I've been part of the DeviantArt community for three years now, and in that time I've met a lot of - I'm not gonna sugarcoat it - jerks. You're probably thinking "somebody said mean things about his art." Nope, that's not what this is about. This rant goes out to all you people who absolutely DEMAND that they get asked for their work to be used by every single person who uses it, in every single instance, for any possible reason, ever.
Get over yourselves.
I wasn't going to say anything, but then I was browsing a DA page owned by s/he who will remain nameless, and I found a link to <a href=”[link]>this page in a fairly decent sized banner centered across the top of his/her journal. The banner was simple: "UNAUTHORIZED USE OF ANY OF THIS ART IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED." One part of that linked page in particular REALLY irritated me: "'AUTHOR UNKNOWN' MEANS 'I STOLE IT'" That's just... WOW, I didn't know such pretentiousness could exist.
I ask you people who are so desperate to maintain some sort of autocratic dictatorship over your art: what are you really accomplishing here? If people want to use your art to make some silly little header on their Star Wars Angelfire fanpage, they're going to do it. All you do by posting massive warnings all over your journal and slapping enormous and distracting watermarks all over your art is make people dislike you, hate you, think you're a jerk, and/or not bother even looking at your art anymore. Let me tell you: when I look at a picture that I really like, but then fullview it and see that DeviantArt-generated watermark, that's it, goodbye. Not favoriting that, nor am I coming back. I assumed you drew that picture so other people could look at it, but since you apparently didn't, I'll just be on my way.
Also, what are you so afraid of? An 11 year old resizing your art in paint, blacking out your signature like it's a nipple slip on the news, and posting it on some Angelfire site they'll forget about in two weeks and will thus be deleted by Angelfire due to inactivity soon after? Ooooohhh, terrifying thought, that you weren't asked permission for that. What are you going to do, email the 11 year old and demand that he takes your work down? How is that going to make people want to appreciate you?
DeviantArt automatically gives you a copyright over your work, and gives you all those licenses to play with, so should the minuscule chance that someone actually tries to use your work to make money come to fruition, you'll be able to take legal action. And even THEN, think about it. Will Microsoft come to DeviantArt and try to steal your work to slather on their Windows 7 boxes as their new mascot? No. Maybe the 11 year old has a PayPal, puts it on his Angelfire, and some doof donates him 15 cents because your art brainwashed him. WOW, how can you sleep at night? You're out 15 cents. If you had that money you could make the down payment on that yacht.
Or ok, maybe someone puts your work on some shirts to sell at Sakura-Con, and maybe he makes maybe $30 profit once you take away the cost of the shirts and the printing. So what? You're angered by the fact that someone is profiting in some way off your work, but really, what are you really losing? Is preventing some idiot you will never meet from making some pocket change worth losing fans? You may think nobody would actually choose to not look at your work because of your watermarks, but yes, it does happen. I value my fans and the fact that they love looking at my work more than I value preventing someone I'll never meet from making a minuscule amount of money, but hey, that's just me.
DeviantArt is meant to be a fun community for people to come and share their work, original and fanart alike. Fanart is especially meant to be about the fun, community thing. In slapping on watermarks and posting huge banner warnings on your journal, you're killing everything DeviantArt is meant to be, as well as making yourself out to be a pompous, pretentious snob. Besides, fanart is using copyrighted characters without permission, which those copyright holders CAN get on you for if they deem your work is obscene or against what they stand for or whatever.
As for original work, as I said, DeviantArt issues you copyrights and licenses which you can utilize at will if someone tries to make money using your work. Why do you think nVidia doesn't slather watermarks all over the fairies and mermaids they decorate their video card boxes with? If anyone actually tries to profit on that work in any way that matters, lawyers to the rescue. And hey, if someone takes your picture and uploads it on their own DeviantArt page, all it takes is the submission date to prove who actually made it. So I'm telling you all now: Somewhere along the line someone got into your head and really screwed you up. Stop being paranoid and get back to what art was meant to be: a fun, carefree sharing of creativity, emotion, and passion. All you do with the watermarks and banner warnings is stave off a nonexistent threat and shoo away people who would otherwise like your work.