Dear Ionic

Dear Ionic

The owner of Ionic sent out this message today in response to the uproar over them selling art that isn’t theirs. As someone who used to totally be in love with Ionic Collective, this disappointed me a lot. So, let’s talk about what they’ve said:

Hello guys….

I have some problems with *ionic* store because I am a thief and bad person… even I deserve go to jail.
Yes.. that is what is going on all around plurk, blogs etc…. Elysium Hynes, Cyclic Gearz, Amelie knelstrom, Arora Zanzibar are one of the persons who started this.

But let me tell you, that I never pretended to steal making posters or tees of indie bands. I just wanted to bring those bands to people, as I play those covers on my live band ENGRAMA.
Also all the drawings on wall’s houses, on cabinets or frames… are collages mixing my own drawings and graphic design with part of other drawings I found over there. When you use just a part of a piece and mix it with other parts from different pieces, you create a new piece, and this is called collage in art concept.

I know I maybe used some images like the tees that are obviously not collages… but I never pretenede to be a thief and steal money to Sonic Youth, Joy Division etc… My reason to make those tee bands was that lot of pple was asking me ” hey lakua make indie bands tees”

Without even talk to me, the owner of Lazy Sunday ejected me from her group. And one thing you should know is that we used to talk often… because she is also blogger of my event The Chapter Four, and seemed to be so nice with me… until she ejecte me and some friend sent me a link of plurk and I realized what kind of person she is.

She even made joke about my RL economy situation (wich is private part of my life and nobody has to know if I am poor or not) They said that is not excuse to be a thief and well… they start making pression on Home & Garden owners and they also kick me out just today.

The owner of Home & Garden didnt want to eject me (I have chat IM but I never share private conversations)
But as those pple didnt stop bothering her it was the best to do for a Charity event….

Anyway… from today, I removed all the indie band posters, frames, tees, blazers… everything is out. Now all the images you will find are totally mine or with artist permision wich are RL friends.
We didnt made this because we are afraid or we feel we are a thief… we make this because we realized we can have an amazing store also without any images…. so in some way I am thanks for this because now I am selling my RL pics (cause I am RL photographer) and my graphic designs and the ones of my friends too.

I offered my friends an exchange… I sell their stuff as drawings or desings and I drop a NC on the item so pple can visit the blog or website of this art.

I am so sorry if you feel disapointed of *ionic* but I insist my reasson to use indie bands was just to pple know those bands and enjoy having a poster from their fav bands on their houses. I never made it thinking I am making something ilegal… I thought If you create a new images with a lot of images, this becomes a unique image. But maybe Im wrong….

I just wanted to share with all of you because I feel so attack everywhere and I need my group know what is going on.

Thanks so much for all the support! If you missed the indie stuff, I am giving all the items for free: blazers, tees, posters… I will drop all on a box and I think im not breaking law if I gift my group those stuff….

As someone who makes a partial living from selling artwork, I can explain to you why what you did was wrong.

See, artists don’t really make a lot.  Unless your name (was) Thomas Kinkade or is James Jean, you aren’t doing a lot in the way of selling licensed art like hotcakes.  Your profits from work don’t roll in, as much as they do trickle–and what you do get probably helps out with bills and the like.  And if you’re like every other artist out there, you have a lot.

Artists survive on image to market their work.  We like to pretend we’re doing really well for ourselves.  Tilted pictures of galleries and oversaturated Instagram images from our fan-laden timelines help with that image.  In reality, though, we’re just people holding on to a dream, making just as much as someone at a retail job, but we work twice as hard at snagging customers.  There are many times when art sales will feed you for a brief interval, rather than providing you with a schnazzy wardrobe.

So when you steal art, yes.  You are sometimes literally taking food out of someone’s mouth.

This is the outrage many people should experience when they see ripped art on the grid.  But I think because so many don’t value art as much, or they think it’s easy for artists to just whip up something and make a lot of money from it, they don’t get why it truly is stealing when someone sells art they don’t have permission to.  What you think is spreading awareness, is denying someone money they actually need.  They made it, not you.  If they don’t give you permission to stick it on a tshirt, then you shouldn’t be selling the shirt.

Now you think, “Hey, calm yourself.  I’m not even making that much.”  But check out those events you’re enrolling in and selling these items at.  How much bank have you made so far?  The last big event I threw, I made about thirty dollars in cosmetics sales.  That’s not the thousands of dollars you’d probably think would be a big deal, but what if someone stole thirty dollars in artwork from you?  You’d want to beat the crap out of that person to make them give it back.

