Deviant Art doesn't understand what public domain means?

Your deviation Pirate Brushes… Yarrr was reported for Art theft or No Permission. The report was reviewed by a member of the Staff and action was taken, deleting the deviation and marking the report as Resolved.
The administrator who deleted your deviation added the following:
Deleted due to Copyright Violation
The work(s) listed below have been removed by staff as a violation of the deviantART copyright policy. Your deviantART submissions must consist entirely of your own work or valid stock resources and must not include works from copyrighted sources.
Please read our Copyright Policy and if you have any questions or believe this removal to be an error please contact the deviantART Help Desk
Title: Pirate Brushes… Yarrr
URL: [link]
Submitted: 2008-09-26 11:35:26 pm

Interesting, since every image in the brush set was sourced from images. The deviation description actually cited the source image URL for every single brush in the set.
Either has pirate-themed images that violate someone’s copyright or Deviant Art doesn’t understand how public domain works…

One of my deviations was deleted. The reason I was given was: “Deleted due to Copyright Violation”
The message I got also said: “Please read our Copyright Policy and if you have any questions or believe this removal to be an error please contact the deviantART Help Desk”
I absolutely believe this deletion was made in error. Every single image used in the deviation was cited back to the source image at right in the description field of the deviation. Now, as I am sure you are fully aware of if you know about, every submission to is submitted under the public domain. We even have folks on who source artwork from illustrations created before 1900 (I think the exact date is 1919, or whenever Steamboat Willie was created) because they fell out of copyright. I am guessing that the administrator in question incorrectly assumed that the two images I included that were sourced in this way were a copyright violation.
I really need more information about which images in the brush in particular were a copyright violation, and why. Worst case, they actually are, and I would like to alert the administrators of this as well since both myself and they are under the impression that they are valid public-domain images. Best case scenario, the admin who deleted my submission was unaware of’s licensing and policies.
The deviation in question was at:
I really wish it hadn’t been deleted without some warning so I could have copied my list of source images that I posted in the deviation’s description.
I look forward to your prompt response on this matter.

We’ll see what happens.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Your not alone
    I am with you on this one.
    First of all it seems that people of this time and era has totally forgotten about the meaning of sharing. Everything is copyrighted and sharing is communish and illegal.
    Secondly it seems that moderators have no time to actually do research, they just judge and don't care if they may be wrong.
    Third: I would like to thank you to bringing this up. We need to make sure that the general public knows what freedom means and I would like to thank you to make sure that blogreaders are made aware of the awful truth that most people do not know that creations can actually (believe it or not) can be shared!
    It is surely a true shame. This is not only about stuff like Free Software but could easily be extended to Free Culture and Freedom in general.
    I am 21 years old but I feel that most of the peers in my own age, both in my own country (Sweden) and abroad are not aware of the fact that freedom and sharing are still a very important part of culture and humanity in general.
    I thank you for bringing this to light and I hope that the DeviantArt moderators will review your submissions and give you right in this case.

    1. Re: Your not alone
      Thanks for the words of encouragement. 🙂 It's really an inexcusable mistake considering the admin had to do no research – I had a long list documenting where each image came from, similarly to how I did in this deviation:
      The spirit and the letter of the law were followed…
      I will post an update if/when I hear back from the dA admins!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I already find it rather annoying that Public Domain is not an option when submitting things to DeviantArt, forcing me to choose a 'custom' license and waive my copyright in the description. This means that things in the Public Domain on DeviantArt are actually classed as restrictive, so if a Creative Commons-type search is done for things which can be reused, built upon, etc. then CC-licensed results will appear but nothing in the Public Domain.
    Your situation, however, is just ridiculous. Are there enough copyright violations going on in Deviant Art to justify allowing those ignorant of the topic to be judge, jury and executioner over all of the works on there? Something needs changing, although I fear it may the general Web 2.0's paranoia of DMCA takedown notices and spineless compliance without even reading them.

  3. Anonymous says:

    dA sucks!
    Deviant art rather sucks besides of the community and neat artwork there because it's too closed source… you don't even have RSS feeds damn it….

    1. Re: dA sucks!
      yeah, it used to have crappy RSS feeds and then they took them away 🙁

  4. Anonymous says:

    your links
    are still available via the google cache. hope this helps
    xöx sdf
    "Enjoy these 8 pirate-themed brushes! 🙂 Released only a few days or so after "talk like a pirate" day 2008. 🙂
    Feel free to use these under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0. You may attribute these brushes to "the Fedora Art Team."
    The following is a list of sources for the brush images, which were all public domain from
    = Pirate Crew =
    * <a href="… />
    * pirate-crew.gbr
    = Pirate Logo 1 =
    * <a href="… />
    * pirate-logo-1.gbr
    = Pirate Logo 2 =
    * <a href="<br />
    * pirate-logo-2.gbr
    = Pirate Logo 3 =
    * <a href="<br />
    * pirate-logo-3.gbr
    = Pirate Logo 4 =
    * <a href="<br />
    * pirate-logo-4.gbr
    = Pirate Ship =
    * <a href="<b… />
    * pirate-ship.gbr
    = Pirate Captain 1 =
    * <a href="… />
    * pirate-captain-1.gbr
    = Pirate Captain 2 =
    * <a href="<b… />
    * pirate-captain-2.gbr "

    1. Re: your links
      OH wow, thank you! This is going to save me a lot of work 🙂

  5. Automated scanning tool?
    I suspect you were the victim of some automated scanning tool which flags everything with "pirate" in it.

    1. Re: Automated scanning tool?
      I don't know… deviant art has this system where you can click a link to report an image. It may have been someone playing a dumb prank or someone really stupid who doesn't understand public domain and didn't bother to read the 2 pages of image citations (not that it absolves the admin who reviewed the 'report' from missing that as well)

      1. Re: Automated scanning tool?
        I'm with the GP; Everyone knows "pirate" can only possibly mean copyright-violator, right ?
        So any post with "pirate" in it is obviously a TOS-violation.
        Stupid moderators.

  6. I don't find weird that someone submitted a complaint (it may be an automated tool), what is really weird is that a moderator reviewed it and approved the deletion. That is either someone *really* stupid or someone who does not give a shit.
    How many days are you planning to wait for an answer? Do we strike back somehow?

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