Early this morning we were contacted because someone claims their Fan-Fic was used–without their permission–in a YouTube video. This is an unfortunately common issue.
We reviewed the channel, and an Incident number has been assigned and it is in our Queue. Sadly, there is little more that we can do at this time: the creator of the Fan-Fic is already aware of the problem and appears to have reported it. If we knew of other creators whose content was used without permission on that channel, we would contact them. If they issued strikes against the channel, that would hasten the process. However, we do not–at this time–have anyone else to contact.
This situation offers an excellent opportunity to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts of this blog and of protecting Creator’s Rights in general.
First, a little history about how this project came to be.
@art-defense was created at the end of the Miraculous Blackout. (Important: @art-defense is not affiliated with, nor was it sanctioned by, the Miraculous Blackout team. We are totally separate. We don’t even know if they are aware of us yet.) The Miraculous Blackout was a two-week “strike” by many fan-work creators and their supporters during which they posted no content. For more details, check out that blog.
As the Blackout ended, @talvin-muircastle wrote a post in which he expressed his feelings on theft of art and promised to continue to support artists as he had done before. After his post received reactions far beyond his expectations, he created this side-blog as a place to fulfill that promise and allow others to volunteer their time as well.
So What Exactly Do We Do Here?
When we become aware of an account that may be infringing upon the legal rights of fan-creators, we add it to the Queue for review. As time permits (all volunteers, here!), the account’s contents are reviewed. If there is any uncertainty, we contact the artists privately and ask, “Was this used with your permission?”
Once we feel we can reasonably assume that infringement of rights may have happened, we turn the Incident into an Incident Report. These are the posts on this blog that usually start with “You have been tagged in this post because….” Each creator–where we can identify them–is tagged, and then a list of URLs is given to pages that appear to include their work.
We go back and re-review old Incidents and issue updates when appropriate, such as when new content is added or a significant amount of content is removed.
That’s it. That’s what we do. The rest is up to the rights-holders, the owners of the content. The artists own their own creations–that is at the very heart of why this blog exists–and only they can decide if they wish to act upon the information we give them.
What Do We Not Do Here?
We do not contact alleged infringers ourselves.
We do not condone “get everyone you know to report this” campaigns. That is morally and legally defined as harassment.
We do not outright accuse anyone of theft. Only the owner of the content can do that.
We do not get in the middle of disputes regarding who actually owns a particular piece of content. If the actual ownership is disputed, that is a legal matter.
While we respect the rights of Corporate rights-holders, we do not work to defend those rights. A company such as Marvel Comics, or ZagToon, or Paramount, already has employees and contractors to defend their rights–they do not need volunteers. Too, the relationship between Corporate creators and Fan creators is a complex one. Some, such as Zag, appear to actively encourage fan-artists: the official Miraculous Ladybug account here on Tumblr regularly reblogs and applauds fan-made artwork. Some companies have taken strong legal action against fan-creators: look up “Axanar” for an example.
That is not our fight. We stay out of those. Our mission is to help the “little person”, the solo fan-artist or writer who has no one else to speak up for them.
Why Is Asking Everyone To Report A Video A Bad Idea?
The situation that inspired this post involves fan-fiction that was allegedly taken and used as the script for a YouTube video.
YouTube has a procedure in place to remove videos that infringe on someone’s intellectual property rights. By law, they are required to. Everyone involved has to follow the law.
Now, the law does not care how many friends you have. It does not care which side has the more popular argument. The law–when it works as it should–only cares about what is true, what is just, and what is legal.
YouTube doesn’t care how many friends you have either. They care about the law, because if they follow the law, they don’t have to worry about getting in trouble alongside one of their users.
We use the terms “creator”, “rights-holder”, and “owner” fairly interchangeably around here. To be honest, that’s actually playing a little fast and loose with the terms. We aren’t lawyers, and we aren’t dealing with things on the level of a lawyer. Lawyers will use those terms far more carefully and precisely.
