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Finding an art thief, but are not the OG artist

ElectricEidolon

nothing but rage
Based on what I've read so far around the site and this forum, it's very hard to tell if admin take into account any art theft reports that aren't made by the artist of whom the art has been traced/stolen from.

My question is: what if you've discovered an art thief, you have proof that they trace, but the OG artist has long since been inactive or left the site (but left their gallery, from which the thief is tracing and selling as their own)?

Would the admin still take action against the thief if proof is given even if it's not from the OG artist themself, considering there is no known way to contact that artist anymore?

If it HAS to come from the OG artist, I believe that's a problem. Not only does that put it all on one person's shoulders that may be afraid to report something, it also leaves it up to chance that they'd even find out themself. If someone is stealing, it shouldn't matter who reports them.

If, in fact, it will still be taken into consideration regardless of who reports it, then that's fantastic.

So, does anyone know if it matters who reports something like that, especially given the circumstance?
 

Lutro

Writer
I wonder the same thing.

Recently I stumbled upon an account that was blatantly re-posting art that wasn't theirs. (I knew several of the artists in question.) Trouble Ticket response was "only original artist can report."

Like... what's the recourse of someone re-posting others' works if it's really obvious? Those re-posts are just allowed to stay up?
 

Night.Claw

Well-Known Member
The best way you can personally deal with this kind of issue, if you leave a comment under the stolen/traced art, with a link to the original artwork. That way you can cause some of the followers to see it/react to it, and that's enough damage in the thief community to give it a setback.
This can be more "aggressive" if you use your creativity and/or time.
 

Lutro

Writer
The best way you can personally deal with this kind of issue, if you leave a comment under the stolen/traced art, with a link to the original artwork. That way you can cause some of the followers to see it/react to it, and that's enough damage in the thief community to give it a setback.
This can be more "aggressive" if you use your creativity and/or time.
Yeah I don't like that to be honest. Leaving shouts and comments decrying "thief!" is good and all but it doesn't really notify those that can do something about (moderators administrators). Because only the original artist can report a piece of art as content theft.

Piling on cries of "thief" in public just leads to pitchforking. Possibly deservedly so! But I'd honestly just want to Trouble Ticket with "hey, this work's stolen. Find the work over here."

In this case, some of the art pieces were removed (that the original artists were notified of by friends, and they submitted reports) but others remain.
 

ElectricEidolon

nothing but rage
I agree with Lutro.

The fact that there isn't recourse for thieves flat out stealing from artists that might not be around anymore is, frankly, unacceptable in my opinion.

To take that logic to an extreme analogy would be to say that the police cannot stop a murder because only an observer reported it and the person BEING murdered didn't report it. Because they're dead now. So hey! That means anyone can steal anything they want if they think the artist is gone or too afraid to stop them! Congrats FA, you've created the ultimate loophole for thieves, especially those that use fear and witch hunts to keep OG artists and whistle-blowers silent.

That's a stupid stance for a site to take and I URGE the admin to completely revise this policy.

It should not matter where the report comes from. If there is proof of theft, there's proof of theft and it needs to be handled accordingly.

I know of a handful of artists who are aware that their work is being stolen and profited off of here on FA, but they themselves are too fearful of any backlash to file a ticket. It should not be on the artist to go after thieves. It should not be on artists to have to be on constant alert because only THEY can report their work being stolen. By putting it on the OG artists, the site puts the entire situation in an almost complete favor of the thief, in my opinion.

Also, it can really (wrongly, but that's just how it is) hurt a well-meaning user's reputation to have to decry "THIEF" on submissions.

I'm incredibly disappointed in FA's administration for creating such a loophole in favor of thieves. It needs to change ASAP.
 

MadXStitcher

Well-Known Member
Legally, there's nothing you can do. If you, a third party, reports it to FA, legally there is nothing they can do.

The only thing you can do is notify the original artist. THEY can issue a DMCA takedown notice to FA. Only then can FA do anything about it.

The reason why it matters who makes the report is because if FA were to act on your word for it, they'd lose their Safe Harbour protections. Meaning that they could be sued by any entity in the world for wrongfully hosting OR removing images. This isn't a loophole FA created. This is federal law.
 

ElectricEidolon

nothing but rage
Legally, there's nothing you can do. If you, a third party, reports it to FA, legally there is nothing they can do.

The only thing you can do is notify the original artist. THEY can issue a DMCA takedown notice to FA. Only then can FA do anything about it.

The reason why it matters who makes the report is because if FA were to act on your word for it, they'd lose their Safe Harbour protections. Meaning that they could be sued by any entity in the world for wrongfully hosting OR removing images. This isn't a loophole FA created. This is federal law.

