Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

March 10, 2014 - Andrew Eisen

To your left is the image used to sell Feminist Frequency's Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series of videos.  As should be clear from the name, the series examines the recurring stereotypes of female characters in video games.  As such, it should come as no surprise that the series banner features a dozen female video game characters.  Now, here's a question for you:

Do you think Feminist Frequency obtained permission to use any of that character art?

You might not have thought about it before but none of those characters were drawn by Feminist Frequency; they range from official promotional art to sprites and models that were ripped directly from their individual games.

Another thing you might not have noticed is that the image of Daphne from Dragon's Lair (she's the one sitting on the 'O' in 'Women') is not official art.  Damn good fan art but fan art nevertheless.  That image was actually drawn by artist and animator, Tamara Gray and she was not pleased to learn that Feminist Frequency used her fan art without her permission or at the very least, crediting her.

In an open letter to Feminist Frequency, Gray said:

"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... 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?

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."

Feminist Frequency responded saying that 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."

Gray responded, saying, "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."  Gray has also requested proof of Feminist Frequency's claimed non-profit status.  She's still waiting.  In the meantime, she has requested that Feminist Frequency stop using her artwork in its marketing materials.

It's an interesting situation.  Does Feminist Frequency's use of Gray's fan art constitute fair use?  How about its use of official art from other games?  Does the fact that Gray's art is an unlicensed reproduction of a copyrighted character factor in at all?

Source: Destructoid

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Who is Anita?

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

The person behind the Tropes vs. Women in Videogames series of online videos that were funded by an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I doubt Anita really cares about other peoples' concerns and dishonesty seems to be her thing.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"...dishonesty seems to be her thing."

What do you mean?  What has she lied about?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

How about her statement that as a young girl she used to be in love with games, later rendered suspect by her own earlier statements, made prior to the Kickstarter during a university class, that she wasn't much of a gamer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcPIu3sDkEw

Or the fact that, despite having raised well over $150k to produce her series, she couldn't be bothered to play the videogames she talked about (and did far less research), to the extent of having to rely on taking and editing other player's Let's Play videos directly off youtube, without asking permission and without giving credit to actual gamer's efforts? And while this certainly isn't illegal in any sense, it certainly could be described as unethical, and does bring about the question as to;

1) whether she actually purchased/rented the games she "analyzed" with the kickstarter money, and;

2) whether she actually played those games, which goes hand-in-hand with the suspicions around her about leaving out key plot points in her videos.

http://victorsopinion.blogspot.be/2013/07/anitas-sources.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvwiYmVhW94

Not to mention the various counter-arguments against her-

Thunderf00t's Feminism vs Facts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJeX6F-Q63I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGAvjwQPCHE


Investig8tiveJournalism's analysis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6gLmcS3-NI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFk5F-S_hI

Now, you may well argue that "fair use" means that she's in the clear. No. She isn't. She's not doing anything illegal, but that's not the same thing as saying she's doing nothing dishonest or unethical. When -that- happens, credibility wanes, which is bad enough given how much she lacks in each video.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"How about her statement that as a young girl she used to be in love with games..."

For those that don't know, Sarkeesian has said that she's been playing games since she was 5.  That seems to be true as we've seen a picture of her around age 10 playing Super NES.

In 2010, she said she wasn't a fan of video games and had to learn a lot about them.

Even ignoring the appropriate context (in her 2010 comments, she's talking about a specific type of gaming fandom of which she's not a part), those statements are not incongruous and not indicative of a pattern of dishonesty.

"...she couldn't be bothered to play the videogames she talked about (and did far less research), to the extent of having to rely on taking and editing other player's Let's Play videos directly off youtube, without asking permission and without giving credit to actual gamer's efforts?"

You don't know what games she's played or how much research she's done and while not crediting the folks she's taken footage (and art) from is uncool, it's not dishonest unless she's claiming it as her own, something she hasn't done so far as I'm aware.

"whether she actually purchased/rented the games she "analyzed" with the kickstarter money, and... whether she actually played those games,"

She says she did and you have no evidence to the contrary.

