I know this is going to spread a wide-range of flaming, but it's my standpoint, and I've always been the loud mouth, and this is something I am GOING to say anyhow:
As far as art theft is concerned, I think a lot of people have to get their facts, emotions, priorities, and their melodramas strait. Before you flam me, read on.
To start at SOME point (can't admit that it is actually the beginning, as this matter doesn't have one), it is this:
ANY professional animator/artist in the movie/comics business knows the golden rule of their industry:
Never- *NEVER* - show your un-published work to ANYONE if you plan on developing it- EVER!
The best you can do is have what is known as "Intellectual copy-right material" before even THINKING of showing something out there. Two main reasons:
1) The business copies. Like Jack-asses. Disney, WB, Dreamworks- you NAME it- have all sent spies in to other animation studios (this also applies to comic book industries) to literally STEAL sketchbooks and ideas from the employees. This actually comes from multiple sources (professors, guest lecturers etc.) at my College who have worked at these studios, or still do. I will also vouch for this as I have worked in the field for a few years now, and have tangled with a situation like this as well- thank goodness, not directly to me, but a colleague had a major disappointment.
2) Unconscious duplication- this is where- believe it or not- you unwillingly draw something you have seen at one point in your life- a style or image- and can SWEAR that you do not recall ever seeing something of the sort. It's why a lot of artists draw lions that look like they CAME from "Lion King" in one version or another. Most brains cannot break out of that repetitive and duplicative state. That's how we develop as human beings- we copy and imitate our parents to survive. This will happen with art (which is why character designers are quite handsomely paid in the business). It's a basic biological function.
Why I mention this is because of the fact that I am torn between the people who rant and rave JUSTIFIABLY about Art Theft, and those who don't.
To the professionals of the field:
Fact is, if you are professional, you would know the above stated rule by now, and it would have been an obvious that just because you slap a little "(c)" on your work, doesn't mean it's officially copy-righted, and doesn't stop others from re-drawing it. In fact, it would be hypocrite to come say that we - as professionals- never did this, because I am sure that nearly all of us drew (at some point) other people's characters after seeing a film or TV show they adored (Lion King and Loony Tunes come to mind). This- by many standards- is art theft. The SAME thing that makes some artists (I refuse to say "DeviArtists" as I have seen NON-DeviAtrists do the same) go CRAZY with insanity and swearing and emotional "I'm leaving the internet forever" sob stories.
Fact is, if you were afraid that your character would be stolen and developed without you, you would have KNOWN not to put it up on-line where thousands of eyes could see it. You, like good ol' Charlie Bonefacio (my Character Design Professor, and the fellow who also worked on Mushu (Mulan), Charlie and Itchy (All Dogs go to Heaven), Jeremy and others (Secret of NIMH)- only to name a few), would have a secondary sketchbook that contains all your "develop worthy" ideas- out of site.
To all the underlings, amateurs and professionals-in-schooling:
Read the above, and learn this golden rule. It's the truth, and it's reality. Just because you can draw very well doesn't mean that you can get away with saying "Don't' steal my stuff!" and that's that. Be more mature and professional by ACKNOWLADGING that there are limitations and restrictions and cautionary measures have to be taken. Hiding behind "Well, that's not how it's SUPPOSE to be" will NOT change the fact that it IS. If you really want to do something, become a copyright violation officer in the Library of Congress Copyright and help stop this dead cold. If not, realize that by letting people SEE your things you have already given yourself away. Most portfolios and galleries of professionals are made up of their employed/commissioned work, and things that were created just for the sake of promotion or fun- nothing the artist wants developed. Creating something, putting it up, and sobbing after someone redraws the line-work won't justify your case. Not to me, and not to an official court of law. I'm not saying it's right, but I'm saying that you should have known better.
Anime- Artists (THOSE WHO DO "FANART"
the rest of the anime artists please see above categories):
Let's get one thing strait, ok?
