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Please enforce stronger rules against art theft

ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
edited March 21 in Site Resources
Hi. It would be nice if there could be a stronger enforcement against art theft on these forums.
It really isn't that hard to put a bloody link to the image source and the name of the artist next to a picture.
This fandom has little to no respect for portrait artists and I honestly feel like you, Beamdog,
should step in and teach the folks here some manners.

Please do something, there are enough artists who hate the Baldur's Gate fandom already.

_________________________________

PS: I was a tad bit overemotional when I started this thread yesterday and ended up being a tad bit to agressive/ insulting on a few accords. I am not gonna go in ahead and edit the posts in question (to avoid confusing anyone), so I am putting a warning here instead. Please excuse me, this has been a hot button topic for me for a long time now. I am trying to keep things more grounded and civil as I go on now.

Also, some useful links I would like to put here for all you TL;DR folks:
- About sharing other people's art/ How to properly source
- About using and modifying other people's works
- Can I use that picture?
Post edited by Buttercheese on
Troodon80KuronaAerakarThacoBell
«13

Comments

  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 531
    edited March 21
    Are you talking about custom portraits/artwork they have passed off as their own? Or is it everything ranging the usage of avatars and unauthorized use in mods and so on? Sorry if I'm being dense about it, I'm just curious.
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
    edited March 21
    @batoor Every time someone uses/ shares an artwork they didn't make themselves.
    Credit has to be always given when credit is due and permission needs to be aquired beforehand if the image is modified and/or used in a mod.

    This fandom has an absolutely terrible habit of taking all those artists for granted. Too many people here think they somehow have the right to use an artwork simply because it exits. And the worst part is, the different forums, this one included enable and even literally promote that behavior.

    This needs to stop, like, yesterday.

    I get that enforcing this would be quite a bit of work. But something needs to change.

    (Avatars are imo usually a-okay, I never heard of an artist complaining someone using a picture as their forum avatar.)
    Post edited by Buttercheese on
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 2,023
    I'm not sure what sort of use you're getting at Buttercheese. I would have thought the most common use of images on this Forum would have been as portraits in a game and putting a link to the image source every time you do a screenshot would indeed be bloody hard. Is there another type of use you're concerned about?
  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 772
    The BG fandom isn't as bad as, say, the RPG Maker community in the old days but yeah I 100% agree that something should be done about this. Posts containing art without source should just be deleted imo and if there is a source it'd be good to check the artist's terms.

    @Grond0 and anyone wondering about "use"
    @Buttercheese isn't talking about your avatar or what portrait you use in your game at home. Nobody ever cared about avatars and what happens on your computer is your own business. She's referring to mods with characters using portraits or worse, portrait packs. The latter is particularly problematic because it's often difficult to often properly give credit to the artists involved.
    ButtercheeseDJKajuruCrevsDaakThacoBell
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
    Grond0 said:

    putting a link to the image source every time you do a screenshot would indeed be bloody hard.

    No, it really isn't. Bookmark the link. Takes a few extra seconds every time you post the image.
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 2,023

    No, it really isn't. Bookmark the link. Takes a few extra seconds every time you post the image.

    That's still significant given that even one of my relatively quick documented trilogy runs would be likely to have over a hundred screenshots. I think it would also be rather annoying for a reader to constantly be bombarded with the same information.

    At the moment I'm inclined to accept the above description of the problem by @Kurona rather than extending that to personal use (I think dealing with the latter would anyway cause potential difficulties with the US concept of fair use of copyrighted material). I can see why giving credit could be a problem and would have expected modders to get round that by asking permission in advance to use any artwork.
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,320
    On one hand I can see why @Buttercheese created this topic. But on the other hand, I see some problems with it.

    First - before enforcing any rules, you should define art theft. I can agree that art theft is definitely when one is taking someone's artwork and clam it to be his/her. But, there are aso circumstances in which one is not crediting the original artist for reason.

    Second - and that would be the second point. Sometimes regardless of honest intantion, one is unable to find original artist. Sometimes one has downloaded entire portrait pack, with hundreds of these, which also creater problems with tracking down the original artist.

    What are your proposition then? Warnings/bans for users? Preventing posting screenshots in the playthrought threads, if OP doesn't know the original artist? In that case, sticking only in-game portraits? But wait, these also have original artists, so I guess users should credit them as well. Maybe people who are unable to credit properly shouldn't post screenshots at all?