"Not to mention the various counter-arguments against her-"

What about them?  The fact that there are people arguing against Sarkeesian does nothing to support the idea that dishonesty "seems to be her thing."

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I wonder how much of the backlash against her is an offshoot of the 'fake geek girl'/'fake gamer girl' culture that has been on the rise over the last 10 years or so.

I could actually see people who already have an emotional investment in games being a 'guy' thing being double upset that an 'outsider' seems to be claiming to be one of them while criticizing elements of their culture.  I see the same basic pattern all the time in comics... if a woman dares talk about broken spines or other gender stuff in comics she is labeled 'not a real comic lover' and a threat to their artform.... sometimes even by professional comic artists.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Sarkeesian has said that she's been playing games since she was 5.  That seems to be true as we've seen a picture of her around age 10 playing Super NES.

I've played video games since I was 5, yet I don't have a single photograph of my engaging in the practice. By your logic, the statement that I made, that I've played video games since I was 5, would be false because I have no evidence to back that statement up, while 1 photo of her handling a Super Nintendo (under what context? One of the few times she's ever picked up a controller?) constitutes as her being a gamer... despite her comment of not being a fan or a gamer during her college years indicating otherwise.

... and you don't think this is incongruous?

You don't know what games she's played or how much research she's done

Indeed. Nobody does. She hasn't produced a list of what games she's planned to cover, beyond what she's already talked about; and what she has covered hasn't been put in full context, either. The point I was making, however, was that $160k is more than enough money to buy a good computer, a capture device, the relevant systems and used games and someone to set it up for her, yet the fact that she relies on gameplay footage lifted from other players' efforts indicates that she either hasn't put it to full use, or hasn't done it at all.

while not crediting the folks she's taken footage (and art) from is uncool, it's not dishonest unless she's claiming it as her own, something she hasn't done so far as I'm aware.

I don't know how you can say that -not- crediting the actual full-players/long-players in question isn't dishonest. If I went up on stage and said that I was going to use a group of people's money to do legitimate studies in the middle east, take photographs and conduct interviews with its populace and to an analysis on the region; yet instead pocketed the money, spent a couple weeks on the internet looking for copyright-free photographs and copy-pasting facebook stories from people in the region, I would be rightly criticized.

Anita told her audience she was going to work hard on her project and produce her own results. Under no circumstances should the audience have expected anything less than her own hard work, and this is not what she produced- she instead used other people's work rather than her own. And whether it was in whole or in part, not disclosing that fact to the public until it's been pointed out by other people -is- dishonesty, no matter what -you- want to call it.

In academic circles, this kind of behavior would lead to your reputation being nigh on irreversibly tarnished. Her credibility, as I said, wanes as a result.

She says she did and you have no evidence to the contrary.

Indeed, I don't have evidence to the contrary (of what, I can't imagine, but I'll touch on that later). But then, I don't take claims on face value, either- and the fact that she's using gameplay footage from other players, cutscenes that you could grab -anywhere- on the internet, relying on simplistic plot synopsis that could have been gathered on wikipedia, and her claim to be a gamer when years earlier she claimed not to be, don't paint a very convincing picture.

Now, you may have noticed that in this part, where you say I "have no evidence to the contrary", I did not outright accuse her of not actually purchasing/playing the games that she's covered- I'd like to think I'm smarter than to make an absolute statement on that subject. Rather than do that, I opted to point out that it brings her credibility to light, and I see nothing wrong with a demand for her to show her work.

The fact that there are people arguing against Sarkeesian does nothing to support the idea that dishonesty "seems to be her thing."

I might take this statement more seriously if you could demonstrate that you know what the arguments against her -are-. All I've seen thus far is handwaving in her favor. Woman or man, she does not deserve special treatment for her analysis based on the topic, or how it pertains to her. And since I've said this before and been called a sexist, I'll put this up front- I've said the same thing about research done by men.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I've played video games since I was 5, yet I don't have a single photograph of my engaging in the practice.