At the level of fan-art, we can usually (not always!) use “creator” and “owner” and mean the same thing with each. “Rights-holder” gets more complicated: if you draw a picture of Batman, you own that picture of Batman, but that’s it: it does not mean you own Batman! DC Comics owns Batman, and even though you own that picture of Batman, DC can cause trouble for you if you use that picture in certain ways, because DC has certain rights over all pictures of Batman. We aren’t going to follow this part any further: you’d be better off asking an attorney. Still, you do have some rights over that picture of Batman. Even DC Comics cannot use that picture without your permission.
That’s the important thing: you, the creator of the picture, have rights.
That means that only you, or someone who is a properly authorized agent (think “Power-of-Attorney” here), can report it as stolen.
Your friend cannot. We cannot. A thousand people who were recruited online most certainly cannot.
That can actually make things worse!
How Can It Make Things Worse?
Let’s take this off the Internet for a few minutes and talk about Garden Gnomes. Specifically your Garden Gnomes.
You have some very nice Garden Gnomes on your front lawn. You made them. They are pretty popular among your friends and neighbors.
Somebody down on Main Street, who gets a lot more traffic by their house, saw your Garden Gnomes and decided they really liked them, too. So they stole one of them! Put it in their own yard!
And now they are telling people they made it, and that they have never heard of you!
Well, you have proof that you made them. You have pictures of that gnome in your garden next to other gnomes of the same style that you have made. You even signed the gnome.
Option A: Contact the police. Fill out a report of stolen property. Wait for the legal system to work. Maybe, if you think the legal system is going to need to be pushed a little, get a lawyer. Also, tell all your friends what happened, and tell them to make sure everyone knows that that is your Gnome, don’t believe this other person.
So far, you are in pretty safe territory. That last bit might get a little out of control, but if everyone behaves, you’re OK.
Option B: You are not satisfied with Option A. You ask all your friends to fill out police reports as well. (But the police already have a report, and it’s not your friends’ property!) Ask all your friends to call and email that person on Main Street and tell them what a horrible person they are for taking your Gnome. Somebody goes and spray-paints “THIEF!” on the side of their house. Somebody steals their Yard Flamingo, because after all it’s only fair. They start getting death-threats….
The Law does not just protect your rights as the owner of that Garden Gnome. The Law protects everyone’s rights equally, at least in theory. As it happens, that Gnome-stealer up on Main Street has rights, too! They have a right to due process, to a fair trial, and they have a right to protection from harassment.
In fact, taking a Garden Gnome may not be viewed by the law as being as serious as telling someone to go kill themselves for stealing a Garden Gnome.
So Option B: everybody gets hauled in front of the Judge. The police, having had to deal with two hundred reports of the theft of one Garden Gnome, plus vandalism, Grand Theft Flamingo, harassment, incitement to harassment, possibly inciting a riot, threats of bodily harm, and who knows what-all else…
Well, the police are not sympathetic witnesses.
The Judge is not going to say that our friend up on Main Street was in the right by taking the Gnome to begin with. That’s the Law. But they are going to rightly point out that all this other stuff violated the rights of the accused, and so now you are in trouble too, and so are any of your friends they can identify and lay hands on who did something to violate the rights of the accused. The Judge thought they were going to deal with a simple case of theft, and now they are in a Very. Bad. Mood. Judges have all kinds of nasty–and perfectly legal!–ways of dealing with people who get on their nerves.
Option B was not a very good idea at all.
Bringing it back to the Internet: unless you have gone straight for the Lawyer option (and the Lawyer is going to tell you “Let me handle it!”), you are dealing with YouTube Customer Service.
YouTube Customer Service is not a Judge. They are not a Lawyer. They are probably like anyone in any Customer Service job anywhere: trying to do the best they can on a low wage while keeping the Supervisors happy. YouTube is spending money on this problem, and they want the fastest resolution possible with the best possible outcome for YouTube.
If they are dealing with Option A, even if it is twenty different rights-holders properly using Option A, they are more likely to give the rights-holders a positive outcome. In fact, if you can find 19 other people that have had their content stolen, that channel is probably going to be shut down, and if they monetized, the money won’t be paid.
This is why we have this blog. We notify the creators so they can exercise their rights.