    The issue is not black and white, and rules are often blind to circumstances and serve hindering purpose. So, I suggest you to define what would be considered art theft and what not, adress the problem with tracking original artists and clearly state how rules you propose would be enforcered. This is important, because poorly made rule will not only don't do any favors to artist, but also won't do any facours to community, as labeling people as art thieves isn't the best way to mantain healthy community.
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
    edited March 21
    @O_Bruce
    I actually wrote to full articles on the topic almost two years ago,
    I think those should clear things up (let me know if any questions remain afterwards.)

    About sharing other people's art/ How to properly source
    About using and modifying other people's works

    As for how exactly the modertators/admins should fare with people who break these potential rules, is up to debate. From what I observed here in the past years, a lot of rules are enforced with varying strength and on a case to case basis, so it would probably be best to go with this about the same as well.
  • O_BruceO_Bruce Member Posts: 2,320
    @Buttercheese
    Thank you for the links. Why don't you edit your first post so that it would contain those two links? That would be helpful.

    There is remaing question however. How are you propose it to be enforced on this forums? You know, punishments etc. ?
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 12,453
    First of all, if you think something is violationg a rule, report it using the Flag feature.

    Second, we've recieved a specific complaint from artists reagarding the use of artwork in one of the threads here.

    I think it's a bit harsh to say that this fandom has little to no respect for portrait artists. There're numerous cases when users respect artists and source all the artwork, and even get straight permission from artists. And there're certain cases of violations, which shoud be addressed.

    The moderation team will ensure the complaint we've recieved will be resolved.
    mlneveseAerakarThacoBell
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
    edited March 21

    First of all, if you think something is violationg a rule, report it using the Flag feature.

    That's my point though, it isn't specifically a rule (unless I missed/ misread something, in which case I am sorry). From everything I have seen it's just guidelines. Which is an important difference. The only times I have seen anybody try to enforce giving proper credit is when I personally stepped in and called out the person in question. Which makes me look like an ass every time (NO FUN ALLOWED).

    I think it's a bit harsh to say that this fandom has little to no respect for portrait artists. There're numerous cases when users respect artists and source all the artwork, and even get straight permission from artists. And there're certain cases of violations, which shoud be addressed.

    I see constant complains on both DeviantArt, Tumblr and in private by artists who report their art being stolen. Literally just yesterday an artist I follow at dA complained about how he was messeged by a BG modder who asked them to give them art for free, which is very insulting and disrespectful to a lot of artists, especially those who do this for a living.

    When I did my RPG-Portraits project a few years ago (where I'd cooporate with different artists to create portrait packs with their art; I canned the project after a while because it was too much work) a good chunk of them refused my proposal specifically because it was for the BG modding community, with which they had art theft problems in the past.

    Almost daily over at tumblr I see artists complaining about their art getting reposted on forums and image boards without them being credited (this is not BG fandom specific, but in general).

    And then you have ignorant comments like this:
    Grond0 said:

    putting a link to the image source every time you do a screenshot would indeed be bloody hard.

    If nothing changes I will personally report every uncredited and stolen piece of art to the artists in question I spot here in the future. The artists have every right to know about what is happening to their work. So far I kept everything under the radar for the sake of the forum peace and because I prefer giving people the benefit of the doubt. But I am just growing sick of it both for the artists' and the community's sake.

    Nobody wins in this. Artists are getting disenfrachised and the community is growing an ever shittier reputation. As someone who plays on both teams, let me assure you that we both lose. If we, as a community, can proof to artists that we respect their work, more of them will be willing to work with us. So putting in the few extra minutes of writing down proper credits is better for all of us in the long run.

    ___________________________________

    As a side note I want to add that I am well aware that this disrespectful behavior is a general problem on all of the internet and not just with the BG (modding) community specifically. But change has to start somewhere.

    ___________________________________

    PS: Also, having official permission to use an artwork may result in endorsement of a mod from their site. Yet another reason to ask.
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 12,453
    edited March 21

    First of all, if you think something is violationg a rule, report it using the Flag feature.

    That's my point though, it isn't specifically a rule (unless I missed/ misread something, in which case I am sorry). From everything I have seen it's just guidelines. Which is an important difference. The only times I have seen anybody try to enforce giving proper credit is when I personally stepped in and called out the person in question. Which makes me look like an ass every time (NO FUN ALLOWED).
    No, it's not allowed.

    2. No Advertisement.

    This Site is not to be used to advertise or distribute products, services or copyrighted material.

