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September 26, 2012
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Today, a DD was awarded to a nice acrylic painting (below left) which was painted from my photo (below right) -

Westcoast landscape by Rpriet1 Last Look by IvanAndreevich

Just about the only thing I don't like about is the strong cyan tint, which seems to be more associated with the photo of the painting rather than then painting itself. Overall it's definitely one of the best derivative works I've yet to see based on my photos. I really enjoyed exploring how all the little details differed between the two.

Rpriet1 did not ask for my permission, or inform me of using my photo. A DA gallery moderator just messaged to ask whether I would like the deviation removed, and the DD revoked. I think most artists who've had their work "stolen" would be outraged, but for me the answer was a very unambiguous no. This is a complicated issue, and I think that the vast majority of the readers will disagree with me at this point, so let me explain my position carefully.

The concept of intellectual property, the way it exists today, is not legitimate. If you have ever downloaded an MP3 file, a movie, or some software without paying, yet you are outraged at art theft when it happens to you or someone close, then you are a hypocrite. I actually think that should cover the majority of the readers of these words.

Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, is one of my personal heroes. He could have been a multimillionaire via the specter of copyright law, yet he chose to pass it up and effectively released it without any rights reserved. He saved an untold number of lives - both by inventing the vaccine, and by releasing it the way he did.

Some of you may be aware of the patent battles currently being fought in the smart phone arena between companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung. It's a waste of time and money. Software patents (like some of the ones Apple holds) are stupid in general. Imagine being able to patent the following actions -

1) Walk up to a door
2) Put your hand on the door knob
3) Turn the door knob
4) Open the door

..and then suing the fuck out of everyone who does that and doesn't pay royalties. Yes, some of the patents they hold are really THAT pathetic in terms of software engineering.

So, who does intellectual property favor? Not me or anyone I know. I don't have the resources to navigate the convoluted judicial system and pay ludicrous lawyer fees. I don't have time to copyright every little piece of junk I can think of. Big corporations have those resources. They have legal departments, and file tens of thousands of patents per year. Just another example of big business in bed with the government pursuing policies which favor both of them at the expense of small businesses, and private citizens.

What would be the outcome of me getting the DD removed as "stolen" work from DA? Would I be any richer, more famous, or derive ANY benefit at all from it? Nope. The drawbacks for other deviants are clear - they would not get to enjoy a quality work of art. It would certainly be nice if the artist included a link to my deviation and thanked me for my work (which she did later, by the way), but let's get real here - my work is "stolen" all over the place on the Internet.

You can't stop it, you can't even meaningfully slow it down. The circulation of information happens at warp speed, and that's the main advantage of the world wide web. Trying to fight it is being a 20th century dinosaur, it's the paradigm of pathetic losers like RIAA who pick out citizens to be scapegoats where a single song download is valued at a year's worth of median salary. And guess what? The moronic government court system goes right along with it.

Should Paul McCartney be making tens of millions of dollars passively on royalties for a song he wrote 40 years ago? To think that this notion "promotes progress" in any sense of the word is nothing short of ludicrous. If you download his song "illegally", and get caught - a man with a gun sent by the government will come to your house and throw you in jail, ruin you financially, or kill you if you resist. This status quo is ridiculous.

Every time someone copies one of my photos, it does NOT make me poorer in any appreciable way. In fact, if I watermark, the sharing effect gives me more visitors and would end up being a clear net benefit to me as an artist trying to promote my work. That definitely changes my commercial possibilities, but not necessarily for the worse.

I think it's time to start a big discussion on phasing out the concept of intellectual property within the art community - especially for non-commercial purposes. It would lead to a flourishing of ideas, and more innovation and beautiful art - not less. Old tyrannical ideas of using force to punish for the act of sharing (or heck, even lying and pretending its your own work) should not be a part of the modern society. Just like lying is not a crime in the broader society, contempt or ridicule are sufficient societal pressures for people who use without attribution.

