Don’t make me tell you twice: Stop using fanart you didn’t draw on your anime blog

Anime bloggers, anime bloggers. Why must we always have these discussions? Is too hard for you guys to operate utilizing normal, human, common sense? I mean, I guess it isn’t entirely your fault if you’re a  stupid person who can’t write about Japanese animation worth a shit, but what images you post onto your internet weblog is fully under your control, and that’s the issue I wish to address today.

Have you children ever heard of Online Fanarts Protection? OFP is a kind of rule set down by anime fandom regarding the use of fanart on internet websites. What they’re asking of you people is quite simple–don’t use the images they spent hours making without their permission! That’s all! Of course, if you’re an anime blogger and not aware of this rule, that’s fine; but now that you know, please take it into consideration. I myself wasn’t aware of this until about three years ago, which is why there is not-drawn-by-me-fanart in some of my older entries. But I don’t do that anymore. I’ve learned. I’m respecting their simple request.

Now, what they’re asking isn’t entirely unreasonable–basically, if you want to use a piece of art, contact the artist before doing so. However, in this fast-paced Web 3.0 world of today, we may not have time for that. Here’s an alternative–if you really want to use a piece of artwork, credit the artist and link to their site underneath it, as opposed to writing some awful, unfunny one-liner. While it’s not really what they’re asking of you, it’s better than “author unknown”, and a fair compromise. To make it even better, include a Japanese section (titled 日本語, that means “Japanese” in Japanese) on your blog where you explain in Japanese the usage of fanart on your blog, and make it clear that you will take images down without argument if asked.

Why is this important? We’re all a community. All around the world. As such, we must respect other people’s wishes, especially when it comes to creative properties that they’ve toiled for hours–sometimes days–over. Your use of fanart that’s not yours in your blog post is not transforming and giving that work new meaning–it’s just theft. You have no business using that artwork. The least you could do is–as I mentioned before–credit the artist.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use images at all in your blog. Hell, I use a lot myself. But my images are either photos I take, or official images. While using official images without permission isn’t okay, they’re made for wide distribution, so as long as you’re not charging people to look at them, it’s not an entirely bad thing to have screenshots and such on your blog.

I don’t expect that the world will be changed with this post, but I’d like all who are reading to take this into consideration. We’re all in the same global community, so don’t betray your fellow fans around the world by stealing their artwork. It’s just plain rude, inconsiderate, and another reason why Japanese fans think English-speaking fans are “human trash.”

That’s an actual quote, by the way.

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87 Responses to Don’t make me tell you twice: Stop using fanart you didn’t draw on your anime blog

  1. the monster says:

    frankly, i could care less about the butthurt “artists” who rage over the fact their art is on someone’s blog. i can see how someone crosses the line when they claim it’s their own work when it’s not, but i’ll be damned if i have to turn over ever rock on the internet to find out who drew loli.jpg to satisfy someone’s ego.

    i respect these authors by not claiming their work as my own, but i won’t bow down to their every whim because i’m not getting paid to use their art.

    if i ever post some fanart and the artist contacts me for removal, i’ll remove it. if they ask for accreditation, i’ll probably do that or remove it if they make themselves seem arrogant.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Jura: “It’s the internet, therefore it’s ok to act like a dick” is not a good line of reasoning. Especially not for the well-being of the Internet.

  3. TheFuzzy says:

    At last someone writes this post!

    I’ve been wondering about this issue for a few months now, though (no thanks to commitments irl) I haven’t managed to actually post my thoughts about it. Maybe later. Maybe.

    But anyway.

    I’m not sure whether I started accrediting web artists as soon as I started blogging, but I sure have been when I formed KK, even though my fellow blogging mates don’t exactly follow the same ideals as I do. Ah well. That said, though…

    I believe when an artist posts his work onto the Internet, there’s a common understanding that undoubtedly his/her art will be posted on the Net, and probably without credit, too. It sounds wrong, but that’s how it’s been, seeing as the main problem is that people remain ignorant of the situation, be it intentional or not.

    I definitely cannot force my friends to do the same; the best I can do is inform, and see whether they’ll choose to go through with it. If they do, then yay, good for them. If not, well, what can I do.

    Maybe that’s all we can do; post about this issue, and hope people start to take notice. I mean, this post alone already spurred four more blogs to follow suit. Maybe with enough blog coverage, everyone who’s someone in the ani-blogosphere will notice too?

    Yeah I know, that was optimistic.

    I’m not saying I’m perfect; if you go way back into my archives you’ll see missing accreditation here and there (and if you go further you’ll see the blog start to break down). I’ve also used assets from web artists in my theme, and credited in my TL;DR disclaimer. I have a contact form, and with it a policy: if you don’t want your fanart on my site, inform me and I’ll take it down. Simple.