YOU are violating AMERICAN copyright laws by redrawing and distributing work that isn't yours. Just because we got lucky with the loopholes in the Japanese Copyright doesn't mean that you can holler if your work gets ripped. Why? That is EXATCLY what you are doing. YOU are ripping SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK FOR PROFIT AND/OR FUN and it's ok with you if YOU do it - but if someone (a 3rd party distributor) does it to YOU on that SAME fanart image - you go nuts and start bawling and shaking your fists in rage. Oh, so it's OK for YOU to rip someone else's work, but if someone rips YOUR *ripped* work it's not?
So yah, I'll say "take it a compliment" and I mean it too! Your work was good enough that it made the black market level of "official images". Believe it or not, that IS a compliment (to quote David Donar [storyboarding professor]- "You know you've hit the big time when you have Asian Knock Offs of your stuff. Sit back and relax my friend, you've hit the big time!").
Again as not to have my house burnt down in flames, I would like to state that I personally think Art Theft is STILL THEFT. It's low and it's wrong, and I for one will not support anything that is illegal- but I also have to ask, how many artists out there who had their worked ripped listen to downloaded/pirated music, or watch the same kind of films and/or TV shows? Or is that something you would prefer not to disclose?
I- for one- am obnoxiously against piracy in any form. I don't even have MUSIC on my computer- let a lone episodes and/or movies. I'll pay the $27.99 per Inuyasha DVD if I so terribly want it (and I do do it). And if you want to rant about "Art Theft", I don't think any of you should be engaged in these kinds of activities.
As for the thieves themselves- let's face it. Those that HAVE the talent to draw don't NEED to copy other's art. We have more important things to do with our time- mainly developing ideas and creating things for our own films/stories, not spending time copying others. This being said, there are 2 kinds of people left:
1) The 13 year old punk-asses who don't have enough talent or stamina to actually DEVELOP what they are drawing- so why in hell are you even worrying about it? If it was so important you would have followed "The Golden Rule".
2) The amateur artists who are learning,
And HERE is are the people I REALLY feel sorry for- those amateur artists. Because all they want to do is draw well developed characters to help school themselves and they are caught in the middle of this madness. I am considered "professional" as I have nearly 10 year in the field under my belt, and STILL in Sheridan they give us Pink Panther to animate. Why? Because you are LEARNING and you NEED something solid to work from at the start.
Yea, Art Theft is wrong. Yes, it should be stopped. But dear god, you don't go in to a bear infested forest with a T-bone steak strapped to your waist and figure that shaking your finger at it will make it stop attacking you. It won't. And neither will the teen-age, over-emotional, hysterical sob stories of "I can't sleep at night because of this!". If that's the case- seek help. You can NOT be in your right mind if something like ART THEFT is keeping you up at nights, or is emotionally breaking you down. It might be one more aggravation in a whole STRING of emotional problems you are suffering from, and therapy needs to be perused. There are people who can barely feed their children, and you are ready to slit throats over "My picture was stolen?" To quote my sister "Oh, wait! Wait! Your mental age is showing!"
And I need not have to say more than this:
Look at MY gallery. It's chalk full of fanart- whom if they get ripped, big deal it's a ripped image to begin with- and images that have no intention of being developed further.
As for illustrations of original sources: If I found someone stealing it? Yah, I'd get angry (but certainly not "I'm leaving the internet forever" overboard), but you know, I have the original and the Intellectual Material that created it. There is no way that that person can stand against me in an official court of law and win, and quite frankly, I fail to believe that the talent-less person who did that will become a millionaire over night because they "sold" on of my images.
If it bothers you so much, put a damn watermark on your image.
Again, just to be clear, I'm not pro-theft. I'm FAR from it. I HATE ART THEFT, but I'll leave the melodramas for the soaps on TV, and the last thing I want to hear is some teenage wanna-be professionals whine about how "They are so depressed they think they will tear up all their work and never draw again"- oh please, SAVE me the sob story and do something useful with your time. You are NOT going to stop drawing over this, trust me.
And currently, that is all I have to say. Be smart, take precaution, and don't do drugs.
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