People have written a lot of touchy-feely pieces on this subject but I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter

(via emmyc)

Prepping our new cubicle walls. :D (Taken with GifBoom)

(Update #3) You Stole My Artwork: An Open Letter to Anita Sarkeesian - RESOLVED

It’s been a rough 11 days since the C&D, but my art is no longer being used without my permission for commercial uses! We did it, internet! Hooray for following the rules of polite discourse and getting fair results! :D


Anita, thank you so very very much for doing the right thing and finally removing my artwork as I had kindly requested. This is a fantastic first step to recognizing the rights of digital content creators such as myself, and a wonderful example for content creators of different disciplines to try to communicate and work together.

I’m very very sorry we were not able to come to an agreement for you to continue using my artwork, but please remember that the door is still open: I’d be incredibly happy for you to keep using my artwork for free as soon as you can provide proof that you are a California Non Profit Public Benefit Corporation.

While I’d love to take your word for it because women + games is a topic that is true to my heart, it wouldn’t be fair to the other orgs I’ve worked with to give you permission without proof. I know it’s frustrating, but I have to at least try to play fair and not play favorites. I gotta always fact check. Dem’s the rules. :(

(Remember, the easiest way to confirm a business is really a non-profit is to search via the official IRS charity site you don’t need any private paperwork or anything, just the official non-profit business name. :) )

I hope that you will continue this positive trend even further and resolve the issues with the other non-original work that you have been using without the content creator’s permission, including @DinobotTwit artwork and the several Let’s Play videos from Youtube. As a lover of transformative work, I do hope that you will engage in direct communication with the content creators to see what their own wishes are.

With your resources, I would love to see you give back to the creative community by commissioning artists to create original work for you, instead of using their work without permission. You might be surprised at how affordable an artist can be, and many (myself included!) even love to gift their work away for free to good causes. :)

In the future, please consider using proper academic citations in your work for any content you use that is not your own— it’s the easiest and most professional way to avoid situations like this in the future and completely avoid any allegations of plagiarism from detracting from your own message. 

Thanks again for resolving this issue! :D


PS: Just to be as clear as possible: Put down your weapons, internet. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. ;D

(Update #2) You Stole My Artwork: An Open Letter to Anita Sarkeesian

First and foremost - PLEASE look past the headlines. Read the previous posts first to have a clearer understanding of the history of the issue/my intentions before coming to any premature conclusions. Research is a wonderful thing. :)

Original Letter
First Update on Original Letter

Second - We’ve been in direct communication, but the situation is currently unresolved.

Third - I can no longer reply to your questions & comments on Reddit. My account was banned after attempting to host a non-related AMA. I still don’t know why or what rule I broke. :/

Fourth - When it’s resolved, I will definitely make sure everyone knows all is good again. :) I am not a fan of waiting either, but please continue to be patient.

Thank you all so much for keeping calm and having great discussions about copyright law, non-profit status, and Fair Use. If nothing else, at least we’re all learning something new. :)

Stay classy, internet. <3

UPDATE: ALL IS GOOD NOW. From my message on Reddit:

"I found out the reason for my shadowban— I had made a huge mistake and asked for upvotes on a comment via my Twitter account:

I sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding! I hope you know that my intent wasn’t to gain those sweet delicious karma points— I was in the middle of being swamped with messages about a Reddit post about me, and I simply wanted to make sure my “official response” was seen so these folks could get the info they wanted, and then I could finally walk way from the computer and get back to work. :)

Good intentions aside, I know now I broke the rules, and I know now what to DEFINITELY not do in the future.”

To reitterate— I was shadowbanned BEFORE the AMA for asking for upvotes on a previous comment. Because it was a shadowban, it’s hard for the poster (me!) to determine exactly when they are banned— since I was still able to post in and get replies, I thought I hadn’t been banned yet until after the AMA. :D

HUGE thanks to the admins who were nice enough to give me the reason for the banning (Since if you never know your mistake, how can you avoid doing it again?).

After I found the reason, I wrote to the admins and profusely apologized for the misunderstanding and promised to be a good Redditor from now on. They were nice enough to restore my account. Thank you guys for the support and helping me get the info I needed to fix my mistake. 

GG, internet! <3

If our goofy Kickstarter video doesn’t melt your icy un-pledging heart, than nothing will. ;D

Less than 45min to go!

Last Chance to Support the Animation Dock: a traditional animation desk for iPads

Less than 4 hours to go on our Kickstarter project, Animation Dock. Animation fans, it’s not too late to pledge your support! <3

This project has been my baby— it combines everything I love the most: animation, technology, and tradition. I sincerely want you to know that every single pledge counts, even just a $1, to helping us achieve our dream of making great ideas real for geeky little artists like me.

