DeviantArt’s Terms and Con ditions

I’ve been on the Art/Photo-sharing website DeviantArt for 9 years. In a bid to consolidate some of my online activities or root out any I didn’t deem to be worth my time/effort/attention, or thought were not healthy in some way, I recently considered leaving DA and others.

Ultimately I remained on DA, but I’ve been given renewed reason to quit…

Today, January 22nd (2022), I received the following email from DeviantArt (it is legitimately from them):

The above is indeed corroborated in the Terms of Service:

10. Amendment of the Terms

We reserve the right to amend these Terms from time to time in our sole discretion. If you have registered as a member, we may notify you of any material changes to these Terms (and the effective date of such changes) by sending a notification on the Site. In addition, we will post the revised terms on the Site. If you continue to use the Service after the effective date of the revised Terms, you will be deemed to have accepted those changes. If you do not agree to the revised Terms, your sole remedy shall be to discontinue using the Service.

I have a couple of issues with this notification and amended Terms.

  1. The change they are notifying me of comes into effect… 3 days ago.
  2. The change is that users of the service will only know about changes to the T&Cs if they log into their account, rather than by receiving an email.

The problem with the latter is that this gives DA the right/ability to change something in their terms and conditions that one might not agree with, and implement that change immediately (considering one might not log in to DA for a while). This might be how they handle your data, or it might be how they treat the content you have uploaded, or it could be any number of things. If you don’t log in and receive the notification* then you will remain non-the-wiser, yet the changes could be impacting you and the content you have uploaded to the platform.

*Furthermore, if you do log in but are so accustomed to seeing numerous notifications on the bell icon, and you tend to ignore, you may not realise something you might otherwise consider significant has changed on/with the site.

The reality, dear DevaintArt, is that one can’t agree to Ts&Cs (or changes to them) until one has received and read them. This might be the original terms they were presented with upon sign-up. Surely one should be governed by the Ts&Cs that they have received and read, and that updated/altered terms can’t come into effect for the individual, until, as DA says, they have logged in and received the appropriate notification (a log could be made when this occurs).

I wonder if I am being overly critical of DA’s stance or if it’s common practice. Ultimately, as DeviantArt says, if you don’t agree with their Terms, leave. If you do use the platform for hosting and promoting your art work of value, you might want to consider keeping a copy of the Terms you signed up with and are presently in agreement with; I’d like to think that these terms would be what would hold up in any legal dispute should that arise, rather than any Terms DA implement willy-nilly*.

Some support for this comes in point 11 of the Terms:

If a court should find that one or more provisions contained in these Terms is invalid, [as reassuringly they could] you agree that the remainder of the Terms shall be enforceable. … These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California.

*DA could, under their Terms, even change some Ts&Cs, implement them, and then change them back… that could even include something pertaining to how and when they notify you of changes to their Terms! “Notifications will be automatically deleted after x days…” They could also bombard you with Notifications on the site so you are likely to miss anything that is significant.

There is a website called TOSDR (Terms of Service; Didn’t Read). It provides an overview of the Terms of websites including DA and grades them accordingly. DA gets a Grade B [link] although it appears this was last reviewed in 2020. A number of concerns (and positive points) are highlighted (from then). The homepage provides a point of reference with various comparisons including Facebook and Amazon which get Grade E and DuckDuckGo which gets an A.

One comment

  1. Ignorance of the law doesn’t mean the law is tossed out the window.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if many other such TOS play the same way. 😦

    I understand that jesus saves those that know and accept him. If you never learn of him you’re a lost soul.
    What a joke

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