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If you’ve ever followed my Deviantart journals in the past you will know that I have a pretty open policy regarding the usage of my art. My policy allows for repostings/recoloring/edits/tracings/what-have-you, as long as it is all for personal use and not-for-profit (meaning it isn’t being sold, auctioned, or any use wherein money changes hands.) I also allow roleplaying of my characters, and fan art (of course)!

Still though, I get a lot of people coming to me with examples of where people have traced/recolored/edited/reposted my pieces. The person contacting me will often also comment on the “offenders” work, or contact them privately to scold them on my behalf. 

While I appreciate that people would care enough to watch out for me, as it were, my preference is that these people are left alone. There are a good number of pretty young BBA fans. I am written “fan mail” all the time by young people who weren’t artists before, but started drawing after reading the BBA. Hearing of the ways my little wolf comic has inspired another young person to pursue art in the ways that Don Bluth and classic disney films did for me always feels a little unreal, and words to reply to them never come easy.

A lot of times, young kids who are newly budding artists start by tracing stuff. That’s just how it goes.

What kind of person would I be if I went to the Deviantart gallery of a 15 year old, who is a huge fan of Bloodspill, and told her to take down all of her Bloodspill traces because “it’s mine”? Or the person who wants to make their own wolf character for roleplaying BBA. “I can tell your character Quickdeath is just Swiftkill colored blue. Be original - do your own work!” I could yell.

Firstly, that would just be super mean. But it’s not even that I’m thinking or feeling those things and just “holding back” in order to be nice. I just don’t feel threatened when people copy my stuff. I actually feel really really flattered that someone likes my stuff enough to want to emulate it, or add their personal touch just enough that they feel like it has become “theirs.”

I also just plain do not want to do anything that would discourage a young person’s pursuit of art.

I know a lot of people do not necessarily agree with loose art policies. I know because I’ve seen Deviantart give rise to a big “anti-theft” culture over the past decade. 

It’s fine if other people want to police their own work, and be very restrictive in it’s use. I’m not saying they are wrong. It’s true that having decently well- known work in your niche affords you some security. I’m not worried that anyone could actually “get away” with taking credit for one of my characters. I do know when I had first developed my characters, I was worried someone else could actually take them from me. I remember when I was 16, chewing out some other girl on AIM, because after she saw Bloodspill, she made herself a giant, grumpy spikey-headed, bright red and black wolf. I couldn’t handle it then, so I can definitely relate to people who are in that position.

So I’m not posting this to call out people who don’t share my art policy. I just want to clarify and explain my position on usage of my work, so that no one attacks BBA fans (young or old!) especially not on my behalf.

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Another-Realm Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2016
To anyone, even the OP, I think I heard research that you can't Copyright art styles. Though I am NOT so sure.
Even some companies today copies them and use money with them..

I think even though there isn't anything morally bad with copying to make something new later, I think copying (Like art style for example) and doing new stuff with them is not a morally a bad thing either.
Avii-chan123 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gie this person an award.
Grassy-Aggron Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Gotta give credit to you for that.  I can't draw so I have to worry more about plagiarism XD But I'm glad you are encouraging young artists~
FrostedCanid Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Welp, you are certainly the most mature artist I've known yet! You're right honestly with your art policy. Being stingy doesn't get anybody friends.
xIcemaidx Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I remember tracing when I was smaller,I found out it was illegal then I stopped XD
Paws-for-a-Moment Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
I was like that as a teenager.  When I found out tracing was illegal, I stopped.  Inow only trace if it's my work for layering etc. or learning to draw for reference or school projects such as printmaking.
I honestly didn't think about what I was doing.  (I was told also that using images for educational reasons okay.)

The same will take its course for the current generation.
FaunaCreations Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I know that I'm a little late to the party here, but I really wanted to say that I completely agree with this journal. I don't think people realize the bad reputation that they give the original artist when they attack "art thieves. A gentle reminder to credit is one thing, but I've seen people full-on flame war other people in the past.
It makes themselves look bad and, worse, it makes the original artist look bad even if they aren't involved.