If that YouTube Customer Service employee is dealing with Option B, they are going to see clear cases of harassment, threats, reports-not-by-the-rights-holders, and other violations of the YouTube Terms of Service, and they are going to act on those–that’s what they are paid to do. They might catch the valid and legitimate complaint by the actual rights-holder in all that, or they might not. It’s a gamble.
“The Art-Defense Tumblr Blog will be the home of a small group of volunteers dedicated to notifying artists in the Miraculous Ladybug fandom (and possibly other fandoms) of accounts on this and other platforms that appear to have stolen, reposted, misattributed, and/or monetized artwork. It will not confront reposters directly, nor will it engage in or condone any form of harassment or bullying. [Emphasis added.] Above all, it will practice and encourage respect of Artists’ rights over their own creations, and defer to the Artists’ wishes regarding those creations.”
The Difference Between Tayuu/Oiran (Historical Edo era High-Class Courtesans) and Geisha (Historic and Modern Performing Artists/Entertainers):
Here, I will explain the aesthetic and cultural differences of the Geisha and the Tayuu/Oiran courtesan. Geisha work as entertainers in the modern world. Prostitution was made illegal in Japan in 1959, though Tayuu (known today, and ever since the decline of the Tayuu line in the 1700s, as Oiran) entertain today sans-sexual favors.
**Please note: though historically, Oiran were working within the sex industry, neither modern Oiran nor Geisha have anything to do with said industry
Make-up: While the white face and red lips are a feature of both courtesan and Geisha, their overall look is different. Oshiroi/Shironuri white powder is used, just like actors do in Kabuki theatre.
Dance and Music: Dance is one of the most important things a Geisha trains for. Her rigorous schedule is based around not only clients, parties and performances, but around her strict and traditional dance classes. Many Geisha attend dance classes until they are elderly and continue to perfect their skills, if they hadn’t retired! The shamisen, hand drum or flute are also some of the things Geisha learn, and Jikata Geisha (special Geisha who are trained in music and singing) provide music for a Geisha’s performance at parties (called Ozashiki)
Kimono and Obi Belt: The kimono worn by Geisha are very specific and are worn based on many factors, which include the status of the geisha (apprentice geisha (Maiko) have very different kimono from the older, professional geisha (Geiko) in that Maiko are by default more “child-like” and elaborate, with many bright colors and ornaments, while a Geiko wear more even-tones that are simpler but more womanly and elegant.) or are colored and designed by season and occasion. A Geisha’s kimono has about 5 layers of undergarments, tied to the Geisha to create the outer shape of the silk kimono. The obi belt is many meters long and is tied in the back, and takes the strength of another person just to tie it! Maiko wear their obi belts trailing behind them to accentuate their cuter, “youthful” appearance as it makes them appear smaller, while Geiko wear their obi belts tied into a tight, neat box. These kimono are tied together to allow a Geisha to dance and perform and are made to pair elegantly with each dance performance. If the belt were tied loosely in the front, as a courtesan Tayuu/Oiran’s is, then the geisha would be more limited in their dance and it would mask their subtle, minute movements. It is all a true work of art, and each kimono is unique to the Geisha (excepting the kimono used for some dance performances or ceremonies).
Hair Ornaments and Footwear: A Maiko wears many finely detailed hair ornaments–many are made of intricate silk designs. Each ornament is hand-crafted by Kyoto artisans and are very valuable; not only in terms of expense, but to the Maiko herself. Ornaments change with seasons, ceremony and rank-changing. A Geiko wears simpler ornaments like tortoise shell style combs and sometimes jade pins, though the ornaments are not limited to those designs. New Maiko wear six-inch high clogs called Okobo, though more experienced Maiko and professional Geiko can wear glossy leather Zori or Geta sandals, depending on the weather/preference.
Hair of Maiko and Geiko:The Maiko wear about six different hairstyles, made up of their own hair, within their time as an apprentice (these are–
Wareshinobu–her first hairstyle
Mishidashi–hairstyle for the ceremony of her debut
Ofuku–”Coming of Age” hairstyle; becoming a more senior Maiko
Shimada–used for dance recitals (and it used to be a traditional hairstyle for married women!)
