On Leaving DeviantART

I remember joining DeviantART oh such a long six years ago. I remember buying 2 years worth of Premium just to have more prints of my work available for sale. I remember the beginning of the Cutechong Scandal and how DeviantART did not handle it one iota, and when I was forced offline for a year, the problem of Cutechong got so much worse. Because they refused to deal with it from the start. The link above, you will not find any information on me (my username had been the-lady-harkness), the starting point, because she only got her own page well after I had removed myself from the situation. But the page gives a rather detailed and crude account of her goings on until her banning, as well as her activities on other websites and social media.

During that time in 2009, I reported one of her “deviations” which was actually song lyrics from a Christian band. I gave the direct link, screen caps of the band’s professional website listing the song, the lyrics, everything. I gave them contact info of the band, I even messaged the band myself via their feedback system to make them aware of the issue. Despite the band’s rep’s best efforts, nothing was done.

Then, today, I get a message from DeviantART stating that they saw nothing wrong with the “deviation” and that the original creator needed to contact them. That I did not provide proof of the theft and plagiarism. Problem? This was a theft report I had lodged in late 2009, and they are JUST NOW getting to it. The report INCLUDED PROOF from MULTIPLE SOURCES as well as direct contact information. The band’s representative at the time DID contact them, and yet nothing was done. DeviantART flat out REFUSED to acknowledge the plagiarism and remove it from their website.

Now, this might seem like a small thing to you. However, in recent months I had become VERY vocal on the site wide posted announcements about various changes and such they are making to the website (not the least of which is the creation of their new logo, which is straight up art theft and international copyright infringement upon a Russian based art site, as well as art studio that runs the site.) I have pointed out many times the changes the users ACTUALLY WANT and the fact that the development team DELIBERATELY IGNORE THEM. To the point that even many of the beta testers of the site are leaving, because what use is their being allowed to use the new versions of the site, the tools and such, and when they actually present the development team with their findings of things that need fixing or improvement, they too are COMPLETELY IGNORED. When other uses demand answers, the people who SHOULD be answering them are silent on the matter and pretend that nobody even asked or demanded the answers in the first place.

Meanwhile, I’m telling people how to deal with the changes, how to ensure that when they file reports that they are taken seriously and actually advocating that anyone who has had their works stolen through or straight up BY DeviantART themselves, they should immediately seek legal counsel, as that is the only way to get their issues taken care of at this point. At every turn my comments are either deleted or marked as spam. And I am not the only one. Other dissenting voices are silenced in the same manner, even if they are beta testers. And then today, I get a message about a report I filed back in 2009, and the user it was about has been banned since I believe 2011, maybe 2012.

I am so glad I am leaving DeviantART. It’s taking me a while, as I had over 1200 works posted (stories, photography, and artwork) and I have to weed through them all to find the ones I wish to keep and the ones I can part with (mostly my less than stellar photos or really horrible artworks that do not exist in any other form but digital now). Once I am completely free of that ridiculously terrible website, the better off I’ll be.

While DeviantART was my first artistic home on the internet, and it helped me to develop some new methods of online communication, it has also cost me potential clients who see the link to a DeviantART portfolio and have handed my cards back, or changed their minds suddenly on wanting me to do a commission.

I’m almost 30 now. It’s time to grow up and get away from DeviantART. It was great and helpful when I needed it to be, but it’s outlived it’s usefulness, and I’ve been needing to leave it for a while now. Like with Tumblr. I just needed a good enough reason that I felt strongly enough about to give me that motivating push.

As for where I will post my works now? Well, here of course. It is my blog after all. And I receive much more constructive (both positive and negative) feedback and criticism on it, which is what I needed in the first place. But I’ve a Weebly page I need to dust off and finish setting up for my professional use, so once I have enough to buy a domain name, I’ll be doing that as well.

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2 responses to “On Leaving DeviantART

  1. Please note that DeviantArt’s new “logo” WAS NOT CROWDSOURCED by the community; instead the creation of the new so-called logo was outsourced to Moving Images and NOT THE VAST dA COMMUNITY. (Those criticisms are yet to be referenced on TV Tropes.)

    Aside from good enough hand-drawn art, DeviantArt is also host to random screenshots of something and fonts posted without giving credit/permission to their respective creators, among other things that violate dA’s TOS but underreported.

    Angelo Sotira, the last of DeviantArt’s trio of founders still from the website, said that it will see “design changes” in the second half of 2015, so prepare to face an even broken base within the website.

    You may consider Shadowness, a somewhat cleaner alternative to dA, but paid prints are not supported.

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    • There are so many problems with DeviantART aside from the site design changes and “improvements” they have made in their 2014 updates. Art theft has always been a big problem – but it’s not become an even harder problem to deal with. The same with harassment. DeviantART has become a hostile wasteland, with very few patches of civilization. Some people have been able to make a really good career based on their dA accounts (I used to watch 3 professional comic artists who started out just posting their comics on there. And 2 professional photographers who used dA as just another way to generate income alongside their professional sites, online stores, and their Facebook page.) but the majority of users HAVE become that stereotype of angry 12 year old tracing Sonic the Hedgehog in sexual positions. Or, rather these days, My Little Pony.
      Since this original post, I have deleted my account there and saved what I could. What I needed it for in the beginning helped me greatly, but I outgrew it, and it changed so much that I was no longer getting what I needed from a now broken community and quite frankly toxic environment. That said, if someone asks me directly my opinions on the site, I will be honest and tell them of my experience with other users, the administration, and other aspects I have had dealings with. I will strongly advise them to consider what they need from a website they wish to host their works on, and to fully investigate dA before choosing it, so that they know the TOS word for word and can recite it backwards when, not if, necessary.
      I pity the loyalists who wish to stick it out, and wish them all the luck in the world.
      As for that information on the logo being outsourced, that’s news to me. The latest information I had heard was that they had claimed to have designed it all by themselves in their own little office and even had the “proof” to show for it, though the “proof” turned out to be a frickin stock image of different vaguely and I mean VERY VAGUELY similiar to the current new logo.

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