One thing that I'd love your opinion on though, because I'm finding myself facing this and have a similar policy to yours, is how do you deal with people who are recreating pieces of yours for commissions? It's a little off-topic, but I'd love to hear how you personally go about it :)
BIitzQueen Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student General Artist
Very well said! :clap:
arimibn Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist
*thumbs up*
Frutietutie Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
you getting featured C=
KayFedewa Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
featured? wuzzat? :)
Frutietutie Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
im making a feature journal where a link to your thing will be and i recommend you =)
FootieBo Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sick of always seeing post from other artists yelling their "Art Theft" Battle Cry because  someone copied a breed, species, a pose, or whatever! 
Golden-Dreams-MLP Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
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Droemar Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014
Bravo, Kay. This is an art site for teens and tweens. People very much in the imitation stage of art. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. DA has a bubble when it comes to what copyright infringement is (fanart, for some reason, is not art theft despite it being pretty much the legal definition of it, but when someone copies your Rainbow Dash pose it's ART THEFT.) I think once artists begin to expand and learn how much work goes into art, and how fantastic, great, awesome artists can still be a blip in the Internet universe, you gain more maturity and perspective.
DArama is very misplaced, especially when people think their fanart (or, hell, their real work) is somehow going to be the next Harry Potter that will make a million dollars. Your artwork already has legal precedent when you post it. If it's not worth going to court over, it's not worth screaming and flaming people over. No one is going to make a million dollars by stealing my work. It's professional courtesy to ask an artist's permission and to pay them for their time, but the attitude towards that is a different conversation altogether. It's unfortunate that DA seems to foster the idea that "if it's yours, I better get it for free, if it's mine, you better pay me", but that's a larger cultural problem in the creative community with the advent of the Internet.
Still, young artists deserve the freedom to imitate and make mistakes in their journey.
KayFedewa Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks for the thoughtful response Droe. Very insightful. 
Being away a good number of years, I think I've lost touch with what exactly DA has become in that time. So sometimes, I notice and am confused by things that are probably "normal" and "common" on here; art theft vigilantism being one of many.
NamelessOkami Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree with this. I have so far, not had this problem with my art online, but occasionally out side of the digital world people ask to trace my stuff.
mereni Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
I'm exactly the same. I get a lot of my work stolen and traced over and my characters are taken for roleplay and I honestly don't feel threatened by it at all. I often get people questioning me when they note me that someone has taken my characters. I tell them not to worry about it and they just can't understand why it doesn't bother me. 

I've had younger artists tracing over my work and giving the result to me as fanart and I couldn't be happier. 

I'm Mel from facebook with Coco the cocker spaniel pup, by the way! do you think you'll be getting one in the future? : D Her puppy fur has fallen out and she's got her grown up coat now, it's beautiful. 
KayFedewa Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
good to see you here
also nice that youre relaxed about "theft" as well - life is easier the more stuff you can "let go" of that ultimately doesnt matter (i get worked up about oo many other relatively frivolous things, gotta cut corners where you can!)
I dont think ill be getting a dog in the super near future. But when it's a good time, i'm thinking cocker or longhaired whippet maybe? 
I had a cocker when i was in 2nd grade-  had it until I was like 19 when he died. I never knew if he was english or american. His muzzle was longer and his stop less pronounced than an american, but not as long as an english. it looked very "in between." Was a very good dog, ridiculously intelligent and very loyal. 
mereni Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014
It is so rewarding to have one! If you do let me know! I wanna see pics~ : D
Thaiix Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Clapping Pony Icon - Rainbow Blitz 
ZeHornet Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This was a very interesting journal to read and, having been on the receiving side of zealous artists when I was younger, I can really appreciate what you are getting at. Well done on being able to cope with people taking inspiration off your work!
yen-yang88 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
i remember when i first stumbled upon your gallery back when i was 11 and your work has been a huge inspiration for me ever since. naturally, i started out kind of "mimicking" your style until i started developing my own. this is how it works for most artists, so it's perfectly understandable why someone, especially a younger person, would want (more like need) to trace something. heck, i still trace sometimes just to practice and get a feel for whatever i'm drawing. you learn the basics through heavily referencing then just eventually go do your own thing. i agree with you for the most part, and it's so absurd to shout abuse at a 12-year-old for copying another artist's work. it's better to just say "hey, i notice your art is stolen. as lovely as it is, the original artist may not appreciate it!" or something polite like that. i don't understand why people have to be so damn rude, man...
Nakishawolf Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
This deserves a big fav!!! You're totally right and I wish more artists felt this way. Copying is still a compliment in disguise.
However, it would be fair if they gave you credit. After all, being such huge fans of your work, I'm sure they'd feel the same way, maybe they simply haven't thought about it. They don't deserve to be scolded for it, though. A simple pointer would suffice.

Still, in any case, I agree with you. And kudo's to you for being so relaxed about this! After all, a problem is only a problem if you feel it is.