Katsuyama–Used for the annual Cherry Blossom Dances (Miyako Odori) in the month of April
Sakkou–The hairstyle worn by a Maiko for her final two months before debuting as a professional Geiko/Geisha!
Geiko wear their natural hair underneath a wig, in a style referred to as Shimada
Geisha as Entertainers: Geisha are trained from their beginnings in the arts of Dance, Music, Tea Ceremony, and are well educated in the cultural arts. They are expert conversationalists; flattery and sake-pouring, along with lively and educated conversation are what Geisha bring to Ozashiki (the parties/events within the Ochaya teahouses). Contrary (extremely) to popular belief, Geisha are not and were never a part of prostitution or the sex industry. Ozashiki are a place for customers–who are not only men, but women or families, wealthy tourists, famous folk or groups of businessmen–to unwind and experience the traditional arts that Geisha have kept alive.
Make-Up: The Oshiroi/Shironuri white make-up paired with red lips is used much like a Geisha’s. Red accents to eyes, eyebrows and cheeks are also used by both women.
Entertainment and Music: There are only about 5 active Oiran entertainers in the “flower town” district of the Kyoto Hanamachi. These women are trained in the traditional arts just as Geisha are–historically, Oiran were high-class Tayuu and were trained in music, flower-arrangment, calligraphy and social arts, but with the added aspect of sexual favors. These women were elite and had the power to personally reject a client. Today, Oiran, though few, exist as historic actresses and as entertainers very much like a Geisha. These women both keep Japan’s history alive.
Hairstyle and Hair Ornaments: The hairstyle of an Oiran courtesan is called Datehyougo–as you can see it is an extremely elaborate hairstyle much different than the styles Geiko and Maiko wear. This difference is important, as the Datehyougo hairstyle has perhaps little or even nothing to do with Geisha or their culture. The ornamentals of an Oiran’s hair are a plethora of combs and picks, arranged by rank/status of the courtesan.
Kimono and Obi Belt: Much confusion surrounds the tying of the obi belt between Geisha and courtesans. It’s simple, really: Oiran had their intricately designed obi tied elegantly, though loosely, in the front of their kimono. This was so that clients receiving favor from the courtesan could undo the kimono. Geisha on the other hand, keep their kimono on, tie their obi in styles on the back and are cinched up tight around the Geisha to hold everything together. Their kimono have many more layers than the Geisha–all in an Edo-period fashion. The overall style promotes a more “loose” looking aesthetic, which was very erotic in it’s time.
Footwear: While Okobo and some Geta can be very tall, the footwear of an Oiran can come in the form of 15 cm high, black lacquered Geta. During the Oiran Dochu (Oiran walking parade), an Oiran can be seen walking with her many attendants, swinging her tall Geta out to the side smoothly with each step. It is very beautiful to see!
“Attendants”: A big difference between the Oiran and the Geisha is that while Geisha have “younger sisters” whom they take under their wing as apprentices, Oiran have what are called child attendants. These children traditionally were apprentices who would attend to and shadow the courtesan, and who would later be initiated as courtesans as well.
Thank you so much for reading! Hope you learned something! :)
I have two favorites (see picture). No.1 is from fox-orian’s brush set and 2 is a default Photoshop brush. I use these for 85% of the polished art I do these days and 100% of the sketches/more loose pieces. They’re more versatile than it might seem from the screenshot.
I like friends’ birthdays, because they are chill and people seem to genuinely have fun there. I used to like Christmas and Easter as a kid, but now they mostly feel rushed and there is a sense of unrealistic expectations, disappointment and excess around them.
This is hard because I always think in terms of liking bands rather than singers. The singer is just a part of the thing and I don’t single them out normally. Off the top of my head, let’s say Tarja Turunen. I never get tired of listening to her in Nightwish, even after all these years. However, the work she does on her own after she left is kinda boring to me. (So after all, it is the whole package that I like in this case as well.)
I saw some earlier posts that you're a fairly (I use that term super loosely) new star wars fan. When did you start? Also you're art is great :)
Early this year in January! I had seen TFA in theaters and watched a few eps of TCW when they were on TV back in the day, but beyond that I hadn’t seen anything else. So yeah, somehow I got here now lol