Today I decided to adress a more serious matter. Art theft is nothing new to me, but I find it tiring. I've previously taken down a lot of my art from my many different art sites to avoid it, but since I put them up again I experienced art theft right away.
Note, I always upload my works in low resolution with watermarks over them.
This doesn’t stop people of course. There are (for some reason?) countless of tutorials on sites like DeviantArt and more, on how to erase or paint over watermarks. Lately I've also found more people having re-drawn my works (traced or heavily used my works as reference and re-coloured them in the same colours), and from that calling it “their” art/sketches/drawings. This without anywhere give credit or even mentioning having used any reference.
If I point it out to them I either get answers like “no I’ve drawn this all on my own you can see it on how I’ve coloured it’s nothing like your artstyle!” or similar. Or, my comments get deleted and I eventually get blocked. It seldom works for me personally to do or say anything. Of course, on almost all sites there are "report" or "contact support" options, shouldn't that be helpful in this matter? I've found that most sites (both different types of social media and actual art-gallery sites) have very flawed reporting systems. When reporting a picture on social media or gallery sites, you can very seldom specify that the reported art is "stolen". You can report it as being mature content, be unsuitable for the audience, or being trash/spam. When the support then go through my arrend, they'll just see that the image doesn't include any content their site doesn't allow, and that it isn't spam. So, nothing will be done. This means there's no way for me to get the stolen art taken down.
I’ve spent a lot of money on education and work tools, so many years of practice, and put down so many hours, even days for each single piece. Am I really supposed to feel this helpless, when my works get stolen, and claimed as someone elses? Are artists supposed to feel like they're taking risks every time they post their art, fearing they won’t get taken seriously if something happens? I understand that many bigger artists are slowly leaving sites as DeviantArt, social media like Instagram and more to protect their works. But I feel like more should be done by those sites to protect their artists, their artists shouldn't need to feel helpless or ignored when this happens. I'm not the one who should feel blamed when others steal, use, claim or even try to sell and earn money from my works. I shouldn't need to defend myself all alone when it happens. I really think there needs to be a change of some sort, not only on the internet but in schools e.tc too, as we live in a society where so incredibly much of our information is on the internet. For instance, part of the problem lies in that we're not educated enough (or at all..) on the laws about ownership of information or images, such as the copyright law and more.