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(The Verge)   What happens when a virtual streamer doesn't own her body? And WTF am I reading?   (theverge.com) divider line
    More: Stupid, 3D computer graphics, Copyright, 3D modeling, Projekt Melody, 3D computer graphics software, 3D model, case of Melody, part of a growing wave of virtual streamers  
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2297 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 24 Nov 2020 at 1:20 PM (14 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-11-24 1:56:03 PM  
32 votes:
Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.
 
2020-11-24 3:52:11 PM  
14 votes:

PvtStash: pretty simple stuff, even though it is complex.

Do you at all in any way generate a revenue stream from your activity?

If yes = all content MUST be your own personal content, and not borrowed without express permission. So if you choose to use an avatar to speak through, you better believe that needs to be your own original art work(or one you own), that does not come too close to being mistakable for an established intellectual property.

One may be "inspired by" only so much, while also attempting to be their own commercial endeavor.
Anyone that wants to be too close to other owned intellectual property needs to eschew for profit endeavors and keep to the for free fan fic stuff.

If you want to earn money in the world, you better have all your i's dotted, t's crossed, and bills paid.
Or you may not have as legit a claim to the earnings as you might have imagined.

that or be a a big established corp that just can screw over anyone too small to take them to court in the first place.


I think that's the point here:  the streamer isn't "borrowing" anything; she paid for the content to be created for her and kept the receipts to prove it.  Artwork typically done on commission like this is normally the property of the commissioning entity (person, corporation, whatever), though the artist may maintain the right to reference such work in their portfolio (or may not, depending on the terms of the commission).  Like, the person who draws the next fancy BMW design doesn't own the likeness; BMW does.

Normally I side with the artists because, all too often, they do get ripped off way too easily.  But this seems pretty clear to me.
 
2020-11-24 2:05:19 PM  
12 votes:

King Something: Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.


Screw that dude.  You get paid to create something, you don't own the IP unless you specify it in writing.  The person who paid for the IP owns it.
 
2020-11-24 1:34:13 PM  
11 votes:
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 2:27:53 PM  
8 votes:
My non-lawyer assumption is the guy is an ass who's mad in hindsight but the Verge using the word "body" instead of "avatar" over and over again is kind of... creepy. Obviously they're going for a feminist angle but it accidentally comes across like a message from some dystopian utopia Brave New World/the Giver alternate reality that somehow made its way into my browser.
 
2020-11-24 2:03:01 PM  
8 votes:
Big media in places like Japan is pushing for virtual streamers for exactly that reason. They don't grow old and you can always replace the VA if she demands more money.
 
2020-11-24 2:26:40 PM  
7 votes:

King Something: Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.


Sounds about right.  Also his claim will get tossed by a judge in about five minutes.
 
2020-11-24 1:51:13 PM  
7 votes:
Consider it a dry run for when we realize we're never leaving this planet and go hardcore into mind uploading tech so we can move to a digital existence. These kinds of issues are going to crop up constantly as artists create the worlds that will exist in this digital landscape and those that can't or won't create their own want to live in them. Best we work out the kinks now while we still have meat space to fall back on.
 
2020-11-24 11:53:47 PM  
6 votes:

lifeslammer: rosekolodny: King Something: Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.

Screw that dude.  You get paid to create something, you don't own the IP unless you specify it in writing.  The person who paid for the IP owns it.

Is that your legal scholarly background talking or your ass talking?


It was just my experience as someone who did graphic design.  Everything I was paid to create was the IP of the people who paid me.
 
2020-11-24 2:21:52 PM  
6 votes:

bigbadideasinaction: Big media in places like Japan is pushing for virtual streamers for exactly that reason. They don't grow old and you can always replace the VA if she demands more money.


Or objects to being groped by a sweaty old dude, or wants to get married, or decides to voice her opinion about any subject, or...
 
2020-11-24 1:33:19 PM  
5 votes:
I'm getting too old for this sh*t
 
2020-11-24 7:34:26 PM  
4 votes:
IANAL but as an ex-graphic designer it sounds to me like some artist is learning a tough and expensive lesson about ownership vs. licensing.
 
2020-11-24 2:44:57 PM  
4 votes:

leeksfromchichis: With Vocaloid and similar tech, you technically only need the VAs once.


That's not actually a Nendoroid of Hatsune Miku, it's a Nendoroid of Kagami Hiiragi cosplaying Hatsune Miku.
 
2020-11-24 2:29:41 PM  
4 votes:

bigbadideasinaction: Big media in places like Japan is pushing for virtual streamers for exactly that reason. They don't grow old and you can always replace the VA if she demands more money.


encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.comView Full Size


With Vocaloid and similar tech, you technically only need the VAs once.

Although apparently it's still cheaper and easier to just have the VA record than synthesize everything, but we're approaching the point where holographic idols won't need humans
 
2020-11-24 2:16:50 PM  
4 votes:

rosekolodny: King Something: Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.

Screw that dude.  You get paid to create something, you don't own the IP unless you specify it in writing.  The person who paid for the IP owns it.