    Don’t post links to, attach to a post, or post: warez, illegal software, illegal copies of books, substantial portions of copyrighted texts, or anything of the sort. This is not limited to copyrighted published material, but also to images that must be purchased, and anything else being illegally distributed. If you possess verifiable consent of the owner of copyrighted content, you may post the allowed content (within the limits of the content rules).


    Also, when you report something using the Flag feature, all the moderation team sees it and thus the chances of the best possible solution to an issue increase.
    Buttercheesemlnevese
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,552
    I usually make custom portraits by photoshopping different artworks and photos, and sometimes it is difficult to know the artist , as I may have taken these from an image bank or blog. However, I make it clear that I don't own the art and I'm doing it for domestic use and share it on the forums so people can use it in a harmless way as well.

    I have also used other people's art on a GUI mod, but in that case I have shared the link to the original artist's deviantart page . I 've also used modifications from the original Beamdog artworks, even though I do not know the artist I make it clear that beamdog owns its rights.

    Should I do anything more than that?
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477

    Don’t post links to, attach to a post, or post: warez, illegal software, illegal copies of books, substantial portions of copyrighted texts, or anything of the sort. This is not limited to copyrighted published material, but also to images that must be purchased, and anything else being illegally distributed. If you possess verifiable consent of the owner of copyrighted content, you may post the allowed content (within the limits of the content rules).

    Well, good to know that this applies to the types of artworks I refered to.
    At least now I can report away without feeling bad about it anymore :V
    You might wanna make this clearer though, evidently a lot of people are not aware of this.
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 2,023
    edited March 21

    And then you have ignorant comments like this:

    Grond0 said:

    putting a link to the image source every time you do a screenshot would indeed be bloody hard.

    As I'm sure you are well aware Buttercheese my comment was a direct reflection of your comment in the OP that "It really isn't that hard to put a bloody link to the image source and the name of the artist next to a picture". I'm not an artist and entirely accept I don't fully understand your point of view - and in that sense, yes I'm ignorant. However, I think you should perhaps consider your own attitudes and knowledge before attaching labels to others.

    I'm afraid I don't believe the application of copyright is as straight-forward as you suggest - for instance I've already referred to the principle of 'fair use' in an earlier post - and I don't think that the sort of use I've made of images (for screenshots that include a tiny character portrait as in the following) would generally be legally actionable (certainly not in the US).

    I'm also not sure you appreciate the dynamics of the sort of no-reload documented runs I and others have been doing for a good many years. The character portrait used above is one of my favorites and will have been included in thousands of screenshots over time. Putting a source next to all those (even if I were able to determine the original source of all portraits, which in many cases would be doubtful) would take additional time, but more importantly than that the constant repetition would also be annoying for the reader - trying to avoid too much repetition is a perennial issue when you're describing doing something you've done many hundreds of times before :*.
    ArdanisDJKajuruSkatanCrevsDaak
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,552
    I agree with @Grond0 , does domestic of an image requires us to post the original link?
  • smeagolheartsmeagolheart Member Posts: 4,577
    edited March 21
    I've made portrait packs in the past for the community to enjoy for free.

    As mentioned I don't know who made certain portraits. For example, I've used google and there's a way to search for free images there. Do I now have a link to all the artwork that was found that way today? No I don't.

    So I'm evaluating if there is a way ahead for my mod or if it is dead.

    I've already spent hundreds of hours coding and working on my portrait mod. Am I willing go back to square one and sink another similar amount of time in the joyless pursuit of tracking down people and go back and forth and explain everything if they even respond? I enjoyed the creative part of making a mod and was willing to work for free for that to create. Trying to convince people and barter back and forth, that's something else - no creation or imagination there. I don't get paid for this.

    As a fan of the game, I wanted to provide something greater than the sum of it's parts to the community to enhance their game.

    So how do I move forward? At the moment, I think a way forward could be to start a new project and crowdsource through the community and request new portrait submissions to the mod. I don't know if the mod would ever be done that way considering there are thousands of portraits needed. Maybe I could request help tracking down artists, because I certainly don't have the time to track them all down myself I'd need help.
    DJKajuru said:

    I usually make custom portraits by photoshopping different artworks and photos, and sometimes it is difficult to know the artist , as I may have taken these from an image bank or blog. However, I make it clear that I don't own the art and I'm doing it for domestic use and share it on the forums so people can use it in a harmless way as well.

