By DWALKER1047 and 1arcticfox
Ripped Art Task Force RATF
Over the past 3 weeks, our team has taken many reports of ripped art from DA artists and posted information and done research as well. It has been a very rewarding experience thus far. We hope to continue doing everything possible to get information out there to so many others, thus helping to make their work as safe as possible from thieves. One of our prime purposes will be through Education. (We are currently working on that part of the site). There were many factors involved with forming the new site, many of which I will outline below.
My prime motivation for wanting to help other artists was my discovery of my work sold on eBay for a profit. I started learning everything I could about protecting my work so another predator could not take advantage of me or other artists. I came to understand that it was not DA's responsiblitity to protect my work, it was my responsibility. The dreaded watermark! As distasteful as it is, I must encourage everyone to watermark every image. While this system is imperfect, I believe it helps deter theft. If you cannot watermark your own image, I would strongly suggest you use the one provided by DA. I, personally, would rather see a work that is somewhat protected than a work that is not. Also, put a copyright notice under each and every image you have uploaded. I have come to realize that someone who watches your work faithfully will understand your decision to watermark; meaning that it will be more difficult for a thief to remove it, and time consuming.
I am saying this merely to make a pointusing the watermark makes your work unattractive so theft is less likely to occur. I now have some form of a watermark plastered on most of my images. (Out of the major rips reported over the past 2 weeks, please note, I personally have had 44 images at Fresh-Paper.com). These images were stolen before I began to watermark, along with 10 other pieces from various sites. With regards to the current cases we are investigating, with the exception of what I noted above, my images are not on the list. I believe it is due largely to the fact I WATERMARK EVERYTHING!
It disturbs me greatly that there are a few members from DA (who shall remain nameless) who feel it is acceptable for others to steal/take work, post it somewhere else, not give the artist the proper credit for it, not ask permission to use the image, and not link it back to the artist. This is a sad fact, and I do have the proof to substantiate what I have just stated. I am very much aware of both sides of the argument and I feel that taking someones art without asking them for permission or using it without permission is not acceptable under any circumstances...EVER! In addition, there are those who consider it a privilege to have their work stolen and posted all over the Internet. I guess when a thief comes to my home and steals my car I should tell the police not to worry It was a privilege to have it stolen NOT!!!
I have seen comments accusing the RATF of witch hunting, but are we really??? We suggest you ask other artists who were very upset at having their art stolen if they feel we are witch hunting. Quite frankly, I find that particular comment offensive. I believe I can speak for most members of the task force when I say that we have devoted well over 1500+ hours to this project so far without compensation. This is an all volunteer site. If anyone out there is under the impression that this were an easy task to take on for this type of theft intervention, a permanent site would have been established a long time ago. Our commitment both personally and professionally is to continue our efforts. RATF is attempting to do something positive to help everyone by providing a service to our wonderful community. We were aware before RATF was formed that there would be criticism, and constructive criticism would be welcome. However, criticism that is not constructive and personal attacks, do little to further the goals of helping artists to resolve their art theft issues. Comments regarding attention seeking are simply wrong, and are not the motivation for which the RATF was founded. Even with our limited volunteer pool, we have managed to get an unusually large number of images removed from host sites. Here are some of our results to date:
eBay (Toteem) 1 user banned/image removed
Yahoo 16 images removed
ImageShack 279 images removed (Currently working on another 185 ripped pieces)
Fresh-Paper 36,000 images removed (from the American portion of their sites only-not foreign)
Youtube - 4 videos removed
Picoodle 1 image removed
Fotolog users account closed
Currently, the RATF has 79 reported rips, 6 possible rips, and 13 under investigation. Photocasket is a major rip case that is mostly comprised of DA artwork and we are currently working it.
Why does the RATF do this faithfully everyday? Because we are committed to helping artists in any way we can to resolve their issues regarding art theft. We are comprised of artists who would like the privilege of being known for our work without having it stolen for someone elses profit. If there is a profit to be made, it should be the artist who had done the work to reap the rewards, not a common art thief. We would like the credit for the fruits of our labor. The simple fact is that no one is going to help you but yourself. So, it is time we help ourselves to protect our own artwork. That is why we are here to help educate everyone on the various ways to protect their artwork.