45 degrees off

Seeing the same thing from a different angle.

Speaking Out Against Art Theft

World of Warcraft is a game with 11 million subscribers.  It attracts people from all walks of life. In fact, WoWInsider has an entire column called “15 Minutes of Fame” devoted to highlighting notable players. Sometimes they are people notable within the gaming industry. Sometimes it’s someone who is an inspiration to others because they’re living with (and fighting) Alzheimer’s. Sometimes it’s a well-known actor, or a physicist who works at CERN.

The game attracts a large number of artists, which shouldn’t be surprising when you consider the role art plays in building a virtual world. There is a ton of fan art out there! It ranges from quick, unskilled doodles of someone’s favorite character to professional quality pieces that were not done to be licensed by Blizzard (the company behind the game), but simply out of the artist’s love for the game. DiscoPriest has done some beautiful work that can be seen on Disciplinary Action.

Mage art from disciplinaryaction.wordpress.com

One of my favorites from the Stained Class series at disciplinaryaction.wordpress.com.

I said this a few days ago on Twitter, and I’ll say it again here – fan art is art. In some ways, all art is fan art. Artists are inspired by something and moved to show the world not just what it looks like, but what it looks like through that artist’s eyes. Art comes from passion. Someone who puts the time and effort into doing a series of stained glass style pieces based on a video game is creating art just as much as someone who paints landscapes or illustrates stories.

DiscoPriest’s art has been stolen and used in some YouTube videos recently. This isn’t a case of some relatively unknown individual putting a piece in the background for a homemade music video, or something of the sort. You can see how her art was used in this video. The original video was made private and many comments deleted once people called TGN.tv out on the art theft, but Rades was kind enough to make a back-up of the video. He also added commentary that points out how this is art theft, and links to relevant information in the video notes.

TGN.tv promotes itself as being a step toward making money from doing YouTube videos. From their website:

Do you want to do this *full-time* if it can pay your bills? If yes, and are serious about treating YouTube as a career, then follow the WAY movement.

TGN personally trains motivated and talented YouTubers so they start earning $1,500-$2,000 a month solely from revenue share on video views in 6-12 months, more if you learn faster, less if you learn slower. This is a goal, not a guarantee.


ETA: I’ve changed the mentions of “TGN” to “TGN.tv” because that is the full name of their YouTube channel and, as Julia points out in the comments, TGN is recognizable as Total Gaming Network. They have a good reputation with the same audience that is TGN.tv’s target audience and were around well before TGN.tv. However, the quotes above are from TGN.tv’s website and have been reproduced here exactly as they are on the site.

One would assume videos that are part of the TGN.tv YouTube channel are intended to help reach this goal. Taking someone else’s art and putting it out there as your own is theft, whether you do it for money or not. Doing it so that you can build a following that you’re hoping to make money from is even worse.

DiscoPriest has a rather large community supporting her right now. The blogging community within the WoW population is rather vocal when they’re passionate about something. That’s what led them to start blogging in the first place. I doubt there’s any way TGN.tv can come out of this looking okay in the eyes of a large portion of their target audience. The original theft has now been compounded by deleting comments and staying quiet, rather than removing the video and trying to make ammends with the artist.

I love the support artists on the internet give each other. I have met some wonderful artists who have been a true inspiration to me through Twitter and communities like RedBubble. None of us want to be the person who has their art stolen and feels like all that time and work means nothing now that someone else is using it. We may not be able to put an end to art theft completely, but we can speak up and support each other to make sure it is not the thief who profits.

DiscoPriest has an online shop, and her website also says she takes commissions. You can also find her on Twitter. Consider showing her some support.

Update! It looks like the videos have been taken down now, as opposed to how they were simply made private earlier. Update on Twitter by @DiscoPriest.


7 responses to “Speaking Out Against Art Theft

  1. Icedragon November 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Not to mention that violating copyright voids the TGN.tv contract!


    Section 2, Parts A through F.

  2. effraeti November 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Great article. I am inspired by the sense of community among the WoW Bloggers! Unite!

    ~ Effy

  3. Disciplinary Action November 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The best part of the whole fiasco is that the community really showed how wonderfully it comes together to do what’s right and shun those who try to profit off that. I think that’s just beautiful *sniff*.

    • K. Martinez November 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      I still believe there’s more good than bad in the world, but the bad distracts us and sometimes make us think we can’t do anything about it. If there’s nothing else you have on the internet, you have a voice to speak up. It’s a great tool for showing how much good there really is if we choose to use it.

  4. Pingback: A Community of Support « Effraeti's RP

  5. Julia aka Jules (@glyneth) November 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Might want to make it say TGN.TV instead of TGN. The TGN acronym is more likely associated with Total Gaming Network, and they’re blameless in this.

    • K. Martinez November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      I found that out after posting and meant to edit it, but never got back to it. Thanks for the reminder! That “tv” can make a big difference when reputations are at stake.

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