Hey y’all. Andy here. So, it’s been a few months since our last real art of the day post. To be honest, I don’t exactly know how popular they were, but I feel like I owe you all an explanation as to where they went.
The most important thing they pointed out, though, was how much of a legal grey area ZNN finds itself in regarding fanart. While no individual members of ZNN profit off of anything to do with the site, ZNN itself gets about $161 per month through Patreon donations. This is used to cover our site hosting, run various special events, and occasionally commission a very specific piece of art we find ourselves in need of. It’s enough to keep it up and running, and that’s been good enough for us for the most part.
In order to have complete legal security to post artwork on the site, we need the individual permission of everyone whose work we feature- even retroactively. So, we halted our Treasure Hunter team, the ones who find new Zootopia fanart as it gets posted and add it to the ZNN Art Vault for later inclusion in Art of the Day posts. I figured “hey, we can get that permission, no problem. We know a lot of the artists in question, we can just ask them and get their permission and call it good. Shouldn’t take too much work, right?”
Wrong. Over the past 5 years, we’ve featured over 16,000 pieces of art from nearly 5,000 artists across Deviantart, Twitter, Tumblr, Pixiv, and FurAffinity. In many cases, the original had been removed or the artist disappeared, leaving the version on ZNN as the only copy of the art to be found on the internet, and we had no idea. I personally compiled a gigantic spreadsheet with all of this information, which I then had to split into over 30 smaller spreadsheets in order to post it to google docs, where we might be able to work through them.
But we can’t. We simply do not have the time or manpower to go through all of this. This particular task would require hundreds of man-hours of sorting and contacting and tracking and data entry work, the sort of thing massive companies hire people to do as a full-time job. ZNN is an all-volunteer organization, and we all have our own jobs and lives we have to take care of. We’ve made a valiant effort at it, but in the end, I have to admit that we can’t do this.
So, where does that leave the Art of the Day posts? Well, I wanted to pose that question to all of you, our readers. We have a few options we could pursue to remain legally secure while still featuring art:
- We could simply continue as we were, featuring whatever we found, giving artists proper credit, and removing them if we’re asked to. It’s not the best option, and opens us up to potential legal issues down the road, but it’s been practical enough the past few years, before we knew about all this. It’d be the “forgiveness rather than permission” approach.
- We could work things out so we are officially listed as a NonProfit organization, which would free us from some of these legal obligations. We essentially are already, but getting that legal certification requires paying the IRS a $600 fee. We don’t have that much, but I could maybe pay it out of my own pocket, or set up a GoFundMe for it if that isn’t feasible.
- We could grit our teeth and proceed with contacting every artist whose work we’ve ever featured. It would take a very, very long time, during which new art would still be produced by the lovely artists of this fandom that we could not feature, which would then add to the pile.
- We could just forget about doing Art of the Day posts entirely. I’d hate to do this- we love being able to show off all the phenomenal work you make, and the whole idea behind ZNN is to provide a platform on which we can go “Hey! Check out this really cool thing this person made! Go check them out!”. But we will if we need to.
I honestly don’t know what we should do, so I leave that question to you. What do you all think would be best, given this situation? Give us your answers down below, and if you have any suggestions we haven’t considered, please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion. We’re open to all ideas, and are willing to “Try Everything”.
Thank you for your continued support. We hope to be able to feature more and more amazing things over the next several years, especially once Z+ comes out. We really wouldn’t still be doing this without y’all. Thank you.
Until next time, I’m Andy Lagopus. Have a great day, and remember, as always…