[identity profile] stangwolf.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] artists_beware
So I've found myself in the middle of an unfortunate situation and I'm unsure as to what steps to take next.

There's a similar advice post that went up recently I think, however, I felt it best to ask since I'm seeking some further advice.

Back in June I was approached by a user who wanted to get a couple adult sketch commissions of his character and his girlfriend/pet's character. All went well and they were both completed without much issue.

Everything was fine until earlier this week I receive a comment from a third user on one of the commissions stating the female character (the girlfriend's) was ripped off/stolen from them.

I reached out to the original owner to get a feel for what was going on from their side and identify what their wishes were before I went to the commissioner and asked him for his side and an explanation.

The story seems to be that the girlfriend found the character on E621 and asked "someone" on the site if she could use the art as a reference for her character and they gave permission. She's been apologetic and so far cooperative with the original owner, however, the whole reason they got on the original owner's radar was the girlfriend watched her a while back. So I question as to how she would not have realized she was using the original owner's character as her own and stopped once she realized it...

I can confirm the commissioner/master/boyfriend provided me one of the original owner's commissioned pieces as a reference for the stolen character. He also reacted aggressively toward the owner when she confronted them about it this week, claiming the owner gave the girlfriend permission to use the art and character design?

Now I need help in determining what I do next.

First, I've asked the original owner if she'd like me to remove the first two commissions. She said she felt it a shame to remove the art and suggested maybe removing the commissioner and girlfriend's names in the credits. However, I feel like the best (and right) thing to do would be to request the commissioner and girlfriend remove the art on their end and then take it down on mine too. Any advice or suggestions?

Second, last weekend, just before all of this came to light, I accepted a third sketch commission from this commissioner featuring the same two characters. The same day he was confronted by the owner he did send me a note that briefly said he'd be getting with me on the design for the female character but didn't elaborate on anything else.

Today I sent a note to him simply acknowledging that I had received a comment from the owner, I was aware there was an issue, and asked if he could explain his/their side of the story to me.

He replied back stating that it would take a lot of effort to explain, they were making a couple changes, and that the change in design was mostly all I needed to be concerned about.

I'm not sure how I feel about that response, I feel like he's not being honest with me and some of his behavior is starting to make me leery. I was hoping to offer him an opportunity to be straight with me, explain their side since I've got the original owner's side, but it seems that he's not interested or willing to disclose anything further to me.

I want to do right by the original owner in all of this too. She's really kind and I feel bad that I've contributed to this mess even unknowingly.

Thank you in advance for any advice y'all might have! I appreciate it!

Date: 2015-09-28 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dirtiran.livejournal.com
It stinks that you got tangled in a mess that has nothing to do with you definitely!

If it were me, I would probably ask the original characters owner if they want the existing commission removed from my gallery, and do so if that were their request. Then I would politely decline to do further business with the commissioner and refund whatever was paid.

That's just what I would do to avoid unnecessary drama as a hired artist however XD If being involved in this does not bother you. I'd just say push on, and hopefully the new design will be enough to keep the air clear!

Date: 2015-09-28 02:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] houndofloki.livejournal.com
Ugh, that sucks :(

For the new commission: I would just refund this guy's money, don't do the sketch, and be done with it. He's not being honest with you, and doing any more business with him has the potential to cause you way more stress then a sketch commission is worth.

For the existing commissions, I would follow the original creator's wishes for your own gallery posting (remove the commissioner's names from the description) because it really would be a shame to delete your own work when this isn't your fault. BUT - I'd also ask the commissioner to delete the copy in his gallery.

Date: 2015-09-28 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] notgarystu.livejournal.com
That really sucks, getting tangled up in the middle of something like that. Would it be possible, instead of taking down the art, to alter the girlfriend/pet character design in the original commission? That way, the character design is no longer infringing on the original owner's, and you get to keep the work up in your gallery.

As for the current sketch commission, I would personally refund whatever money was paid and not go forward with it. Dealing with a client who hadn't been honest with you and then goes on to act like this is a shitty place to be.

