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Advice Needed - Kiriban Art Problems

First, I'd like to say I'm a first time poster, long time observer, of this community, and I'd hoped I'd never have to post anything here myself but it would appear my luck has run out. I need some help.

If I've done anything wrong I apologize.

I'm seeking advice regarding a situation that I'm honestly still a bit floored turned out how it did.

It is in regards to a Kiriban I hosted on deviantART, the winner of that kiriban, and the art created as a result.

I'll try and summarize the situation as best I can. We've both exchanged quite a few words between each other at this point.

I'm not really out to post a Beware on this person, but I would like advice to know whether I've handled things okay or not, and if I need to do things differently now and in the future.

If it is felt that a Beware is warranted, while I'm reluctant to stir things up more, I will if need be.



I hosted a kiriban on deviantART with the goal pageview being 80,000. I posted the journal stating what art was being offered, the rules and a link to my NON-Commission TOS/Rules.

The kiriban was won, and when I let the winner know via email I made sure they were clear that they'd be getting a graphite drawing and re-linked the rules/TOS and said that as long as they were cool with everything we'd proceed.

They did express concern to my rule that states: "I will always be posting all kiriban art to my galleries". Evidently the winner is worried about art theft and that's why the rule concerned them, but in the next sentence after they expressed their concern they stated that it was such a great opportunity to get art that of course they agreed to the rule.

I did my best to address their concern anyway and to try and put them at east by letting them know that I would always do everything within my power to keep the art safe. I never once agreed NOT to post the art and to keep it "private".

After that the issue of posting the art in my gallery and art theft was not brought up again. Not until I'd posted the art to my gallery.

At which point I received a note on deviantART from the winner and at first they seemed really happy and pleased with how it'd turned out. However, at the bottom of the note they asked if I would do them one favor if I didn't mind...delete the art from my gallery.

I did my best to be kind and polite but stand my ground and told them that I'd like to keep the art up but again they had my word that I would protect it with everything I've got.

It was watermarked, and yes, I did mistakenly upload the full-size watermarked piece at first, but when I was attaching the files to an email for her a short while later I noticed that I'd forgotten to size it down and went back and fixed it.

Well, my response was not what they wanted to hear at all.

I received an angry email that in short told me that I was treating them like garbage by keeping the art up and making it as easy as I possibly could for every art thief on the internet to just come and take the art as their own.

They also told me things like they would have never expected me to be this type of person and how I've made things horrible for them right from the beginning.

I pointed out where the rules had been made abundantly available to them, where they had agreed to the rule that said I'd be posting the art to my gallery, and that if they had not been okay with that rule at all they should have never said they agreed with it.

The response I received to that email wasn't any better.

I'm now also told that I ignored many of their kiriban wishes/details in the first place, I didn't show WIPS or revisions, and that they were kind and polite the whole time and didn't even complain about all the mistakes and ignored wishes in regards to their kiriban art. That I still treated them like trash the entire time and that there is a word for people like me but they won't be using it because unlike me they don't treat people like trash...

They also stated that it doesn't matter whether they agreed to, or even read my Kiriban rules or not, because there never was a legal contract between us.

Basically that my rules don't matter.

Just because they have either changed their mind now, or never agreed with the rule in the first place, doesn't mean it doesn't apply.

They then proceeded to site legal information to me which included how my rules/TOS wasn't legit because I hosted the rules in one place (at the time deviantART) and took the information for the kiriban in another (my email).

At the end they tell me that they've thought about this for a while and have decided to have a talk with their lawyer regarding the situation.

So, yeah...apparently they're now seeking legal advice to see what they can do to have the art removed.

The advice I'd like to know is if I did anything wrong? Is there anything I could have done better? How should I handle situations like this in the future? Especially with a commissioner.

Also, should I remove the art? It does depict her character and that's one thing that has me uneasy at the moment.

I haven't posted it to my FurAffinity or Weasyl galleries because I'm afraid of stirring things up further, but I don't like feeling like I'm being threatened into anything either.

However, I'm worried I may be pushing myself into a bad situation further by being stubborn.

I've never had this kind of thing happen before and I'd really like to be prepared in case something like this happens with a commissioner or anyone else in the future.

So any advice would be wonderful and I appreciate your time and effort in advance if you so choose to offer any.