Although we have great rewards, please remember that Kickstarter is not a store— when you pledge, you are investing in us. We love 2D animation dearly & want to keep it alive. <3

Thank you so very much for all of your support! <3

(Update & official response) You Stole My Art: An Open Letter to Anita Sarkeesian

(This is an update on the previous post.)

Thank you so much for the overwhelming amount of support and positive discussion. For those who don’t follow me on Twitter: I was contacted by Anita about 20min after the Tumblr post went up. (And was Signal Boosted.) Thank you, Twitternet!

She apologized for missing my e-mail in the pile of messages she gets daily, and explained that it wasn’t intentional theft of my specific image. She stated that it’s use in a “remixed collage is transformative in nature and as such constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for under section 107 of the US Copyright law”, and noted again that Feminist Frequency projects are non-profit.

I responded and noted, “Even if this was a legal example of Fair Use (It’s not), it wouldn’t mean that the theft was ethical or moral. It’s exploitative and unfortunately marginalizes content creators”, and kindly asked again for valid proof of non-profit status so we could move on to establishing the rest of the criteria and officially consider this Fair Use.

(First on the checklist to officially establishing Fair Use is to establish “…whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes”.)

I’m am still waiting for an official follow-up response from Anita providing valid proof of non-profit status, but in the meantime I have asked her to please cease and desist using my artwork in her marketing materials.

It should be noted that her producer (? Not sure of his official role in FF.), has publicly commented on what I assume to be their situation with a confusing comment:


I responded asking for clarification (Basically are they non-profit or for profit?), but no response yet.

This is a great first step to clearing up this possible misunderstanding, and now is when we calmly and professionally establish whether it’s fair use. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m doing my best to professionally navigate this situation following the guidelines in section 107 Copyright Law

Thanks again for the support, and to everyone who has kept this professional and incredibly informative for all involved.

More Casual QA Time/Mini Soapbox:
I’m gonna reitterate a lot from previous posts/tweets, so I’ll keep it to just bullets:

  • Internet, I know you are really really angry at Anita for a lot of stuff, but it doesn’t mean that I should compromise my own integrity to make you feel better. Please let me try to handle this in a way that won’t make me feel like a dick, even if it’s a painfully slower process than you would like. <3

  • Art is stolen all the time, why should you care? Because it’s so easy to fix, and many artists like myself are happy to see that it’s being used for a good cause, or get credit. We’re less sue-happy than you might think. Just an apology and helping people understand why its wrong goes a long way. 

  • It should be okay for me to ask proof to make sure money gained from using my art in a logo is being used for its intended/advertised purpose.

  • Is it slander/libel? I am not assigning intent, simply trying to present the situation as factually as possible. My art was used w/o my permission (ie, “stolen”), and I haven’t been able to find proof that it’s non-commercial in use by a valid non-profit. If there is valid proof, please please please send it my way. 

  • She’s taken other people’s video work? Questionable funding aside, I’ve been told that even in Fair Use for educational use, you are supposed to credit the content creator. (Not a lawyer, so don’t take my word on that.) Even if not crediting the content creator is not legally required, it’s still just a nice thing to do. I can only confirm that my own art piece was used, so please talk to the video creators directly.

  • I have not asked for compensation. (It’s supposed to be non-profit money, not Tammy’s catfood money.)

  • I am not in cahoots with Anita to get her more press. I honestly didn’t know who she was, but vaguely remembered hearing about the original cyberbullying when it first happened.

  • This isn’t a ploy for attention/money/etc. No free rides, folks. I have my own job and cover my own damn bills. Just asking for someone to do the right thing.

  • Full disclosure: I have my own project that I’m crowdfunding, but it was already funded well before this situation occurred. We’re good. Please keep your pity money and donate to a great charity.
  • I had assumed it was easy to prove you’re a non-profit and show 501(3)c status, but I have no idea. Can someone smarter than me weigh in on that? Is there a secret handshake or a membership card?

  • This is LITERALLY a First World Problem. Don’t sweat it too much— it’s bad for your heart.

  • No, I have no idea what Jonathan Blow was getting at either, but he’s welcome to express his opinion— and he did so politely enough. No worries.

  • I’m not filing takedown notices without giving them a chance to establish Fair Use (because everyone should have a chance to defend themselves. We’re all adults here. C’mon.)

  • First step of Fair Use is proving it’s non-profit use (IMHO)

  • There’s a lot of controversy regarding her Kickstarter, opinions, videos, and more. Proof of one possible act of misconduct does NOT automatically prove the rest have also occurred. Please try to consider each “issue” regarding her separately.

  • I’m worried it’s not a non-profit because I have yet to see confirmation that includes third-party confirmation, or even an explanation from FF more substantial other than “we are non-profit.”)

