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Author Topic: is it ok to use graphics that is not yours?  (Read 652 times)
keylanbelle
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« on: April 21, 2024 @637.59 »

Sometimes i just want to make *something* smol for fun because i'm bored, but i don't want to make everything from scratch (mostly because i don't have enough motivation, energy, time and attention span)... So i wanted to ask, is it okay for a webmaster to use graphics that is not theirs? And what if i can't find the author to credit them? Should i just not use that one png or?
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2024 @649.87 »

I think if it's old enough it's no problem. Like, I don't think random former geocities users are going to get upset you used their skull gif from the 90s. But I think it's different if you take original works and graphics from someone who is currently active online, I would encourage not doing that!
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2024 @672.11 »

the nature of the Internet is that things will get stolen regardless, in some way or another. as an artist, i don't /like/ this, but i've accepted that i should only put stuff online if i'm content with it appearing somewhere i didn't put it - often without anyone asking me if they could repost first.

in your position, i would look for indicators that an artist has /tried/ to make their stance on reuse known before using something. for instance: i have an "art usage guidelines" on my page that i absolutely know will not stop folks from copying and pasting, but at least i've told everyone that visits my page what my views are. if i'm no longer online for whatever reason, hopefully my creations will be attached to that page whenever they pop up.
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2024 @673.46 »

Im firmly in the camp of act-first-ask-later! Creating things is so much work and you never really know what the outcome will be, so it's best just to use everything on hand and figure out what credit to give later.

Sometimes you might start by using someone else's image (or even a whole page's code), but end up with something completely different by the time your page is finished; in that case, the credit may be inappropriate (I don't wanna be credited for someones weird version of my landing page  :tongue: )

The flip side is that links are really important on the web. Even if you do or don't use someone's graphics, if they inspired you or were part of your development process it's important to link to them ^^ That way others who enjoy your vision will be able to follow the same path of inspiration that you followed. That's a much deeper and important kind of connection to create than just listing someone's name for something you ended up using in the current version of a page ^^

If the graphic has no obvious source to credit, then its an orphan. If you dont use it, and no one else uses it, eventually it will be deleted and lost  :sad: . So using a graphic is a way of honouring and preserving it that's super important! I think thats true for graphics that do have credits too, particularly if the original creator is not interested in preserving or maintaining a piece of work.

Using images and resources on the web is like an oral tradition of storytelling; gifs and emojis only have meaning to those who share them. Scripts only matter when a web browser runs them. If you stop telling the stories that you've learned from others, the stories die and the tradition is lost. Thats why the web revival is named after the folk revival - its the tradition or reclaiming, reusing and modifying that gives it life.

People should be understanding of all that when they are posting stuff online! It's important to provide leeway to people setting up fresh projects to help them get started. Just as much as its important to respect other netizens work by linking to them if they have helped you with resources or inspirations, it's really just a case of making choices that feel right in a given situation  :4u:

You might also like this thread (we built this city on stolen gifs): https://forum.melonland.net/index.php?topic=178
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keylanbelle
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2024 @679.07 »

I think if it's old enough it's no problem. Like, I don't think random former geocities users are going to get upset you used their skull gif from the 90s. But I think it's different if you take original works and graphics from someone who is currently active online, I would encourage not doing that!

Yeah i wouldn't just use artists and designers works straight from their deviantart or twitter if they didn't put "free 2 use" in their bio! But sometimes i see a big pile of nice graphics on tumblr (it's mostly pixel arts), without credits and everything with tags like "carrd recourses" "web graphics" "decome" "neocities" and etc.
And i don't know where did they get it from, who is the owner and so then i don't know - can i use it?
And the same question goes to random cakes, sylvanians pngs i see a lot on Pinterest! It's not art, just a "real thing" with white background... But someone still made it! Took a pic and edited  :ohdear: And some random patterns/backgrounds on Pinterest too...
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2024 @685.03 »

the nature of the Internet is that things will get stolen regardless, in some way or another. as an artist, i don't /like/ this, but i've accepted that i should only put stuff online if i'm content with it appearing somewhere i didn't put it - often without anyone asking me if they could repost first.

in your position, i would look for indicators that an artist has /tried/ to make their stance on reuse known before using something. for instance: i have an "art usage guidelines" on my page that i absolutely know will not stop folks from copying and pasting, but at least i've told everyone that visits my page what my views are. if i'm no longer online for whatever reason, hopefully my creations will be attached to that page whenever they pop up.

sure! I would never use art if i see it on author's page and don't see "free 2 use" thing in their bio! So then i know that author is against using their art and i will not use it! The problem for me here is with graphics that was reuploaded on Tumblr, Pinterest, has no credits and also tagged as "resources"... (i wrote more about it in the post above)
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2024 @686.52 »

I absolutely agree with the idea of it being an oral tradition in a sense. I think it's kind of beautiful that old gifs, graphics, code snippets and more have basically taken on lives of their own.

It's one of those things that makes me imagine what a world without copyright would even look like artistically and how much transformative and adaptational work would be allowed to thrive, with ideas flowing with the same freedom as your favorite glitter gifs and tiled star backgrounds!

It's good to be courteous when possible though. If I have the source for something I try to link back even if it's just to an archived page (particularly with adoptables, I have a couple from old Geocities pages) but for a lot of old gifs the source is a total mystery!
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2024 @730.09 »

I would say it depends on the graphics and the situation!