Is that your legal scholarly background talking or your ass talking?
 
2020-11-25 2:08:48 AM  
3 votes:

Theaetetus: Or, even simpler, copyright requires a written assignment to transfer ownership. She says she has a receipt, but not an assignment contract.That implies she purchased a single image with an implied license to display it, not a character design with rights to make derivative works and reproduce it.


His lawyer can argue that, but she commissioned a 3D avatar for her personal use, that was clearly intended to be hers to use freely and fully. If implied license is based on expected use, there is no question that a 3D avatar for streaming or VR is intended to be fully the property of the person commissioning it.

There ARE people who photograph or record video in VR, and images or video from that would be like the case you mention. But Melody commissioned the avatar itself, which consists not of an image but rigging related to how it moves and expressions it can make and how all this is mapped to the person behind it (the IRL streamer). It's an avatar, not a picture of an avatar.

He knew what he was making and what the implications were. He's just looking for cash because Melody is successful.
 
2020-11-24 10:53:36 PM  
3 votes:
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 6:00:20 PM  
3 votes:
I kinda skimmed the article but does it not even mention Kizuna Ai and the entire saga of her multiple voice actors/personalities? It seems a little bizzare to discuss the issue of avatar and rights without discussing the biggest name which went through very similar issues. That said, I can barely make heads or tails of exactly what happened with Kizuna Ai, so perhaps it was best to leave out such a confusing chain of events.

In any case, the vtuber thing is pretty new, but in many cases the IP is owned by a company. Melody is (was) independent so that was a bit different. That said, in Japan the character is often retired of the actor(?) behind it leaves, at least in Nijisanji and Hololive. In theory I think they could resurrect the characters with new people behind them, but after the Kizuna Ai situation that seems to be mostly avoided. That said, it does mean if you leave you lose your avatar and followers.

This was a straight case of an artist trying to goldmine a very straightforward commission that turned out to get big later.
 
2020-11-24 2:44:48 PM  
3 votes:
pretty simple stuff, even though it is complex.

Do you at all in any way generate a revenue stream from your activity?

If yes = all content MUST be your own personal content, and not borrowed without express permission. So if you choose to use an avatar to speak through, you better believe that needs to be your own original art work(or one you own), that does not come too close to being mistakable for an established intellectual property.

One may be "inspired by" only so much, while also attempting to be their own commercial endeavor.
Anyone that wants to be too close to other owned intellectual property needs to eschew for profit endeavors and keep to the for free fan fic stuff.

If you want to earn money in the world, you better have all your i's dotted, t's crossed, and bills paid.
Or you may not have as legit a claim to the earnings as you might have imagined.

that or be a a big established corp that just can screw over anyone too small to take them to court in the first place.
 
2020-11-24 4:48:58 PM  
2 votes:
i.pinimg.comView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 2:59:28 PM  
2 votes:
Was she wearing a sleeve?
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-11-24 2:54:04 PM  
2 votes:
If you owned your body, you could put whatever you wanted into it
 
2020-11-25 8:15:12 AM  
1 vote:

rosekolodny: It was just my experience as someone who did graphic design.  Everything I was paid to create was the IP of the people who paid me.


You are legally and factually wrong.

Either you didn't read or don't remember your hiring contract that explicitly stated the work you did was work for for hire. If you did design work at an agency, you signed a sheet of paper with that exact phrase on it before you even began orientation.

If you did freelance work without a written contract, you are in the same boat as this artist. As a pure graphic designer, your work is largely collage, has limited originality (for legal purposes) and is much more watered down in terms of, as referenced here, implied/verbal contract. It's understandable to not have been worked up around it.

As an illustrator, if you're not paying attention to this in freelance scenarios, you're a farking idiot. You as an artist, by default, immediately upon completion of your fixed work, own the copyright to it unless you explicitly surrender it. If your commissioner wants exclusive usage of it, you should have a sliding scale of additional costs that start with limited rights based on industry, timeframe and geography and work up to transfer of copyright which you should always try to avoid.

If I commission a painting from someone, and there is not a formal written (or strongly documented verbal) agreement of transfer of copyright to that painting, I do not have the rights to make reproductions or derivative works of that painting.

Note the example of an actor getting a headshot from a photographer has an implied understanding that reproductions will be made for professional distribution. If I took that headshot of me and popped it on redbubble to buy on posters and mugs and such, the photographer would have a valid legal claim against me.
 
2020-11-24 2:34:58 PM  
1 vote:

rosekolodny: King Something: Short version: Guy unaware of the concept of "work for hire" is commissioned to make a waifu avatar for a live streamer, does so. She becomes popular, so he decides he owns the rights to her avatar's name and likeness. The internet ends up hating him for it.

Screw that dude.  You get paid to create something, you don't own the IP unless you specify it in writing.  The person who paid for the IP owns it.


TFA states the artist claims they were not paid in full. the person that commissioned the work who now has several hundred thousand viewers must have some crypto currency they can spare to settle the debt.
 
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