    Contact the web artists, you say? Find friends who can speak Japanese to help, you say? Trust me, I spent a few weeks trying to look for Japanese-literate friends to help, and guess what their reply was? “Don’t bother, the Japs don’t take too kindly to people using their stuff”.

    Yeah, fat load of help that was.

    So, given with the lack of free time that I have (have you seen how late my summer ’09 post is?), I think I’ve done my best. If not, well, screw me then.

  4. G says:

    And in this post we complain about theft in a community (North American anime fans) based around piracy. Wow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    @G: Speak for yourself. Not everyone downloads fansubs and other pirated stuff.

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  7. Doriinatrix says:

    I understand what you’re saying, and it’s a very valid point. Artists should be credited and all that good stuff, but with the language barrier and sites like the *chans, some of us will probably know never who those artists are. Not everyone has friends who speak Japanese, you know.

  8. Campbell says:

    @Hinano
    Oh, that’s official art? Thought it looked familiar.
    So, yeah, that makes it even worse in my eyes(Mainly because someone made Lineart out of it, which is always used for this kind of stuff. Wallpapers, sig edits, etc).

    However, since it is official art, whose toes is this Wallpaper-Making-Chick stepping on?
    Yeah, the “Real” Artist who made the image is human too. They deserve credit, and shouldn’t be swept under the rug. But who else should she credit? The one who colored it? Doesn’t deserve it, imo.
    But what’s made available will be used.

    No matter what form of Diplomacy someone uses, I don’t see someone contacting, say, Satoshi Urushihara everytime they want to make a Lineart out of one of his drawings, or color an uncolored sketch.
    Official artists have it rough, in that regard. They’re seldom credited in things like this, even though it’s fairly obvious most of the time what’s official and what isn’t.
    But the person who made the Cutout/crop/whatever will still, sadly, likely get more recognition in future uses.

    People scanning/posting Magazine Art is pretty bad in my opinion too, as I seldom see anyone list the Magazine it was taken from, or the artist behind it(It’s Anime art, it’s not always obvious) in the first place. But I can’t be overly angry about it, because, regrettably, that’s how it works.
    It’s by no means an excuse, or a free pass.

    Christ, it doesn’t take long for me to go off on a tangent and change targets entirely.

    This is going to sound pretty ignorant.. But..
    One final thing I want to say is, I really don’t think any Fandom can get along with a Foreign fandom.
    There’s never gonna be total harmony between Fandoms, or Cultures. People will always find something to complain about, and in the process, likely blow it out of proportion.

    The Japanese Artists(Some will, some won’t) are never going to view us as upstanding citizens on totally equal footing, no matter how nice we are to them.
    (And don’t mistake this as me saying they’re demanding too much. I’m mostly stressing the effect of Cultural Divide)

    I see this happen in German communities with English music, I see it happen with Spanish gamers with the Korean.
    It’ll never end, no matter how many rage-filled-rants or polite-petitions get cooked up.

    It bugs me to see people stress out so much over something that doesn’t warrant it.
    But I guess I’m doing the same, in that regard. People will be people.

  9. Campbell says:

    Speaking of blowing things out of proportions, one last thing..

    WAH, who said that these people are “Human Trash?”
    That(or Those) Artist/s, in my opinion, just lost all credibility and respect. To generalize everyone into doing this purposely, including those who meant no ill feelings by it, and calling them Trash is fucking despicable.
    As angry as these artists are, get a god damned grip. It’s not the end of the world.
    The Artists art may be good, I’ll respect the art, but thsy Artist doesn’t even deserve thought anymore, in my opinion.

    To get so angry that you become Arrogant is something no one should do.
    Especially over Fanart on the internet, of all things.

    If they can’t be level-headed about it, why should I? Because they say so?
    I’m sorry, I don’t care about their opinion if they act like that.

    Your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance, then they’re no friends of mine, yes?

  10. wah says:

    I took that quote from a comment on a Japanese blog post that saw Sanakaku Complex and was like “wow all English speakers are human trash if they visit this site”

    Which is true. If you visit Sankaku you are human trash. I just used it because I felt the post wasn’t snooty enough by the end, so I had to round it off with some nice, sexy elitism.

  11. omo says:

    I like Shii’s idea. Yeah, human trash \o/

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  17. Cokematic says:

    Ok so I’m supposed to listen to the request of someone who CLAIMS he doesnt read anime blogs because “they are shit” yet he wants the said anime bloggers to follow some retarded orz rule?

    Hell, this is not even about “giving correct” credit when tis due. Its about some raving lunatic tryiing to shove his morals down everyone’s throat.

