The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: July 7th, 2002

Outrage Over Stolen Wallpapers & Fanart

By: Nerissa Ying

I don't usually go looking for new Sailormoon websites anymore. Usually because I no longer feel the need to read Sailormoon fanfiction as much as I did in the past nor do I feel the need to find out more about the characters since I already know quite a bit about the characters myself. Now-a-days, when I go to a new Sailormoon website, it is for the sole purpose of looking over the contents of it, making comments on the quality of the site, and generally getting a feel for how "good" the website is.

Well, lately, I've been seeing a disturbing trend. It probably already happened in the past as much as it is happening now. People are stealing other people's fanart or wallpapers, and then using those wallpapers or fanart to make their own "unique" layouts without giving credit to the creators. Or even worst; they take those pictures to make a "freebie" gallery where anyone can take them. The most recurring examples are Sailormoon wallpapers made by Cynical126. You can find that person's wallpapers here:

And here:

The people who "steal" these wallpapers tend to fall into these following categories:

1) They got it from a friend or a website (sometimes the original creator's website), and decided that they liked it so much, that it would make a great picture for a layout. They often either don't know it was originally a wallpaper, or if they do, they didn't know that they weren't supposed to alter or use the wallpaper in that fashion. These people shouldn't be blamed too harshly as they simply didn't know that what they were doing is wrong.

2) They _knew_ that it was wallpaper, and they _knew_ that they shouldn't have used it, but they did so anyway just because they want the picture, and they don't care about how the creator feels about how his/her wallpapers are being used.

The same can be said for people who "steal" fanart. Group #2 is the worst of the lot simply because they don't respect the amount of work the creator puts into the wallpaper or the piece of art. They simply want it because it looks good, and apparently, it makes their website look better.

Why do people like this get away with it?

1) People don't know it was originally a wallpaper or fanart.

2) They think that the pictures are "free for the taking". This happens when a thief sets up a website with stolen pictures, and then, puts them in a gallery saying that anyone can take the pictures and use them for their own website. Not only is it very sneaky, it tricks innocent people into thinking that they can use these pictures without worrying about if it is okay to use them.

3) People don't have the time to e-mail every single webmaster that uses the pictures without permission.

4) Sometimes even an online friend does it, and it is very hard to tell that friend that they should take those pictures down because the creator didn't intend for them to be used that way.

Now, you may think that this happens more with wallpapers than with fanart since wallpapers use original pictures from an anime or manga, therefore, it makes them "safer" to steal and use in layouts. However, I've recently come across websites that use fanart, but guess what? Because the creator herself can't communicate in English very well, people go steal _her_ fanart to use in layouts or galleries to take advantage of the fact that she probably will not run into their websites simply because she does not understand English well. I can't say just how _sick_ I get when I see her fanart being used _without_ her permission simply because she cannot write in English very well. You can find this artist's artwork here:

This is just one example. What happened to the common courtesy of asking for permission first?

The lesson I want to preach is to know where you got your pictures and to double check where your sources get their pictures. When in doubt, just don't use pictures you got from other websites; rely on pictures you scanned in yourself. That way, you know for sure you didn't steal anything. Yes, it makes gathering pictures much harder, but then, you can truly say that the layout/website you made is all your own.

And if you must use a picture from another website, please, please, PLEASE, link back to the website you got it from. That way, if it does turn out that the website you got the picture from, did steal the picture from another website, you won't immediately be blamed for stealing that picture yourself.

Thank you for reading my rant. =)

Comments on this article can be sent to: Nerissa Ying.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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