Last week, I spent many hours reporting the 1000's (I wish I was exaggerating) of illegitimate uses of my work (mostly "Arabia"). There was a blog that uploaded my work "Flying Lessons" and at least credited me, but never asked me for permission first. I found it by doing a reverse image search. At first, I was going to let it go, since there was at least a credit. But then I realized that all of the pins on Pinterest went back to her blog (and to the blogs of her followers). So, I had Google remove it. The blog owner sent me a note today. I have to quote it:
My blog, (removed), got reported for featuring a piece of your artwork on October 12, 2012. I had a credit linking directly to your page right underneath it when I did it. I didn't mean to upset you in any way and I will be sure not to feature your art anymore. I was hoping to send some traffic your way as I thought it was a really nice piece. Am very sorry to upset you."
On the surface, it seems very reasonable and sincere, but to be honest I have some issues with it as an apology. It seems very passive-aggressive, but mostly incredibly naive on how to best feature an artist. Especially, since all of the traffic went to her, not me. I'm flattered she likes my work, but she went about this the wrong way.
So, you wanna feature an artist? Here's how to go about it:
First thing first: will this feature be on deviantART or another site? If here on dA, go for it! I haven't heard of an artist, yet, who has turned down a feature. Use the thumb code or big thumb code to embed the feature works into your journal. And then, let them know.
If it's on another site, it gets a little trickier:
On Facebook, you can easily share the link to the deviation. Do not save the work to your computer and then upload it to a gallery, unless you have first
gotten the artist''s permission! Most of the art pages on Facebook are nothing more than rampant copyright violations.
On personal blogs, you pretty much have to contact the artist first. It's common courtesy to ask before using someone's artwork in your blog or gallery. Actually, scratch that - it is a requirement. And be honest with yourself: are you actually trying to feature the artist or are you just trying to prettify your blog?
I do not wish to be featured anymore. I appreciate those who have already done features of my work - it truly means a lot to me when someone thinks my work is good. But, I am so tired of filling out the DMCA takedown reports... the more attention my work receives, the more likely it will be seen by someone who will violate my copyright. I have actually come to hate the sight of my own work now!
My art is for me. It's a part of me. I don't make art to find it posted thousands of times on Tumblr, dozens of times on WeHeartIt, pinned countless times on Pinterest. I don't even submit to groups anymore! As I mentioned in an earlier journal, I am only posting my work here, because most stock providers require it. I use the most obnoxious watermarks, to try to make it undesirable as possible. Even on my personal Facebook, my works still come with a watermark.
I guess what I am really trying to get at is this: respect each other. Respect the artists you admire and respect the copyright of all. And if you truly
want to feature someone, contact them first! Seriously, how difficult would it have been for my blog friend to have sent me a note months ago asking for permission, rather than sending an apology after being reported?