Now that I’ve explained why stealing art is wrong, let’s go over some of the finer points of your letter:

” hey lakua make indie bands tees”

Just because someone asks you to make band tee, doesn’t mean they ask you to steal one.  Make up a parody band and stick it on a shirt.

Also all the drawings on wall’s houses, on cabinets or frames… are collages mixing my own drawings and graphic design with part of other drawings I found over there. When you use just a part of a piece and mix it with other parts from different pieces, you create a new piece, and this is called collage in art concept.

No, it’s called appropriation, and it’s possible for appropriation of licensed images to get you in trouble.

Now we think you’ll quit selling the stuff because you’ve learned by now, but…

If you missed the indie stuff, I am giving all the items for free: blazers, tees, posters… I will drop all on a box and I think im not breaking law if I gift my group those stuff….

I guess you haven’t.

And let’s talk about this:

Yes.. that is what is going on all around plurk, blogs etc…. Elysium Hynes, Cyclic Gearz, Amelie knelstrom, Arora Zanzibar are one of the persons who started this

Why exactly are you listing off names like that?  I love when someone’s who’s been proven guilty of ripping art lists the person who blew the whistle, as if they’re supposed to be avenged.  It shows how immature they are.

Hey, I have an idea–add my name to that list.  I’m a fabulous troll when I want to be, and I could care less if someone gives me flack for standing up for art.  The artists of this world don’t get enough attention and respect, and it’s because of people like you that they don’t.

And if we all took a stand against ripping, what would you do then?

  1. Sunny said:

    I like to spend my time bothering people on their blogs. Please pay attention to me.

  2. I dunno here Aemy. And I’ll open this with an admission of a degree of Bias. Having spoken to both Lakua and Pupita; they’re both wildly creative and talented people; the issue at hand is relatively small portion of the things they do in SL. In other words, removing that aspect of it isn’t going to shut them down; and yes; as a result of the situation, you’ll note that aspect is being removed, and they’re making something positive of it by using their SL skills to promote artists (with their consent) doing original artwork.

    Putting things into context; you rather aptly pointed out that “Plurk had it’s period,” truer words are rarely spoken. And anyone who’s ever got the back end of PMS Chiliface winds up hurt, scared and cornered. Now in a clear thinking situation? Proper reaction is to throw a bag of M&M’s at the opposite wall as a distraction and use that to turn on Sex and the City and leave a warmed hot water bottle on the couch next to the afghan and sweatpants. When you’re scared and hurt and cornered though, rationality goes out the window and the more predictable reaction is lash out. I think an honest overview of the notice shows that she was hurt and scared.

    I’ll add on here, because it’s a thing done so frequently; that it’s really easy to leap to the defense of Musicians and Visual artists because when an infringement happens (Whether with intent to steal or not); it’s really obvious. However, when it comes to words…well.. things get difficult. I mean it’s not like any one person owns each word individually. So is it also theft when someone uses song lyrics, poetry, or literary images that are not their own? If so, then add Floorplan to that list of recipients of the hate. That hot pink plate up toward the right above the flamingo? Has the words “Y’all gonna make me lose my mind, up in here, up in here.” The Chorus to DMX’s “Up in Here.” I’m not talking about quoting Socrates here. But a very distinctive lyric that is well-known to be composed by an active and contemporary Musician who is entitled to to same royalties and rewards that Sonic Youth or The Cure are. But the mesh work and the graphic are so clearly original, right? But are the words?

    I’m not defending IP theft by any stretch. I’m just saying, put the Notice into context. Could Lakua have handled it better? Sure. Maybe by waiting a bit, and working with a native English Speaker to convey something more professional sounding and smoother. But The Plurkicane, and Lazy Sunday and Home and Garden Expo could have handled it better as well. I just genuinely don’t think the intent to steal was there. Probably some degree of misunderstanding with regard to US IP laws. But the answer to that is assistance, not annihilation. Save that for the people who DL pieces off of DeviantArt and claim them as their own original artwork and the real copy-botters out there.

    I might point out that a far more dramatic, large scale, and utterly unenforced form of theft happens in SL dance clubs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that listed it had paid BMI licensing fees for the DJs that come in and stream their playlists.

