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Author Topic: Age and Art Theft  (Read 1482 times)

Offline Zinge

Age and Art Theft
«: November 17, 2010, 02:07:01 PM»
I have seen topics on this forum before where someone is accused of stealing artwork or abusing copyrights, and usually they end up having to stop stealing art and hopefully learning their lesson.  But what I usually see that bothers me the most is that people will be defended because people think/know they are 'twelve years old.'

"It turns out he is only twelve years old.  He probably didn't know stealing art was wrong."

But I stand by what others have said, "Age is no excuse for ignorance."

Now, I want you all to tell me and each other: What are your thoughts on this topic?

Can a person really be expected to have others go easy on them when they steal art, just because they tell people "I am only twelve lol."  First of all, they could be lying.  Second of all, I can't name on time in my entire life that I ever thought it was okay to take something someone else made and say that it was mine. Literally never.  Perhaps because I was taught when I was perhaps three years old or so that stealing is wrong, and so is lying.

Should people really be excused from blame when they are 'Only twelve years old!"?


Offline Zim

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #1: November 17, 2010, 04:03:41 PM»
Honestly, I don't think age should be an excuse. Most (structured) homes will teach children that stealing is wrong, no matter what it is. This includes claiming a work that isn't yours. You would never do it in a classroom (taking your neighbor's art and claiming you did it), so the internet should really be no different.

I think it comes down to the maturity and common sense of the person, not the age. A girl I knew in high school who was older than me actually got BANNED from DeviantArt for art theft. She was a senior at the time.

It seems like they just throw the age card to see if they can get away with it, which, to me, is total BS. Take responsibility and move on.

Offline Rex T-Rex

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #2: November 17, 2010, 10:23:53 PM»
I think if it's ACTUALLY a really young kid perhaps we ought not to be quite as harsh, though they still need to be punished so they understand it was wrong. I mean.. if they are legit 10 years old (yes TEN, not 12, at 12 you're old enough to understand stealing is wrong no if ands or buts) then perhaps they just need to better explained to them that you can't take other people's art (because art seems to get tossed aside as fair game all the time, particularly online stuff, because it's not tangible like a TV). They still need punishing just... if they ACTUALLY are very young perhaps they just need that cleared up. Good parents teach you not to steal items, but they often means that children then don't view art as a possession.
Of course we have no way of knowing how old some one actually is unless we know them in real life. So perhaps we should ditch the age barrier all together and instead focus on "repeat" offenders. If they did it once because they didn't understand then you know.. punish but not as harsh. if they CONTINUE doing it then heck yeah they need a good slap.
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Offline Heimdall

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #3: November 18, 2010, 12:36:37 AM»
I agree with Rex here. If it turns out it's their first offense and they're actually pretty young (not going to draw any age limits) they might not realize that what  they did was wrong. It should be explained to them that it's a really nasty and underhanded thing to do. But I wouldn't bring the full force of the community down on them until it becomes clear that they aren't getting it.

I even think that anyone who thinks it's okay to copy or trace should be treated like this on the first offence, but only if they really seem to think it's okay. (Which is so bizarre to all of us, but people do think that!) Which is to say, don't butter them up or sugar-coat it, just explain to them how and why what they did was wrong. If they get it, great; maybe they'll become a functioning member of the art community. If not, shun the hell out of them. Or whatever it is we do to to art thieves nowadays. :P

Offline Zinge

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #4: November 19, 2010, 08:31:14 AM»
This includes claiming a work that isn't yours. You would never do it in a classroom (taking your neighbor's art and claiming you did it), so the internet should really be no different.

Indeed.  You couldn't be more right, in my opinion!  See, the fact is that far too many people on Furcadia seem to take 'Being 12 years old" as an excuse for why they should not get into trouble for what they did.  It seems to have been made into an automatic Get Out of Jail Free Card.

I mean, seriously.  You guys cannot tell me that at the age of twelve, which for me was only about six years ago, you would perhaps.. Tell your parents that you made a drawing that your sibling actually made, and expect praise for it?  That's just my example.  I mean, when you think about it, are most twelve year olds really that unintelligent?  By the age of seven I can say I had developed at least primitive logic toward social manners.

It seems to me that these twelve year olds really can't be stupid enough to think that stealing art is okay, and that perhaps they must think that people will think that it's okay.  Again, by being twelve, according to most people, they can be excused from any unintelligent behaviour that they exhibit.