    I have also used other people's art on a GUI mod, but in that case I have shared the link to the original artist's deviantart page . I 've also used modifications from the original Beamdog artworks, even though I do not know the artist I make it clear that beamdog owns its rights.

    Should I do anything more than that?

    According to the rules quoted by Buttercheese, you must do more than link to the deviantart page, you have to contact the artist and if they are still alive and if you can get them to respond to you then you have to get their permission otherwise you'd have to take down your GUI mod.

    Don’t post links to, attach to a post, or post: warez, illegal software, illegal copies of books, substantial portions of copyrighted texts, or anything of the sort. This is not limited to copyrighted published material, but also to images that must be purchased, and anything else being illegally distributed. If you possess verifiable consent of the owner of copyrighted content, you may post the allowed content (within the limits of the content rules).


    Well, good to know that this applies to the types of artworks I refered to.
    At least now I can report away without feeling bad about it anymore :V
    You might wanna make this clearer though, evidently a lot of people are not aware of this.

  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477
    @Grond0 The comment was ignorant in the sense of that it is uninformed and respectless.
    I did not quote it as a personal insult but because it was the closest comment of that kind at hand.
    Most people are ignorant about this topic. If it were just a select few people I wouldn't have bothered making an entire topic about adressing the community as a whole.

    For example, I've used google and there's a way to search for free images there.

    And therein lies the folly: Art is not free just because it's on Google.
    Assuming that is like saying that you are allowed to take the art from a museum with you just because you paid the entrance fee to see it.

    If you wanna find art that is free to use you have to do this:

    1. Click [Tools]
    2. Click [More Tools]
    3. Click [Labled for noncommercial reuse with modification]

    I've made portrait packs in the past for the community to enjoy for free.

    Well, good for you. You still stole art for it.

    As mentioned I don't know who made certain portraits. [...] Do I now have a link to all the artwork that was found that way today? No I don't.

    Yes, you do. You have google, you have the image. Here's what you do, using one of the portraits from your mod as an example:

    1. Go to Google image search
    2. Click the camera button


    3. Go to the upload image tag
    4. Upload the image


    5. Check the links in question till you find the right one.
    (Sometimes you have to dig through a number of links.)



    Aaaaand there it is:
    Pillars of Eternity: Vigo Iason by coupleofkooks


    This took literally 20 seconds.

    So I'm evaluating if there is a way ahead for my mod or if it is dead.

    Which is why I am so bloody mad about all this.
    If you hadn't stolen the art it would have never come to this.
    This one is on you. Do not dare to paint yourself as the victim here.
    All you would have had to do was ask the artists for permission, I already spoke with some of them about it and put in a good word for you. Told them that you probably didn't know better. Some of them even agreed on letting you use the art if you give proper credit.

    I like the concept of this mod very much. I'd be willing to help you track down all the artists in questions and help you find new portraits to use (I am good at this stuff).

    But do not claim that you are in the right here.

    Trying to convince people and barter back and forth, that's something else - no creation or imagination there.

    It's really simple, I do it all the time.
    You put together a standart message where you explain what exactly you want to do with the artwork in question, promise them to give proper credit, yada yada, and simply switch out the name every time.
    I can write that stock message for you if you want.

    I don't get paid for this.

    Neither do the artists you stole from.

    As a fan of the game, I wanted to provide something greater than the sum of it's parts to the community to enhance their game.

    Again, you screwed this one up, you stole from other people for this. Being an artist is a thankless job already and actions like these just make it worse.

    So how do I move forward? At the moment, I think a way forward could be to start a new project and crowdsource through the community and request new portrait submissions to the mod. I don't know if the mod would ever be done that way considering there are thousands of portraits needed. Maybe I could request help tracking down artists, because I certainly don't have the time to track them all down myself I'd need help.

    I'd gladly help. You could have just asked around before you made the mod, I am sure plenty people would have wanted to help out.
    ThacoBell
  • StefanOStefanO Member Posts: 226
    The thread List of BG2EE Compatible Mods lists under Portraits:
    • Portraits Portraits Everywhere (for BG1EE, SOD, BG2EE, IWDEE, EET)
    • Artaport 3.1
    • PaintBG for all BG platforms
    • The Picture Standard
    • Isandir's Portrait Pack
    • Continous Viconia Appearance for BG1EE, BG2EE, SOD and EET
    Following @Buttercheese arguments: Which one of these (if any) are OK to use?