    Give them the chance to turn it around.

    • Aemeth said:

      I had two different comments in reply to this, that I tried tapping out on an ipod, but.. it was really hard to organize my thoughts here. So, let me start again.

      No, I don’t think people find it easy to defend musicians or artists. Look at this situation. People are STILL making excuses for Lakua. I think it’s pure BS to see people act this way. I know Lakua can make her own graphics, and that, in my eyes, makes it even more inexcusable what she did. Would she want someone to rip her art instead? How would she feel if that happened?

      I also don’t understand how it’s plurk having it’s period if people are angry and tired of seeing ripped art happen. Are some grabbing their pitchforks a little too quickly and following the crowd? Yes. But that sure isn’t me. I was one of the first to speak out against ripping, back when people thought I was kind of nuts to do so.

      I also don’t understand the Floorplan reference. What does that have to do with this? Are you saying it’s okay? Why list this as an example?

      A lot of times when I see something wrong pointed out with a practice in SL, there is always that one person who says, “But soandso is doing the same thing over here! What about that guy!” It’s a logical fallacy.

      Lakua is probably embarrassed about being spotlighted. She didn’t think a backlash would happen after getting away with it for so long. But that’s the risk you take when you sell art that isn’t yours.

      Again, the dance club thing–fallacy, again. We are talking about Lakua here.

      Lakua did have a chance to turn this around, but instead,she listed off people’s names as if she wanted to be avenged for it.

      To me, it looks like she kind of blew it.

      EDIT: I apologize earlier for listing two different comments, where I obviously was split in my original response to you. I hope this response is a lot more coherent!

  3. No. That’s not my intent at all. My intent actually, is a little more against the blindly rabid “defense” of “Artists” that basically? Drives me nuts. if you’re going to go on the foaming mouth mob incitation that kind of led to that notice in the first place? Then Stone them all. The blind sort of vilification I see from a lot of people about this leaves a bad taste in my mouth overall. Fair Use is muddy enough waters as it is without SL’s Fashionista Pseudo-Lawyers making it even more so on their defamatory and often inappropriately personal witch hunts. They’re rarely productive, and are often vindictive and driven by more sinister motives than just “Protecting Artists.”

    And I talked about her personally because you talked about her personally. The entry, like most entries of this nature does get into a personal character conviction. ” The artists of this world don’t get enough attention and respect, and it’s because of people like you that they don’t.” Is a pretty personal statement that does utterly dismiss her work as a musician, mesh creator/graphic artist and photographer. And I found myself wondering how you personally define the term “Artist.”

    Picking apart her notice and cherry picking out rough syntax and going after her on such a personal level bothers me. Language interpreters know that when they are working with people, that it is as much their job to convey intent as it is to convey the words. Which means using context. I was trying to convey that her words should be put into context of the situation and taken as a whole rather than piece meal and at face value. Essentially she tried to navigate the waters of United States Fair Use standards; and in your eyes she failed. Whether she did or not isn’t my personal call to make; I’m not a judge. But does that failure utterly discredit her as a person? Does it utterly discredit the bulk of her work that is original?

    The Article you linked about appropriation is a good read, and speaks to the deeper and messier concerns regarding fair use standards. Fair Use is handled on a case by case basis. There’s precedents and some loose standards but courts have a LOT of leeway in how those standards and precedents are applied. As the article pointed out, often to the detriment of the artistic community as a whole. She may have missed the mark on Fair Use by your standards; but we aren’t equipped to say whether a judge would agree with you. The substantiality of copyrighted material in her work may well have played a factor; or the nature of the work, or the work’s value as a market replacement for the original, or any number of things.

    You say she downplays it. I disagree. I think she does, and should, deny that she is a thief and a bad person. She should be able to defend her personal character from some very personal statements. Did she do it eloquently? No. But she’s not fluent in English and there will be issues with that. Does her lack of fluency diminish or downplay the act itself? No. But keeping it in context, giving her the chance to turn things around and make something positive out of the situation I don’t think is something that’s beyond anyone’s reach as human beings.

    You said in your OP that you were once in love with the Ionic Collective. And I understand that as an artist yourself, you take such incidents personally. I’m just asking that you call up on that original love to reserve the hate and see if and how Ionic turns around. There’s far more dramatic comeback stories in SL.