  • I have never claimed to own the IP of Dragon’s Lair, only that I am the artist of the specific image in question. Give Don Bluth his rightful HI5s please, and encourage him to make his Dragon’s Lair movie

  • I can’t say “Never use images from Dragon’s Lair”, but I can say “please don’t use my art that I drew for non-commercial use of a character from Dragon’s Lair”

  • I never went to Hogwarts School of Legality. I’d love to learn more about copyright law, so please share some sources if you weigh in. If you’re right, back it up so there’s less confusion/rumor/hearsay about how copyright law works

  • Do me a favor and stick to professional debates. Name-calling doesn’t help anyone, and undermines your own concern even if the concern is valid

  • This is NOT a feminist issue. The specific issue that I have is a creator rights’ issue regarding Fair Use/copyright using internet sources along with journalistic ethics. Don’t cross the streams, folks.
  • Princess Daphne is awesome. You know it. I know it. Accept it.

Pay it Forward, folks. If you don’t like Anita’s work, find a cause you DO feel meets the need and support it. Personally, I think we need to make it easier for EVERYONE to get into tech. Don’t know where to start? Find a hackerspace/makerspace/tech shop/etc near you and help them out. It’s good for the whole community, and they could always use more support.
List of Hackerspaces

Just because someone says “THIS IS THE WAY THINGS ARE” doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. If you don’t like things about the way games are made? Vote with your wallet.

Doesn’t feel like that’s enough? Try to change it from the inside. Encourage women to pursue STEM related fields. Do you think the big shops in the industry are corrupted and biased, and won’t support your great idea?

Make your own games. Learn programming, story telling, illustration, gamification, and more. Resources are out there. Open Source community and some sweat can get you there. There is literally NOTHING stopping you other than yourself. You can learn, create, and self-publish easily now. Do it yourself, and prove that there’s a market for the game you want to play. Proof is what changes opinions.

The only thing you have to lose is your weekends, and trust me when I say you won’t miss them. (Much.)


P.S. Roberta Williams is and always has been my hero… because she made damn fine games. She should be yours too.

You Stole My Artwork: An Open Letter to Anita Sarkeesian

3/7 - THANK YOU for the signal boost. I’ve received an official response. Update is here.

(Big thanks to @Sarochi1 for this comp comparing my art to the Tropes vs Women. Read full article.)


Long Story Short: You stole my art, used it for commercial purposes, and won’t even respond to my polite inquiries.

Financial and legal complications aside, I hope you understand that you’ve taken away my personal voice and ownership as a fellow content creator. Without my permission or knowledge, you’ve taken my work out of context to use for your own agenda, leaving me no control over how my work is seen or used. I found myself surprised to be incidentally supporting and endorsing a campaign I had no prior knowledge about.

Content is gifted, donated, licensed, commissioned, and purchased. It should NOT be stolen.

On one hand, it’s super cool to know that my art was in a TedTalk. (!!!) But on the other hand, you googled “Princess Daphne”, downloaded my fan artwork from my own blog website, removed the background & signature, placed it into a branding logo, and continued to use this stolen work even AFTER raising $150k on Kickstarter.

Ok ok, benefit of the doubt. Copyright law can be complicated. Maybe you thought that any images on Google must be free to use however you want. Honest mistake, no harm no foul?

Except that I (and several of your supporters) have tried to contact you to nicely resolve this via your website, Twitter, and even Kickstarter. Unfortunately, there’s been no response from you of any kind. I’d assume you were away from the computer, except you’ve still been actively engaging on social media during this time.

Honestly, I don’t have the time/energy at the moment to try to get you to notice me. I do hope one day you’ll attempt to resolve this situation, and fully understand why stealing is not only morally wrong, but also detrimental to content creators of all mediums.

I’d still really like to resolve this issue, so I hope you find the time and consideration to one day respond to the original letter I sent you, re-posted below. 



Hello. I am the professional artist who painted the Princess Daphne image that Feminist Frequency/Tropes vs Women has been using as part of their logo and branding in several places online.

Here’s one of several online examples:

My original artwork is here:

I don’t have a record of licensing this image to Feminist Frequency for commercial use. Do you have any relevant paperwork showing that your company has legitimately licensed this image, and that this is a simple misunderstanding instead of intentional copyright infringement?

Since you state in interviews that the video series infringing on my copyrighted work is non-profit: do you also have valid proof of 501(c)3 status, or a transparent breakdown showing that the Kickstarter campaign’s net earnings (including derivative opportunities such as paid speaking engagements & site donations) are not being used to benefit any private shareholder or individual.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but content creation is how I make my living and professional reputation. I typically do not license my work or lend endorsement in situations where there isn’t the utmost transparency. I would greatly appreciate a speedy response (within 24 hours) so we can proceed to resolve this situation.

Thanks for your time,
Tamara Smith

(FYI, letter is based on these open source letters, and remains open source for anyone who it might help. Feel free to use.)

Big thanks to @Sarochi1 for this comp comparing my art to the Tropes vs Women. Read full article.

Big thanks to @Sarochi1 for this comp comparing my art to the Tropes vs Women. Read full article.