Some parents take far more pictures of their kids than others. That is nothing new. So it is quite possible that she would have a picture of her playing games, especially if it was something new or different for the family. Just because you don't have a picture of you playing games does not mean that other people do not.

By your logic, the statement that I made, that I've played video games since I was 5, would be false because I have no evidence to back that statement up

No it doesn't and you know it.

She hasn't produced a list of what games she's planned to cover, beyond what she's already talked about;

She provided a picture of a huge stack of games she bought with the money. That seems to be pretty indicative of her dedication to this video game series and the Kickstarter campaign.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7274/7619451560_2371b4cffb_z.jpg

and what she has covered hasn't been put in full context, either.

All those games have been put into context, the context of the tropes she is discussing. That is all that matters for her purpose.

Rather than do that, I opted to point out that it brings her credibility to light, and I see nothing wrong with a demand for her to show her work.

Did you back her project on Kickstarter? If you did, did you do so under the impression that she would show her work to anyone who asked? Did she promise that? Those are all very important questions that you have not answered and have a direct bearing on this point of contention.

I might take this statement more seriously if you could demonstrate that you know what the arguments against her -are-.

I have tried to watch the videos you have linked and found them to be very grating and unprofessional. It really clouds any message and counter-arguments they might have had and thus reduces their ability to be a good response. Very few of the arguments I did manage to listen to addressed her interpretation of the tropes in the games and instead reduced themselves to character attacks on Sarkeesian herself.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

She is a feminist exploring gender tropes, by many of her detractor's standards that enough.  There is a pretty significant community of 'feminism debunkers' obsessed with her.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

It's hardly the first time that Anita uses other peoples work in here “documentaries”:

http://victorsopinion.blogspot.be/2013/07/anitas-sources.html

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Yup, I'm actually surprised it took this long for gaming websites are reporting this at all, seeing as that time was just shrugged off as if it never happened. Even if it wasn't anything illegal, it was still highly questionable seeing as she still took $160k.

Of course, queue the drones saying this doesn't diminish her argument.

While I don't agree with her arguments either, for anyone who has actually been following this whole thing from beginning, it stopped being about her arguments a looooooong time ago. Personally I just want to know exactly where the money went, I want to see the receipts that she actually bought something useful with the money. If she could provide those then fine, she would just be a person I disagree with.

As for now, unless she can prove otherwise, shes a con-artist in my eyes.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

It's been reported here and there but it's not really news because it's pretty clearly fair use and while it's arguably uncool that Sarkeesian is not crediting the folks she's taking the footage from, it's not illegal or contrary to the themes of her videos which is precisely why it doesn't diminish her argument.

Also, she makes very few actual arguments in her videos.  Mostly she's just explaining what the tropes are and how they've been used in video games over the years using relevant examples.

"Even if it wasn't anything illegal, it was still highly questionable seeing as she still took $160k."

She took the money that people voluntarily gave her.   She only asked for $6k; she's under no obligation to detail where every penny went (as interesting as that may be).  So long as she fulfills the promises of the Kickstarter campaign (which she's been doing), she's well within her rights to pocket the extra scratch and it wouldn't be unethical to do so.

Con artist?  She's delivering exactly what she said she would.  What's the con?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I have explained this to you elsewhere. I do not feel like going trough the laundry list of things questionable about her. There are videos in-depth about the subject on Youtube, just look at one of those and their links.

If you really don't know what to search for then how about "Anita Sarkeesian: The early years" and the 3 part "Case against Anita Sarkeesian". Of course the last video in particular is really, really long. And the speaker is a bit unprofessional, but even then, he has a point.

Of course I can't say for 100% certainty that she is a con artist. But neither can I prove the non-existence of the Easter bunny, but I can say that it is very unlikely. Of course, like I said, if she can prove that shes legit, then fine. But she hasn't proven it, ever. And she could, but she doesn't.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"I have explained this to you elsewhere... There are videos in-depth about the subject on Youtube, just look at one of those and their links."

Yes, I remember the conversation we had on YouTube.  As I explained in my replies, I looked at everything you sent me and none of it is even remotely indicative of any type of con.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

You have a few things backwards. It is not the person being accused of wrong doing's job to prove their innocence. It is the job of the person doing the accusing to prove wrong doing. That is how justice works. 

