I'm not asking you to stop using deviantart. It's a fun community, and I can understand why that appeals to people. Before today, I didn't realize just how terrible the site was. You're free to disagree with me, but I'm going to provide you with facts. All quotes on here are DIRECTLY from the deviantArt, inc. Terms of Service that you agree to when you register and/or upload a piece of art.
First, let it be known that at no point does deviantart own the copyright to any of your work. This is crucial, and regardless of what you decide to do with your account on the site, remember that you can always sell your work. They cannot take that away from you. What they CAN take away, well, I'll show you that now.
The term ("Term") of this Agreement starts on the date that the Artist Materials are initially uploaded to any deviantART Site(s) and continues until either Artist or deviantART terminates this Agreement in writing, with or without cause or by the removal of Artist Materials for the purpose of termination all sub ject to the survival of certain undertakings in this agreement set out in paragraph 15 (f ), below:
What this says, in human speak:
The agreement is considered to start when you ﬁrst submit something to the site, and only ﬁnishes when you fax or mail (snail) DA in the way specified in the agreement. Some parts of it selectively ﬁnish when you delete a work off deviantART too. It also ﬁnishes in terms of some things you remove at the point you remove them. (Note: Some parts of the agreement do not terminate, ever, and these are detailed throughout the agreement.)
So, essentially, you are agreeing to this the moment you submit something. Note that this agreement CAN BE TERMINATED. It just takes effort. You have to remove EVERYTHING, ("in your gallery, scraps, every one of your journals, your personal shoutboard, shoutbox and forum if applicable, and any comments of yours you have on your homepage main page, assuming the delete comment function is online.") and then MAIL OR FAX DA'S LEGAL DEPARTMENT. I'm personally glad I don't have anything of extreme importance up on deviantart, because I don't have the patience to deal with their idiocy.
They then go on to say that yes, you can SELECTIVELY end the agreement by deleting single images--but they must receive a "notice" and you must utilize the delete function "properly." Neither the notice, nor how to properly use the function are ever explained.
After, they repeat that you will ALWAYS have ownership of your work--but you ARE licensing some rights to deviantArt, inc.
4.3 License To Use Artist Materials
As and when Artist Materials are uploaded to the deviantART Site(s), Artist grants to deviantArt a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to do the following things during the Term:
When the Term starts (as defined above), you give DA the fee-free right to do the following stuff all over the world: (but you can grant the same rights to others)
to prepare and encode Artist Materials or any part of them for digital or analog transmission, manipulation and exhibition in any format and by any means now known or not yet known or invented;
DA is allowed to "prepare"; Artist Materials (ie take whatever actions they consider necessary to the work before they are shown). They are also allowed to "encode" (change piecewise individual sections into another representation - ie encrypt, or change image format, or convert to TCP/IP packets etc). They can do this for both digital (computers mostly, many new transmission methods, amongst other things) and analogue (standard TV, radio, microwave, satellite and more) transmission, for manipulation of your Artist Materials, and exhibition of your Materials in any way. Note that this clause speciﬁcally al lows for exhibition in other formats than just display on deviantart.com...
to display, copy, reproduce, exhibit, publicly perform, broadcast, rebroadcast, transmit, retransmit, distribute through any electronic means (including analog and digital) or other means, and electronically or otherwise publish any or all of the Artist Materials, including any part of them, and to include them in compilations for publication, by any and all means and media now known or not yet known or invented;
DA can show and copy your works, (all of them, a single one or parts of them), in any format at all. That means computer screens (the obvious), PDAs, mobiles, screens anywhere, billboards, artbooks, prints, leaﬂets, potato chip packets, magazines ... anything at all.
[ . . . ]
4.4 Name and Likeness
Artist also grants to deviantART:
a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use Artist's name(s), group name, photograph and/or likeness(es) and biographical materials in connection with the distribution, exploitation, promotion, marketing and advertising of the Artist Materials, and the deviantART Site(s)as described hereunder, during the Term;
You give DA the right to use your name, the name of your group, photos, life story, and stuff based on your appearances or persona online, so long as it is connection with deviantART (marketing your works, marketing DA and the like). DA gets to do this all over the world, they don't have to pay you, and you can give the same rights to others at the same time.
[ . . . ]
Unless otherwise agreed between Artist and deviantART in a writing from deviantART, the license granted to deviantART under this Agreement is royalty-free.
In other words, unless DA has agreed with you separately, DA doesn't have to pay you for using any of the rights you grant to them, including rights related to your art.
If you're okay with all this, that's fine. Continue to use deviantArt to your leisure. If you're saying to yourself "Well, my art isn't good enough to use anyway, so it doesn't matter" that's fine--but you are allowing deviantArt to get away with doing this to other, potentially more talented, members. IF YOU ARE OKAY WITH DEVIANTART USING YOUR IMAGES FOR WHATEVER THEY LIKE, WHENEVER THEY LIKE, WHEREVER THEY LIKE, WITHOUT PROPER CREDIT OR PAYMENT then feel free to continue using the site. Just remember what you're doing when you use it.
If you'd like to read the entire document I quoted from, PLEASE CLICK HERE. This "translation" is FULLY ENDORSED by deviantArt staff, and therefore IS ACCURATE. It updates regularly when changes need to be made.
Finally, I've left this post public for a reason. If you are personally bothered by this LEGAL DOCUMENT presented by deviantArt, PLEASE SHARE THIS with others. Feel free to link to this entry as much as you like--in fact, I encourage it!
Remember, deviantArt is NOT the only site out there--nor are SheezyART, FurAffinity, or Elfwood. Make an effort to find a community you like--even livejournal and blogspot are better options.
If you've taken the time to read this entire post, thank you. If you're not bothered by it, I'm not going to ask you to be. All I want to do is make people aware, because as an art student and someone hoping to make a living off of art, I am personally not comfortable giving up my rights without written consent from myself.
Once again, thank you for reading. Now you can make the decision for yourself.
If you'd like to DEACTIVATE your deviantArt account, simply click the arrow next to your account named and scroll down to "EDIT SETTINGS." There will be an option to DEACTIVATE. They will beg you to stay, but show no mercy. After various annoying steps, your account will be deactivated.