Historically there has been sporadic unease regarding deviantART's potential usage of uploaded art. Posting requires assent to dA's Submission Agreement
, which grants deviantART the legal permissions to re-use and even modify any artwork posted on deviantART (see in particular Section 3. License), as well as the right to sublicense any of that artwork to a third party at dA's sole discretion.
Critics have argued that those usage rights are too broad and far-reaching, that the legal language is unnecessarily complex and weighed in dA's favor, and that the difficulty of terminating the agreement means that "dA effectively owns your art." Defenders assert that deviantART needs the rights to legally offer its basic services, and to enable future services and business relationships that may become desirable. (See also the official Help Desk response
to questions and criticism.)
On March 1, 2006, deviantART's administration issued the most dramatic revision to date in response to months of community initiative. The far-reaching usage rights remain intact, but matters of termination have been clarified, improved, and made more accessible, so that artists can reclaim their usage rights simply by removing their works from dA as they please. Though some remain concerned about the basic arrangement, many now feel reassured by the new "freedom to leave."