May 082016
 

beauty_and_the_beast_2010_by_j_scott_campbell-d2z2pqgIn the recent post on Kukuruyo, a commenter asked me:

He violated terms of services with two separate companies, DeviantArt and Project Wonderful, of his own free will and choice. He’s making money taking paid commissions creating nudes of a Marvel character without permission, a character who happens to be underage and whose name is literally synonymous with the company (textbook copyright infringement AND trademark disparagement) and selling to advertisers who have no idea their ads will show up on pages with drawings of a nude 16 year old girl, implying that the advertisers support such imagery.

Exactly how much sympathy are we supposed to have for this guy?

I dunno if you should have any sympathy, to be honest. He’s a GamerGater, and so has my antipathy right off the bat. There really isn’t much I like about him. But just because I dislike someone, or disagree with their politics, that doesn’t give me (or anyone) free license to destroy their lives. Accusing someone of pedophilia and creating child porn is exactly that. My contention is that nothing he has done is deserving of that level of attack, and vigilante justice is not something we should be encouraging anyway.

Terms of Service – I dunno about Project Wonderful, but c’mon, that’s a joke for DeviantArt. Half of DeviantArt is fanart, and it’s not like porn is uncommon. And by invoking copyright infringement you’re implicitly siding with America’s absolutely broken copyright laws, and declaring all fanworks should be purged. Is that *really* the position you want to be taking? Because that’s far more detestable than anything Kukuruyo has done.

This seems to be entirely a case of selective enforcement. Common activities are made illegal, but the laws are never enforced. UNTIL someone draws the attention of a group that wants to suppress or destroy them, and then it’s easy to do so because all they have to do is persecute for any one of the myriad things that everyone does. It is arbitrary power disguised as rule of law. Are *you* in possession of any music or art that you didn’t legally purchase? This is the sort of tyranny I find despicable, and just because it’s aimed at someone I dislike doesn’t make it ok!

The one grey area I waver on is the fact that he did make some money on the side off the fanart. That’s sorta shady, I guess? But as original pieces of art that are his own creation, I have a hard time siding with the international mega-corporations, over the guy doing sketches in his free time. I strongly believe that the claiming of cultural myths for exclusive use by media corporations is an abomination.

And at the risk of repeating myself, the people who are attacking Kukuruyo seem to me to be practicing selective enforcement. Did they disparage Scalzi for writing Star Trek fanfiction? Did they encourage Universal Studios to sic their legal attack hounds on Peter Watts for writing The Thing fanfiction? Both of those were Hugo finalists, and I don’t recall any such hostile acts.

So no, don’t bother with sympathy. But don’t pretend that what’s been happening to Kukuruyo is anything but reprehensible.

 

EDIT: For an example of this selective enforcement, I present Mark Oshiro. I am aware of him because I follow Matthew Foster, who was married to Eugie Foster before her untimely death. Mark Oshiro stole her work “In The End, He Catches Her” and read it for his Patreon supporters, as well as putting it on YouTube. He never asked for permission, he never paid for audio rights, he simply stole them, and profited from that. And this is a thing he had been doing for quite some time. But Mark Oshiro is on the same political side as those who are currently attacking Kukuruyo. He is a darling of theirs. He has been a guest of honor at at least one con. No one called for his head (aside from a rather incensed Matthew Foster, but he never got any traction with that). Some people even bemoaned the fact that they can’t vote for Mark as Best FanWriter this year. I suppose it’s a lot easier to steal from individual starving artists, as they don’t have a team of lawyers to sic on you. :/

  12 Responses to “Selective Enforcement”

  1. “Common activities are made illegal”

    Since when is making and selling drawings of nude 16-year-old girls common? Go through Artist’s Alley at any decent-sized convention and ask how many artists would take a commission to do that.

    As for DeviantArt, here’s what they have to say on the subject: http://help.deviantart.com/248/

    Works depicting the likeness of real children or fan art which concerns characters presented as being under the age of eighteen (18) in their original context are subject to several restrictions which are intended to disallow the sexual portrayal of children in the work.

    Fan art of fictional characters that are considered underage or children in their original context may not be depicted with exaggerated breasts, buttocks, or genital areas nor may they be depicted in any erotic manner or in any sexually provocative scene or manner of dress.

    Kukuruyo claiming that he’s being singled out for his personal views is like claiming he’s being arrested for speeding for his political views– pure bollocks. I, for one, would like to know what leftist made him violate the contracts he signed. He broke the rules. He now has a higher profile, thanks to his Hugo nomination. If he continues to speed now that he’s driving a flashier car, he can’t complain about getting pulled over.

    I mean, can you imagine the scene in Marvel’s editorial offices? “Hey, the Hugo nominations are out! I wonder who these new artists are, I’ve never heard of them before. Let’s go look at their websites and see if any of them are worth hirin– oh. Oh, no. No. Oh, HELL no. What’s Legal’s extension…?”

    • You’re aware that Kukuruyo is from Spain and that the legal age of consent there is 14 yes? It’s not child porn there. Also many in the US would agree. It’s not of an actual child. No child was harmed in its creation. Not to mention many states have legal consent ages of 16.

      • You are aware that the laws for age of consent for sexual activity and the laws for appearing in nude photos are two different sets of laws, right? For example, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean I can publish or even possess nude photos of a 16 year old in New Jersey.

        You are also aware that Kukuruyo is hosting his web site on an American server, which subjects him to American laws?

    • I’d also expect you to treat Shadman the same and send people after them or else I might assume some hypocrisy.

      • TBH, I’d really prefer if instead of treating everyone equally shittily, we instead treated everyone equally tolerantly.

      • Shadman hasn’t broken any contract with Project Wonderful, he uses JuicyAds, who are apparently fine with it. Kukuruyo did. I have no idea what Shadman posts on DeviantArt, if anything. And only the copyright or trademark holder can go after someone for violation of copyright or trademark. Most ISPs don’t have rules about it, preferring to work with DMCA notifications, which again can only come from the copyright or trademark holder.

    • Have you met the internet? Or DeviantArt? Making MLP-porn is common, and I have no idea what “age” the Mane Six are supposed to be. Somewhere around the equivalent of high-school age I guess, if we take Equestria Girls as indicative.

      Seriously though, is this the hill you’re making your stand on? The supposed age of a drawing of a fictional character? If so, I think you may have to seriously consider that you’ve already lost.

      • Funny, I was thinking the same thing about kukuruyo: is this the hill he’s making his stand on? All this, with possibly much more on the way, for a character he doesn’t even own? He could have just taken down the image himself. But now it will be a matter of pride for him, and he’ll keep it up until he gets slapped down, either by Marvel or by the law.

        Which, sooner or later, will happen. Especially if he keeps getting legal advice from Gamergaters.

        • As I’m sure you’re aware, what is legal and what is ethical are two different things, and sadly they often don’t overlap.

          I come from the fan community, and I believe strongly in the public’s right to engage in transformative works. That the media dragons can corrupt the law to protect their interests doesn’t make it right. I find your might-makes-right argument to be… well, “repugnant” isn’t exactly right, but it’s very close.

  2. I will give kukuruyo this much: he could just take down the artwork and try to go back to Project Wonderful. He’s learning the adage, “It’s not a principle until it costs you money.” Now the question is: just how principled is he willing to be?

  3. Just saw your edit. It wouldn’t be that hard any copyright holder to remove Mark Oshiro’s offending YouTube videos, a simple takedown notice is all that’s required. As I don’t see Eugie’s story there, I presume that’s happened.

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