Jan 4 2015, 5:23pm
glorious artwork - problematic site
Thank you so much, I had never seen it before. I clicked on the source. So much great art work there. That particular piece is by an artist named akonit-nord, who has done a lot of other gorgeous pieces on The Elven King. Her work (for convenience's sake I'm going to assume it's by a female artist) is posted on deviantart.com, and you can find her other Thranduil items on this page. In fact, here is the real source of that image, where you can see it in all the glorious detail that the artist put so much work into. Note that the artist's signature, or watermark, can be found in the lower left corner of the original image, whereas it has been cropped out of the one posted on vk.com. This is no accident. If you look more closely at the art work posted on the vk.com "Wall," you'll see that there is almost never any link to the original source of each piece nor credit given to the artists. In fact, they go out of their way to crop out any identifying information where possible.
Please understand I'm not saying anyone on this board has any reason to know about the problems with vk.com, but forgive me as I go on a little bit of a rant here about sites like this: the vk.com site is sort of a Russian equivalent of Facebook, and is notorious as a repository for artwork/images that have been "lifted" from the original sources and posted there without any attribution. In this respect it is really not that different from the original, U.S. version of Facebook. Or from similar sites such as pinterest, weheartit.com, etc.
Yes, it is a handy dandy way to see a lot of the kind of artwork one might be interested in all collected in the same place, and if the makers of these images posted them on the internet for all to see, they should expect their work to be circulated and recirculated ad infinitum, right? Well, maybe. It's not a question of legal copyright, but there are other issues arising from cutting off the endproduct from the original source. While I don't know akonit-nord, I would imagine that by posting her work on deviantart.com, where there is a community of posters and a place for comments and discussions, she enjoys the interaction and feedback from her viewers and perhaps the "stats" (views, favorites, downloads, etc.). By not crediting her, the posting on vk.com's Wall prevents an interested viewer from finding her deviantart.com page and interacting with her if they choose.
Speaking as someone who has not done original art work but has spent a lot of time mucking about in Photoshop making "edits" of stills and screencaps (especially of Thranduil and Lee Pace) for posting on tumblr, I can only say that I do it: a) primarily for my own enjoyment, b) also for the enjoyment of my Tumblr followers and anyone else who finds my edits through the "tags" on Tumblr, and c) for the comments, messages, interactions and even friendships that have resulted from people liking my posts. So it does annoy me when my edits are copied and pasted onto other sites (Facebook, pinterest, weheart.com, even the vk.com/brovki_lee site) without linking back to the source, and often then posted again on Tumblr as something that the re-poster made (instead of reblogging the original post), because it deprives me of the interaction with viewers that is the only external validation of my work. But even worse, what really burns me is that the repostings (not just on Tumblr but on the other sites as well) are almost always of such inferior quality. For an example of what I mean, see here for the original, and here for one of the many bastardized copies floating around. Or this (original), versus this, where you can clearly see my watermark because I finally decided to put it in a place where it can't be easily removed without gutting the image.
TL; DR: If you find an image on one of these sites (vk.com, Facebook, pinterest, weheartit.com) that you really like and want to share, please try to spend a few seconds by using google image to reverse search for the original (in the Chrome browser it's as easy as right clicking on the image and going to "Search Google"). It's not always possible to find the original, of course, but if you do, please link to that instead of the repost on one of these "aggregator" sites. And if the watermark on the image doesn't match the source where you found it, please don't use that source.
A special shoutout to *Lurker* and *mariel* for always linking to the original source!
End of rant. Sorry for the long post. Now back to flailing over Our Liege.