Why it's important to credit artists' work online

When you share artwork online without crediting the artist, it creates many issues for them.
Here's some of the reasons why -
As soon as an artwork enters a public space without a clear owner, individuals and companies think it's up for grabs.
Like a thief that enters a park and sees a bag that's been left on a bench, even though they know it must have an owner, they steal it anyway.
I've heard all the excuses under the sun - "well it's the artists fault for putting it out on the internet, what do they expect".
WRONG.
When artists publish their artwork online, they mainly do so to their own website or social media accounts. In doing so, they're clearly stating "this is mine".
The issue is when people take their artwork from their website or social media accounts and don't clearly state whose it is. 
You're effectively taking the bag from someone's home and dropping it off on the park bench for thieves to steal. You're assisting the crime.
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My work has been posted online here there and everywhere without credit.
Then individuals and brands come along and think "I'm having this" and sell them or even worse, other "artists" pretend it's their work.
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I've had brand social media accounts (Missy Empire, Alien Outfitters, to name a few) post my artwork uncredited, see the interest it gets and rip it off by selling it on t-shirts a month later. I've experienced it over and over again, it's a pattern.
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There's a whole online industry of people who run instagram accounts that post solely other peoples images to build a following and sell paid promotions on their accounts to advertisers. They're indirectly making money out of posting artists' images, using them for free, without even bothering to credit them. None of their content is legally theirs, their account wouldn't exist if it weren't for artists images. The least they could do is credit them, it's only fair.
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When brands use artists' images as marketing material for their social media, they're effectively using our work as free advertising. Offline, brands would have to pay to license artists images for advertising. They'd have to pay thousands to create their own adverts, to pay for a studio, models, photographers, lighting assistants, editors and so on. I'm not asking for money, all I'm asking for is credit. You're not entitled to my work, I could easily get it taken down but I don't want to have to resort to that.
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Brands taking artists' work and using it to promote themselves, is also detrimental to the meaning of their artwork. Mac Donald's can't just take the Mona Lisa and stick it their Happy Meals. Brands need permission because artists might not want the message of their artwork to be associated with theirs. 
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Do you realise how shit it is to see my "stop teaching girls that boys are mean to them because they like them" posted without my permission by brands that only want to promote "girl power" because they think it's trendy. Then I get lumped in with their fake feminism. They preach #girlpower, until it comes to actually supporting women. There's nothing feminist about not giving women artists credit where credits due, taking advantage of them for your own benefit.
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Posting artists' work uncredited online is particularly detrimental for creatives just starting out. When your work gets spread without credit, no one knows its yours. That work gets ripped off by more well known brands or "artists" and people recognise it as theirs, not the original artists. 
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These young artists have to start over, as now people who come across their work will just assume they're ripping off the more well known brands or "artists", when in fact they're the original. Their style has become a "trend" that people are bored of, as they've seen it all before.
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Today I've lightly touched on how its damaging to an artists career to post their work online uncredited, I could go into greater detail but I'll leave that for another day. I haven't even touched on how it affects artists well being. We care, we really really care about what we make. 
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The excuses:
I've often heard people defend posting artists' work online without credit by saying "it's the internet, everyone does it". Well just because something is the norm, doesn't mean it's right. "It's just the way things are" is not an excuse. In fact, in Instagram's, Facebook's, Tumblrs and Twitters term of service it says you can't post copyrighted materials.
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"When you post something on the internet, it's no longer yours" I don't know why people believe this, as it's simply not true. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest all have the option to contact them to get your own content removed from accounts that aren't yours, they might even decide to suspend your account if this is a repeat violation of their platforms terms of service.
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Also posting artists' work online without credit because you "found it on the internet" isn't an excuse either. You know it belongs to someone, google it. If you can't be arsed to find attribution don't post it. The internet isn't some generator of free art made by robots. If you're going to post artists work, @ them in the caption, so it's clear. Don't passive aggressively ignore them for days then later "tag" them as credit, no one checks tags.
FINALLY:
If you're an artist, do not underestimate the value of your work, you have every right to protect it. Its yours, no matter how many times people violate your right to ownership. Don't forget that you have something of value, that people will try to take for their own gain. 
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I can't speak for all artists but I'll speak for myself, I have no issue at all with social media accounts posting my work when its clearly credited as mine, I'm extremely grateful for the support. My only issue is with people who don't bother to credit.
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However, I'd like to reiterate that I can't speak for everyone, people are still within their rights to not want their images to be shared online and it's best to ask for permission if you are unsure of an individuals stance on it.
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The internet is a great place to find new artists, who definitely wouldn't stand a chance in the traditional art world, let's not ruin it by sharing their work without attribution, making it harder again for them to get their name out there.
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When people make excuses for posting images without attribution like "I just found it on the internet, I didn't know whose it was", they are backing the corner of brands and companies who make similar excuses for why they rip off artists.
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Below are  some examples of my "teaching girls that boys are mean to them because they like them" embroidery that has been shared thousands of times online uncredited, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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Also some of these accounts later credited me but in the world of social media, even if somethings been up for an hour, by this point it could have been seen by thousands of people and shared by them with the wrong attribution. So it's kind of futile.
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I know I'm probably coming across as pissed but I am, when this happens every day you kind of loose all patience. Accounts will ignore and dismiss you politely asking them to credit. They don't care until I have to report it to instagram and it effects them. You won't believe the sense of entitlement some people feel to use your work, they actually get angry when you ask for credit. It could all be so easy, if you just. credited. artists.
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dove cameron stop teaching girls that boys are mean to them because they like them
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gal gadot stop teaching girls that boys are mean to them because they like them
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There's nothing "feminist" about not giving women artists credit where credits due.