Does this mean you can "steal" my work? I can't stop you, and I probably won't even bother trying. However, so long as we live under the current stupid paradigm, if my work is used for commercial purposes then I may just sue you unless I get a fair cut :p
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:iconbackup12051997:
what is DD and I must say that copyrights are at times way too overate(offended someone? tell about that to me. I just... a bit annoyed of the Digital millenium copyright notifications at the Google when I attempt to search for something scarce(like the old movies that I ever watch but I forgot)
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:iconbbchild:
BBChild Jan 25, 2013   Traditional Artist
I agree with you a lot on the part about photography being used as a direct reference. I mean, sure, it's not always easy to capture a beautiful moment with a camera, but it's not like you own the mountain or creek you took a picture of. An artist could go to the exact same spot and paint it, and that'd be nearly the same as painting from your picture, right? x'D It would be nice if people asked for permission, but ah.

However, when someone takes an artist's actual work, like the drawing or painting, re-uploads it and claims it's theirs, that's when I see some damage done, and when I believe art theft should be stopped. I, for one, would not mind someone taking a character of mine and using them, but if they actually took my drawing, I would probably put up a bit of a fight if it was one of the drawings that took a lot of effort and work.
It's basically them piggy-baking off of my hard work. Like some people say the government does this; they get huge salaries paid by taxpayers money, and what do they do? Raise taxes. XD Meanwhile, the people who are actually working hard aren't benefitting because their hard work is being "stolen" in a sense.

As for the music and movies... I think downloading these is a lot different than the art industry because music and movies are very much a business. Rise of the Guardians didn't raise much money at all because people were watching it illegally online instead of paying to see it in theatres, and this is hardly fair for the movie's producers, actors, artists, and all the individuals who spent time trying to make a profit. Downloading songs without paying for them may seem harmless ("what can not paying 99 cents do?"), but every dollar counts, and without realizing it, you may have downloaded a hundred songs and "robbed" the artist of 100-or-so dollars. Maybe the artist needed to make a thousand dollars in order to continue singing, but only made 900 because you didn't pay up. Once again, piggy-baking off of someone else's hard work, but in a difference sense, and I don't think anyone should be allowed to do that.

Anyway... just my thoughts. I think it mostly depends on the situation.
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:iconsyntheses:
Syntheses Dec 29, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I came across this who knows how, and you make a good point, but I'll have to politely disagree.

Yes, a lot of people download illegal music and movies, but not many claim it to be their own. That's the worst part of art theft, claiming it to be your own. If I was a photographer, I would allow people to use my photographs as a reference freely, as long as they don't trace or re-post it, because it's the same as drawing from the actual landscape in front of them, but a lot of people can't be in that landscape. A lot of people think differently, though, and it should be their choice whether people can use it or not, because they put work into getting the right angle and composure in that photo.

Drawn art though, in my opinion, is a different matter. Landscapes and objects can be seen through your own eyes without a photo, but a drawing can't be seen in real life. It's something that comes from inside someones mind, even if it's created from looking at something. Someone made those lines themselves, and copying from them takes hardly any talent and imagination. That isn't made your own. That's taking something that someone made from their own mind, and re-creating it. I think it's pathetic, and shouldn't be allowed.

In general, yes, drawn art and photography take the same amount of imagination, but I think that the effort put into drawn art really makes it your own, so it's basically theft of a small part of your mind when someone steals it in any way.

Just my opinion, everyone has their own, and I respect yours.
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:iconivanandreevich:
IvanAndreevich Jan 1, 2013  Professional Photographer
| Yes, a lot of people download illegal music and movies

First of all, do you think this should be illegal?
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:iconynne-black:
ynne-black Jan 12, 2014  Student General Artist
You think downloading music that is also sold on CDs, without the artist's permission, shouldn't be illegal? Wow, yeah, lets throw all the hours of creating it and years of practice to reach these skills from the window.
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