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Letter to the DeviantART Community (and My Site Visitors)

Dec 9th 2007

Several members of the DeviantART community of artists have left comments for me today. They are upset that I have been linking to photoshop brushes and stock photos from DeviantART. I find links to DeviantART resources on other design websites regularly and have followed this common practice.

To anyone I have upset, I apologize. If I have linked to materials of your creation that you do not wish to be featured on Design Bliss, please leave a comment on the posting where the link exists requesting that it be removed and I will be happy to do so.

I do my best to respect creators’ rights. I recently informed the owner of another design blog that he was linking to a site that takes materials from microstock sites like iStockphoto and offers them for free; in this case the owner of the blog thanked me and removed the link. I furthermore informed one of the iStockphoto artists personally about the offending site so that he could take action.

Believe me, looking through the internet for resources, I regularly find blogs that repackage materials created by other artists, sometimes even slapping their own logo across the preview images and giving them away. I do not do any of this. Think about it. If it was my intention to rip off the work of the great artists on DeviantART, why would I fully credit each of those artists and link back to their pages on DeviantART? I thought I was doing something good by promoting their work and the community. I am a member of DeviantART myself for gosh sake; it is not my intent to do damage or do a disservice to the community.

Some people on DeviantART apparently have a different definition of “redistribute” than I and I believe many of others in the greater design community have. I do not host any photoshop brushes on this site other than those I create myself. I only provide preview images and links back to DeviantART where others can find the terms of usage for themselves. The stock photos as well are only preview images. If you check you will find that the images are typically smaller than the ones that appear on DeviantART and saved at a higher rate of compression; again, I don’t expect anyone to download them off my site; I expect them to follow the links to DeviantART to find out the terms of use.

I guess in the future I’ll have to give greater consideration as to whether to link to DeviantART at all.

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  1. Hi, I’m a member of DA and I’m NOT part of the lynch mob and going to abuse you over what’s happened. I just wanted to explain a couple things to you which you may not have taken into account when you’ve been posting up links to DA people’s accounts and work.

    Firstly, each stock/resource provider has their own set of rules – DA does not govern over the way resources are provided and leave that entirely up to the stockist. Most of the time those rules include no redistribution *outside of DA* in compilations of any kind. Your site does constitute a compilation and obviously, this site is not part of DA.

    Secondly, many of the stockers require specific permission for their work to be used commercially for anything. 80% of them don’t. 90% say commercial work through DA *only*.

    Thirdly, a lot of the stock resources have been created from OTHER stock resources with certain permissions. Linking to them outside DA nullifies some of those specific permissions.

    To bring it all down to brass tacks, DA isn’t your average website when it comes to stock and resources. Obviously the stockers cannot really control who accesses their work and how but they do get peeved when their stuff is put up somewhere without their knowledge and in a place where it is implied, as it is on your site, that these resources are free to the general internet public for whatever purpose – especially commercial.

    Probably the best way you can overcome this is to create an account on DA if you haven’t already, suss out the rules of the stock/resource usage for the person you’d like to feature and note that person to ask for their permission to post on your website after you explain who you are and what you’re about. It’s a common courtesy that I can say with confidence that many, if not all, will appreciate and you’d probably get a good response to.

    All of the above is very specific to the resource and stock culture of DA which is quite different from any other site I’ve been a member of.

    Hope that helps in your endeavours. I can see you’re not doing anything technically wrong, it certainly doesn’t bother me but naturally, not everyone is as laid back as I am. LOL

  2. sites like this are common all over the net.. you see them linked on digg all the time.. more then half the time they dont both to mention the original creators have you have done.. so kudos for that.

  3. Brian

    Thanks, Ren, for a well thought and reasoned response. You make some good points. What I do is not what I think of when people say not to use their work in compilations but obviously others do not see it the same way I do.

    I did not mean to imply that these works are free for any purpose. This is a blog. In part, I starting cataloging these resources for myself. I am a member of DeviantART, and if I wanted to use those resources for something I was creating there, I would have the links with previews handy here. I just chose to share my blog publicly. What about when somebody links to a DeviantART resource to their Delicious account? If they don’t have their Delicious account restricted to private usage, are they guilty of redistributing or compiling material off DeviantART since all of that data is public and searchable?

    I do appreciate your comments and advice, though. I did not take into account the insular nature of the DeviantART community. There are a quite a few designers out there who regularly give stuff away on their sites and their blogs in order to draw more traffic to their sites. I tried to treat the artists of DeviantART the same way, but that was apparently a mistake. After today, I’ll give greater consideration to whom and what I link to. Thanks again.

  4. Brian


    Thanks for the support.

  5. David

    As a dA member, why can’t you just ask before creating the link? I’m sure that you will find a lot of ‘yes’ answers and no one will be offended.

  6. Brian

    Personally, I’ve always found the notion of having to ask just to link to something on the internet to be a bit silly. When someone links to something I blog about it, I just find it as a complement that they thought it was something worthy to pass on to others. Anyone can search DeviantART without a membership and without logging in and find these resources.

    That said, I will treat DA as a special case in the future. I’ll just focus on featuring non-DA designers and artists, and if I find something on DA that I really want to share with others, I’ll make sure its terms of use allows for usage outside of DA, or I will ask.

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