    As a sort of post script – The “Box” she mentions hasn’t gone out to the group yet. Maybe it won’t. She was so obviously very emotional when she wrote that notice, that a couple of days and clearing her head may change the course of action.

    • Aemeth said:

      Yeah, no, Fair Use doesn’t cover what she did at all. Once again, I call bullshit. In fact, this doesn’t even remotely fall under the definition. This is what Fair Use means.

      The box thing she refers to shows me that she doesn’t really care, either that or she still doesn’t understand that she can’t just give that those items away. Whether you make profit off of it or not, that’s not something you have permission to do without the design artists’ consent.

      And nope, it’s not a personal attack. If anyone takes it personally, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      No, I don’t bring up any past feelings when I try to process an action someone commits in the present. That’s just not who I am. It makes you biased, y’know?

  4. Sian said:

    Aemy, you’re right and I support you 100%. Granted, I’m a performance artist and a bit more difficult to rip, but still. You’re right and I love you. That’s all.

  5. Actually. This is the standard for Fair Use as a defense: That being said. I’m not a lawyer, nor a judge, and the legal calls to make on that aren’t mine to make. There are people who spent a lot more time and money in school who have dedicated their time to far more detailed and confusing and boring reads who make their living making exactly those decisions. And I’m not going to detract from them or their work either. 🙂

    Though I might disagree with your not being biased. Firstly? being biased isn’t a bad thing. It’s the fuel that drives our willingness to take a stand on an issue. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, then what’s the point of saying it? So yeah, there’s bias. Saying things like “She doesn’t care.” Speaks to her personality; and is something I’d disagree with. If she didn’t care, she would have done what so many intentional content thieves do, and blown it off. I think it’s because I know she does care that I disagree; and I actually appreciate, deeply, that you’re willing to dialog about this. It shows you care too.

    Unfortunately, adding the “It’s nothing personal” before saying something personal doesn’t make it an impersonal statement. The things said by many people have been things that anyone would take personally. Not saying she’s in the right. There’s better ways to have handled the situation. I’m just saying I don’t think you’re wholly in the right either.

    I think there’s more to her than just “LOL mine now.” Just like I believe there’s more to you than “Grrr, thief, Bad person, Doesn’t care.” Both of you have a vested interest in protecting IP rights; not just for yourselves, but for the artistic community as a whole. Without going into a debate about whether US Laws do the best job of providing that protection; learning about IP regulations is a process; and one that I don’t think anyone has a perfect grasp of. Pitfalls happen, mistakes can be made. I’m just saying that I do firmly believe that she cares and I do believe that Ionic will improve and grow from this.

    I think we have differing opinions on the intent behind it. I think we both believe that the act itself, was, even in the best light, questionable.. and at worst illegal. But I don’t think she went into this with the intent to deprive anyone of their rightfully own property. And I think that the new plan, intending to act as a bridge between RL artists who don’t have the skills to present well in SL and SL. Using her skills to give them a presence and voice in SL is a step in the right direction.

    So you, keep up your great work. You’ve got a wonderful eye and style and contribute a great deal to SL. And my disagreeing with you on some points doesn’t change or diminish that at all.

    • Aemeth said:

      Yes, I do agree her new plan is a good idea. Hopefully it will open up to some better avenues, where instead of taking art someone just finds on the internet to use that might be licensed, she can pay someone money on the grid who could use it. It’s just like that whole networking-and-outsourcing solution I mentioned in my post about mesh templates and originality.

      The bottom line to my concerns are–we must stop taking profits away from the artist who deserves it. It affects them more than people think. This MUST stop.

      I appreciate that we can have a talk about this without taking it personally. Anytime you want to swing by and talk about something, you’re more than welcome to!

    • idk said:

      omg just shut up already lol

  6. Whispers Magic said:

    Nothing like the mean girls from Plurk attacking you! I agree she was wrong. I think she should have removed the items. I believe she doesn’t speak English well. I believe this could have been handled differently. As for her naming names? I actually was disappointed to see some there…but if I was attacked like the mean girls of plurk do? I’d attack back…(but I don’t care what they think and am a nobody so meh)

    • Aemeth said:

      Which girls are you referring to? What did they say that you don’t agree with? Can you name something specifically? Everyone on plurk is different. I’m on Plurk too, so do I fall under that blanket stereotype?

      Do you think there’s a better way to summarize a social website comprised of various people, or do we all have the same personality and characteristic?

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