  18. BlueGenome says:

    I know I’m new to sites like MOY, Sankaku etc. but… this shit is BASIC. While I don’t think it’s always necessary (or practical) to contact the author before using their work, giving credit is something that should always be done. Even if you don’t think people are at least entitled to being credited for their work (idiocy being a prerequisite for this view), linking to the artist’s site or pixiv profile or whatever is a good way to let readers find art by the same guy if they like it. Win-win. And as omo noted earlier, if the art becomes a part of your site design or some other permanent fixture, getting the author’s permission is a Nice Thing To Do.

    Of course, the “Danbooru-4chan-sankaku ideology” can make it hard to locate the author of some art, but at least making an attempt (eg. posting a source request on the site you find it) means if the author turns up asking WhyTF you used their art without credit you can point and say, “I tried!”. Again, a Nice Thing To Do.

    The above is null and void if the author actually says, “Yeah, you can take this without asking or giving credit”. Neat guy.

    On a semi-related note, I find Uncyclopedia’s 2 Big Rules can be applied to many things, including this one:
    1. Be funny and not just stupid.
    2. Don’t be a dick.
    Taking people’s stuff without giving credit is firmly in the “dick” category.

    tl;dr: Give credit if you know the author; try to find the author if you don’t.

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  22. serial says:

    Here’s my take on this:

    Spot on, WAH. SPOT. FUCKING. ON.

    One more thing: Can’t find the source of an image? ASK AROUND. You know there’s a /r/ board in 4chan, right? It’s more useful than it may appear. Even if it’s 90% porn all the time, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find anyone who can’t, at least, point you in the right direction.

    COMMUNICATE. It’s easier than you think.

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  24. thebign says:

    I’m going to be mad surprised if this isn’t one of your all-time viewed posts. :V

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  28. moritheil says:

    I’m amused at all the discussion of this. Internets: SRS BSNS!

    I’ll have some metabloggery at the usual side blog in response to this.

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  31. HechEff says:

    Well said, WAH.

    Saving them for your own viewing pleasure is one thing, but using them as if it was their own content is just something else. Or worse, edited without consent in such a way it becomes exploited for the worse.

  32. Ippikineko says:

    I’d never heard of most of the stuff mentioned here, but then again, I’m not a blogger of any sort. That said, I’m not an artist either, so I can’t say I really understand how the people who are upset about this feel.

    Still, to me, it seems both common courtesy and common sense to at least attribute the works to their creators if at all possible. This has nothing to do with whether Japanese fans or American fans or fans of any other country are better or worse than each other. If you don’t list a source or even request a source so that it can be properly listed, that to me implies that it is art created by the poster, unless I actually know the source already. Plus, it would help people who like the picture an easier time finding more pictures by the same artist. Which makes it win/win (if a little more work for the blogger) as far as I can see.

    Personally, after reading through all this, as well as the website WAH linked to, which is much less antagonistic in its approach, I think it would be better to at least try and respect the artists wishes, instead of deciding to make a war out of it.

    With that said, I have a question. How does this relate to saving pictures for ease of viewing offline? Especially since as mentioned before, most image sites are horribly sloppy when it comes to listing the artists? I have lots of pictures saved for convenience sake, most of which I have no source info what so ever. Should I research and tag them myself, even if I’m not going to ever repost them online? What would be the best way to try and do that?

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  34. Anon says:

    wah writ:
    My point isn’t about legality. I break the law all the time. I just did right now when I downloaded this Shin Mazinger episode. I keep stressing (people clearly can’t read) that’s it’s about R E S P E C T.

    While I do understand where it comes from, I suppose I should also play devils advocate and point out copyright also protects from the making of derivative works. IE: Fanart. Just because the odds of getting sued over it is almost unheard of doesn’t mean it’s strictly against the law – especially if it’s being sold. Do japanese doujin artists over there get permission to draw all the XXX stuff they sell at comiket etc, or are their laws just far more relaxed compared to ours. If they aren’t paying proper respect to the original creators, why are they expecting special treatment?

    Remember, devil’s advocate reply here. Yes, I know there’s a difference between drawing something new (Even if it’s of copyrighted characters) and just using an image you found on the web, but when money starts to get involved it actually starts to cross into criminal territory in most countries that use copyright laws.

  35. Morgan says:

    Ippikineko said:
    “If you don’t list a source or even request a source so that it can be properly listed, that to me implies that it is art created by the poster,”

    Really?

    For me, unless a post actually says “I made this” in some way or other, I assume that they didn’t make it. (Unless it’s the journal of an individual artist. Which actually would account for all the journals I follow with any regularity that have art posted in them. Huh. )

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