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Artists Beware; Echoen

I'm going to go ahead and post this beware because Echoen has given every indication that he refuses to resolve the issue. Post contains suggestive nudity, but nothing too explicit.

WHO: Echoen

WHERE: My specific issue is with his Patreon.
WHAT: Digital commission which he used for commercial purposes without my knowing, much less my approval, despite the fact he agreed to my TOS when he commissioned me. My TOS has always stated that I reserve all rights to my work, conform the law for freelance creatives as opposed to, for example, work for hire. It should be mentioned that this was a €5,- commission and it cannot be reasonably assumed that the cost also covers any rights in addition to the custom artwork, much less commercial rights, nor was there any indication that the work would be used commercially when he commissioned it.

WHEN: August 2014 until Juli 2015, which is when I confronted him.

EXPLAIN: September 2012 I had a sale on "Itty Bitty Commissions" which is what I call a small, digital, flat-colour, 1 character commission (example). They were so-called "wing-it" commissions, where I would receive payment and a character description and draw it and the customer would receive the finished drawing.
Echoen contacted me and told me he needed a badge for a convention. It was rather last minute, but turn around was fast (a few hours to a day usually) and I moved him to the head of the queue to make sure he had it in time, just to be nice. I also gave him several options (1, 2, 3, 4), all at no extra cost. Again, I was just trying to be nice and a good artist and give good customer service. And Echoen seemed really happy with the work, which he uploaded a week later.)

I thought that was going to be that; customer was happy, I was happy, end of story. Right?

Juli 2015 I find out he's using it as a header for his Patreon, which is receiving almost $300 a month. Now I have a Patreon, and I know I thought carefully about which image to put up as a header to hopefully draw folks in and support me financially. This is definitely commercial use, as it's effectively advertisement, and Pixsy (a site that helps you local potential abuse of your work, they work with legal partners) agrees with me, filing it under commercial matches.

I contacted Echoen, telling him I'd license him the image if he wanted to continue the image for his Patreon. He responded by taking it down and.. Nothing. No "oops, sorry!" or anything. That said, he'd still used the image commercially for 11 months, even though he had agreed not to. I told him I still needed to be compensated for that use, and sent him an invoice for a $110, which is entirely fair considering how much he's getting every month. After this is pretty much devolves into him stomping his feet, making up nonsense reasons as to why he shouldn't have to pay and suggesting he received "legal counsel" which agreed with this point of view. The screenshots. Him. Me. Him. Me.

I asked him to have his lawyer (typically, legal advisors are lawyers.) contact me instead and then he went silent.

Artists beware, Echoen has no respect for you or your rights at all. He'd comment on my work the entire time he had my art up on his Patreon (with my name effectively cropped out of the art!) and we chatted on FA; he had every opportunity to ask me about the work or mention the fact he was using it on his Patreon and never did. He's pleasant to your face, but when confronted with the consequences of his own voluntarily actions he becomes patronizing and will attempt to intimidate you into relenting. To this day he still hasn't even apologized a single time for abusing my work. He takes no responsibility for his own actions at all but instead goes to extreme lengths to avoid it. I ignored some warnings about him and this exact kind of behavior in 2012 after I finished the Itty Bitty Commission, and now I wish I'd heeded them, refunded his 5 bucks and had the work removed. Please don't make the same mistake I made, avoid him.

Useful link: List of common but invalid excuses to copyright infringement as written by an attorney.

Community Tags:

Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 22nd, 2015 01:23 am (UTC)
We were a little unsure for this post, but ultimately felt there were more reasons to approve than reject it. If the client in question has made a habit of using art for commercial purposes without permission, people should be aware.

We realize this post may spark debates about legalities. Discussion is fine, but we ask you all to remain civil with each other over any possible disagreements. We'll be keeping an eye on everything.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 01:44 am (UTC)
That link is talking photos, but I assume the same things count for drawn art?
Aug. 22nd, 2015 01:45 am (UTC)
It's about the same, yeah.
(no subject) - thaily - Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2015 01:58 am (UTC)
It took me a minute to figure out what was even going on here. This guy runs a Patreon where people pay him $300 a month so he can buy commissions? That's strange. I'm honestly not sure if it would be considered "commercial use" or not. Because the subscribers aren't getting access to anything not posted elsewhere, it's not quite the same as a paysite where viewing the art is being explicitly sold.

Demanding back payment for a seemingly arbitrary figure was perhaps a bit odd on the OP's part, but at the very least it's redistribution in violation of the artist's rights and should be pulled down. I think the Beware is warranted.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:46 am (UTC)

"The definition of commercial use is broad, covering more than just obvious 'profit-making' uses. In practise, the term is equivalent to income-generating use of any kind, whether direct or indirect. If you use content for general research, even if not for any specific purpose, and you or your organisation generates income, that counts as commercial use."