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

You might have noticed that I'm not a court am I? I'm talking about my personal opinion. But you want to go that route? Fine. Let's play along.

So she puts up her kickstarter video and some people ask the question of "Why does she need the money?". The question is never directly answered in the video but it very much implies that it would go to research and actually getting some of these games.

Alright, then her videos come out and right of the bat alot of it is almost a direct copypaste from wikipedia and tvtropes. Well, that means that her research is pretty poor and most importantly, these are free resources. So that strikes Research off the list of things she used the money for.

That still leaves the games right? Well, it turns out that at least some of her footage is longplay footage from youtube. How is this related?

Well, is she is going to play these games anyway, why not record the footage and use it? Do you think she dosent have a capture card? Well, first of all she claims to have one. Second she has more than enough money to afford a capture card. And even if she had gotten only 6k, she would STILL had more than enough for at least 3 capture devices.

So that strikes, that off the list of legimate uses for the money.

If you're claiming equipment, well there's no evidence of such changes in the videos.

These are all things that would be very easy for her, or one of her backers to prove. But she doesn't

Oh, but I'm not done just yet. She started her TEDx talk, showed a picture of herself playing SNES. She claimed that picture to be her at the age of ten, adding that she "Has been playing for quite a while". Canadian Global news claimed that she was 5 years old in that picture and said that she is a lifelong gamer. In 2010 at santa-monica college, she said herself that she is NOT a gamer. And no, I don't care that she said that she has been gaming on and off, because she said it only AFTER this was revealed, making the timing of those tweets very suspicious.

That's enough for now, if you truly want to know more, check out those videos I told about before this comment.

My feeling have gone from doubting her, to very strongly doubting her. There is something very dishonest happening at Anita's end for certain. To what extent, I couldn't tell you. But untill she proves all these accusations false, she is a con artist on my books.

You may disagree with my conclusion but thats okay. Like I said, I'm not a court, or a Judge on court.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

She was producing introductory videos talking about the intersection of classic tropes and the video game industry.

You call it a copy of wikipedia and TVTropes, but it would be more accurate to say that the wikipeida and TVTrope articles are summaries of gender trope research that was done years before either existed and are part of any introductory feminist theory course.

It should also be noted that many educational video series follow a similar pattern, yet I do not see nearly the same backlash against say SciShow or CrashCourse, yet those series are not even applying old material to a new medium, they are just summarizing well established research.  Oh, and those series also take a significant number of donations, yet I have not heard anyone going after them to find out where the money went.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"You call it a copy of wikipedia and TVTropes, but it would be more accurate to say that the wikipeida and TVTrope articles are summaries of gender trope research that was done years before either existed and are part of any introductory feminist theory course."

I call it copy from wikipedia and tvtropes becuase it's almost as if shes reading off of it. Seriously, take these pages open and listen to her speak, it's almost the same. It's pretty much the same trick some students have used on dumber teachers (Iv'e seen it). They take the article, change the wording a bit and maybe the order of the sentences and boom. But you can still tell it's the same source.

"It should also be noted that many educational video series follow a similar pattern, yet I do not see nearly the same backlash against say SciShow or CrashCourse, yet those series are not even applying old material to a new medium, they are just summarizing well established research.  Oh, and those series also take a significant number of donations, yet I have not heard anyone going after them to find out where the money went."

I have never seen the SciShow or CrashCourse, but I'm taking a guess that their non-profit. Wich Anita is not: http://naughtynerdess.tumblr.com/post/79025483221/internet-detectives

Again, never seen either of those shows.

I have talked to your kind of people before, there is nothing I can say that will convince you. And yet you keep on insisting. The thing is, without breaking the law, you cannot find the definitive proof that she has done anything. But I have my reasons to doubt her. Even if your point was valid, that wouldn't still explain what's happening in this article, the lets play incident, her involvement with Handwriting university (an organization under fire for claims of fraud) and her lying about her status as a gamer.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

What does it matter if her business/organization/club/clik/whatever is registered as for profrit or not? There is no rule stating that you must be a non-profit company to make videos dissecting tropes and analyzing media.

