Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fan Or Fiction: A thought for those that stay hungry

I came across an interesting story the other day concerning an incident that took place at the NYCC last weekend. Apparently, a young man approached the artist table with a few prints for the artist to sign. Once it was noted that the prints were run-offs from the young man ( and not produced by the artist or Marvel), the artist refused to sign them, citing his ability to make a living was compromised by accepting to do such a thing. This prompted the young man to get angry and storm away from the crowded table. The admittedly flustered Marvel artist was mainly peeved at the fact that someone would pirate the prints out of fear that they would wind up on EBay or Craig's list, as well as the fact that the work he presents on his page'... is done mainly for himself w/o any pay from his company...'

Well, we here at Planet Griffin completely understand the piracy issue is a dicey one at best, and that in today's cash-strapped times, most people are financially forced into reconsidering the ideas of obligation over impulse--- but secretly, those same people still dream about desire before duty--- simply put: if the opportunity presents itself, people are gonna get it how they can get it! A Fact Undeniable.

Getting protective of your work is something I understand, but the context is different (something I'll address in a moment...). Take a minute to consider a few things before you go shell to your next appearance on the convention set...

For starters, why do you display work online in the first place? Obvious answer is to be noticed, of course... You're displaying your work on the WORLDWIDE WEB, where the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly exists. It's a little pretentious to assume that someone out there isn't gonna try something--- whether fan or fiction. You want a fan base without the hangups that come with it... Can't have it both ways... If a fan gets inventive for a memento online, you can't trip... As long as the RIGHT-CLICK exists, none of us are safe.

It's all part of the job.

Also, why not protect yourself with code blockers or other safeguards if your fears are that bad?
Hackers are gonna do what they've gotta do regardless of who says what, so what can you do?

Now, in the matter of someone ad-hocking 'your' work, remember: someone approached you with an interpretation of work that you don't even own! If it's Marvel work, then diffusing that situation would've been easy: " I'm sorry, but by signing a bootleg print of Marvel work, I'm opening myself up to liability issues with the company should any of this show up on eBay or something..." Put the ball in his court and wait for the answer. The difference I mentioned earlier is the work itself... Marvel work is more of a corporate entity, as opposed to a personal piece of work like a self-owned character.

Think about how that sounds: If someone IS gonna take a ripped print--- of a character property THAT I DON"T OWN--- and sell it on eBay, is it YOUR pocket that takes the hit, or the company? Especially when the company is paying you for your SKILLS, and not for your defense of their policies. Again, the liability issue... Check your contracts' fine print, I guess...

The key element of commercialism in big business revolves around the selling of style--- that's how it works. Sigh... The battle of style versus substance continues...

I'm not knocking interpretations, mind you, but unless someone approached you with a HellBoy rip and you're Mike Mignola, don't freak out to badly. Spider-man has a LOOOONG line of artists standing behind him (take it how you will), and it will remain that way LOOOONG after we're gone. Piracy is like that as well.

Keep yer flagon of ale raised high, Maties!

After reading something like this, people are bound to think that I'm an anti-corporate, anti-mainstream, tried-and failed model of a disgruntled postal worker. Not at all. I'm actually a big fan. This is merely one-man's opinion standing in the face of the obvious. Just remember that its the fans AND the foes ( that's right, haters too) that keep us in business. Period.
Now, if you'll excuse me--- I've got new RZA in my treasure chest;)


Brian Miller said...

Very good points. I came across that story on DA as well and thought it was pretty strange.

Mark Brooks said...

Actually, I agree with your blog for the most part and I do accept the internet for what it is and have no delusions about why I'm here and why I post my work. My living is made on my reputation and how my work is percieved. i.e.- the more popular I am, them more my artwork is in demand and the potential for higher monetary gain is reached. But, I do have to take issue with a couple of statements you made mostly because they are assumptions on your part and never said in my original journal. Firstly, the man that came to me was not a young man, he was easily between 35-45 years of age. I have had many young people come to me with simple photocopies they printed off a inexpensive home printer. These are usually of low quality and the person rarely has more than a single copy for me to sign. For the same reason I always sketch free for kids, I usually sign them because it's obvious to me that these will likely just be pinned to a wall. Is this an assumption on my part? sure, but it's a gray area we all have to work in and I like to ere on the side of the fan whenever possible.
Secondly, you assume I have a problem with people downloading my artwork to their personal computer with the handy-dandy 'right-click-save'. This is actually not true and I have long ago accepted this is something that can and will be done on a regular basis. I even hear tell of people saving artwork and printing it to me hung on their wall or for reference later when creating their own work. Again, I have absolutely no problem with this and like the idea that my artwork is appreciated or can aid someone else in creating their own work. The problem comes when I sense a chance that a person is taking advantage of my work and profit from it and even then I don't get angry. Had this person said "okay, thanks." this incident would go unmentioned. My issue came when the person had the audacity to get angry, plain and simple. I long ago accepted the good with the bad when it comes to the internet and people's motivations for doing what they do but I also know it is within my right to stand up for what I believe it and not participate in someone's actions when I don't agree with them. Could I have handled it differently? yeah, but as I said, I was flustered at the fact that this was happening in the first place and had little time to gather my thought. The benefit of hindsight that you and I both have with our respective journals gives us the ability to think long and hard and come up with various solutions to the situation but I dare say you might not be as quick on your feet had this happened to you with no notice or ability to plan your words.
Thanks for your thoughts and I hope to chat with you again!