I have been on that side of the fence where I catch someone impersonating my friends in the Fandom…heck, I even made a massive beware on someone trying to make a suit out of a friend’s original character that they already had a suit for! The Furry Fandom can be crazy with drama and publicity incidents…but one of the biggest problems the fandom has is with continuing art theft.
I have written several bewares on snarky kids and teenagers that think they somehow own something because they found it on Google and saved it to their phone or computer…but I guess it’s shocking when it happens to you. Character theft isn’t something only reserved for the Popufurs. Unfortunately, if you have ever posted a picture of your Fursona anywhere online, someone will find it…and someone will probably use it at some point.
But the really frustrating part? They is hardly anything you can do to stop people from doing it—
So, some friends of mine were browsing TikTok when they noticed that someone decided to use my character “Cheshire” and call themselves “FurryQueen”. They have no videos, tons of fans…but overall had no content posted. You can tell the image they chose of Cheshire was taken right off of Google, screenshot with the transparency squares and all…and immediately, I made a TikTok account to message them and let them know that they did not have the right or permission to use a character I have spent a ton of money on.
I know this person is probably a child, they might not even be aware of what character theft is…but what they are doing by taking my character is putting their own image on that character. If they make terrible videos or make some racist or homophobic remark…that gets put onto ME. So the next time I post that character or walk around in the fursuit of this character, it can really cause a bad situation.
CHARACTER THEFT IS NEVER OKAY—and the fact that people don’t understand this from the start is baffling. I understand the Furry Fandom can be a place where one might feel it’s hard to fit in. That’s why I provide so many free resources on my blog. I try and educate people on the DOs and DONTs in the fandom so that they get a good experience from the start. But ignorance of a rule does not justify breaking that rule.
…and the final thing I noticed is that reporting these people SUCKS! There really is nothing out there to protect from character theft. You can report an account for impersonating…but unless they are impersonating a real person, that website or app will hardly ever take action. On a site like TikTok…if that person isn’t following me back, the chances are high that they will never see my message and therefore won’t change their ways.
I can post a beware on Facebook, on my character’s page, on Furry Amino, on this blog, and on my instagram…but that’s more a warning for others to look out for their beloved characters and doesn’t save mine from this current predicament. There is a great feeling of helplessness when things like this happen because there is only so much you can do before you are forced to sit and wait. It’s both maddening and frustrating and popular apps like TikTok are a cancerous breeding ground for such thieves.
But what do YOU think?
How do you go about protecting your character? What would you do in this situation? Do you think apps and websites should take into account character theft as being valid because the Furry Community is so large as are other fandoms with original characters?