I have been reading currently some of the fighting going on about Art Thieves...stealing some of the higher caliber arts works and then turning around and selling them for profit without the permission or agreement of contract by the artist.
However, I am going blow apart some major issues with said problems.
1) The Save Image As option for right click mouse.
2) Major sites that have stolen; if not taken your work without permission, and in doing so profit from or spread your artwork further than you would have wanted. Besides robbing you of time, money, and recognition.
3) DA vs competitors.
4) Digital Art vs Traditional Art.
DA Cosplayers read 2...carefully.
The major cause of DA art thievery is the use of the right-click option...Save Image As. You can collect massive amounts of artwork without faving or tipping off an artist that you like their artwork. Two this allows you adjust properties of the artwork file, and then re-post it as your own. This takes a bit more effort, than just doing the simple-edit-repost trick; but it can be done.
This problem can be solved by using a simple fix, Tumblr actually has a setting that allows a Tumblr user to lock out the options for "Save Image As" Knocking out completely the capacity for outside visitors without a site profile, or forcing them to use the download function and leaving a digital trail, and there by exposing an art thief. However, that system is flawed in the fact that it doesn't police the poster and sharing parties very well, and there by things get attributed, re-posted, or shared far beyond the intent of the original artist/owner.
Major sites that have stolen if not taken artist works from DA, and reposted them. This is in particular problematic, because some of these sites have massively huge international public followings. Which can be good and bad...sometimes horrifyingly bad in some cases. Sometimes those sites only post what has been linked, or even emailed directly to them. Others use your artwork for advertisement without your consent, and make alot of money using your artworks without paying you anything. Others are just fans who get a bit carried away and repost everything you have done, or have "saved" your artwork from annilation...some profiles actually contain "deleted" artworks. Artworks that you as an artist wanted to remove.
mgid.com - Uses a ton of DA artists works for Ad fronts...meaning they are what gets you to click the advertisement.
Chive and its affliates, and other sites like it- tend to go after photography but they also are known to get artwork from DA on their site. Usually on the lower end...however, the models, photographers, and cosplayers of DA, Beware! they tend to grab as much as they can. And then sometimes give away info on you afterwards if people are trying to find you so not such a good idea.
Tapiture/Pintress- fairly okay, but they tend to increase the interest of your materials, but sometimes they get pulled way out of context, and or link sometimes 2 to 3 times the page viewers to your site...and not all of them are honest.
Tumblr-currently a big fad with some on DA, but I will warn you. Tumblr tends to become the City Dump of the Internet, you have no clue what is going in or out of it. Also the sharing feature quickly gets out of hand, and the artwork you posted is now almost completely out of your hands, and in many cases being reposted by other people on the web. It does have a unique security system the capacity to lock out unwanted external saving of images or materials, but it has no policing over internal shares and posting.
Danbooru/4Chan...and other sites tend to be flooded with either stolen or hentai/ecchi versions of original works. It has some unique functions, but it can be back doored from the original site code.
Traditional Art is a bit more difficult to steal, than Digital Art. Digital Art can be hacked, and edited in a wide variety of ways. Traditional Art is more complicated, and takes more effort to steal, trace, or copy...than in some cases to be original. Digital Art has less barriers to such considerations. Traditional Art converted to Digital Art actually has certain quirks in the scanning tech or colors that can be used to foil art thieves further. I would contend the use of Traditional Art to Digital Art is more sound, than having it all on Digital Format were one can hack, delete, or edit at leisure what you have worked very hard on.
Now since these have been pointed out, there is another facet to the problem. The majority of the hit artists are usually popular artists with Daily Deviations or high page view counts, or a particular specialization with their art towards particular materials.
Popularity is to me an "Icarus Moment" since it tends to burn off if you try to ride it too high, just like its name sake Icarus. Its better to pull a Daedelus keeping a bit low to the ground, but hard working towards a goal; or be like Da Vinci and diversify across wide zones of interests. Popularity is also fickle, one second your at the top of the world; next second crash and burn. And in some ways Art Thieves are trying to catch a ride on your rise to popularity, and profit off it.
Specialization of artists can be a huge problem as well, if your materials are fairly consistent over a long time period it would make you vulnerable to attack and thievery. To the Art Thieves mind...they won't miss one art work, since they are always making new ones. So in that vein, instead of trying to shut them out and down, flip the rug out from underneath them. How? Start Selling Your Artwork in prints, T-shirts, whatever it takes...don't be afraid to sell it. Once you sell it, or hand off the rights to that artwork for production, it becomes a problem for someone else, meaning you are free to pursue your artwork and profit off it.
Creativity to me is something I want to see more in the community. Do you have to do Bleach exactly like the original design? Do you have to have Star Wars like the original? Do you need to have your character wearing that copyrighted dress? Do you need to copy the concept of Steam Punk like everyone else?
You have Creative Destruction, and Destructive Creation.
You have thousands of years of the past to play with, and who knows how much of the future to imagine into existence.
You have thousands of names, with millions of combinations.
You have 6.86E17 (686,000,000,000,000,000) possible combinations just for the human body...and that is at lab climate control!
So what excuse do you have not to even attempt a little creativity?
The territory that art is...is everything in life...and that is infinite...except for the laws of physics and time.
To go from that territory and put yourself in a box, and then as an art thief inside a box within the box is very sad for wasted potential.
So that is what Art Thievery, and Unwanted Publicity is to me.
Although I am tempted from time to time to permanently start a gallery of captured art thieves in carbonite...now can we say an eternity of contributions? Hmmmm?