TWO If you choose the option on deviantART to dis-able [quote, un-quote] sharing on your deviations, you're actually encouraging copyright infringement. Please let me explain.
THREE If you post a JPG, GIF, etc. on the Internet, it can be used in a way that infringes your copyrights, or "stolen" as many of you say. By the very function of your Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox browser, anyone may easily RIGHT-CLICK and "Save to Disk," "Save as Wallpaper," etc. Alternatively you may easily use your operating system to SCREEN SHOT the art work on the screen. You may easily use a wide variety of applications to simulate, automate, or otherwise perform those two actions anywhere on the open Internet regardless of what anyone tells you.
FOUR The Wide Majority of Internet users are conditioned to believe that sharing, pulling, linking, pointing, saving or otherwise using readily available basic computer functions like COPY or PASTE is completely OK. And honor based systems of "please don't do that" work as well as leaving a 4 year old in a room full of cookies with the clear understanding that they shouldn't have one.
FIVE SHARE THIS. SHARE LINKS. The topic of a recent debate. In this crazy world described in items ONE through FOUR, SHARE functions are the only sanity you have. With these, a link back to you and credit to you is guaranteed. Methods for displaying the images are controlled by deviantART, and the display methods showcase the art with respect. Fade effects and transitions to present the work, even borders and copyright notices exist. You should be so lucky that people use Share This and Share Links. Because pursuant to item FOUR, people can otherwise take your work and paste it on Facebook by force, and forget to give you credit or otherwise. deviantART's SHARE systems encourage proper linking and crediting of your work. USE THEM.
SIX deviantART is working with time on solutions to help you track down where your art work is, and methods to police your work on the Internet. We are a solid ally on this matter; we are aware of this matter; we are concerned about this matter; we are dedicated to the best possible resolution for this matter. And in the meantime, we are practical and leveraging all that we know to craft features that protect your interests as best as possible. SHARE features are an option that you can turn ON or OFF only because you demand options. And because our members believe that by turning Sharing features OFF, their work cannot be shared. This is NOT TRUE. You SHOULD ABSOLUTELY USE THE SHARE FUNCTIONS if you care about "protecting" your work. Disabling this function does nothing to deter theft, in fact it encourages unauthorized uses by virtue of item FOUR stated above.
Thank you for reading these six points. I know this topic is scary, and that it causes many of you much distress. I've seen throughout the years many of our members lose sleep, and fight hard to stop people from doing things with their work they didn't intend for them to do. The very act of artistic expression is perhaps the most beautiful thing that human beings perform, I treasure this act and respect not only the emotion that goes in to it, but the difficulty of sharing this emotion and its result with others.
I expect a lot of emotion to result from this post, it is a sore topic for all. And it is easy to predict a lot of contention on the subject. We all have our hearts in the right place here, I know this for sure. And our views are not far apart, they are very close with aims to the same end goals; our protection. This is and will be an ongoing topic of debate, so lets collectively handle it with grace. At the end of the day we must recognize that we are a community of artists dealing with simple to complex challenges of existence. But we have one another to have these discussions, and that is something we did not have even a decade ago on quite this scale. So using this platform, lets all learn a huge amount about this topic, right here, right now. Go.
We can and will change these matters and bring them to the right place with time and with patience.