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Monday, July 10, 2017

Theft in the Fandom- an Editorial by Andy Lagopus

Artist: Nick Southam
The mission of ZNN is to promote, grow, and support the Zootopia fandom and all creative people who share our love of Zootopia; to highlight creative works from across the internet and foster creativity within our readers; to encourage friendship and trust within the community; to provide a positive, optimistic environment for all Zootopia fans around the world to enjoy.
~The ZNN Mission Statement 

In the time since Zootopia first debuted, we have seen an outpouring of inspiration unlike anything Disney was anticipating.  As a fandom, we have created massive comics, beautiful pieces of art, compelling stories, engaging videos, and so much more!  ZNN was born out of my personal love for this fandom and all of the marvelous works that people around the world produce, and soon the ZNN team was full of others who shared this love.  Our goal is to be the whole fandom's "hype-man", so to speak: we take the best the fandom has to offer and give it a stage and a spotlight in which it, and its creator(s), can shine.

Unfortunately, we have recently been reminded of a sad truth- where fandoms flourish, theft thrives.

Read on after the break.



As some of you may know, ZNN is officially partnered with the Zootopia Dubbing Channel (or ZDC for short).  They have brought us a dub of Hello Bunnyburrow, the English dub of "Wild Games", and have many more quality comic dubs in the works.  Throughout the process of creating dubs, they have taken great lengths to be respectful towards the people who created the comics they dub.  Wild Games was dubbed into English with the permission and support of AlStiff, who created the original animation in Russian.  Their dub of Hello Bunnyburrow has HyenaTig's blessing and approval.  Credit is given to the original artists both in the video itself, and in the description, along with links to the original work.  Their work is transformative, and they put their hearts and souls into making it the best they possibly can, while including the person whose work they are transforming in the spotlight.

So you can imagine how disappointed we were to learn that someone on Youtube had re-uploaded their dub of Hello Bunnyburrow without altering the video in any way, shape, or form- and got twice as many views as the ZDC.  The channel in question (which will remain anonymous in this editorial) is one of many scattered across youtube.  You've likely encountered them before: the standard formula is to take a popular comic, or pieces of fanart, and put them into a "video" (I use the term loosely- they appear to simply slap the pictures into Windows Movie Maker), apply some of the most basic transitions avaliable to them, and set the whole thing to some music that rarely ever fits the tone of the art.

Now, I don't have a problem with these sorts of videos existing so long as they give the original creators proper credit for the work they did, and make it clear to their audiences that they did not create the comics or art being presented.*  They can be good practice for people just starting to learn the basics of video editing, and as time goes on I would hope they use this practice to improve their skills and make better videos.

But if you claim to have created something you did not, that is theft.  Even if that claim is only by implication (i.e. not making it clear to your audience who originally made it), it is still theft.  And if you monetize the thing that is making such a claim, that is definitely theft.

ZNN does not tolerate theft.  Action has already been taken by the ZDC against the video in question, and that channel has thankfully taken it down of their own accord.  I didn't want to make this into a big deal, but I think it's important to have integrity in this wonderful fandom of ours, and this presented a good opportunity for us to discuss this important issue.

One final word of warning: If you wish to make videos out of comics that people have made, ZNN has no problems with that.  If you wish to make ZMV's, or comic dubs, those are transformative works that we would likely feature here on ZNN!  But if you are stealing someone's work, claiming it to be your own, and (optionally) making money off of it... we have no qualms doing everything in our power to take down your videos.  Or even your channel if we have to.

Appreciate our artists.  Credit our creators.  Thwart the thieves.

And remember, as always...

Try everything.

~Andy Lagopus

*small caveat to my not having a problem with these videos and channels- they still need to respect the original artist's desires regarding their work.  If you make a video like this and the artist asks you to take it down, you ought to take it down regardless of the video's popularity.

9 comments:

  1. Well said. Theft is something that can easily kill a fandom's momentum; people will stop wanting to make wonderful things for the fandom if they're not getting the credit they deserve for their hard work. Theft discourages the growth of the fans.
    Thank you for trying to tackle this issue at what is still a relatively-early stage in this fandom's life. (A year is not a long time at all in comparison to the passion I have witnessed from this fandom!)

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  2. Hence the reason several of the FB groups I'm in take artist credit so seriously...it baffles me why people can't acknowledge hard work in a decent manner. This problem has already discouraged several incredible writers and artists from continuing their work, or at least made them go into hiding so that if we want to see anything from them again we have to dig through several layers of internet mazes, and it's heartbreaking so many continue to degrade in the same way despite so much work to prevent it.

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  3. In all truthfullness ZNN, youtube fair-use rule presses that just because you give credit to the creator of a content, that doesn't automatically grant you the right to share their work. As long the creator did not grant permission to a channel to use their art, it is considered a violation and the creator has the right to take action. Even if the art falls under CreativeCommon license.

    The final note shouldn't be "give creadit to the creator"
    it should be "ask the creator for permission"

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    1. True, which is why I said to be respectful of the original artist's wishes- if they ask you to take it down, then take it down. Otherwise the artist in question can claim it's a violation, like you said, and get it taken down anyways.

      As for asking permission... we're on the internet. It'd be great if people asked permission before doing stuff. But let's be real, that only occasionally works. In the absence of permission, proper credit is the next best thing.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. We are sorry to hear you feel that way. The issue you mentioned has already been resolved positively between the parties involved. If you have further concerns, please reach out directly to us at zootopianews@gmail.com.
      - ZNN Management

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. I would argue fanart theft is worse, solely because so many ugly things have arisen from ownership disputes and anger over stolen efforts. Pixxiestix who wrote A different kind of Goal, one of my favorite fics in the fandom, flat out left the fandom and removed her story in progress that was essentially her final part of what was essentially a trilogy because some idiots gave her flak for showing art that wasn't hers when she made it very clear the art in question was a gift from an artist who appreciated her work. It's sad, because what little she had written seemed good.

    F@#%*+g moochers man.

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