It's not that hard. I've permitted many artists to use my work for reference when they had the common courtesy to ask the artist himself. And guess what? Since they were honest and respectful from the very start, many of them are now good friends of mine. In the financial services/real estate biz, they have a very useful rule-of-thumb for all rookie investors: "know before you owe".
Well in our case as artists, the equivalent maxim is "ask before using". And if you happen to forget that, then PLEASE pay attention here : either credit copyrighted work or take it down when notified by the original artist, whichever option the artist prefers.
Once you're notified, ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.
It's a simple rule for life, really. SHOW respect to GET respect.
If you truly like my work and want to use it, first ask if I'm okay with your proposed use of it.
If you can't even do that much, you're actually disrespecting both the artist and his work.
And when in doubt... assume that it IS copyrighted. That's exactly what I did for "Lunch Strikes Back" - I contacted the creator of the original work and got his permission before making my version. Had he withheld his permission I would NOT have gone ahead with my derivative version. And I gave him credit. So I make it no secret that I do indeed "practice what I preach".
And when an artist notifies you that you are using their work without their permission, please take the hint. Don't be a "special snowflake" crybully who thinks he/she/it can "do no wrong". Don't act like you can fool me or fool other artists - we do actually know what our work looks like. Simply give us proper credit, or, if that is somehow too "wounding" to your "pride", then just do yourself and everyone else a colossal Puertasaurus-sized favor, and take down the image altogether. You really want respect from us? Don't escalate things when you KNOW you're in the wrong. Don't try to "justify" theft. Don't be a mendacious jerk-in-denial and ruin the art business (whatever niche you are in) for all the honest hardworking people out there. Don't be that loser.
In other words, don't be like the guy in this story:
The mess inside Asuma17's headtime for the whole community here to know about the complete shittery that is going on with :iconAsuma17:, a brick-brained imbecile who has taken him being "harassed" to a whole new level. To provide some backstory, Asuma17 decided to steal and distort good artwork by people such as Nima Sassani and Scott Hartman, and then claim the work as his own. To combat this, myself and others who were friends decided to join up and inform Asuma every time he blatantly stole someones artwork. Asuma began to call us the "paleo-nazis" to try to give us a bad name, while we commented on the inaccuraries of his work, including his stolen art. About 2 months ago we decided to create a DA group called the Paleo-Nazis, lead by Nima, which I am in. Some discussions have been started recently that include myself, such as the one shown below. Beware, I do use strong language, because I have great reason to.
I think its time to call upon EVERY SINGLE DECENT PERSON here t
King out. Thank you for listening.