I am pretty sure that Mythbusters is a for profit venture.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Being non-profit helps you if the case goes to court, non-profits are more likely to win with a fair use defense compared to commercial use.

Also I bet Mythbusters get permission before they do an episode meaning that they dont even need to use fair use. Permission beats everything, especially if they have a contract and not use an email.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Fair use is a crapshoot whether you are non-profit or not. It could always go both ways.

But I still don't understand why her for-profit status is a mark against her.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Good gravy that use of quotation marks is childish.

Sorry, pet peeve of mine.

I don't think there's any doubt that the footage Sarkeesian uses in her videos (which are not documentaries, by the way) come from various Let's Play videos.  The question is:

Is the way she's using the footage fair use?

I'd say that it is.  Still, it would be good of her to credit the people she's taking the footage (and art) from.  Forget legalities, it's simply the polite thing to do!

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Yes what she is doing is probably fair use, however besides the ethical problems it also raises another question:

If she is using free videos and art what is she doing with the kickstarter funds?

Anita hasn't produced anything which would cost the $6k she was aiming for, much less $160k. This makes here look less like a real feminist and more like a huckster using a cause to make some quick bucks.

Now I will admit that at this point there isn't enough information to say for sure if Anita is a scammer, but if she isn't a little more transparency would help dispel some of the worst accusations that have been leveled at here.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"If she is using free videos and art what is she doing with the kickstarter funds?"

So long as she delivers what she promised, she can do what she wants with the Kickstarter funds.

"Anita hasn't produced anything which would cost the $6k she was aiming for..."

You don't know that.  For all you know, that compensates for lost income while she works on the TvW videos.  Or covers the pile of games she bought.  Or the equipment she says she bought.  Or the staff she said she hired (producer and a part-timer).

But again, it doesn't matter.  As long as she delivers what she promised, she can use the money however she sees fit.

"Now I will admit that at this point there isn't enough information to say for sure if Anita is a scammer..."

There's no information at all to indicated that.  So far, she's delivered exactly what she promised.

"...but if she isn't a little more transparency would help dispel some of the worst accusations that have been leveled at here."

Actually, simple common sense dispels every accusation I've seen leveled at her.  Transparency as to how she's spending the Kickstarter money would be interesting, but it's certainly not required.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

So long as she delivers what she promised, she can do what she wants with the Kickstarter funds.

Relay, you don't think that that somebody that asked for $6k and got $160k should at least put some extra effort in delivering what was promised? Well I can't say I agree with that but it is a valid argument.

You don't know that. For all you know, that compensates for lost income while she works on the TvW videos. Or covers the pile of games she bought. Or the equipment she says she bought. Or the staff she said she hired (producer and a part-timer).

Yes I don't know that. However in another hand for all I know she might have gotten all here material from other peoples work, which been demonstrated that is something that Anita has a history of doing.

Actually, simple common sense dispels every accusation I've seen leveled at her. Transparency as to how she's spending the Kickstarter money would be interesting, but it's certainly not required.

I would say that if anything common is what gives weight to those accusations. After like I mentioned before Anita as a history of using uncredited third party which combined with the lack of transparency raises all sort of questions.

Now to tell you the truth I honestly hope that I'm mistaken and that Anita is actually an honest person just trying to make a few videos for a cause she believes in. I also confess that I'm a bit paranoid about this kind of things (I’ve seen way to many charities which turned out to be scamms It left me cynical to say the least).

That said at the moment everything about TvW seems shady as hell to me.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Relay, you don't think that that somebody that asked for $6k and got $160k should at least put some extra effort in delivering what was promised?

I believe she has done that. Here is her original pitch (with an edit after she reached a number of stretch goals:

With your help, I’ll produce a 5-video series (now expanded to 12 videos) entitled Tropes vs Women in Video Games, exploring female character stereotypes throughout the history of the gaming industry.  This ambitious project will primarily focus on these reoccurring tropes:  

Emphasis mine. She originally planned to do only 5 videos. That got expanded to twelve videos. She also added higher production values as well as a school curriculum. Those can cost a lot more than $6,000 to make. 

