Copyright and Your DeviantArt Submission
Here at DeviantArt we respect the rights of all artists and creative people worldwide and we expect our members to also demonstrate that respect and assist us in creating a beneficial and positive atmosphere for all DeviantArt visitors and members.
The bottom line is: Just about anything that is on this site, on the web, on TV, on CD's, on DVD's, in books & in magazines is probably copyrighted by someone.
Copyright can be a confusing territory for many people. In many cases the natural confusion over the sometimes varied circumstances surrounding copyright will lead people to rely on rumor or myth more often than the actual law which naturally confuses the matter even more.
In this document we will attempt to eliminate some of the confusion and counter many of the myths surrounding copyright and to present clearly the DeviantArt policies and practices with regard to copyright. The availability of this document should not be construed as rendering legal or other professional advice, and this document is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. If you require legal advice, you should seek the services of a qualified attorney.
How do I get Copyright?
Under most national laws and international copyright treaties you receive a copyright automatically in any original work as you make it. Registration may be required to exercise some rights, like commencing a lawsuit. Copyright does NOT protect ideas. Copyright protects the expression of ideas or the ways in which an idea is materially placed or expressed in the work.
What is Copyright Infringement?
To simplify this question, copyright infringement occurs when you do certain things with a creative work which someone else produced without first getting the proper permission.
Some examples of copyright infringement (this is only a partial listing) can include:
How Can I Avoid Infringing on Someone's Copyright?
The best way to avoid infringing on the rights of another creative person is to use your skill, talent and imagination to create your own completely original work. When we use the word 'original' we don't mean that you must come up with an idea which hasn't been used before - recall that copyright does not protect ideas. When used in reference to copyright "original" means that you created your work without referencing or deliberately copying anyone else's work during the process.
Ensure that all parts of your work, both visual and audio, are your own original creations. If you have used materials which are owned by other people or companies make certain that you have obtained proper permission or licensing for the use before you place your work online.
What Sort of Things are Copyrighted?
The easy answer to this question is that just about any creative work that is less than 150 years old you might find should be considered copyrighted by default.
A work is not required to have a copyright statement printed on it or near it in order to be considered copyrighted so do not assume that the work is unprotected simply because you cannot see a notice written anywhere.
Also do not confuse the fact that a work is publicly available with the idea that it is in the public domain or free for use. Being easy to find on the internet does not affect a work's copyrighted status.
There are many exceptions to the 150 year guideline, but you are best advised to obtain legal advice from an expert if you intend to rely on the possibility that a modern work is not copyrighted.
What Happens When You Submit Infringing Works to DeviantArt?
Any copyright owner following the procedures in this Copyright Policy can require DeviantArt to remove his or her copyrighted content in use by a member of DeviantArt. When through the proper notice we become aware that a submission to DeviantArt infringes upon the copyrights of another artist, creative person or company, we will immediately delete it. This is a legal requirement which we fulfill immediately; you will not receive an advanced warning and you will not be given an opportunity to 'fix it'.
If you believe that a submission on DeviantArt infringes on your copyright you may either report the submission using our internal reporting system or send us a copyright notice via mail or email. A member of staff will review your notice and act accordingly.
If you believe that one of your submissions was removed in error you may contact our helpdesk or otherwise file a counter notice.
If you are found to repeatedly post infringing content, your account will be suspended and serious offenders will have their account banned and deactivated. We consider three strikes as an indication of being a repeat infringer subject to ban. If you are found deliberately misrepresenting the copyrighted work of another as your own your account will be immediately banned and deactivated.The copyright owner may also decide to sue you directly if you infringe his or her copyright in posting content to DeviantArt.
What about "Fair Use"
"Fair Use" is the notion that some public and private uses of copyrighted works should not require the permission of a copyright owner. These circumstances are very limited, complex to analyze under the law and require the help of expert advice from a lawyer. We recommend you talk to your own lawyer if you want to know more about fair use as it applies to the work you are doing. If it turns out that it isn't fair use, you may be liable for very serious money damages.
If you take my work down am I protected from a lawsuit?
No. Even if DeviantArt takes an infringing work down, you may still be responsible for very significant damages if the copyright owner decides to sue you.
Notification of Copyright Infringement
Instructions for Copyright Owners
This section contains the formal requirements of the Copyright Act with respect to the rights of copyright owners whose content appears on DeviantArt without authorization and instruction to copyright owners.
To file a copyright infringement notification with DeviantArt (also commonly known as a "DMCA takedown notice"), the copyright owner or an authorized agent acting on his or her behalf will need to send a written communication that includes substantially the following:
1. A physical or electronic signature of the copyright owner or of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material. In this regard please provide URLs when you identify the location of the material.
4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
5. A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
Written notice should be sent by mail or by PDF attached to an email to DeviantArt's designated agent as follows:DMCA Complaints
Under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity is infringing may be subject to liability. Consult your legal counsel or see Section 512(c)(3) of 17 U.S.C. to clarify or confirm the requirements of the notice.
If you want to send DeviantArt a counter notice, please review this information for instructions.
Under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability. Please consult the Terms of Service and DeviantArt's Etiquette Policy in which we explain that you may be removed from the site if you are a repeat infringer or if you violate DeviantArt's policies.