lol ur copyright

One of the many gazillion things I do online is help moderate a user-generated art gallery, I love it there, great community, pretty art, good friends. We do get the occasional art thief, though, and we delete stolen art as soon as it's discovered.

I've gotta say though, I LOVE - really, truly, LOVE - this trend among art thieves to announce that the image they've submitted has been stolen. Phrases like, "Original images from Google. Photomanipulation © me" in all caps, right underneath the image. Because clearly, when something has been stolen, announcing to the world that you stole it makes it all okay! These people are hilarious!

Well, it certainly makes my job easier! Instead of having to dig around the internet to find the original version of the stolen art as proof if the thief pleads innocent and wants a second opinion from another moderator, I can just hit the delete button. Boom, stolen image nuked. Half the time the thief throws a hissy fit: "But I gave proper credit! I didn't steal!"

Yes indeed, you gave credit, but you also totally stole. "Giving credit" just made things way easy for me.

The funniest thing is that these people typically have ginormous galleries bursting with badly Photoshopped collages of their favorite Harry Potter characters, with descriptions along the lines of: "Whipped this up in like less than five minutes...because I obviously didn't do much to it ^^; But the manip is still © me."

The only thing that makes this go from HILARIOUS to SO AWFUL is on massive art websites like deviantART, where these thieves congregate like flies on a cowpie.* Find one of them, you'll find that a single stolen collage is in a dozen fan groups, each group with hundreds of members all submitting the same type of stolen artwork. There are tens of thousands of stolen images.

Which is a rant I'll get into some other time.

For now, I'm laughing, and deleting (on Storm), and reporting (on dA).

ETA: The best example I've ever seen of an art thief's stupidity is an image I just found, in which the stolen background image had a large copyright notice across the center, and the thief even pointed it out in the artist's description area! With no sense of irony whatsoever! LOL!

*Disclaimer: I'm not comparing dA to a cowpie. I'm comparing the festering piles of stolen artwork to a cowpie.

Before That Moment

[TW for ableism.]

My primary job is in apartment management, and last week I was sent to a three-hour training on the Fair Housing Act. One of the most important aspects of the Act is something that rings familiar to most: "It is illegal to discriminate against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin."

The real estate lawyer giving the presentation used a variety of examples to show what was and wasn't against the law; for example, a property that disallows all pets refused to allow a disabled tenant to have a companion animal as recommended by a doctor. That's discrimination based on handicap, and the tenant was awarded thousands of dollars in reparations.

Interestingly, much of the discussion focused on ableism, including mental illness. Schizophrenia was mentioned, as was bipolar disorder. Throughout, the presenter was sensitive and used generally acceptable language when discussing these things.

Then, completely out of the blue, he used the term "crazy" to refer to something entirely unrelated to mental illness.

Before that moment, I knew that "crazy" is an inappropriate word to use, at least in the way most of society uses it: "It's crazy to try the black diamond slope if you've never been skiing before!" "You want to study advanced physics? Are you crazy?"

Something about the disingenuity of his use of the term really struck home for me. He was talking about how very wrong it is to discriminate against the disabled, and then in the same breath used language that encourages marginalization of the same population.

"Disabled people deserve to be treated equally with the able-bodied. You would have to be crazy not to."

Before that moment, I didn't quite get it. And then, it clicked. Instead of token, not-quite-getting-it outrage, I felt genuine outrage, and hurt, and simultaneously amazement at my realization.

I guess my feminism leveled up.