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

Yeah, this is more an ethical thing. Fanart is already a grey morass of copyright issues, given that it's technically derivative work, which does not generate its own copyright.

That said, it's plain unprofessional and impolite to use material created by somebody else and not provide credit, even if you have a claim to fair use. I totally support Anita's campaign, but it's disappointing to hear she's not keeping on top of this basic professional courtesy.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

On the other hand, this type of usage is frequently overlooked or outright defended when other people in the game community do it.   It is unlikely this would even be on the radar if the woman was not such a lightning rod for daring to both being female and talking about uncomfortable tropes.

In fact I suspect that if it was someone else this story, if it even got talked about, would be about an artist 'threatening' a gamer for using their image in their collage.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I can't dispute that. There is a huge crowd online, of which gamers are a big part, that are ignorant or disrespectful of copyright. I've been burned by gamers before in seemingly trivial ways - they take your art and dismember it into avatars and forum signatures and guild banners, which the dismemberers take full credit for with no mention to you, and I've had one particular image pasted onto a t-shirt before for sale by some czech site, though I don't know if it actually got any sales.

Luckily I only ever uploaded a really crappy web resolution version of the image, so any resulting print quality would have been laughable. Nothing you post on the web is safe, and I've come to terms with that a long time ago and accepted the risk, but it's tiresome nonetheless to see people take the product of your hard work and pay no basic respect to the creator. Even a simple namedrop and link back would generate some helpful traffic.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

"That said, it's plain unprofessional and impolite to use material created by somebody else and not provide credit, even if you have a claim to fair use."

Would you say that goes for both fan art and official art or only one or the other?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

As a hobby artist, I'd say fanart as well. It may be derivative work, but someone still put time, effort and passion into an homage to their favourite stuff. Credit costs nothing, gives the artists a few more views and ups their market, and shows a little respect. Anita could, after all, have simply used official artwork instead.

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I'll chip in here: I think it should go for any case in which the source isn't otherwise made obvious. In a video talking about a video game, the default assumption is that any art or videos used are from the game or its official promotional materials. As such, citation to the game itself is superfluous. Any art that comes from another source, however, should get a cite (mostly fan works, but possibly also including official derivative works, like a cartoon based on the game).

And on fair use: The use here is certainly transformative, fits the "comment" prong of fair use, and is limited in scope. That would be enough for any court to almost certainly rule in Sarkeesian's favor. But that doesn't affect ethical or academic considerations on proper credit and sourcing. (The one convincing argument I've heard her detractors state is that she should be fully open about her sources.)

Re: Fan Artist Upset Over Feminist Frequency's Use of Her Art

I (with very limited understanding admittedly), would say the transformative argument might not hold. The work Tamara "Cowkitty" Gray made hasn't been changed at all (with the exception of removing a blank background and the small icon in the top right). In fact as it is the whole of the work Cowkitty made it is also not limited in scope (the graphic shown comparing the images does show the whole of Cowkitty's fanart, not a part as you may assume.

The comment side is a little more iffy. If in the future Sarkeesian makes a video about fanart, then the image could be used to comment on gaming's fanart. In that case, it becomes murky. Same with commenting on Dragon's Lair artstyle (but in that case to be a fair comparison of the original work art directly from Dragon's Lair should be used as otherwise my badly drawn art figures could be wrongly used to complain about a game's art).

The thing about fair use is it is a very double-edged sword. It is a defense of admitting guilt but saying that the law allows you. If taken to court you can lose, even if previous cases make you think you should win. The US Copyright office on their webpage reminds everyone to ask first and if you have permission then great, there is no problem. This didn't happen in this case and now a whole murky world is appearing.

EDIT: to make this more clear, think of a murder case. Fair use is like a justified self-defense plea. You admit wrongdoing, but in the situation the law permits it. However if you don't fulfill the criteria you have just give hard evidence that you are guilty.

 
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