Can you provided sources? A genuine request because as I understand it, that would result in anyone being able to steal and reupload art with only the risk of the OG artists saying something-- in which they could be deceased or far removed from FA anymore, granting anyone completely free reign on their work.

As far as I am aware, FA would easily be able to takedown any work proven to be stolen as it would breach the ToS for using this site, namely that what you upload is either your own or you have permission to upload.
 
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Lutro

Writer
Legally, there's nothing you can do. If you, a third party, reports it to FA, legally there is nothing they can do.

The only thing you can do is notify the original artist. THEY can issue a DMCA takedown notice to FA. Only then can FA do anything about it.

The reason why it matters who makes the report is because if FA were to act on your word for it, they'd lose their Safe Harbour protections. Meaning that they could be sued by any entity in the world for wrongfully hosting OR removing images. This isn't a loophole FA created. This is federal law.

That only matters if you want to go the DMCA/takedown route. FA, as a web site, has complete control of their content. If they were truly beholden to the logic you're going off of, they couldn't stop me from browsing the Top All Time and just re-uploading content all I like.

FA is completely free to remove any content they don't want to have hosted, for any reason. It's their site. Users do not enjoy any sort of protection of "nope, I uploaded it, can't touch this" whatsoever. It flies in the face of FA's own policies, for starters. It doesn't matter who notifies them of uploaded stolen art, or any art for that matter.
 

MadXStitcher

Well-Known Member
Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act - Wikipedia

Ever wonder why YouTube's copyright system is so messed up? It's because they've lost this protection by allowing third parties to claim and remove any content they want. Your own content, which you created entirely on your own, can be removed by anybody on the platform, without proof.

If FA catches a serial offender, they're legally required to terminate the account. But no, they cannot act on your word, because you do not know the rights situation. Only the uploader and the original artist do. I'm sure you'd rather not have an environment where someone you annoyed can take down your entire account because you hurt their feefees.
 

ElectricEidolon

nothing but rage
My point is that someone should be able to provide proof, or at least that FA investigates it, as I stated in my OG post, regardless of from whom that proof or tip-off comes from. That way someone can't simply have another's art taken down just because they dislike them.
 

MadXStitcher

Well-Known Member
And the reason that doesn't work is because you don't know what was negotiated behind closed doors. You don't know if an additional license was paid for. You don't know if the "thief" account is the artists partner. You don't now anything other than this piece of art is posted somewhere else.

Only the artist and the poster know this. If somehow you do know all of this, without a shadow of a doubt, then you can help the artist fill out a DMCA takedown. Go post a video on YouTube and watch the 20 content claims you get on it, and tell me how you like a system where anyone can make claims because they "know" you don't own that music.
 

ElectricEidolon

nothing but rage
If I were to follow your logic, disregarding that no one is suggesting DMCA takedowns: How then would you suggest dealing with a deceased artist's work being stolen? Or an artist that simply cannot be found or contacted? Just allow the thief to continue simply because the OG artist is gone, and because enforcing the ToS otherwise could POSSIBLY inconvenience someone who has the permission to post to prove they have it?

This isn't YouTube and it's not about DMCA. This is about FA upload policy and reporting. This is about someone stealing, reposting, tracing someone else's work and someone- other than the artist stolen from- reporting that. There are Terms and Conditions for this site that stand without the involvement of anything to do with DMCA.

There is no reason that I can see that excuses FA from refusing to accept reports of theft from anyone other than the OG artist themselves reporting it. That creates a loophole for thieves within their own acceptable upload site policy. Add on top of that the fact that PSAs and Bewares aren't permissible on site and you've got yourself the perfect bubble for clever thieves to thrive on here.

FA should enforce their own upload policies by accepting and investigating reports of theft from any user. That's my point. DMCA has nothing to do with this.
 
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Lutro

Writer
I don't know why MadXStitcher keeps citing copyright law and stuff. That is immaterial to whether or not they can take something down.

They could simply not like you, and take down your works. It doesn't matter how much copyright protection you have with what you posted. FA has complete authority to moderate their site's content, regardless of who brings what content to their attention to act on.

Can they take it down pursuant to a DMCA claim? Of course not. Nobody's suggesting that.

