Art Thieves: Stop Stealing Digital Content

*This rant has been brought to you by too much coffee, and the desire to yell at someone on the internet. I don’t actually expect art thieves to read this and suddenly change their behaviors, but it sure does feel good to vent.

To Artists,

Sometimes the content we produce to promote our art and our businesses gets stolen and posted online without permission or credit to us. Any artist knows, it’s hard to carve out a place in the art world. The internet has made it easier to connect directly to our audience, but it has also brought our work closer to thieves.

It’s really frickin’ annoying when you see your content online without credit to you. I could write a post about how to safeguard yourself against art theft (ugh, watermarks), but I’m getting a little tired of the practice of only teaching victims how to protect themselves rather than teaching other people not to be a**holes.

So this is for the a**holes.

To the turd who stole my digital content,

You stole my art. Not cool.

But, I get it. The internet is fast paced, and maybe you don’t actually have any skill of your own to share. Any online presence you’re trying to build is likely going to take a butt-ton of content that you can’t produce on your own. What do you do? You turn to other creators and snipe their videos and photos.

It’s just an image, right? Or a video here and there. No biggy. Followers start coming in. You get compliments. Everything is great.

Who’s going to notice you are lying?

I promise. People will notice.

The art world is small.

Just this morning, I got a message from one of my followers with a link to one of my videos that was stolen. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a message like this and it won’t be the last. See, as an artist grows, it’s harder and harder to get away with taking their content.

Sure, if you can steal from the little guys you can get away with it for a while, but that’s a dick move. Never step on the little guys to boost yourself up. Have some class.

Your lack of skill is showing.

Let’s say someone was really interested in purchasing the piece pictured in the photo you stole. They message you. What do you say?

Or, maybe you aren’t aware that artists develop a distinct style over time and you post all sorts of different content. Any actual artist will be able to look at your content and see the disconnect.

Annnd then you get called out.

Let’s not forget what you’re doing is illegal.

I would like to live in a world where we don’t have to involve lawyers to protect our creative property, but because of people like you I can’t get my way.

There is a little something called “Copyright Law”. I don’t know what it’s like in other countries, but in the United States it’s kind of a big deal. Artists have ownership of what they create. Including the photographs and videos they make.

The stolen content you posted can be flagged, reported, taken down, etc.. Your accounts can even be deactivated. If you continue to be an a**hole and piss off an artist who has a good lawyer, legal action can be taken.

Maybe just don’t steal stuff, k?

What’s the point of Stealing?

Money and attention without working for it, right? Cool. Good for you. Enjoy inflating your ego and profiting off of the work of others. But, also enjoy being universally hated by all creative professionals.

Again, I get it. Stealing stuff is a hustle just like creating art. We are all just trying to make it in this world. Some of us just have a little more integrity and aren’t too lazy to put in the work.

What you could do instead:

Here’s a wild idea. How about you just credit the artists? There are many successful online brands and accounts that profit off of actually helping other artists instead of just stealing their content.

As an artist, I can say I love when other people share my work. If you repost one of my videos on Instagram and include @messyeverafter in the caption, you are my best friend. You get to build your profile with entertaining content AND you helped give an artist more exposure.

Everyone is happy. No Copyright laws have been broken. Everyone wins. Whoa, right?

What have we learned today?
  1. Don’t steal.
  2. People will eventually catch you.
  3. Share artwork. Don’t steal it.
  4. Credit your artists. Always.
  5. Don’t be an a**hole.

kthxbye.

-Kelly

***

P.S. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep doing what I do. Plus, you get extra little perks like phone wallpapers!

Further Reading:

How to be a Better Professional in the Art World

8 Things You’ll Hear as an Artist