In terms of old web content, certain things are so widespread and so many sites are dead that it can be hard to find sources in the first place. Some graphics were really common in the Geocities era and trying to pinpoint their authors feels like a daunting and maybe even impossible task.

About web graphics, pixels, etc. I would say that in the late 90s and in the 00s there were two different "scenes". In some communities, graphics were pretty specific to their users or people who had been given permission to use them, such as certain dollz and adopts. In others, the graphics were more of a free-for-all, where they were widely shared and used and creators likely had that in mind.

With newer stuff, I tend to err on the side of caution. I'll try to find the source and see what the creator's terms are. If someone asks that you not use their work, for example, I won't. I know I technically can but I'd rather respect people's work and it's not like there aren't possible alternatives 99% of the time. I'll also err on the side of caution, if it's something more ellaborate/distinctive but I can't find a source, I'll just skip using it.

I also think it's important to give credit when possible, especially for artists and creators who are still around. If I like their work, why not be willing to promote it and thank them where I can? It should be noted that credit was also a thing back in the day, many people made things available but asked for a link back in return and that was fine by me :)

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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2024 @905.00 »

this is something i think everybody needs to figure out their own personal metrics of acceptability for!
you *can* do whatever you want, lol. if you aren't making money off it, pretty much the worst possible thing that can happen is someone's feelings are hurt, someone gets mad at you, or someone demands you stop using the stuff. in which case you can just stop doing it and the problem is solved! so what you do depends on how you personally feel about those potential outcomes.

there isn't really one consensus on etiquette; there are different ideas of acceptable use/reposting in different communities & subcultures & places, and those ideas change over time! like, icon-makers on livejournal would often insist they be credited for their slightly-edited 100x100 cropped screenshots and it was very rude to use them without permission. geocities pages, meanwhile, pretty much never said where they got their gifs from (at least the sites i've seen!). i haven't really seen much of a consensus forming on neocities; i feel like i see about equal numbers of people who care a lot about sourcing their materials and people who don't.

if you're worried about it (and it seems like you are?) you can just limit yourself to stuff in the public domain, or stuff just from a particular magazine, or stuff from clipart cds, or something else. sometimes having specific constraints can be a fun creative challenge!
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2024 @151.83 »

If it's anything complex with a known origin, or pixels or other things where it's partially the point to credit the artist, I don't use without permission or crediting. When it comes to buttons/blinkies/userbars and that kind of stuff, however, I've almost never seen one with a known origin besides buttons for a specific personal site, so I generally regard those as free to use, especially since their purpose is generally to promote some site or other thing or spread a message. (This all reminds me, I need to work more on my credits page!)
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2024 @936.28 »

I'm a radical on this I guess, I mostly go for it.

Situations where I wouldn't repost/use art
  • if i was making money from its use
  • contexts where the art was the whole point - contests, pixel-style layouts
  • claiming or strongly implying I made it
  • the artist puts clear rules on their site
  • I'm participating in a subcultural space where it's against the spirit - like doll forums, pet adopts
  • it is a photograph of a person
  • the art is obviously super personal
  • my use of it put me 'in competition' with the artist in some way

Those all cross a line.

But reposting, collaging, recontextualising images is really integral to modern internet language. if you have a tumblr, you're putting other people's pictures into a new context on your website without direct permission.

I think of it as, any artist who puts their work online ultimately wants it to be seen & shared, so if I link and credit then it's just as if I reblogged it into my space on social media.

I'm very rigorous about always saving images to my hard-drive with the artist's name and site, linking to their website if they have one, and using tineye to track down credits for pictures which have become detatched from credit before using them. I'm not convinced of the harm of displaying a credited picture I like on my neocities, but I don't like how pinterest behaves - stripping credit & website links from artworks, and then dominating image search to crowd out alternatives. That's lousy, and so is reposting other people's art (credited or uncredited) to build an audience instead of reblogging from the artist on platforms where the reblog economy matters.

tl;dr steal but source
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2024 @960.36 »

Tumblr has lots of f2u graphics. If your using others art just make sure to always give credit.
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2024 @971.92 »

I also agree with "if it's old enough" , or a graphic that was used one billion times before on old websites. As long as you're not claiming it as your own, which is something I haven't seen before anyway. These types of graphics are just used to make the web more fun, rather than using something very personal or claiming something as your personal creation/ putting your ownership on it, if that makes sense. That's just not how these graphics are handled.

However personal artwork in general that is not specifically labeled with "free to use" shouldn't be used randomly, or at all, not even with credit. Such as: self portraits and anything related (drawing, photos) or original characters & stories as well as commissions, unless the creator or owner of said media allows it clearly somewhere. Especially people in the OC community will understand and agree to what I mean. It is common sense not to. Generally. I'd say. E.g. just because I made some cool menu pixel graphic or pagedoll of my personal character that you like, doesn't mean you can just use it. It's my personal creation. (Aka it's about the character within the graphic, not the graphic itself)
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2024 @981.25 »

I don't wanna just echo the above sentiments about it being fine if its old enough/how stuff on the web will be borrowed regardless, but if you're unsure of the source, I just give it a cursory reverse-image search & resign myself to removing it if the OG creator were to pop up and ask. just make sure they'd have an easy way to contact you about that & I think you've done your end of the job.
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