Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Heart Is Pure

I might as well get this sort of thing out of the way immediately.

On this blog, I will be using images and video clips that I do not hold the rights too. I will be doing this liberally, I imagine, either posting them on this site, or linking to them somewhere else. As the Wild West nature of the internet continues, I probably don’t even need to explain or justify or discuss my use of these sorts of images and clips. It’s like jaywalking, or wrestling gorillas while wearing cowboy boots. Every body's doing it, right?

But personally, as someone who does (upon occasion) actual make a work of “art” (is animation “art”?), and wants to get PAID for making that work of art, I really need to explain where I stand on this topic, so I can sleep at night, and so you don’t call your lawyer (I’m talking to you, Steven Spielberg).

First, anything I write about will be to shed light or insights upon a topic. Take my earlier Barnaby entry, for example. It’s my hope that by writing about Barnaby, it will lead more people to seek out the strip, which might lead to a publisher actually reprinting the strip. And that’s good for Barnaby (and whomever has financial stakes in the property). What about a piece I write that does not speak favourably of a topic? I still feel that even by writing something critical about a flaw in “something” will still lead readers to check out that “something,” so they can decide if they agree with me. Again, there’s no such thing as bad press. And any negative postings will be thoroughly backed up by carefully considered evidence.

I won't post an image or video, or link to an image or video that is hosted somewhere else if, in preparing that posting, I can verify that the artist or rights holder in question does not want their work posted or linked to. And if that artist or rights holder wants me to take something down, I will do it in a heartbeat.

And of course, if I'm profiling a local or indie artist that I think needs exposure, I will certainly credit the hell out of the work in question.

All this perhaps seemingly pointless hand-writing mumbo-jumbo stems from my own efforts in the current digital domain to ensure, to the best of my abilities, that I get paid for my animation. It's a wonderful thing that someone can post one my films (not that there's many to post), and the world can watch it. I can then be seen by literally millions of viewers, and that can generate any type of positive professional contacts and relationships.

But what if I didn't post the film online? This has happened to me recently, and when I contacted the website (that claims to SHARE its revenue with artists, 50-50) to tell them that I didn't post my own film and as a result am getting absolutely NO money from the deal, I received absolute silence in return. No traditional, "brick and mortar" shop could get away with this, but online it's happening all over the place. That being said, the film has still been viewed several thousands of times, and all the credits are intact, so hey- great exposure, right? But oh yeah, what about that money I'm owed?

As it happens, this film now has a "real" distributor, so let them (the distributor) be the bad cop and make a fuss. Because since they now hold the rights to my film, it's theirs to generate money with, and if anyone else is showing it, they are infringing on the distributor's chance to make themselves (and me) money. Also, I can only imagine the distributor has a lawyer or two at its disposal (which is one or two more than I have on hand).

I like it when others player bad cop for me. It comes from having a lot of big brothers growing up on the occasionally hostile playground.

Last point to make me sleep better? I'm not making a cent off this blog, and thus am not making money off the hard work of other artists.

What if I land a big juicy book deal out of this blog in a year's time? Will I share the proceeds with all the artists whose work has helped make this blog wonderful?

At that point, you'll have to speak to the very expensive lawyer that I will have acquired, mere moments after inking said deal.

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