Tell Them Apart: Art Theft vs. C infringement vs. Inspiration
OKAY people seem to have a problem understanding these things.
This site is absolutely littered with accusations of art theft going around and while some of them are valid there are tons more that aren't. It seems more prevalent in fan art which makes NO SENSE to me because it wasn't ever yours to begin with, it belongs to Disney or Dreamworks or whatever.
Is the use of another person's work in a manner that claims it as your own or earns you some kind of profit (be it a money profit or attention/watchers). This is the stuff to get seriously upset about; somebody posting a picture you drew and saying that they drew it. It's never unintentional, they know they didn't draw it, and though they don't always directly mean you harm they do know that they have taken your work.
A BUNCH OF PEOPLE ARE GETTING THIS CONFUSED WITH COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT.
Is the use of an idea, character, design or concept that was developed and/or claimed by another person.
THIS is what you call it when somebody DRAWS THEIR OWN VERSION of a picture that YOU DREW. THAT IS NOT ART THEFT because they drew it themselves.
This is also the case when somebody creates a species with exactly or nearly exactly the same traits as your own, or use your design for a character.
SOME THINGS CANNOT BE COPYRIGHTED. If you draw New York at night, somebody else has every right to draw New York at night because the place is real; you can't claim that it's yours. If you draw a wolf with a feather, you can't claim that either because it's so generic that somebody else is bound to draw it sometime, probably without even having seen your work.
YOUR DESIGN FOR A CANNON CHARACTER.
If you draw a cannon character (ex, human pinkie pie or whatever), you probably can't claim copyright infringement if somebody else draws their own version. I mean, they're going to look similar because um, they're based on the same character. That would make sense, right? Now, if their humanization/dragonization/interpretation of some character or whatever looks EXACTLY LIKE YOURS; same clothes, same features, same scarring (if it's not present on the character to begin with), same earrings (not like hoop earrings, like distinct stuff), same pendant etc., THEN you might be able to say "okay, they infringed upon MY INTERPRETATION of this character. But really why do you care, you don't own the character anyway. Think about that for a minute.
YOUR OWN FAN CHARACTER
OKAY it gets really leery here. A lot of fan characters have weird pasts and cannon parents and whatever, so you can't really claim any of that is specifically YOUR idea. Sorry. BUT if their fan character has a MARKEDLY SIMILAR (as in, almost identical) design, THEN you can claim infringement. BUT if it has the same cannon parents as yours, and if the character resembles its parents, then you can't really claim infringement anymore.
Also fan character = part of an established universe. They are your character and they are sometimes like people's babies or whatever but seriously how upset can you get over it; it's not based on your own ideas, so it shouldn't be an insult.
Here's a list of stuff you generally CAN'T claim infringement for:
-Human/dragon/wolfnized versions of cannon characters. You do not own drawing a character in another form. Somebody else is going to come up with it on their own.
-generic designs. The less original it looks the more likely somebody will come up with it on their own, and you can't blame them for that. This goes for species too.
-Things that already exist in reality. Buildings, landscapes, scenery, etc.
-generic storylines. Boy meets girl (or other boy) fall in love have fight get back together the end. Nope. That's classic.
-Pairings. OH COME ON PEOPLE "CLAIM A PAIRING" I MEAN COME ON SOMEBODY ELSE ALREADY THOUGHT OF IT GEEZ. You can't say "only I can draw StarscreamXBlurr" because you don't own the characters. How selfish is that? You can't expect people to respect that because it's not legit because YOU DON'T OWN THE RIGHTS TO STARSCREAM AND BLURR.
And folks please just use common sense. People get all riled up over this and they don't stop and think. Just HOW ORIGINAL is it? If somebody else could think it up on their own, they probably did. Legit copyright infringement is pretty rare honestly; instead you get the third category here: Inspiration.
Is when you see somebody's work and think of your own ideas in response to it. This is like if you see a dragon with a certain type of trait (not one reserved to a species only of course) and draw your own dragon with that trait. Ex., Velcro, my OC, has forward facing horns and acid breath. So you see Velcro and draw your own dragon with it's own unique characteristics but that still has forward horns and acid breath. I don't own forward horns or acid breath, not as individual traits or combined. I don't even own drooling acid like she does. Go ahead, make your own forward-horned-acid-drooling dragon; but it's when you start putting a tricolor mane and missing top teeth when inspiration turns to infringement. Tricolor mane and acid? fine. Betcha tons of dragons have that. Tricolor mane and forward horns and acid? yeah, still fine. But the distinct missing teeth paired with all of the above? THAT'S infringement. Missing teeth and acid? totally fine; again, there are probably a whole bunch, especially because that's kind of a look; messed up teeth and drool you know? XD Missing teeth and tricolor mane? yeah go ahead. You see where I'm gong here? It has to be MULTIPLE, DISTINCT TRAITS COMBINED before you can really claim infringement instead of just inspiration.
And people please THINK before you tell other people; it's only a suspicion. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? Chances are, it's not infringement. Really.
SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU GO RUNNING YOUR MOUTHS, PEOPLE CAN GET INTO SERIOUS TROUBLE OVER SOME PETTY LITTLE THING; THEY CAN EVEN HAVE THEIR ACCOUNT DEACTIVATED. Don't hurt somebody who didn't do anything wrong.