Kay, my respects to you.
Zetikla Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
thank you for sharing your views on it with us, I can definitely understand your point about it
FrontiersJunkie Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
The initial reaction :…

IggyHellhound Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I completely agree. As long as your design is not sold for profit then why crush a budding artists dreams? Artists are artists to inspire and express themselves. And if you've inspired just one person, you've done your job. 
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
TheSnugHeroine Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist
AkelahNaih Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
I love your view on this. I'm glad to see it is possible to function under such loose rules. I've never been concerned with tracings of my art, after all my poses are not overly creative and my actually character art is one of my weaker points. As an artist, I'm very visual, I watch hundreds of videos and look at thousands of photos before I can get the anatomy decent. So if someone used my art as inspiration to create a painting or character, I'd be honoured.
Ilye-Altess Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Okay, now I understand your position.
Sometimes I see, on the personal pages,  biggest disputes about your art. Children divide among themselves your art and character and I catch big lol of this disputes.
catgreat Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Student General Artist
I think it's super cool that you would look at art theft that way, perhaps I'll have to give it a go.
SpiritWolf1471 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student General Artist
I'm with you on that. I do think that its really nice that you let people do that and don't get super angry at them :)
Sabi-Arts Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There is also a big difference between art theifs, I don't like it if a person know that it's wrong or opsedding but use others art anyway (or adopables)
I guess we are on the same page here, becouse sometes a person just don't know.. I did't know anything about art stealing and so when i was younger.
I actually think i've even recolored Swiftkill once for a roleplay, I've traced and I've recolored ginga and other characters.
I think almost everyone have done so. But it is not something you do forever. when I see a theif journal and i see that it may just be a young artist doing the same as i did once i just try to be polite and talk with them about it. It is mot fair when 20 people write angry comments on theyrepage when they didn't even know that there could be a problem
Shadowwolf Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fantastic journal. I remember those days too, the days when we were all young and obsessed with people "copying" our art and our characters. I think it definitely dies down as you get older, it happens naturally. And some people who started out copying others' art blossom into amazing artists who eventually develop styles all their own. I think a lot of artists copy other styles when they're first starting out and just getting the hang of things. For me, it was copying The Lion King.
KayFedewa Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Ya, aging does also help mellow you out about that shit for sure.
I copied me some 101 dalmations and sonic the hedgehog fo sho
bingles Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
im in the same boat
I have been told ive introduced many people to furry artwork, ot the furry fandom, or even drawing in general... and it just dunno it blows my mind to think i was being watched by anyone else than myself lol the internet didnt feel like real life but i guess people have been watching me for years...
Kytsora Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I was definitely inspired by you, and while I used your linearts, I still attempted to make them my own in some way.  The only reason I have issues with some of this is only because of copyright issues due to the profiting. Some people don't understand that if they really don't make it their own, it ends up as a big legal fiasco.
FourFires Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist
I like this'
QUICKSTRIKE932 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kay after reading BBA I was definitely inspired by you and began drawing wolves more. Now I'm on the verge of a great story plot and a lot more characters. I too was chewed on my previous account for tracing pics of Swiftkill. But hey I was 13!!! I had to delete my old account and create this one three years later. Now look where I am. I may not the most perfect one out there, but I'm learning. Thanks for being an inspiration to others and being a kind hearted person.
Maggie-X-Awesomeness Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You have such a great view on all this holy crap.
FeatherButtTM Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I agree with you completely. except when someone takes a piece of art, and posts it again as their own. You're talking about someone whose editing the picture. But taking someone's art. Like taking a screenshot and posting it as your own isn't flattery. o-o I understand what you're saying though. But there is a difference. And i'm not saying you should police all the artists who copy your work. Because they aren't screenshotting your work and reposting it, unedited. :P They're doing something with it. Which is different. 
Kedestria Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just want to shake your hand and thank you right now lol
LisaGreywood Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think people easily forget how young some of the users on this site (and the internet in general) are, and that not everyone knows what "art theft" is. A lot of these kids just don't know that tracing/heavily referencing or using other's artwork as a journal background or something can be considered theft. So politely pointing it out to them, I think isn't a big deal. Especially when it comes to tracing or heavily referencing something, I think credit should be given to the original artist, but not everyone knows that. Even if the artist is okay with their work being used that way, I still think it's kinda dishonest (even if it's not intentional dishonesty) for an artist to NOT give credit when they're tracing/referencing. But again, if you're gonna call them on it, don't be a dickhead about it.
OmniWitch Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Professional Writer
Finding artists on DA who freak out about style theft might make for a really good drinking game.
Kimi-Parks Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is great! I wish more people felt this way. I'd consider it "theft" if someone was trying to pass everything off as their own invention or hastily recoloring something and trying to sell it, but other than cases like those it's basically fanart just like when people draw Sonic or MLP. The only difference is that you're not a big corporation. :P
IloveAleu Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
Summa sit imitatio adulationis - imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Sekaryu Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
What's worse is when well known artists make it a public ordeal and send their blood hungry fans to attack kids.. It's ruthless and unnecessary 
Sabi-Arts Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I agree thay should at least talk with the person before so they could figure out if it is a troll or just someone who don't know better.
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