is one of the most stupidest things i've EVER heard anyone come up with, i mean if saving something on your computer is theft then fuck me it looks like everyone on this website is a thief then :lol:

Grow up people and i refer to what i said about posting your stuff on the internet, if you don't want it taken DON'T POST IT AT ALL nuff said :|
Spamkiller Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, come on, if that's copying I'm a fucking thief! :facepalm:

I totally agree with you. The fact that some people think they're not allowed to download an image if the download button is not enabled, and that some artists REALLY think that would be art theft, are the reason why in my copyright disclaimer I added this line: Download for personal, non-reproductive, non-commercial use, is allowed.
M-G-Studio Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I agree. There have been times when I saw stolen images from a different artist online and the only way I knew whose it was, was the fact that I had their saved artworks on my hard drive so I then knew whose art was stolen and contacted them so they know. Whenever saving artworks I always write the artist's name beside the title, which makes it easier to find the artist in the future.
Raindroplover Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2011
Very interesting!
Do you think it is okay to feature DA-artists on my blog if I credit the artists?
Kaykayiscrazy Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Well said, Lilly :)
Ecchikun Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2011  Professional Photographer
I agree 100% with this. I have saved many Artist's work on my hard drive. It doesn't mean I post it on another site and pretend to make it my own. I simply like to enjoy their work on my own time w/o having to go directly to their deviant art page. TOO many people do not sort their art in folders - it makes it hard to find art that I like. Therefore I save it in a folder with their dA name on it:)

I appreciate your time in writing this article!:)
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