There was a huge debate and uprising a few years back concerning the plagiarism of art and use within the online community. The reason why this got so much attention was because a huge company by the name of “Hot Topic” was involved in stealing work and printing them on their basic tees. Now as an artist, one the greatest slaps to the face would be being discredited for something that you’ve spent lots of time on.
One of the most notable cases, was when an artist had his Adventure Time fan art stolen and was printed onto shirt, and sold online by Hot Topic. This had people searching as to how his design got there, and it all came back to a site called Deviant Art. There was a huge dilemma on what Deviant Art could or not do with what you posted on their site, and rumors were spread that the Terms of Service pretty much said they could sell your art to whoever they wanted.
Though the rumors weren’t true… they weren’t completely wrong either. While they did not sell work to Hot Topic, they did not have a preventatives against someone stealing them either. You were allowed to submit whatever you wanted, and they had the right to post whatever you submitted, but there were no rules stating that you needed permission from an artist to have fair use of their work.
I took a look at the terms of service currently, and they have since changed. There is now a part that states that clear permission is required in any use of work that is not your own. They have even added a section into their FAQ that says “At no time do you lose ownership of your original work by submitting it to deviantART.”
Don’t steal art guys, it’s not worth it.