Offline Rex T-Rex

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #5: November 20, 2010, 10:06:38 AM»
Yeah but the problem is that everyone tends to steal art on a daily basis. When you were a kid in school do you remember how people would have presentations, say like a project on Europe. And they'd print off pictures of maps of Europe or photos of things in Europe like cathedrals or famous landmarks. Technically unless they took that photo themself or got it from a person who either specifically gave them permission to use it or released the image under a creative commons then the fact that they printed off that image and used it in their project, more likely than not without giving credit, makes the action art theft. And yet we never say anything about this and your teacher probably praised you for having such nice pictures.
Again, neither myself nor Heimdall is saying that they deserve to get off with nothing all we're saying is that, as a general rule, first time offenders should not be quite as heavily reprimanded. And believe it or not there are a LOT of people who don't understand that stealing art is wrong. Yeah by 12 I would have higher hopes for the sense of morality in this person, but I myself know plenty of people who don't understand that art theft is just as wrong as stealing from a store.  No, age should NOT decide whether or not someone gets punished but we should take 1st time offenders as being different than repeat offenders. It should also be noted that someone who has stolen art only once is different from someone who's entire gallery is nothing but stolen/traced work.

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Offline Jaguar

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #6: November 25, 2010, 05:27:07 PM»
That really depends on the context, in my opinion.

I have a sister who was ten a few years ago, and there are several ten to twelve year old children with whom I frequently interact.  I've had discussions with them about unauthorized usage of artwork, graphics and other digital content.

In their cases, it was a simple lack of thought that went into the usage of the material.  They found these things online in what seemed to be a copious bounty of Neat Stuff out there on the internet and they were, innocently enough, inspired to build around it.

These are also good, conscientious kids--not thieves.  However, sometimes theft isn't immediately associated with the usage of digital content that one did not produce themselves (barring the royalty free, open-for-use stuff out there) until the association is drawn for them.

I also think guardians educating children about online rights and wrongs is a bit sketchy, for the simple reason that a lot of parents chose never to become internet savvy and may have no idea what's going on.  While it'd be ideal for parents to be able to fill their kids in on this, many wouldn't know themselves; I've seen plenty of ADULTS who seem to think that "if it's on the internet, it's free for use"!

At any rate, I do think that this type of situation is innocent, and probably just the person in question not having thought things through.

There are others (younger and older alike) who I wouldn't excuse so easily.  These are the ones who claim they drew something all by themselves when obviously they did not (LIES! ;)).  There are also many who are rather dodgy about answering questions.  People like my sister and her friends would openly tell you "I found it on <x> website!" and when informed that this is unauthorized use ("theft"), stop using the material and be more careful about what they do in the future.

So, in some cases, I do think it's a bit harsh to go at people with teeth and nails bared and immediately start calling it "theft"; some really don't know better, and a gentle introduction to these things is more than sufficient.  Heck, in my sister's case, with her sensitivity she'd have been devastated to be accused of theft and I'm glad I was able to talk to her before she did something that landed her in trouble with someone who was impatient, jaded, on a mile-high horse, or what have you.  Aggressive, let's say.

Now, that being said, let me point out that that is me and my approach entirely.  By nature, I tend to favor the peaceful approach and give people the benefit of the doubt.  So, while that is how I personally like to look at and handle things, yes, it is each individual person's responsibility to know what they're doing, even though I personally believe it's unreasonable to expect that everyone one comes across is going to have their facts sorted out immediately.

I, personally, advocate patience in dealing with people who genuinely seem to be innocent by means of ignorance, so long as they're listening and learning.  I definitely think that a professional/respectful approach, if nothing else, is warranted in most cases, and that the harsh accusation and aggression should be reserved for repeat offenders and those who respond with a nasty attitude (e.g. if I ask someone if they're aware that their artwork was commissioned by X for Y, and I get "Yeah, so?!  To Hell with you!  Mind your own business, you corpulent pustule!").

Offline Zinge

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #7: November 30, 2010, 02:18:29 PM»
It is precisely that kind of theft that I am talking about.  The kind where they lie, and say :Yes, this was made by me."  "Yes, I bought this." "Yes, I made this."  Children younger than seven should, and 99% of the time DO know that lying about things is wrong.  That is not to say they won't lie to not get in trouble, but really, the point is that when they are actually claiming ownership of artwork that belongs to others, that is when I have an issue.

I have seen children get away with things just because they are 12, so even though they are lying by claiming a portrait or art was made for them, or that is was 'free to use, it even said so,' or 'I drew this.", they are excused because they are 'not expected' to know better?

Offline Jaguar

Re: Age and Art Theft
«Reply #8: December 02, 2010, 12:31:15 AM»
In my opinion, no.  Absolutely not.

I clearly remember being 12, and I can honestly say that there was no lack of understanding or capacity for reasoning which would have rendered me incapable of coming to the same logical or moral conclusion as one would expect a mature adult to come to.  It's not that I was exceptional, either; everyone I know in that age range has proven themselves similarly capable.

So, given your criteria, I do not believe that they should be pardoned.