Also, it's very common for many companies to bill people an "arbitrary figure", but those usually go into thousands of dollars. I think I set a very reasonable amount.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 02:11 am (UTC)
Just asking for clarification, isn't Patreon supposed to be used for artists and not for getting money every month to buy art, especially with no real reward?
Aug. 22nd, 2015 02:16 am (UTC)
That's what Patreon is, so his use may not even be kosher by Patreon's standards. When you sign up for Patreon prior to getting pay out you have to fill out tax forms, so what you get from it is definitely considered income at least.
(no subject) - houndofloki - Aug. 22nd, 2015 02:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lovelesskiax - Aug. 22nd, 2015 03:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 22nd, 2015 03:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lovelesskiax - Aug. 22nd, 2015 03:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Aug. 23rd, 2015 07:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Aug. 22nd, 2015 12:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashleyvsdestiny - Aug. 23rd, 2015 04:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - teekchan - Aug. 23rd, 2015 07:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mdetector5 - Aug. 28th, 2015 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lackoflollies - Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dragontripmon - Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 22nd, 2015 10:18 am (UTC)
"If you had presented them a ToS/contract that said your work is licensed under such and such regulations and they didn't respect that then you'll be in the stronger position."

True! But I don't really want to write up a super scary contract when:
- My TOS has always clearly mentioned "all rights reserved".
- Law is on my side, both in the Netherlands and the US, rights default to the freelancer unless the customer buys them.
- It's not realistic to expect a €5,- custom work to also include commercial rights.

Fortunately he's only one of two people who don't understand this, the other people being someone who was trying to sell a character for which I drew the reference sheet and who claimed that the buy would include all the rights to all the pre-existing commissions.

All of my other customers have been, knock on wood, really excellent and I feel blessed with that.

Edited at 2015-08-22 10:20 am (UTC)
Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:44 am (UTC)
Welp, that's a preemptive block. I'm probably not the type of artist he's looking for anyway but better safe than sorry.

Thank you for the beware, Thaily.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 04:08 pm (UTC)
Using a patreon to fufill his fantasies to buy comissions.... Is something like that even legal? that's a first i've seen a patreon being used like that. That's sounds kind of lazy somehow.
Aug. 22nd, 2015 04:38 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's shady, but the debate comes in over whether it's truly commercial use. It's also possible that he simply did not consider a Patreon banner to be commercial- I use commissioned artwork in my twitter banner, for example, and I don't consider that to be commercial, even if I RT from my art account and tweet out regular art updates. Could be just a misunderstanding.

If your TOS doesn't specify that your artwork will accrue retroactive fees if used commercially, I don't really see how you can expect him to pay them. You could take it to court, but I'm guessing it'd be cost prohibitive.

You asked him to take it down and he did; personally, I'd consider the matter closed at that point.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - spartanwerewolf - Aug. 26th, 2015 05:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 22nd, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
One of his patreon incentives is that the patrons will be the first to see the stuff he buys. Do the other artists even know that their work is being used as a money incentive there? It sounds like it's a big problem, especially since he can't guarantee that the art posted on his patreon won't be posted by the artist first (since it's their artwork).
Aug. 22nd, 2015 09:19 pm (UTC)
"Do the other artists even know that their work is being used as a money incentive there?"

He was using my art as a header and he was commenting on my work/journals and I had no idea, so, probably not?
Aug. 23rd, 2015 12:47 am (UTC)
not much else to add here other than to echo what everyone else said, but I do want to thank you for providing that link re: copyright infringement, too often do I see similar sorts of situations happen and I've never been sure of how to combat against them. I'll probably be amending my TOS in the future to include a clause against continued commercial use of my work without a license, which isn't something I'd even thought about before. so, thanks for that!
Aug. 23rd, 2015 06:46 am (UTC)
...This guy posted to r/legaladvice on Reddit about this issue. It was anonymised, but he was referring to the same amounts of money, the same circumstance, and a "niche art community".
For what it's worth, the advice he got was that copyright remains with the artist unless explicitly signed away so even they thought you were in the right here.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 08:09 am (UTC)
That's good to hear, thank you so much.
(no subject) - jesidres - Aug. 24th, 2015 01:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - faustischen - Aug. 24th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jesidres - Aug. 24th, 2015 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Aug. 24th, 2015 09:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 24th, 2015 03:28 pm (UTC)
While we are on the subject of his patreon has anyone read his journals about this? Both are NSFW considering the subject matter and the description of the donations. I'm surprised how long this has been going considering what is getting bought with that money for nearly a year.

Aug. 24th, 2015 06:01 pm (UTC)
NSFW art that is adult in nature (so porn) is allowed on Patreon. I've contacted them personally about it to get it cleared up.
(no subject) - dragontripmon - Aug. 24th, 2015 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 26th, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 25th, 2015 08:36 pm (UTC)
His patreon appears to have been deleted.

EDIT: Or not. It was giving an internal server error for a bit but appears to be back up. Not sure what happened there.

Edited at 2015-08-25 08:43 pm (UTC)
(Screened comment)
Aug. 25th, 2015 10:16 pm (UTC)
Mod comment
We're going to screen this! Your comment will still be visible to the OP and us moderators.
Sep. 10th, 2015 09:53 pm (UTC)
Actually while this is still going has anyone read this journal. It's seems his patreon is legit now?


If this is true then....
Sep. 10th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)
What a shame that Patreon thinks this is okay, but I don't give them money anymore. The second you open the door for non-creators to come in and basically make free money (and who even knows if this guy's getting copyright to do so. Probably not.) then you've lost all credibility as a site geared for "creators".

Edited at 2015-09-10 10:01 pm (UTC)
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