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Submitted on
October 9, 2012
Submitted with Writer


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My dear friend WDWParksGal, formerly a Community Volunteer, recently discovered that one of her deviations was being "high jacked", or the proper used termed, "hot linked". This is a very serious issue that not only affects the deviant,  but also deviantArt. We have been overwhelmed with this issue the last few weeks causing many stock providers and  too many manipulators to change the way they handle their deviations and sites. A few have emptied their gallery and left dA completely.    

Since I had the opportunity, I asked her if she would like to write an article concerning this matter, and she jumped at the chance! So following is WDWParksGal thoughts on this situation.

I have been creating Photomanipulations for about six-years now. I have learned a lot, not just by experimenting with my PhotoShop Elements Programs that I have purchased over the years, but by watching YouTube tutorial videos, talking to other Manipulators, reading dA Tutorials by those deviants kind enough to write out detailed instructions featuring what they have learned and by joining groups like manipulatethis that have a community of manipulators that are willing to comment, give critiques and share tips with other members. Even deviants like RedHeadStock that provide brushes and instructions on how to use/adjust them, Tutorial artists that explain about various effects, for example lighting, and manipulators like thefantasim who write out full-page articles outlining how to produce Space and Depth, as well as explaining Elements and Principals of Design, Differences Between Scenes and Design, or just talking about "stuff manipers need to know", have helped me greatly over the years.

:gallery: Those are prime examples of the positive aspects of the Photomanipulation Gallery, presently being overseen by SanguineVamp.

The Photomanipulation community is a tight one and we all usually encourage and support each other.... even when the seedier side of the Internet surfaces its ugly head.... art theft and hot-linking.

:icongnomethiefplz: Art theft comes in different sizes and intents. A theft can be as minor as taking a picture and re-posting it on another site (not for sale) to taking a deviation and setting it up as prints, T-Shirts and other merchandise for sale. The thieves can go as far as to re-post the work putting their own watermarks and signatures on the art!

:deviation: When posting work on deviantART, a screen name is imbedded in the code. How? I have NO idea, but I can say I have found my work all over the world on a variety of sites simply by using Google to search for my screen name or using the image link (click on the camera) to locate a specific deviation (right-click and choose 'copy image location'). If a site posts a wallpaper with a link to one of my sites, that's fine, but I have seen my wallpapers and private work, like my manipulations, on other sites with "new" signatures and a download that shows it has been re-posted with no link back.

:iconarttheftplz: To fight the theft, a letter has to written to the hosting site in the language of the host. Finding out what language the site is in is a trick. If the language can be deciphered using an online translator, either use Google Translator or see if there is another deviant that may be able to provide help in writing a coherent letter to the hosting site. Provide links to the original works, link to the site of the thief/thieves and demand to have the stolen work taken down. Sites like eBay will require a link to every single stolen work matched with the thief's doppelganger. It can be time-consuming and a pain in the rear, but often the stolen work will be removed. One kicker that can be an obstacle is having to pay for membership to a site where stolen works are posted before a complaint can be filed. Depending on the cost of joining, it may not worth the time and trouble to join in order to report the theft.

:helpdesk: If a stolen piece is taken from one deviant and posted on the site of another deviant, then report the theft to the Help Desk by using the "Report Deviation" button on the lower, right of the deviation page. Provide the link to your own work that was stolen and a $taff member will get to it promptly. dA takes art theft very seriously.

:shakefist: Another HUGE irritation I have come across many times is hot-linking!!

So You Think You Can Hotlink by deviantdash

Hot-linking is when someone illegally links to the download of a posted work and has it set so that when his/her site is opened the work appears. How to tell when a deviation is hot-linked is easy enough. The downloads far exceed the deviation views! When hot-linking, a person is stealing dA's bandwidth, which is a no-no! :police:

:iconsadcomputerplz: Recently I found one my stock exclusives that I thought I had well hidden, not only have over 5000 views but have over 8000 downloads! Once it was found, I re-saved it to a and deleted it. For some of my manipulations (from both of my sites) that I have found hot-linked, I had to edit and disable the download option. It is especially annoying considering it screws with my statistics! For wallpapers that were hot-linked, I edited and made the wallpaper 1600 pixels then disabled the download. I didn't have a chance to go through all my manipulations and wallpapers but did manage to get through some of the more popular ones.

