Copyright Infringement / Plagiarism
ArtStation takes copyright infringement seriously. However, due to the free nature of the site and the amount of work that is required to investigate and respond to copyright claims, we ask that you please respect these guidelines, and please also be realistic as to what you expect ArtStation to do.
The blatant thief
On occasion there are fake accounts where the user has obviously taken other people's artwork in full and posted it as their own. When reporting these, please:
- Provide links to the original works
- Provide links to the work that is plagiarized
Typically it's simple for us to check that these are fake accounts and they are removed quickly.
Copyright / IP infringement claims
There are more complex cases when an artist publishes work that either he was allegedly not allowed to, or it contains work that allegedly belongs to someone else. These are challenging for ArtStation to deal with.
- The reporter must be or represent the owner of the copyright/IP, and provide evidence of ownership OR there must be evidence beyond reasonable doubt that the offending work or parts of the offending work does not belong to the user who posted the work.
- Before contacting ArtStation, the reporter must make a reasonable attempt to contact the offender to remove the work and provide evidence for having done this.
- The reporter must provide evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, that the offending work or parts of the offending work in question were not produced or do not belong to the user who posted the work.
Below are some common examples of copyright infringement that we've had to deal with:
Example 1: Artist whose work was published "as is" or painted over without permission
Adam contacts ArtStation and says that Ben has published work that was his. Adam owns the copyright.
- Was the work copied in entirety? Or is it truly obvious that the work belonged to Adam and Ben had simply published it or used it as a basis for his own? If so, ArtStation would remove this. Contact us.
- Unclear. The work could conceivably have been modeled or painted by Ben. It looks different but similar. Often ArtStation gets reports from an artist alleging that their design was "stolen" but in fact the offender had used their design as inspiration or reference for their own. The asset itself might have been created entirely by the other user. In general, ArtStation cannot take action in cases like this. We recommend that you speak to the user directly, or ignore it if it isn't worth getting worked up over. Please don't contact ArtStation for situations like these - there's not much we can do.
Example 2: Artist creates a 3D model of an existing design
Adam is a 3D modeler. He models a 3D object of a BMW car (or any other existing design). He puts the model on a website that allows for 3D downloads and states that it is free to use as long as he is credited.
Ben uses the asset in his render, but does not credit Adam. Adam contacts Ben that he cannot use the asset, but Ben does not respond. Adam contacts ArtStation claiming copyright infringement.
- Adam does not own the copyright. BMW does. Although Adam might have put a lot of work into this, he cannot claim copyright infringement.
- It is naive to make a 3D model available for download and expect people to give credit when using it. ArtStation cannot be expected to enforce this.
Example 3: Two artists fighting
Adam and Ben work together on a project. Adam uses assets that Ben helped to create, but does not credit him. Ben is upset and requests ArtStation for a takedown, stating that he did not give Adam permission to publish his work.
- ArtStation will not take action on this. This is a private dispute between artists.
Example 4: Previous employee publishing work that wasn't permitted
Adam works for a company called XYZ studio. Adam leaves the company and publishes work on his ArtStation account that he did not have permission for. XYZ contacts ArtStation and requests a takedown.
- This is a dispute between XYZ and Adam. ArtStation cannot be held responsible for hosting Adam's work. If Adam had violated some contractual agreement, XYZ must take legal action against Adam.
- Usually the company XYZ will get upset and threaten to sue ArtStation, upon which our response would be that we cannot be held liable and we're capable of defending ourselves in court.
Threatening legal action against ArtStation
Please respect the position that ArtStation is in. We provide a freely available portfolio hosting service that has a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of artists lives.
Generally, we take reports of copyright infringement seriously and spend a lot of our time (which isn't paid) trying to resolve these situations - many of which as you can see above are disputes that shouldn't have anything to do with ArtStation.
Unfortunately we do get threats for legal action against ArtStation by people who think that threatening will make us respond faster. It doesn't. It just makes us put up our guard and less willing to work with you to resolve the situation.
We wish to advise in advance that ArtStation is more than capable of defending our position in the court of law, and if pushed, can counter-sue until your grandchildren are poor. Please don't even think about threatening to take legal action against us. It would be much better for you to be nice and work with us to resolve the situation.