Don’t fake it…You Won’t Make it- Giving credit to artists and preventing art theft

Say you are scrolling your timeline on Instagram and you spot a painting that somebody you follow painted. You really like the image. So much that you decide that you want to repost the image to your page to show all of your followers. You do just that but fail to @ the artist in your post. Why is that an issue??

That is an issue because you failed to give credit to the artist! In this post, I will talk about giving proper credit to artists, avoiding art theft and plagiarism, and what to do to prevent it.

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Give POC and WOC the credit they deserve!!!!

A post shared by Frances Cannon (@frances_cannon) on

Art by Frances Cannon

Giving Proper Credit

In this digital age, almost anything is possible. You can share content with people from all around the globe with just a click of a button or a tap of the finger via the World Wide Web. The Internet is in very many ways a blessing, but can also be a curse. It becomes extremely dangerous in the case of artists, musicians, and other creatives, who get their works shared regularly without being given proper credit.

People draw inspiration from others work all the time. It is hard to tell what work is actually truly an original concept. This gray area blanketing much of the art world is the reason why giving credit is so important. Whether done intentionally or unintentionally, by not crediting an artist you are directly impacting that artist’s credibility and success. Opportunities come from exposure, so the more people that know who created something, the better for that artist. Giving credit can be done by clearly stating the artist, tagging them, or offering a link to the artist’s page.

Avoiding Art Theft and Plagiarism

Art theft is when somebody claims another artist’s work as their own.

Because it is so easy to share content with popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, art theft, and plagiarism have become an inherent problem.

Zara, a popular clothing retail store, was accused of multiple accounts of art theft over the past few years and was exposed via the Internet and Social Media. is a website that was created by the affected Artists in order to make sure people become aware of this blatant account of art theft.


According to Matt Klaber, an Education Technology Professor at  Boise State University:

Art plagiarism is the act of reproducing the work of another artist or artists and claiming it as your own original work of art.

Cases of art plagiarism go unrecognized every day and can be easily looked over. An article on even talks about 8 song accused of plagiarism that Hit no.1 on the Billboard top 100.


This example from shows a blatant case of art plagiarism

Preventing it: Protect Your Work!

There are certain things you can do in able to prevent art theft, whether you are an artist or not.

  1. Think about what you want to be public. Do you really want people to have access to your original content? The best way to protect your work is to simply keep it private.
  2. Watermark your images, or create a tag for your music! We are responding less and less to print media and more and more to digital media. In order to protect your work, don’t post anything without watermarking, signaturing, or tagging your work.
  3. If you see your work floating around out there, ask them to credit you. People are constantly reposting photos, and along the process, the artist and source can get. Many people are more than willing to give credit if you ask them to edit their post.
  4. Report copyright infringement. If you have asked somebody to give you credit for your misused work and they ignore you or refuse, you should report them for copyright infringement. Social media platforms have ways to easily report these things in order to get the image removed or taken down. You can read up on the basics of copyrighting HERE or visit the United Stated Copyright Office Website for more info.
  5. See something, say something. If you see you or another artist’s work being used on social media or elsewhere, drop a tag. We have to help each other out in order to reduce and expose art theft and plagiarism.

Have you witnessed or experienced art plagiarism or theft firsthand? Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

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