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[Resubmitted as a more general post per mod request; sorry for messing up the first time! Didn't know name mentions extended to usernames, I'm a derp.]

I need advice/help in figuring out why I'm so bothered by something.
A few months ago, an artist I used to watch had posted an adoptable for sale, based on the protagonist from the game Bloodborne. They did the same a while later with the Dark Souls 3 protagonist, citing 'inspiration'.

In the beginning, when the artist had only posted the first two designs based on the proganonists of these games, I was not bothered. They were recognizable, but it seemed permissible.
However, the artist has been posting more and more designs from the Souls game series, as they 'sell like hotcakes', and they have been creeping towards outright plagiarism [and as a professed fine arts major, should know better]. I could recognize all of the named characters immediately without even clicking on the submissions. They haven't bothered to change their original names in the submission descriptions or even fiddle with their outfits at all, save for removing their pants, really. The only major difference is that they're furries and not humans.

Is it morally acceptable for an artist in the furry community to sell adoptables that are no different from copyrighted characters, save for being furry versions of them? In fursuiting [an adjacent part of the fandom], for example, it's not considered okay to rip off someone's style, let alone entire characters, and suits based on existing copyrighted characters from pop culture are recognized as cosplays [as opposed to original/owned-by-suiter characters]. Designs that are similar to others within the fandom are met with much skepticism and scrutiny.

Is it okay to rip off of copyrighted characters from video games, etc., even though those characters were created by another artist and are owned by that artist and their company? This money clearly isn't going towards helping FromSoftware pay the artists that did the work to conceptualize these characters, so it bothers me a lot. Please help, AB! Is there anything that can be done? SHOULD anything be done? Or do these count as a form of 'design cosplay', if that is even a legitimate term for adoptables/art designs intended to be sold?

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( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2016 12:35 am (UTC)
If I remember correctly, this falls under "parody." At least for the USA. (human character turned furry = parody of human character)

I might be more morally liberal than others, but if people want to buy it, I don't see the harm in taking advantage. If people weren't buying, that artist wouldn't be making them.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:08 am (UTC)
mod comment
This is being screened. Advice posts are to remain completely anonymous. You may repost your comment without the link.

Edited at 2016-09-15 01:08 am (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:12 am (UTC)
Re: mod comment
Sorry for the trouble, guys, seems I'm really rough at this. D:
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:20 am (UTC)
Re: mod comment
I saw your screened comment. I still think that falls under parody. While I have nothing to back it up, many artists at conventions are able to sell art of copyrighted characters (fanart) usually by turning them into chibis... Since 2002 this has been the easy way to claim parody. If a chibi counts as parody a "fox version" has much more merit to claim such.

In any case, if you are so morally opposed to this artist's actions, then do not support them.
Re: mod comment - azrchr - Sep. 15th, 2016 01:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: mod comment - gatekat - Sep. 15th, 2016 01:38 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: mod comment - azrchr - Sep. 15th, 2016 01:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2016 12:51 am (UTC)
I have to agree with bornesb.

Is it highly original? No.
Is it more original than 90% of adopts I see? by a long shot.
Should they at least change the names? Yes.
Are they getting lazy? probably.

Is it illegal? Pretty sure not in most of the world.
Is it moral? You're going to get the entire spectrum of opinions. Everyone has different morals.
Does it break the rules on any major website? None that I visit.

All that said, you are claiming two very different things here.
1. It's a furry, not a human
2. it's no different from the original.

Both 1 and 2 can not both be true. Either it's exactly the original character *or* or it's been changed to be a furry. Can't have both be true.

#1 is legal, be it called parody, fan art, cosplay or some other name.
#2 is not, at least not as an adoptable.

Sep. 15th, 2016 01:23 am (UTC)
Sorry, I was trying to get across just how similar they were. If not for the furry aspect, the characters would look exactly the same n_n it is pretty lazy, isn't it?
I'm not Namco, so I can't do anything [and I doubt they would care], but I at least wanted to foster a discussion about this, y'know? So thanks for replying.

I would disagree with the idea that it's MORE original than most adoptables, as it's literally something that was already concieved by another artist, but with a single change [that it's a mostly blank furry underneath all those clothes]. It doesn't really help that they've been literally using the game name and original character names to market it :/ I feel that doing something like that crosses the line from fan-parody to something closer to theft.
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:33 am (UTC)
Sorry, I just can not see how changing the race of a character takes less work and originality than making dozens of tabbies all on the same base, often by another artist. After seeing the link, I'm far more firm in my stand that this was more work than a huge majority of what I see.

Maybe we just travel in different circles, but my experience doesn't line up with yours by a significant margin.

Rather clearly, neither do my morals in this.
Sep. 15th, 2016 01:48 am (UTC)
We do swim in different seas. For example, I actually make adoptables! I'm an artist too, and let me tell you, none of my designs are bases or the same. Each one is original. I would show you if it wasn't against the rules to post any identifying features, actually, since I assume I should also stay anonymous as well.

So it bothers me when people rip off of anything, because I ask myself, what if that's me and/or one of my clients in this position one day? Will the fandom think it's defensible to take a design, change one aspect of it, and call it 'parody' while using it purely for profit and juicing up the stolen aspect of it in order to make it sell faster and for more money? If someone was using my name/branding as a way to advertise content stolen from me, and making $150 a pop off it, I'd be right miffed.