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Comments

( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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epiceternity
Nov. 4th, 2013 11:18 am (UTC)
Now in my experience pageview kiribans are usually free gift art so assume it was free in this case too. If this person is making such a fuss over free gift art then it sounds like they're going to be unreasonable to deal with. So probably best to waste any more time on them, if they keep harassing you then you may need to block them. .

As for removing or keeping the image, that's entirely up to you as the copyright holder. I know there will be people here would say not to remove it on principle and that you shouldn't be bulled into removing it. On the other hand, if having the image in your gallery is uncomfortable then by all means remove it. I think you were within your rights to upload it as pageview kiribans are a kind of contest so showing that the winner received the prize is always a good idea.

As for future advice, I see that you mentioned that you made the rules clear from the start (what they will receive, if there's any wips or corrections, how the image will be used etc) so that's definitely good to always do. Without seeing the actual email contents I can't comment on any issues or other ways things could have been expressed.
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC)
Yes, the art was definitely free, only thing the winner had to do was catch the right page view with a screenshot and get it to me before anyone else.

Seeing the comments here has made me feel much better in regards to this situation. I don't think I will remove the art, and I may go ahead and post it in my other two galleries as well.

I did my very best to make the rules as available as I could right from the start. The only thing I didn't have included that they brought up in the last email was whether any WIPS or revisions would be available. I admit I had not thought that would be necessary for kiriban art or any free requests to be honest.

I will be amending my NON-Commission Term of Service after all of this is settled to include that Kiribans and Requests, at least, will not include WIPS or revisions.

This has definitely been a learning experience that's for sure!
(no subject) - epiceternity - Nov. 5th, 2013 10:23 am (UTC) - Expand
sapphistscot
Nov. 4th, 2013 12:00 pm (UTC)
It's your art, unless you have explicitly signed the rights over then you are the copyright holder not them, they do not have a leg to stand on and the 'lawyer' they are speaking to is probably imaginary. Please don't give in to this bullying because that's all it is.

I would say that a full beware on this individual is definitely warranted.
(Deleted comment)
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for your reply! Your's and everyone else's here so far have helped put my mind at ease. I've been rather anxious about this whole situation, not gonna lie.

I believe I will be going forward with a full beware considering the reaction I've received here. These comments have helped me realize I really wouldn't want another artist to have to deal with this situation at all.
frisket17
Nov. 4th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
I'd be tempted (since they have their version they never want seeing the light of day) altering the image so it is no longer their character and keep it up.

That way, you keep the art up, and they already have a version never to see the light of day.

But I agree with a lot of what has already been said.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Nov. 4th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:04 am (UTC)
I think that's what blows my mind so much, I honestly don't think I can wrap my head around someone saying they're okay with a rule and then once everything is all said and done turning around like "well I never liked that rule so it doesn't apply!"

To be honest I'm really thankful this wasn't a commission, I hate to think how I'd be feeling if money were involved, even if I am well within my rights.

I'd also thought perhaps they may want to pass the art off as their own, that's one of the reasons why I don't want to do any private art of any kind. However, I'm still kinda leaning toward this being a case of they really, really don't understand copyright at all.

I've never done a reverse image search, could you let me know how?
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 02:36 am (UTC) - Expand
spiffystuff
Nov. 4th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC)
From what you say here, this person is completely unreasonable and doesn't know a thing about law and ethics. Seems to me a beware is warrented, though we'd really want to see the exchange.

If you were clear up front and the person just decided they didn't want their (gift art?) posted later and also decided to nitpick it, well, that's them. I will bet you never hear from an actual lawyer, don't worry about that!

As to whether or not to keep it up, that's less about the law and more about your personal preference - there's no reason to take it down unless you just don't feel like dealing with this stuff. (alternatively you could leave it up and just block the user)
mazz
Nov. 4th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
You did nothing wrong, no one can legally make you take down the art as it is your creative property. They own know rights to anything in your picture.

I'd for sure post a beware, behaving like that over free art I'd hate to see how they behave when it comes to commissions. o.o.
If they continue to harass you send them a last message to stop harassing and contacting you and block them via email and DA.
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
I believe I will be moving forward with a beware, seeing the comments here have put my mind at ease regarding this situation and helped me realize I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

The fact that this could have been a commission has also been on my mind...I'm with you, I'd really hate to see how they'd behave over something they'd paid for.

