Since posting artworks in an irregular manner has become a commonplace issue, we thought we’d give some basic guidelines so people can share art properly on Tumblr:
- If you see a painting on DeviantArt or other art sites, look for a warning label asking not to repost. It’s not always obvious; sometimes it’s an icon with a red hand, and other times it’s a written request by the artist to not “use” their art without permission. And within the definitions of use there’s reposting of paintings, even with linking and full credit. If you see a warning of any sort, the safest way is to NEVER repost anywhere, not even with credit.
- DO NOT assume that because the painting is there and you see no stated warning, it means it’s up for grabs. It’s still personal property of the artist. Ask the artist if they’d allow you to repost it on your blog or social media. The majority of them will gladly and graciously grant you permission to post their piece on your social media site or blog with only a link back to their DeviantArt gallery or personal website. If they refuse, respect their wish, it’s their work.
- When on DeviantArt or any other art website you see comments and descriptions like “For John/Jane Smith” or “Commission for John/Jane Smith,” it means that the piece was done with affection for a friend of the artist—in the first case—and paid for, often a considerable sum of money, by the client who commissioned that painting—in the latter case. Therefore, it’s not just the artist you have to consider but the person for whom the painting was done. The artist may be fine with your reposting the piece, but the person who got the piece as a gift/dedication or commission may not agree, and in some cases as they share 50% copyright with the artist, they have a right to require for the piece not to be reposted anywhere and to refuse permission when asked. So, try to never repost paintings that have a name/nickname as a dedication or as a commissioner without asking the artist first. And look round first, because it’s likely that the person for whom the piece was done has already posted it here on Tumblr, in which case, the correct and decorous thing to do is to reblog from their page instead of reposting.
- When a painting is posted on Tumblr by the person for whom it was done or to whom it was given as a gift, you DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT to repost it on Tumblr as well, not even with full credit to the artist, and all you can do is reblog it from the source blog. Those pieces often are co-created by the client and the artist, sharing copyright on a 50-50% basis, they may have exclusivity agreements on posting and use, or simply the piece became the property of the client with 100% exclusive copyright through purchase, therefore you’re misappropriating their property if you repost on Tumblr without asking.
- Always remember that ARTWORKS ARE NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN material in any way. Only because they’re displayed publicly doesn’t mean it’s at your disposal for your use under your own terms. It’s the product of long hours of work by people who earn their bread through doing paintings for those who pay for them, and in many cases each painting has cost hundreds or thousands of euros/dollars that come from the client, and when you take a piece from an art gallery and post it, use it as banners and avatars for blogs without permission and credit, you’re essentially misappropriating private property and copyrighted material, which can get you into legal trouble at worst and have your post/blog be deleted by the website administrators at best, for copyright infringement and art thievery.
- When the artist and/or the client that commissioned the piece has given you verbal or written permission to repost a determined piece, always include along with the full title BOTH the link to the artist’s page and the name of the client when it’s stated that it’s been done for that person. Don’t assume that because the painting is widely known and famous, it’ll be enough to post it with carelessly written tags as people will recognise it anyway. That way you’re establishing that it’s not you who either has produced or owns the artwork. Otherwise you’d be incurring into copyright infringement, which is penalised by the Tumblr Terms of Service, and is likewise not acceptable in other social media sites.
These guidelines are meant to serve as reminders on how to proceed with artwork posting. It’s advisable that you follow them, because not doing so has also a detrimental effect on the morale of the fan clients and fan artists, whose only desire is to share art on subjects they’re passionate about. Many talented artists have ceased doing fan art because of the disrespectful attitude of the fanbase, and others are keeping their pieces private and unshared to prevent these unfortunate incidents, which is negative for the wider fandom that would appreciate them. This segment of the ASOIAF fandom is quickly becoming known for the high quality of artworks, and a respectful attitude would be most encouraging to those people whose fan endeavours have been enjoyed by so many at no cost for themselves.