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Pride and Prejudice: Art theft and non-theft

So one often read about art theft. It’s not something new and on our part, we had our fair share of it. While doing my research for this, I tried to access some of the old links containing instances when our art was stolen. Unfortunately, those links seem to be down. So what we have are here: Someone trying to sell T-shirts based on ours (and Daiyaku’s) artwork and another person trying to pass off Haimerejzero’s artwork for his own.

Art theft is a sticky topic and I suspect what I will say will be relatively shallow. But let’s try to establish a proper CDS stance on this nasty topic, ya?

It was a topic which I’ve spoken to the dudes of Alice Overture about before. They had also resigned themselves to such an inevitability. It is just part and parcel of our ‘trade’. There is little that we can do about it and the boss said, (I paraphrase)

‘It is an honor actually. That means your work is good enough that others want to copy it.’

This little piece of wisdom, I passed on to the new kids in the block, Fantaisie Nocturne later. Their solution was to watermark everything. Not a bad method but something that we here, are too lazy to do.

As you can tell from the opening paragraph, our usual response is pretty simple. There is really, really nothing much that we can do about it, as indignant as we might feel about it. So what we usually do is to name the offender and try to laugh it off.

Some cases are more serious than others and in cases in which it seem that we can do something about it, I do try to step in. For example,

Someone wants to sling Haimerejzero’s Hibiki artwork over their shoulders

And have Xeph’s Tenshi on their back. At least pay us some royalties!

In these cases, the offender is selling anime merchandise that he managed to get from a Chinese supplier. Too bad that the artwork  on these stuffs happen to come from our Deviantart. He also happen to be based in Singapore which makes things easy. So a simple ‘troll-on-his-Facebook’ suffice in getting him to remove these items.

I do find that the offenders tend to be very apologetic when approached and would offer to make up for it. They do-not-know-better in the first place. At least, that’s what they say and I’ll give them the benefit of doubt.

A more recent incident would be that of the SAO icons.

This came to our attention first. Something is obviously very wrong with this image. For one thing, who the heck was Milkybunny?

After some tracing, we discovered that someone had taken our artworks for the SAO straps, edited out our text and made a request to the icon creator for them to be converted into icons. The unsuspecting icon maker went ahead and it led to our discovery.

It was heartening to see others leave comment on the blog to inform them of the original artist. But nothing speed up the removal process like the actual doujin circle leaving a comment. A couple of hours after we left our first comment, the post was taken down along with all traces of our artwork and a nice little apology email in our mailbox.

In the end, after some email exchanges, the SAO icons were used as CDS Facebook exclusives instead. Not a bad resolution after all. I’ll hate to waste those efforts that was already put into it.

It did raise a simple assumption that others tend to make. Acknowledgement.

For cases that does not involved commercial transaction, usually a simple acknowledgement as to the source of artwork is generally sufficient. Not that artists are egotists but we do like to be credited when that is due. At the very least, state your source.

That is also why I greatly prefer it if other Facebook pages would ‘share’ our artwork instead of  ’right-click,save and repost’. It makes a lot of difference when it comes to crediting the artist and giving us that little bit more traffic.

There is an image that I stumbled upon on Tumblr (and it led me to Cracked.com) which sums up the entire thing pretty well.

So here is our proper stance on this nasty issue.

One: Sharing our artwork via our Facebook (or any form of sharing on social media) is fine. Unless explicit consent is given by the artist or the manager, we rather you not do the ‘right-click-save-repost’ on Facebook. Or anywhere else.

Two: Credit. State your source. Link back. If Danbooru can do it, so can you.

Three: Our artworks are generally done for specific purposes. Unless explicitly said so, we rather not see it used for other methods. Email us if you have anything to propose.

Four: If you want to sell our artworks, email us first. Infringement of copyright in Singapore is up to $10,000 compensation per offending article. Just so you know.

Finally, just because the artwork doesn’t come from us, doesn’t mean that we don’t frown on people who use those for personal gains. I’m looking at you, dubious-anime-goods-of-Chinese-origins vendors who appear at all sorts of conventions.

So what does everyone (the few of you who bothers to read this totally un-updated blog) think about this whole issue? Have you downloaded the SAO icons yet?

2 Responses to “Pride and Prejudice: Art theft and non-theft”

  1. - Joker

    Oh s*** . I did repost CDS artwork in Tumblr. >< But I did credit, in my case, greenteaneko. Is it ok?

    I'm really sorry. Do I need to remove it?

    Nah. That’s alright. If you did credit (and link back), then there is absolutely no issue.

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