(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.