Deviant *linawifeofL writes:
"It seems as though, for a while now, deviantART has been seeing a decline in the action its staff and administrators take against less than stellar members of our beloved artistic community. Art theft is at an all-time high and trolls run rampant. Stolen artwork is seen as often as genuine art, and it even defaces the front page. Deviants complain and rant about these issues to no end, and even report them when spotted. So how come action isnt being taken?
I myself am an active member of the anti-art theft community here on deviantART. Every day I see color-overs, images with an original artists signature still in the corner, and images obviously pulled from photobucket.com that I have seen all over the internet. Every time I see a piece of art I suspect to be stolen, I will find the original image through tineye.com or other means and provide it as evidence in a Report. If I go through this process nearly every day, than how come the last time I received a response on a violation was on November 19, 2009?
I am not the only deviant who is frustrated by this. Others have complained of never gaining responses from their violation reports, too many for this to be a rare occurrence. Is the deviantART staff not paid to remove stolen artwork? So how come problem art thieves with galleries composed completely of stolen deviations who have been reported multiple times by multiple individuals have not been made to take responsibility of their actions? How come deviants who have stolen 100+ images have not received warnings, had their deviations removed, or been banned?
Another all too common occurrence is that when a permission issues violation report is finally responded to, the response received is this one:
A member of staff has reviewed this report and has found that while there may be cause for some type of concern no actual administrative action will be taken because this report was made by an interested third party rather than someone directly involved in the issue.
Translation: While I see that this image is indeed stolen, since you are not the original artist Im not going to do anything about it. To quote a concerned deviant who will be referred to as Meph: People who trace another person's images and claim the new version as their own work do NOT count as artists! And yet DA has stated there is no issue with someone obviously copying another person's work! It has been stated that this is done to protect people who actually are original artists, but when art theft is so obviously blatant as it is in many of these cases, there is no excuse as to why action should not be taken. To quote a deviation who will be referred to as Demura: The admins seem so scared of taking action against innocent people, they don't even do anything against clearly guilty ones. Deviant Tawny Davis says I myself have reported BLATANT theft and no action was taken... It's a shame to think that the administration of such a wonderful community for artists to share their work has been ignoring these thieves. Deviant Katherine Hillis says dA needs to be more active in removing stolen/copied/traced art from the site. It's getting out of hand, and I'm tired of seeing stolen art on the front page. Deviant Tiffany says This is getting horrible. If I remember right, many of my friends have had their art stolen and it's still up. I'm sick of it all.
Clearly, a lack of action in response to art theft is an issue frustrating many deviants, not just a select few. This is a site where artists should be able to post their artwork and feel safe with the knowledge that any art of theirs that is stolen will be promptly removed. But it is this kind of slack action, or lack there of, that drives wonderful artists to leave this site for fear of their creations being stolen and the thieves not being held accountable.
Another problem facing deviants is the copious number of trolls. They can harass other deviants on their pages, through comments, in the chatrooms, and only so much can be done. Once someone is blocked from a users page, they can still respond to comments the user made outside of their page, and a sock puppet account can always be created to continue harassing the individual through. And yet many a time when these trolls are reported the dA staff insists that there is nothing they can do because of some rule or policy. As deviant AKBC states: Ever notice how some of the good people get banned or art taken down but trolls are allowed to thrive due to some catch-22 loop-hole? A deviant I shall call SF says it all with this statement: There has been a troll that has come back to deviantART over FIVE times, and people have repeatedly reported her and requested the deviantART staff to block her IP address (if this is possible!) It hasn't been done yet, and she continues to harass and annoy the same user. deviantART is a community for artists, it should not be subject to the same juvenile drama as MySpace or Facebook. If one deviant is harassing another, it shouldnt matter how they are harassing them, just that they are, and they should be held accountable for this.
deviantART administration and staff, we the deviants are proclaiming our displeasure for how you handle these types of situations. We know and understand that you are very busy people, having to handle hundreds of thousands of deviants and the reports they send. But if you need more help, why not appoint more staff members, even to only do part-time work? My suggestion to better handle art theft would be to 1. Repeal the policy that states that the original artist should report a stolen deviation for it to be removed; many stolen images are not originally from deviantART anyhow and so the original artist is unable to report it, and 2. Set up a Deviation Violation Report Task Force dedicated solely to handling violation reports on deviations. There are many responsible, fair-minded individuals here on deviantART who would be happy to volunteer for this cause. I am one of them. As for trolls, I believe that good old fashioned firmer discipline is in order. If a deviant is reported for spamming, harassment, overly hateful behavior, and/or other such conduct as is deemed unacceptable in terms of hosting a civil art community, the administrator or staff member in charge of the case will be given the responsibility of deciding whether the case is cause for action. The accused party should be sent a private Note informing them of what they have been accused of and containing a run-down of the case against them. They may be given an opportunity to argue their case to the staff member or administrator in charge of their case as well as two other administrators or staff members to create an unbiased result. It is up to this panel of three to decide whether the accused is or is not guilty. If deemed guilty, they shall be given a warning to cease their unacceptable conduct. If reported a second time, they are suspended from the site for seven days time. If reported a third time, they are permanently banned from deviantART. My suggestion would be establishing a Deviant Conduct Task Force to handle this issue, as with the Deviation Violation Report Task Force assigning willing, capable and responsible deviants as deemed by the deviantART administration to this position.
Administration and staff, I thank you for creating this wonderful community that allows artists to share their creations with each other, but now I ask you to take action in terms of the wrongs committed by those who do not respect the sanctity of this site. Dont create new formats and systems, fix what problems we already have. I believe deviant Serenity says it best with her words: While I appreciate the updates to the dA system, I would much rather have an older model of dA if it meant less cases of art theft and trolling. "
This is just one deviant's opinion, but there are many groups and clubs on deviantART that are devoted to the stopping of art thieves and trolls. I would like to see dA become the kind of site that doesn't need this type of group. We feel that there is a viable solution to the growing problems detailed in this article, and we want the great people of the dA Staff to make changes in the way things are done so that this site doesn't turn into another photobucket.
Spread the word!