Date: 2015-09-28 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teekchan.livejournal.com
I would refund for the newest sketch commission if you havent done it yet. Tell them they can rebuy the slot once they have a non stoel design. (Someone can probably help you on proper phrasing if you need it! )

If it were me, I would remove the art done, and if the actual owner wants it removed from the buyers gallery, they can file a TT.

Or, if allowed, modify it. I have done this for private commissions before where the buyer sait it was okay. (Siwtching colors, removing hair, or other minor edits)

Date: 2015-09-28 08:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lunar-orchids.livejournal.com
Tbh i stumbled onto the argument earlier on the shouts on one of these peoples pages. You cant copyright a hair color, style or color pallete sorry. The entire fluffy tail tip thing boggles my mind as well. Plus the sketches you did are black and white so the argument of rosette color is making me scratch my head.

I can see being miffed someone used their characters ref but when you pick a generic character with a down style of hair in a normal human hair shade what do people expect to happen?

The original common species character thefts make me so glad i dont draw. Only honest fault here to me is the use of someone elses ref but in a black and white sketch it just looks like a common ocelot and if one wants to get real picky the "original" character in all this really reminds me of Oces character -.-

Date: 2015-09-29 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jessibean.livejournal.com
While you can't claim ownership on hair color, style, etc... it is appalling to use someone else's character and their art ref as a ref for your own character and call it your original OC. I feel like that's been really downplayed in your comment. In the end, that part is blatant theft.

I would refuse to do future work with this commissioner again, because you'll never know for sure if the reference is theirs or not. The boyfriend clearly knew what was going on, since he's being so resistant about it, and then you have to wonder if his OC is really his own reference, too. This is just a mess all around - but i think you definitely need to refuse all future commissions and back out of the current pending one.

Date: 2015-09-29 12:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karthegrax.livejournal.com
I get your point that it's a generic species but blaming the original artist for having a "simple" character is ridiculous. The commissioner/(their S.O) literally provided a reference that was artwork of another person's character. They don't just have similar characters, the features are the same because the characters are the same. Whilst not illegal, we should (and do) frown upon this as a community. The artist is not mad about the existence of another ocelot OC.

OP it's up to you. The fact that the commissioner/S.O has removed artwork which the original artist said proves the character is stolen is a huge worry. Personally I'd prefer not to have the art or associated drama in my gallery and I definitely wouldn't be doing any more art with the specified character until it's resolved. I really wouldn't want to condone any sort of art theft (even if they genuinely thought they had permission).

Date: 2015-09-29 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teekchan.livejournal.com
The person used a ref of the original character, aka stolen. It's 100% proven it was character theft.

There's a huge difference between say... Draw this fox with an earring' and here's a link to a ref with a fox with an earring, but clearly says character belongs to X.

Accidental character theft happens all the time, but this was clearly not a case like that.

Date: 2015-09-30 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lackoflollies.livejournal.com
You made the right decision.

Hopefully the admins will respond in a timely manner, but if they won't i'd leave a shot on Chase, Sciggles, AsiaNeko or Dragoneer's profiles, eventually one of them will do their job.

I'd also point out that according to FA ToS, as well as artist copyright, -you- own the work, not him because he did not explicitly purchase rights from you.

I'd add something preventing this to your ToS [I assume you have one] in the future. I outline it in my ToS that I reserve the right to revoke permission for my commissioner to use/host that artwork in their gallery t any time, and at my sole discretion and I will take whatever avenues necessary to accomplish this.
Edited Date: 2015-09-30 03:37 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-09-30 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ducttapeninja.livejournal.com
Honest advice: You should post a full beware on this guy. Stealing other peoples characters/references/artwork, lying about it, and then being rude and disrespectful to everyone involved when caught on it? Definitely beware-worthy. It'd probably save some artists from a lot of drama in the future if it turns out he's going to keep doing things like this.

Date: 2015-10-01 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lackoflollies.livejournal.com
I agree.

I'd love to know who this user is so I can avoid doing business with him entirely.
Edited Date: 2015-10-01 01:16 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-10-01 10:24 am (UTC)

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