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 2,023

    @Grond0 The comment was ignorant in the sense of that it is uninformed and respectless.
    I did not quote it as a personal insult but because it was the closest comment of that kind at hand.
    Most people are ignorant about this topic. If it were just a select few people I wouldn't have bothered making an entire topic about adressing the community as a whole.

    I started drafting a rather more acerbic response to the above, but other than a momentary satisfaction to me I know it won't help, so have restrained myself. As my last word on the subject I'll make clearer a point I've raised several times already in this thread, but which you have not responded to.

    I believe there is a difference both morally and legally between the sort of personal use which I'm making of art and commercial or quasi-commercial (for instance in modding) use. I think that view is widely shared by other posters and there are several examples of that distinction being made by others in this thread - and you have not challenged those. Your responses to me specifically however suggest that you do not think there is a difference. I would also note that even in the earlier posts you've done on this issue (and linked in this thread) you haven't accepted this distinction and therefore it does seem likely to me that you are in fact advocating the strict interpretation on copyright acknowledgement suggested by your responses to me.

    If I'm wrong about your position and your comments to me simply represent a personality clash then please clarify your position and let's move on. If I'm correct about your position I would just note that I don't think that strict interpretation would be supported by most forum posters - and taking that approach may have the effect of making it harder to get agreement even on those copyright issues where there is more common ground.
  • winterswinters Member Posts: 252
    I've spent quite a lot of time trying to spell out my thoughts on that. I feel like I failed - that would be either a prolonged, overly emotional rant of someone who draws for a living (my professional work has a pretty low chance of getting stolen... but it happens) or a semi-amateurish lecture on copyright. Neither of that makes sense.

    So, to make it short. What Cheese said. If someone's extra few minutes spent on searching for sources or linking them is more valuable than artist's time spent on making art, then let's just stop making and posting art for free. Let's leave art-making to companies with legions of lawyers who will sue anyone's ass off with ease. Except for them, everybody loses.
    Buttercheese
  • mlnevesemlnevese Member, Moderator Posts: 7,742
    edited March 21
    If you ever have any doubt about using a picture you're not the author of or have not paid for, check this useful article.

    By the way the same principle applies to any other copyrighted material such as audio and video, for instance.

    Anyway do not try to confront the person breaking the rule yourself. Flag the post and let the moderating team deal with it. This applies to ANY kind of Forum Rule violation.
    KamigoroshiJuliusBorisovButtercheesedeltago
  • AstroBryGuyAstroBryGuy Member Posts: 2,787
    edited March 21
    StefanO said:

    The thread List of BG2EE Compatible Mods lists under Portraits:

    • Portraits Portraits Everywhere (for BG1EE, SOD, BG2EE, IWDEE, EET)
    • Artaport 3.1
    • PaintBG for all BG platforms
    • The Picture Standard
    • Isandir's Portrait Pack
    • Continous Viconia Appearance for BG1EE, BG2EE, SOD and EET
    Following @Buttercheese arguments: Which one of these (if any) are OK to use?

    PaintBG for all BG platforms - yes. It is a collaboration between @artastrophe (the artist) and @LavaDelVortel (coder)

    Assuming @Etamin has notified @artastrophe, Artaport should be ok. Artastrophe's reuse permission statement is fairly liberal:
    USAGE
    You are absolutely free to use any of my images as avatars online, like for discussion boards and things like that (though I respectfully would prefer to reserve my self-portraits --and Drexl xD -- for my own online personas), or as part of non-profit mods for games (please notify me for those!). Please credit me where the option is available.
    Isandir's Portrait Pack - I assume so. It consists of portraits by @Isandir.

    Continuous Viconia - All the images are based on Beamdog/WoTC owned images, but I don't know if the those who created the edited versions have given permission. Certainly, @smeagolheart has permission to use the one Viconia edit I made that is in it (which was really minor, considering my feeble skills).

    PPE and Picture Standard - probably not.
    Buttercheese
  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,039
    mlnevese said:

    By the way the same principle applies to any other copyrighted material such as audio and video, for instance.

    R.I.P. Share a song or two thread, favourite videogame, classical, folk musics thread, 80s music thread, Songs in Forgotten Realms thread and any other thread with youtube videos. Your entertainment value won't ever be forgotten on these forums. ;_;
    Shandaxxtypo_tillySkatanCrevsDaak
  • ShandaxxShandaxx Member Posts: 6,729
    mlnevese said:

    If you ever have any doubt about using a picture you're not the author of or have not paid for, check this useful article.

