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Gender Diversity / Politics in games (was Tropes Vs. Women)


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March 8th: people from around the world who share an interest in feminism and videogames came together today to mark International Women's Day by... arguing about whether someone should have sought permission before using an image in their youtube video.

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Easy fuck up to make, probably just did a Google search and picked the first thing that worked, assuming it was original artwork for the game in question. Anita won't apologise as that's an admission of guilt and could be used against her in any legal dispute, so it's hardly surprising that she's kept quiet. The artist either needs to lawyer up or shut up really.

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It looks pretty close although once it's blown up you can see the differences. In the images used to promote the videos I'd assumed that it was original artwork from Dragon's Lair.

Easy mistake for Anita to make. Then again as a backer of the Kickstarter I would say that wouldn't I.

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It looks pretty close although once it's blown up you can see the differences. In the images used to promote the videos I'd assumed that it was original artwork from Dragon's Lair.

Easy mistake for Anita to make. Then again as a backer of the Kickstarter I would say that wouldn't I.

It would be easy to make, if it didn't require removing the artist watermark.

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Actually, as I read it, she isn't clear whether she wants an apology, an acknowledgement, a payment or the image replacing.

Where did you get that from? In her updated post she mentions that she is giving the opportunity for 'Fair Use' to be established before issuing takedown orders. And in the first paragraph of her initial post she talks about how stealing work robs her of her voice and how that content is used. I think she wants credit if it is established as 'Fair Use' but specifically says she doesn't want payment.

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I just don't get the all-or-nothing absolutism of some commentators. I think she's correct in the portrayal of women in games and media but can't agree with the appropriation of assets without permission. These two positions are not mutually exclusive or even related.

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I just don't get the all-or-nothing absolutism of some commentators. I think she's correct in the portrayal of women in games and media but can't agree with the appropriation of assets without permission. These two positions are not mutually exclusive or even related.

I agree, it does tend to crop up time and again how all or nothing this whole topic is, it's so divisive. I sometimes wonder if that's why issues that lie around the topic are more discussed, than actual understanding and analysis of what the videos say.

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Given that the target audience for those blogs is the same howling adolescent nightmare that wants Sarkeesian executed for using the word "problematic" to describe things she has a problem with, I don't think we'll see much nuanced discussion of gender issues from them in the future

I'd expect more from Eurogamer though. They're quite quiet on the whole thing.

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I just don't get the all-or-nothing absolutism of some commentators.

That's just a problem with discussion of any topic on the internet, hell almost any topic debated anywhere. Everyone is yelling so hard that they are right that they don't take time to read and think about the other persons opinion.
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You know, I don't think I've seen any efforts, aside from earlier in this thread, to discuss the content of her videos.

Doesn't say much for the likes of Polygon, The Escapist or others really.

Given that the target audience for those blogs is the same howling adolescent nightmare that wants Sarkeesian executed for using the word "problematic" to describe things she has a problem with, I don't think we'll see much nuanced discussion of gender issues from them in the future

I'd expect more from Eurogamer though. They're quite quiet on the whole thing.

I can't speak for the others but Polygon is at the forefront of these issues right now, they continue to have articles talking about gender equality and representation, they bring it up in reviews too if a game is problematic.

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Weirdly, apparently Fem Freq is not on the California list of non-profit companies which makes some sense of the slightly odd comment to that artist that "Feminist Frequency projects are non-profit". Odd to make the distinction about projects. Anyway, bit of a mess.

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...which they're not (didn't someone even quote a tweet from her producer on the previous page pointing that out?), because they would naturally instead claim it on the basis that their work is transformative, and seeks to advance public knowledge rather than profit by emulating or superseding the original work - in exactly the same way they'd claim it if Nintendo tried to make a claim against their use of Princess Peach's image. There've been a bunch of fair use cases where the end product generated profit for the second artist but the original copyright owner wasn't able to prove misuse of their work.

This is such a ridiculous "controversy", though. Badly handled, yes, but still ridiculous.

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I can't speak for this nebulous "most people" (or indeed for the mysterious "some commentators" against who Festoon was railing earlier) but I think whoever was doing it I'd probably opine that it looked like fair use but it's a shame how the conversation turned out between the two people involved - and wouldn't life be easier and problems be easier to resolve if there wasn't an army of people on the internet ready to jump onto any disagreement and blow it up no matter how little they actually have to do with it.

Copyright isn't there to make it so that nobody but the creator can ever do anything with the stuff they made. Copyright holders like to pretend this is the case sometimes, but it's not.

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Thing is, the legal status is irrelevant. They did a bad thing and then acted like a twat.

I can understand why that can cloud people's opinions of a person, regardless of any good work they've done elsewhere.

Happens in all walks of life. If people in the public eye make "errors of judgement" they get it in the neck. Politicians, celebrities, sportsmen/women, Internet commentators on videogames.

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I can't speak for this nebulous "most people" (or indeed for the mysterious "some commentators" against who Festoon was railing earlier) but I think whoever was doing it I'd probably opine that it looked like fair use but it's a shame how the conversation turned out between the two people involved - and wouldn't life be easier and problems be easier to resolve if there wasn't an army of people on the internet ready to jump onto any disagreement and blow it up no matter how little they actually have to do with it.

Muhh - mildest "railing against" ever.

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(apologies, I'm veering off-topic but wanted to explain my earlier off-hand comment because I feed bad about just throwing it out there without explanation - in my defence I was writing it on the worst phone keyboard ever made!)

