How's that for a title?
I know, I'm in jeopardy of losing my ditzy persona here (trust me it's not an act) but I've struggled with this post for a couple of weeks so I had to slip this line from a song in here.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right. ~
from Scarlet Begonias.
I was REALLY flummoxed how to write this article and then BAM this happened.
|Photo by Bellisseria Slenderman|
I was doing research on my region release stalking for GoH story (aka standing around) and I was spotted and photographed by one of Bellisseria's most terrifying monsters, Bellisseria Slenderman!
Well I ran of course and I'm amazing fast when scared witless so I ditched him and then curiosity got the best of me so I went to the Slenderman Gallery (slurl
) and there is my picture! Wow! Love this monster!
I'm pretty sure I've raved about how awesome this place is before- I can't remember if it was the impossible to find BBB stamp, or the fact that somehow there's a rollercoaster in a home in Belli and it works, or the impossible to find eight pages hunt, or the impossible to find pumpkin, or...
You get the idea- this is one seriously clever monster. Or spokesmouse, whichever of them does this stuff is a genius. It's so much fun in fact it's a destination in the destination guide
I am totally totally honored to be in The Slenderman Gallery and I hope he will come dance at Riverbridge any time he wants! (We will catch him dancing I just know it!)
So, as I mentioned above, I was rather stuck how to write this, because it was an article about Art with a really ugly underbelly and you all know I don't like to talk about ugly or mean.
A couple of weeks ago someone tipped me off about an "Art Gallery" and the owner was having a huge party to celebrate a big exhibit of his own work. The ad for the exhibit featured a moon that looks a lot like the moon that Bryn Oh made in her amazing The Brittle Epoch. There was no mention that it was Bryn Oh's stuff, just the guy and his party and gallery stuff.
I don't want to get bogged down in detail slamming this gallery-owning deejay-slash-artist, because frankly his Flickr ad is two weeks old and has 28 faves as of this moment and I've been to the gallery several times now to write this and it is a ghost town. Stepping on small potatoes is not my thing, but we'll get to why this is here.
So this "exhibit" is a series of pictures the guy took at Bryn Oh's The Brittle Epoch
and he is charging 500 lindens each for them. No, he's not a particularly good photographer, someone really needs to introduce him to some fundamentals of composition like the rule of thirds. I have no idea why he thinks he can sell his own pictures of Bryn's work for 500 when people can actually just go buy something actually by Bryn Oh at her store
In addition to the hubris required to think his work is worth selling, this same fellow actually put his name on his pictures with the copyright symbol next to it.
with the copyright symbol next to it. like he'd done something bigger than ctrl-shift-s
Can you imagine?
You'll notice that there's no picture or slurl here, or even a mention a clue where you'll find this galley because I won't encourage any of it. I'm under no illusion he actually sells any work, his place is empty and his Flickr stream is on life support, but the more I wander around in Second Life musing about where Art ends and everything else begins, I really feel we need to put the brakes on some things and have a discussion around ownership.
By the way, go see the original- The Brittle Epoch
Ok, so like I said, kicking this lil gallery schmuck is not my idea of fun and normally I like to focus on positive energy so I was incredibly grateful the universe decided that today was the day that Bellisseria Slenderman would find me and put me in his gallery.
So let's back up to Slendie, remember him?
Slenderman has an interesting history with intellectual property. He's generally considered to be the result of online discussion and "creepypasta" internet fiction but courts have awarded the copyright to some guy because that's what courts do, but it's very much a gray area and still the subject of some pretty interesting reading by some pretty high level law figures such as Betsy Rosenblatt, former director of the Center for Intellectual Property at Whittier Law School and author of Who Will Speak for The Slender Man?: Dialogism and Dilemmas in Character Copyright.
The Bellisseria Slenderman is very much in the spirit of fanfiction and creepypasta, this avatar has its own thing and it's glorious! It's not like he's copying the other Bellisseria Slenderman because there wasn't one. Though it builds on lore established elsewhere, this is fair use.
The Fair Use Clause.
In the US, we have the copyright act and section 107 dictates "fair use" which gives some wiggle room to people who want to use someone else's work as a basis for their own.
For criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research and stuff we can use other people's work pretty much as needed. A court will look at these factors-
-purpose and character of the use (was it trying to make money?)
-nature of the copyrighted work (copying the format too or translating it into new formats?)
-amount of the original used in new work (this one is huge in music)
-financial impact on original work. (it's all about the benjamins)
The deejayartist who ripped off Bryn Oh's thing fails most of these criteria, he's selling the work, he's taken 3d art and turned it into 2d art with very small alterations in color and such, it's entirely hers and it's doubtful anyone buys his stuff or even knows about it but if it were worth pursuing she could get it all taken down easily.
Slenderman on the other hand, has created his own niche as a 3d manifestation of a character from another art form entirely. His "monstering" around Bellisseria and occasionally lurking menacingly at events is new to the character as is his good will- remember this is the monster that delivered Christmas presents in a sleigh last winter! All if that aside, the bottom line is the bottom line here- Slendie doesn't sell himself, it's non-commercial use, in fact I'm pretty sure Slendie spends quite a bit on us with the lil Slendie bears and free scooters and amusement park rides and everything else he provides to us.... for free.
Which brings us back to why I would struggle with this so much in writing this article.
Well, it's about me. I do what this sleazy dj does- I take pictures of other people's stuff.
I don't sell them, and my intent is to highlight the artists and the picturesque locations that I visit. I often spend hours finding the right angles, derendering things that detract from the composition, and then photoshopping before a picture ends up on Flickr. I always am very clear with credit as to where you can find whatever I'm showing or who made it if it's Art.
But wrapping myself in the blanket of Fair Use itches a little after seeing this horrible man's gallery. I don't want to be that at all. This has been troubling me for a couple of weeks, which you may have noticed in my lack of output on Flickr lately.
The other thing for me here is the nature of how we spend our time in Second Life. To this point I have skated on the edges of consumer and producer- I know the very basics of how to build and create mesh and used to make a fine SL living making skins and clothes in the days of texturing standard avatars, but lately when I'm wandering around yet another lovely region using the same trees and pick-up truck as the one I just left, the voice inside of me is asking, "wouldn't you rather be making something?"
The answer is yes.
I said during my post for the holidays that I was making some changes here at The SLuggle, and so far the only noticeable one is the shiny new profile I added to the front page because people that don't follow me on Flickr were having trouble figuring out who to complain to haha.
That was just housekeeping, the real change will be content. I will still visit gorgeous places and look for awesome Art but you will also hopefully see more how-to and "look at this cool thing!" kind of posts out of me.
And more words, apparently.
Thank you Slenderman, and Bryn Oh, from all of us whose hearts you touch through your effort.