Also, to define, I think using another artist's base for profit is wrong, ESPECIALLY if they offered it to the public for free. Just because it's common doesn't mean it's right. Nobody should have to pay for a free base.

What stuns me is that this artist also does a lot of seemingly original work, in the same way that I do, so seeing them turn to this is a little strange and makes me worried that their other works are as referenced or unoriginal conceptually as that. I mean, people don't live in a vacuum, we draw inspiration from everything we do. However, it's not okay to basically copy and paste concepts you know you didn't come up with into something intended for sale that doesn't benefit the original artist, in my view. Unoriginal paraphrasing is considered plagiarism when writing papers, even though nobody can technically own words. Why isn't unoriginal 'paraphrasing' considered bad in art?
(no subject) - bornesb - Sep. 15th, 2016 01:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - azrchr - Sep. 15th, 2016 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Sep. 15th, 2016 02:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - azrchr - Sep. 15th, 2016 02:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dergish - Sep. 15th, 2016 02:10 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - slinkslowdown - Sep. 15th, 2016 02:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2016 02:48 am (UTC)
I also saw the content you screened, and in this case in particular I feel like things fall more along the inspiration line than the copying line.

An example: I recently did a design for a very popular cartoon that parodied an image from ANOTHER very popular cartoon. But that doesn't change the fact that the artwork is mine, and that the execution of the idea was mine. Taking inspiration from something and using that inspiration to create your own interpretation of version of the subject you're drawing insp. from is perfectly fine from a moral perspective (imo) and from a legal perspective.

There's a reason why convention artist alleys don't get hammered with large copyright fees. GENERALLY (this is not including companies or creators who choose to more actively pursue their copyright), as long as you're not selling a.) exact copies of official art, or b.) anything with the trademarked logo on it, as long as the art is drawn in your style with your own creative ideas in it, that's perfectly acceptable. (there's an actual percentage by which art being sold has to differentiate from the original, but I forget the exact figure)

Anyway, I'm sharing this to try and give some perspective on the situation. Try to look back and think about this, objectively, and try to find out what is really is that has you so bothered by this artist's actions (since you even said yourself that you're not a fan of the artist anyway).

Sep. 15th, 2016 03:32 am (UTC)
I mean I think one thing that you have to remember with regular adoptables is that nothing is really being sold either way. You're not buying the design because there's no legal rights to the design unless it's been trademarked or copyrighted, you're rarely buying the rights to the art itself unless you discuss and specify with the artist that the rights to the original artwork is being given to you as well. Adoptables are basically all one big honour system. But your question was about ethics, not legalities. So. Is it morally bankrupt to make and sell furred versions of characters from an existing property?

This is all my own personal opinion and I present it as nothing but that, but honestly nah. Because when you break it down, all that's really happening is this: the artist drew a furry version of a character, someone went "hey this is neat here's $XX", and then everyone involved all made a sort of agreement to not draw that particular furry again except for that one person who gave the artist money. Nothing was actually being sold. It's not like prints of fanart being sold at cons where a physical product is being exchanged for money, or commissions where skill and service are being traded for money (skill and service went into creating the adoptable, but it was entirely voluntary on the artist's part, and they may never receive money for the adoptable but it's still going to exist), or custom fursuits where both a physical product, and skill and service are being sold.

I think it's fine for you to get mad and heated up about this and you have a right to that opinion but also at the end of the day it's an opinion, just like everything I wrote is an opinion. Personally I think if it makes you uncomfortable you should just not buy it and leave it at that.
Sep. 15th, 2016 04:10 pm (UTC)
you're rarely buying the rights to the art itself

I have to disagree with this. I have met more artists who will refuse to let the commissioner post the artwork bought than with adoptables.

It may be limited distribution rights, but it's the same rights one usually gets when buying a commission.
Sep. 16th, 2016 12:58 am (UTC)
I was talking about copyright.
Sep. 16th, 2016 01:14 am (UTC)
Okay, but it doesn't change that all digital commissions and many traditional ones are sold with the exact same rights as an adoptable. All that is actually granted to the buyer is that of limited distribution.

My point is that any definition you care to put on what is traded for money is as true for most adoptables as for most commissions -- no physical goods are traded, the same rights are granted and the 'skill and time' aspect is true for both.
(no subject) - talentedfool - Sep. 17th, 2016 02:25 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2016 11:21 am (UTC)
As a a hardcore Fromsoft fan, I get your frustration - these are characters, stories and games that are near and dear to people's hearts and seeing something rehashed or inspired and made money from is annoying.

But it's not really 'wrong' or 'illegal'. Trust me when I say FromSoft has much bigger fish to fry or care about, and given that these are furry RE-interpretations I don't see much wrong with it. If anything this artist could be a big fan as well, and wants to share that while making profit from the work they create. (I am literally typing this while watching a RedGrave lore video lol, oh boy)

Either way, I don't really think it's a huge deal in the end. People who wish to donate money (As that's what this is, adoptions are not exactly a product you're paying to 'own' ) then I can't see anything wrong. I get up in arms about fanart being sold of things I love in a similar way but then have to remind myself "It's not always bad, It's not always illegal."
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )


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