My point was that unless you say who you're arguing against then it makes it difficult for anyone to engage with your commentary on any useful level. It's easy to point out exactly which opinions you're talking about, and choosing not to do so makes your statements less easy to scrutinise, and it's also a tactic used widely by concern trolls and such.

Plenty of people are looking for reasons to discount any voice in support of feminist projects (or indeed pro-minority project in general) and by not taking the time to make your points clearly then you can inadvertently give those people an excuse to decide you were talking about someone you weren't, and then they will happily use that as an excuse to ignore that other voice in future. That might sound paranoid, but it's how public debates like this often operate.

Just to be clear I'm not accusing you of deliberately obfuscating anything - aside from anything else I think we should always err on the side of taking people's comments in good faith until there's no doubt we're mistaken, as evidenced by several previous conversations in this very thread - but this time I think you just happened to have used a construction that lends itself to devious debating!

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http://www.destructoid.com/another-artist-speaks-about-having-their-work-used-by-feminist-frequency-271996.phtml

amara "Cowkitty" Gray Smith made some noise last week about her artwork being used by video blogger Feminist Frequency without her permission. It turns out this wasn't an entirely unique situation. Artist Heather "Dinobot" Sheppard (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Chase) was in a similar position not that long ago. She had created an image of Claire from Thomas Was Alone, gained permission from the game's creator to sell it, and put it up on Redbubble for purchase. The image was later used in one of Feminist Frequency's videos without Heather's knowledge or permission. Her full explanation of what happened, her thoughts on "fair use" and more can be found below.

Her open letter

"I would like to state that I do not want to attack Anita Sarkeesian, and I do not want to fuel the hate machine that's directed at her. Bullying someone because you don't agree with their opinion is puerile. If you want to respond to someone's opinion, then please take a leaf from the lovely KiteTale's book, and produce a well thought-out and intelligent response

What I have a problem with, is the use of 'fair usage' as an argument for using an artists work without permission. While 'Fair Usage' is a valid argument for using images of a well-recognised brand to illustrate a point, using a little-known artist's work is a prime example of the False-equivalence of fair usage, whether that art is fan art or not. A viewer might know what the artwork is referencing - but they don't know who CREATED the artwork. That image might have over a million views - if it's not credited properly, it means absolutely nothing for that artist. It's not "exposure". Its exploitation. By not contacting that artist first and asking permission to use that image, you are not giving them the opportunity to give you (for example) the correct web address for their website.

'Fair Usage' is a US-only Doctrine. It certainly does not apply to artists in the UK (my home country). I think the UK Copyright Service (UKCS) states it correctly, particularly on the last line-Copyright and the Internet Material that can be found on the Internet will of course also be subject to copyright. There are a number of licensing schemes that are popular with online publication and allow some free (normally non-commercial) use, the most notable being GPL and Creative Commons. If you are making/distributing copies of work that you find on the Internet you should check that the licence for the work (or instructions on the site) allow this and that the site you obtained the work from is itself acting legally. If there is no such licence, do not use the work until you have the permission of the copyright owner.

In the case of Anita Sarkeesian using my work without permission, she first (allegedly) credited me on the fast scrolling credits, which I personally could not read. When I first asked her to remove the image, she refused, and instead credited me in the video's description, to an old web account I had not used for quite a while. After a few more emails, to her credit, she replaced that link with a link to my actual website, but by then, it was a bit too late.

I created the Superclaire poster to celebrate Mike Bithell's success with Thomas Was Alone. My Partner was a colleague of Mike's, previous to his move to full-time Indie development, and we watched TWA go from this cool little prototype game, to this wonderfully narrative story about quadrangles with so much character and personality that I didn't think squares and rectangles were capable of. If you've ever met Mike, you'll realise that he's a genuinely nice guy - if anyone is deserving of Indie success, it's him. I just wanted to make something for a friend to show how much I liked his creation.

Mike then gave me permission to sell the Superclaire image on Redbubble, after several people asked both of us, whether it was available as a poster. To this date, I've made £4.12 on it, and that is mostly after I replied to Destructoid's twitter account. I have seen so many people ask for it as a poster and t-shirt - and no-one seems to know that it's available as one. To Mike's absolute credit, he's helped promote it on Twitter, but it won't have received anywhere near as many views as it did on Anita Sarkeesian's video.

All I ask is this; If you want to use an illustration in your video/website/blog etc - ask for the artist's permission first. They can give you an appropriately sized copy, along with a set of links and will most likely be more than happy to promote your video/website/blog in return. If the artist says 'no', then there's probably a very good reason for that, and you should respect that. If you can't find the original artist, try dragging and dropping the image into google image search - most likely, you will find them there. This is also a great way to see if anyone has stolen your work!"

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Fuck's sake; one accidentally included piece of fanart in the precise style of Dragon's Lair in the trailer for the series was an oversight, but an understandable one. Repeatedly including art, particularly art that is obviously not in-game art, without seeking the permission of the author or even checking whether its status as a commercial piece of art, is sheer negligence. Very poor form from Anita.

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This artist (I haven't looked for her drawing obviously) drew some Thomas Was Alone character art? A fucking rectangle? People want their copyright respected for copying a drawing of someone else's rectangle?

You could click on the link up in Unofficial Who's post for the artist's 'drawing of a rectangle' if you like. As that's apparently beyond you though, here it is.

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