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News Article Published 08-05-07
Clearing Up Misconceptions About RATF and Art Theft 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.
We are working as hard and as fast as possible to deal with all the information coming in.
We are swamped and apologize - respond times to comments/questions may be slow.
We are not perfect – note us if there is an oversight…it is not intentional.
Comments left on the RATF site by others - are THEIR opinions – not necessarily ours.
We need volunteers who will uphold the volunteer code of ethics.
We WILL NOT tolerate unprofessional conduct or illegal or unorthodox methods… period.
This is not a vigilante task force.
We simply want to help people with their art theft and copyright issues.
WHAT?!? People who consider it a privelige tom have their work stolen and posted all over the net? That is weird. It's like getting you car stolen just to get on the evening news. Yeah, you've got your 15 minutes of local fame, but now you have no car! It's just dumb or masochistic.
I respect your opinion. It is an issue that people should be well aware of. Watermarking is a personal choice, and as artists we must do what we can to protect our work. This is how you have chosen to do so, and there is nothing wrong with that! We do appreciate your support, and it is appreciated! sssss
Sagakure said it best! DESPERATE! Any artist who condones art theft is desperate for someone to want their work. Unfortunately, that means those with self-respect are stolen from, too. That kind of desperation is pathetic and only turns dignified and worthy people away.
Thank you for your comment. Well said indeed, and we are of the opinion you cannot profess to do one thing, then turn around when someone is not looking and do something else! Thank you for your support, and I am thrilled you enjoyed the article! That made my day!
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More