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Artist Problems: Reposting and Why it Hu ...

Artist Problems: Reposting and Why it Hurts Artists

Jul 02, 2023

Reposting is when you save someone else’s art and post it yourself to social media. Many people do this and there are whole accounts dedicated to doing only this. If you’re wondering why this is a bad thing, I will explain.

First and foremost, it is not your art, so you do not have the rights to post it anywhere. As soon as a work is created, the copyright belongs to that artist. This is not negated by uploading it to the internet, otherwise you couldn’t file a DMCA takedown on social media to have it removed.

The next issue is of credit. Now, some reposters will include a link back to the artist, which is helpful, but doesn’t negate all the consequences of reposting. For one thing, just because a link back to the artist is there, it doesn’t mean people will click on it. A lot of people may not even notice it, they’re just scrolling along and hitting like buttons on anything that strikes their fancy. The struggles of being an artist are not on their minds.

On the other side of things, many reposters don’t include a link back, which I consider nearly the same as art theft, which I’ll get to later. This means that people don’t know who the artist is so they can’t support them even if they wanted to. Now, sometimes the artist can still be found by watermark or a reverse image search, but that’s not always helpful. Many times, the image quality is so bad that the watermark/signature is unreadable or the reposter has cropped it out entirely, and reverse image searches only work if the image is allowed to be seen by the search engine or if it’s still uploaded in the original place.

So how does this affect artists besides upsetting them? It means less likes, reshares, follows, and comments. These are things an artist needs to feel appreciated and know that people like what they’re doing. Fact of the matter is that reposting accounts tend to get far more interaction than the actual artists and this is terribly backwards. It doesn’t matter how much attention someone’s art is getting if that artist never finds out. People will say to do art for yourself and its important not to tie your self-worth as an artist to social media, but its terribly depressing to spend hours on a piece only to have it go unnoticed.

Then there’s the money side of it. For artists trying to make a living off their art, less likes, reshares, follows, and comments means less income. People can’t commission you if they don’t know you’re the one that created that awesome piece that they fell in love with.

This also creates a problem of attribution. If a piece is all over the web without any credit attached to it, clients or employers may question your claim to creating it if you put it in your portfolio. This could cost the artist an employment opportunity if they are suspected of art theft.

Speaking of, I said I’d get to art theft later. Reposting and art theft generally result in the same problems as explained above, the difference being that art theft is intentionally dishonest. It’s so despicable that I won’t get into it as the type of people who would actually do it cannot be reasoned with unlike the reposters that are just doing it to share something they like.

To conclude, share art by using whatever the social media’s sharing function is: share, retweet, reblog, etc. If you want to share art to a site the artist isn’t on, just post the link instead of the image; some sites will show a preview of the image anyway. This ensures that people have to click through the link to see the photo proper so that they’ll like, share, follow, comment on the artist’s post. Now, there are some artists who are okay with reposting, but you must either check their profile or ask them, never assume.

So, how can we combat the problem of reposters? There are a few ways. One is, of course, informing them of the problem they are causing. Another way is to comment with a link to the artist’s post in the case of no credit if you happen to know it. Further, you can just block reposter accounts to avoid giving them likes, shares, comments, and follows as that’s the main reason they do it. If they don’t get attention, they may give up.

This is not a problem that can be fixed overnight, but if we work together, we can help make posting to social media better for artists.

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