    By the way the same principle applies to any other copyrighted material such as audio and video, for instance.

    Anyway do not try to confront the person breaking the rule yourself. Flag the post and let the moderating team deal with it. This applies to ANY kind of Forum Rule violation.

    That article contains a picture that mentions "fair use" and that has been mentioned in the thread before already.

    However I haven't seen a response yet on this matter. Does fair use apply or not?

    @bengoshi @mlnevese Is there something like "fair use" on this forum when it comes to copyrighted material?

  • ShandaxxShandaxx Member Posts: 6,729
    edited March 21
    I am no lawyer at all. While I agree with @Buttercheese in theory I see that there may be practical problems.

    For instance what @Kamigoroshi said:

    mlnevese said:

    By the way the same principle applies to any other copyrighted material such as audio and video, for instance.

    R.I.P. Share a song or two thread, favourite videogame, classical, folk musics thread, 80s music thread, Songs in Forgotten Realms thread and any other thread with youtube videos. Your entertainment value won't ever be forgotten on these forums. ;_;
    Need those threads to be shut down now?

    The demand is that whenever you post something of which you don't own the copyright you should at least mention the artist and put a link to your source. It feels right and sounds sensible.

    However I have a lot of doubts that that is going to happen. This is where theory meets real life. You will not change everyone on the Internet.

    I know @Buttercheese you'd at least like people to post a link, but what if the link changes?

    For example @LadyRhian has posted HUNDREDS if not more pictures over the years. Imagine she would have posted links to all the sources for each one of them. Now imagine the links change over time!
    Then everyone would always have to check if all the links they have ever made are still valid.

    It's simply not going to happen. As much as I agree with you that artists deserve credit and they do! But there needs to be some kind of easy and practical way of doing that.

    I don't see how links can do that. You would have to take care and check every day that the link is still valid. ALL the links. Links change. They're not something permanent.

    Now should all the song threads and all of @LadyRhian 's image threads be shut down?
    Gynsburghe
  • ShandaxxShandaxx Member Posts: 6,729
    TL;DR

    I fear this forum will not be the same if everyone who ever uploaded copyrighted material without a link to the source was treated as a thief.

    If that is for the better or the worse you decide.
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,477

    “Art Theft” as a crime involves physically taking, stealing, a physical artwork, which could be a canvas or a sculpture or even a hard drive full of digital files. “Theft” describes a criminal act that can result in imprisonment. Technically, it does not involve copying creative expression. When someone copies your art it can feel like a crime. It’s certainly wrong morally and it might be copyright infringement. But accusing someone of a “theft” is a serious accusation that may be too extreme.
    I'm not trying to make light of the issue, but words matter. Tossing around terms like "art theft" and "stole" when they do not accurately describe the issue just raises the temperature of the debate. That's not to say it isn't a serious issue.
    Yeah, I know about this. They published this statement sometime last year, if I remember correctly.
    I think it is bs. Unless someone can come up with better terminology I am left to call it theft.
    (I would also like to mention that dA has a imo sub-par policy on art theft in general, you always have to file a DMCA when you see someone stole your art which includes having to give them your phone number and what not.) But alas, that is DeviantArt and they are not the end-all-be-all on these matters.

    I'll also point out that often you can't just stop at finding the "source" on a site like DeviantArt. As an example, a few days ago, in the (now locked) Minor NPC Portraits for BGEE thread, eight possible replacements for a child's portrait were posted (with DeviantArt sources). However, three of these digital paintings (e-paintings?) were heavily based on commercial photographs, but none of the DeviantArt sources accurately cited the original photographs (one cited a dead fan blog as the "source" and the other two were completely silent on giving any credit at all for the original photographs). Since the digital portraits were very likely derivative works themselves, I doubt the artists have legal standing to grant permission to reuse.

    Yeah, but in that case the fault is with the artist, not with the person who made the mod.
    This is why it's important to ask ahead, to make sure that the artist in question actually has the full rights to allow the picture to be re-used.
    I myself have found myself rather often in the situation were I would have loved to allow someone to use one of my pictures but I had to decline because the piece in question was a commission and/or included a (for the lack of a better term) "non-public character" I didn't own.
    Also, but I am not entirely sure of this so please don't quote me on that, I do believe different laws apply if the painting is just based on the photograph instead of actually including the photograph itself.
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