So after chasing down a few young people for identity theft on horse forums, many wallpaper sites for someone taking images, altering them then uploading to the sites for free downloads, I decided to try a little experiment. I left one horse pencil drawing without a watermark on it on DA to see how far it would spread. This one in particular sunwolf29.deviantart.com/art/P… I never uploaded it anywhere but Deviant art.
Someone posted it up on Pintrest I figure first, they were kind enough to do an art by sunwolf29 on Deviantart link on it so I would find it with a conventional search. But they downloaded and uploaded it again so people were able to take that version of it and run.
Now if you use the handy dandy Google image search you can see how far it has spread now - not sure if this link will work
So one person on howrse misrepresenting it as their own work to sell commissions, one person on fanpop using it to, I don't know, make themselves feel better by trying to get admiration from people, someone else on some pony site using it to try and get commissions - pretending it is theirs, and someone using is as an avatar on blogs, and it on a bunch of web crawler wallpaper sites as free downloads. It is also up on a bunch of spammy sites with the deviant art link for I'm not sure what reason.
If you think your art is safe online, think again. Take steps to protect it.