Editorial: What Happened to the Art of the Day? [With Poll]

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.

Back at the beginning of the year, I was approached by someone claiming to represent a few artists in the Zootopia fandom, asking us to remove their work from our site. They were very agreeable, and after checking with the artists in question to make sure their story checked out, they were able to give us some good advice. This person knew a lot about business law and online regulations, and was able to point out some areas we were lacking- notably Terms of Service and a Privacy Policy. We corrected that error on our part, and thanked them for the heads up.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…

Try Everything

21 Comments

  1. Voted Option 2 here. If that is the route ZNN takes, you can count on some support from me. It won’t be much but I’d hate to see ZNN become less than it has always been or get into trouble for refusing to do so.

  2. I don’t have a particularly good understanding of American copyright law but would happily chip in to a GoFundMe if that would alleviate the issue. I work in the arts and so know first hand how nasty some copyright stuff can get and contacting each and every artist is going to be soul-destroying not to mention the big chunk that you won’t even be able to track down.

    Sincerely hoping it all gets figured out!

  3. I would have voted option 2, but balked for lack of ability to get response to some questions through here or email so, broke as I am, not sure if I could bring myself to give financial support without getting some responses back first. If it can be supported, great, as the art has been missed, but there’s also the option of moving forward asking permission from here on out to cover what can be in future terms rather than trying to get through a full list of contacts first and letting things stagnate in the meantime.

    • Sorry about that. What were the questions? I’m afraid the submissions email is a bit broken, so if you’ve been asking them there, they might not have been seen.

      • I have emailed there but also posted questions under some of the articles as well since that had not been working; primarily, a story that’s been up for a while that’s a sequel to one that’s been featured here before (Foundation’s Fire, sequel to Closed Doors), but as the featured fanfics and updates etc. have also been somewhat amiss for a while I wasn’t sure if things were working out there either. Also been asking about some of the missing articles etc. here but this one answered that.

    • these people NEVER have asked permission, and i can personally attest, i HAVE asked them to remove my art in the past, only to get completely ignored. i told them in the past, ask first if they want to use it, only to get blown off and that it takes too much effort to ask every single artist for permission. on top of that, even the artists they DO know, they don’t bother to alert them or let them know their art was featured here. this is predatory, considering people actively pay them for featuring content, and it’s BS they make money off featuring the hard work of others.

  4. I voted 3; I know is the most difficult choise, but is the only one that really respect the rights of the original autors.

  5. I’ve had my art featured here a few times and haven’t minded it at all, since fanart and original art are quite different things (and I appreciate being featured a lot!). Maybe a mixed solution is to remove old stuff if the artist asks for it and only contact artists for future features – or maybe let people submit their artwork as suggestions for features (and some way for them to prove that they are submitting their own artwork).

    I’m not a regular around here, but like to pop in now and then and check out the art especially. So these art features are appeciated, even though I never leave any comments.

    • i can tell you, i have had a big pain from these people, i found out after they’d banned me from their discord, because of people who were problematic i USED to be associated with, i couldn’t even contact them myself to ask them to take my art down. randomly ended up on their website today, to find not only did they NOT take the original piece i’d asked them to take down, but they’ve put more of my artwork on their site. i told them when we last talked, they had to ask me permission, or they can’t use my art. and we can see how well that went. they blatantly ignored me, and are continuing to use my art, despite my telling them they don’t have my permission.

  6. Voted for #2 and will keep my eyes on this site to see what happens. Is the IRS thing a one-time fee or does it need renewing?

  7. Hmmm….

    I really don’t know what the best approach would be??
    I love the Art of the day, I would be very sad to see it go

  8. ha, taking art down when requested? i know of at least one artist who had to ask MORE than once for you to take down their art, because you used it without their permission, then you tried to give them the run around about taking it down, because it would be “too hard” to remove their single piece.

    adding to that, the only artists you feature, have been ones that are well known or already have a substantial following, and then use people’s art that isn’t as well known as filler and mass post it, and even when the artist DID have a page, or a link was provided, you never informed the artists you COULD have found, that you did use their art, so they were aware.

    as far as you claiming “non profit”, you can’t, because you do get patreon donations. so you are getting money. if you think patreon doesn’t count as profit or getting paid, take a look at what happened to the people who made pokego++. they ended up sued by niantic.

    the fact that it had to come to you being worried about legal ramifications as the reason you finally are addressing this, says a lot.

  9. you know what, fuck anonymity.

    I am one artist who had to ask MORE than once for you to take down my art, because you banned me from your discord, just because of who i USED TO be associated with. but even though you banned me, you STILL used my art without asking permission, or TELLING me you used it, then you gave me run around about taking it down, because it would be “too hard” to remove the one piece from the post. BULLSHIT.

    randomly poke back on your site, only to find you are STILL using my art, and never took down the original piece you used still??? the only one you have my permission to use, is the one that was a commission i did, because that belongs to beecroftA, you NEVER had my permission to use my art, and you will NEVER have permission to use my art, because like i told you last time, ask FIRST. I want it taken down, now. i told you before not to use my art, so unless you want to pay for the art used, get it off your site.

  10. you know what, fuck anonymity.

    I am one artist who had to ask multiple times, for you to take down my art, and i had to have a MUTUAL FRIEND ASK, because you banned me from your discord, just because of who i USED TO be associated with. but even though you banned me, you STILL used my art without asking permission, or TELLING me you used it, then you gave me run around about taking it down, because it would be “too hard” to remove the one piece from the post. BULLSHIT.

    randomly poke back on your site, only to find you are STILL using my art, and never took down the original piece you used still??? the only one you have my permission to use, is the one that was a commission i did, because that belongs to beecroftA, you NEVER had my permission to use my art, and you will NEVER have permission to use my art, because like i told you last time, ask FIRST. I want it taken down, now. i told you before not to use my art, so unless you want to pay for the art used, get it off your site.

  11. you know what, fuck anonymity.

    we have had this conversation before, i had to go through a friend to get the message to you, because you banned me from your discord over NOTHING MORE than who i USED TO be associated with. i told you back in 2017-2018 i did NOT WANT my art on your website, and you were told to take my art down. and what do i find, randomly poking back on here? the original piece i asked you to take down is STILL THERE, and MORE of my art is on your website. i do NOT WANT my art on your website. the ONLY pieces you can post, are those who belong to people who paid me commission, because they own it, like beecroftA’s fanfic art cover.

    so for the THIRD TIME, get my art OFF your website. you do NOT have my permission to use it, and you will never have my permission to use it. unless you want to pay for the art, i want it taken down, NOW. i shouldn’t have to ask multiple times for my art to be removed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.