Hard Line

Something of an unfocused rant.

[Originally published Jan 14, 2005 on deviantArt]

Where do you draw the line on images which are clearly not the poster’s work?

Simply re-posting a picture and claiming it as your own is clearly a violation and reprehensible to boot.  What about poets who use images, which often were the inspiration?  What about the photo-manipulator who takes a copyrighted image and twists it?  Does the ‘10% rule’ apply?  What about the bastard child of photo-manip, the wallpaper ‘artists’ who throw a 1024×768 border around a magazine scan?  Do you really think that makes it your own?  Do you think that it excuses the use of a copyrighted image?

I’ve gotten sensitive to this issue since joining deviantArt.  I know I’ve reported violations for images that I later realized were in the public domain, but I’ve also not reported images I was *sure* were copyrighted but could not prove.  What makes it even harder is that there are some professional artists who post here, artists who’s work I’ve seen dumped en masse into the newsgroups.  I don’t know what the admins do with violations;  I have been notified when action was taken on harassment and inappropriate sexual imagery reports, but never on a copyright report – neither for or against my case.  Not that I want or need the knowledge.  I trust instead that they make the appropriate judgement and act accordingly.

I don’t want to be a copyright Nazi, but I get offended by people who put in little or no work and claim creative genius.  I’ve borrowed work from the site to practice coloring or digital darkroom techniques, but I would never dream of re-posting those things.  It’s practice, not art.

For similar reasons, I have pretty demanding standards for photo-manipulation and wallpaper work.  I expect to see your work clearly, to the point where it obscures the original image.  If you’re gonna do that work, then actually work at it; put in something original and make it your own.

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