But if you tell FA "hey, Lutro's over there posting ElectricEidolon's artwork", then FA can 100% absolutely remove said art on the basis of content theft. No DMCA takedowns required. Not only could they do that regardless, but they also have explicit terms spelled out in their Acceptable Upload Policy. No, it doesn't matter that the person pointing it out doesn't own the work. That's irrelevant, because they're not filing a DMCA/takedown notice. And no, FA will not "just terminate your account" because someone who's annoyed at you got their attention. It's on FA to follow through with the claim to verify its accuracy. They will not just go "well, they reported it, so it must be true." That's asinine.

(And, by the way, this is the point where the "well they have permission and you don't know what's going on behind closed doors" part falls flat. If the poster is not making it clear they have permission to post (e.g. "I commissioned this" or something), then it's their fault, and FA absolutely can and will act on that lack of clarity. Again, not in "we're going to DMCA you" fashion.)

2.6 Content Not Made By You / For You - Content that was neither made by nor for the uploader is prohibited, unless part of a derivative work (See Section 2.5 for more information) or a group that has permission from the copyright holder. All permissions and copyright holders must be cited in the content's description. A group is defined as a user account dedicated to showcasing content of a chosen theme with others who share similar interests for the purpose of building a community and giving artists exposure.

This has absolutely nothing to do with copyright notices, claims, DMCA takedowns, or any other sort of legal mumbo jumbo. It's like when someone tries to say that their First Amendment rights are being violated when their post gets deleted in the forum -- it is irrelevant (and largely incorrect to say) to the matters of site/forum moderation.
 

quoting_mungo

Well-Known Member
(And, by the way, this is the point where the "well they have permission and you don't know what's going on behind closed doors" part falls flat. If the poster is not making it clear they have permission to post (e.g. "I commissioned this" or something), then it's their fault, and FA absolutely can and will act on that lack of clarity. Again, not in "we're going to DMCA you" fashion.)
Can, yes. Will, in most cases with third-party reports, no. I don’t personally like it, especially not with submissions where the description literally says “found on Google” or similar, but that’s to the best of my knowledge current enforcement policy.

But your overall point still stands - AUP removals are not the same thing as DMCA removals. Notably, DMCA removals require a lot more personal information. Which can/will be forwarded to the person whose upload was removed if they contest it.

So we should all be glad FA has an option that isn’t just evoking DMCA. Imagine the doxxing potential. (Doesn’t mean I approve of the third party report restrictions.)
 
Yeah, even with evidence plain as day, they need the artist's report. I have the same issue with a blatant thief that's still blatantly stealing another user's art and has no shame in it, since he technically openly commented on it on the original artist's journal.

But still, I'm a third party person, so it didn't matter.
 

Stray Cat Terry

테리 / 特里 / テリー
I'm glad at least some people like you here are caring for art theft stuff.

Off topic:
In Korean artist market.. No one cares much... But oh when they do, it doesn't have to stick to 'OG reporting' rules, and they get toasted real bad! (Including when the thieves accuse the OG and destroying the OG.)

Hopefully, even though it's not easy to report as a 3rd party, at least we don't have reversed reporting with OGs accused of thefts by actual thieves...
(And that's why I stay here)

Anyways, by far, the best bet is to contact the OG when such things happen. Hopefully the OGs can somehow stay in line... If not--likely being the current case--oh well...
 
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Ember_Kamura

Active Member
I agree with Lutro.

The fact that there isn't recourse for thieves flat out stealing from artists that might not be around anymore is, frankly, unacceptable in my opinion.

To take that logic to an extreme analogy would be to say that the police cannot stop a murder because only an observer reported it and the person BEING murdered didn't report it. Because they're dead now. So hey! That means anyone can steal anything they want if they think the artist is gone or too afraid to stop them! Congrats FA, you've created the ultimate loophole for thieves, especially those that use fear and witch hunts to keep OG artists and whistle-blowers silent.

That's a stupid stance for a site to take and I URGE the admin to completely revise this policy.

It should not matter where the report comes from. If there is proof of theft, there's proof of theft and it needs to be handled accordingly.

I know of a handful of artists who are aware that their work is being stolen and profited off of here on FA, but they themselves are too fearful of any backlash to file a ticket. It should not be on the artist to go after thieves. It should not be on artists to have to be on constant alert because only THEY can report their work being stolen. By putting it on the OG artists, the site puts the entire situation in an almost complete favor of the thief, in my opinion.

Also, it can really (wrongly, but that's just how it is) hurt a well-meaning user's reputation to have to decry "THIEF" on submissions.

I'm incredibly disappointed in FA's administration for creating such a loophole in favor of thieves. It needs to change ASAP.
Trying not to go off topic, but could you give a citation/example of that particular type of individual? I've personally never heard of anyone successfully silencing an OG like that.
 
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