I suspect this one is hot-linked due to the fact the downloads are nearly equal to the deviation views and there were four downloads just today:
Pirate Map Matey by WDWParksGal

This had over 62,000 downloads before I disabled the download, whereas the deviation views are short of 35,000:
Sleeping Beauty Castle Disneyland by WDWParksGal

On my stock site, =WDWParksGal-Stock I had to disable the download on a manipulation that I made into a wallpaper that is clearly marked that it is not stock:
Vampire Lust Mixed Media by WDWParksGal-Stock

Also on my stock site are these wallpapers I just found where you can see the downloads exceed the deviations views, showing they are still hot-linked:

Add a Comment:
10eke-stock Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2012
Ever since I found out what hot-linking was really about I discouraged it. (Sometimes it is very hard to explain - or even some people do not understand it al all :()
What shocked me was that I did not know that with a Google image search all my deviations are showing. I disabled viewing for non-members but still it shows the thumbnails, and in case of my manips the bigger images as well :(
I need to go over the view/download rates, haven't realized the d/l might be caused by hot-linking.
thefantasim Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012   Digital Artist
I don't mind my images showing up under either of my work, as long as it's a thumb, not the real thing. And I certainly discourage hot linking. If someone wants to use my art for something, all they need to do is ask. But most people are really ignorant to the fact that not everything on the web is in the public domain.
RachBurns Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've gotta be the slowest in mind today. :facepalm: So I'm sorry that I'm going to ask something that's probably clearly stated in this. >< Count this as trying to be doubly sure, please.

If I were going to post someone's art to my site (with proper permissions/links to their dA and to the picture itself of course), I'd need to save a copy of their piece to my Photobucket so I can have it show on the blog to keep from hotlinking?

Again, I'm sorry I'm making you repeat what probably should be the obvious.
WDWParksGal-Stock Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I feature thumbs in my journals all the time. deviants usually appreciate a feature! If you use and link to a full-size deviation, it is still hotlinking, but it is within dA. Just notify the deviant you are featuring. When I feature a thumb at #DevNews I leave a comment saying it has been featured. Never once have I had someone ask me not to feature!
RachBurns Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alright. Thank you very much for that! ^^ Any way to get features done is good.
WDWParksGal-Stock Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree. I have a widget for thumb features from manipulations challenges that I change out whenever there are new ones. They are in my faves, so the feature is connected to a Folder in my faves :aww:
RachBurns Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hee. I wonder if I have the patience to handle more of those...Would be fun to do now and again! Thank you so much for the ideas. ^^
thefantasim Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012   Digital Artist
By creating a link from Photobucket you are hot linking because it's being posted somewhere other then dA. Someone can click the link at Photobucket instead of at dA. Yes, it's reflecting the bandwidth of dA, but dA does have to pay for the bandwidth. And where do they get the money for the bandwidth. Us.

If you're posting only at dA inside of your journal, and telling the deviant that you are featuring their deviation in your journal, there shouldn't be a problem. But if someone doesn't want their work in a journal, let's hope they nicely ask you to remove the deviation.
RachBurns Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hm. Okay, so I couldn't do that anywhere but on this site then. *nod* Thank you so very much. Would it be the same then, if I were to just directly link it?

Or would it be better that I don't try that at all in any way? XD

And thanks for explaining this to me! :hug: I've been searching for these flippin answers forever and everyone was just screaming 'look it up', as if I wouldn't have been trying in the first place.
And I'd be happy to remove a piece that someone would rather me not post. :nod: It's their work, after all. Usually I'd be aiming to ask them before doing anything.
jane-beata Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Your helpful article has been FEATURED :heart:

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