For sure I'll be blocking them if they continue to push this situation.
thistlewolf
Nov. 4th, 2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with the folks who say post a beware.

This person's behavior has gone beyond a mild tantrum into outright abuse (berating you for rightfully posting your work, threatening you with legal action, etc.).
venatorrooc
Nov. 4th, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
You don't have to but I second the motion to post a beware; I do not want to encounter this person :/

It's free art, they've paid nothing for it, and they agreed to continue after you showed them the TOS - if they really didn't want you uploading it then they should have declined to work with you. You hold the copyright to the art so this person is out of luck and the "lawyer" is more than likely bunk. They're just trying to twist your arm.

Also, I'd be worried that the character doesn't belong to them or they're trying to pass the art off as their own - but I may be jumping the gun there.
ducttapeninja
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Also, I'd be worried that the character doesn't belong to them or they're trying to pass the art off as their own - but I may be jumping the gun there.

Not gonna lie, I got that vibe too-- I almost always side-eye people who commission artwork of a character and then get upset if the artist posts the image up publicly / doesn't keep it "secret," because there have been so many times where the character the commissioner is so worried about "protecting" is being used without the actual owner's permission. :/
(no subject) - venatorrooc - Nov. 4th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - otherscape - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Nov. 4th, 2013 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - venatorrooc - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
kerstin_orion
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Many others have summarised my feelings on this, so I won't repeat them.

I did want to add one note regarding their assertion about your tos not counting because it was on DA, but you worked out the commission details via email. You say you linked your tos to them in an email. Plenty of companies do the exact same thing; you did nothing wrong, there, and your tos is absolutely valid.
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
I thought the same thing when they posted that legal reason as to why my TOS was apparently invalid.

I'm still completely baffled about all this.
(no subject) - epiceternity - Nov. 5th, 2013 10:44 am (UTC) - Expand
trentxandrew
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
They seem to be under the impression that because it's their character and you made the art custom that it belongs to them. That is untrue and they have no rights or ownership to the art. You drew it so it's yours to do as you please. They are wrong on every point they make.

Also, I'm pretty sure they're bluffing about contacting a lawyer. Even if they DID, a lawyer who is versed in this field would laugh them out of their office.
sacch
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:38 pm (UTC)
Post a beware, please. If they treated you like this over FREE art, I can't imagine how they would act as a commissioner.
stangwolf
Nov. 5th, 2013 01:22 am (UTC)
I believe I will be posting a beware.

I wasn't entirely sure if this warranted one at first, but the more I see the comments here, and the more I think about it myself, I believe y'all are right.

The fact that this could have easily been a commission has crossed my mind, and as things stand now I'm really glad there was no money exchanged. Whether I'm within my rights with what I've done and how I've handled the situation or not.
(no subject) - sacch - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
kayla_la
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)
How are all of these people affording to have lawyers on call to ask them things like 'How do I get art someone made for free removed because I'm super-paranoid??'.

Point being, I highly doubt this person (and the vast majority who claim they do) actually have a 'lawyer'. He is trying to threaten you into complying. What I recommend is simply ignoring/blocking him, leaving the image up, and going about your day. If he attempts to block-evade, report it and don't reply. You have absolutely done nothing wrong, and don't let him make you think otherwise.
kayla_la
Nov. 4th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
Also I found the 'art theft' concern to be strange considering how much commissioned art he's uploaded to his own gallery. You'd think he'd never upload anything if he were that worried about it. So why this piece, specifically.. ?
(no subject) - stangwolf - Nov. 5th, 2013 01:40 am (UTC) - Expand
vellacraptor
Nov. 4th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with everyone on posting a beware. Behaviour like that over free art is ridiculous.

Also, you own they art and they agreed to your rules. To me it seems like they are trying to scare you into taking it down y threatening legal action when in reality it wouldn't stand if they tried.

It's entirely up to you if you want to remove it, but in this case the customer really has no say. I'd consider blocking them if they've been harassing you that much and refuse to quit. :c
tealmoonxiv
Nov. 4th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
Please post a beware.
If they act like this over free art who knows what they'd do with paid work.

Don't let them bully you into removing it.

It almost seems, since they want it private so bad, that it might not actually be their character.
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