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The Rules - Crediting Artists and Creators

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:08 pm
by Ares
So, after almost 5 years, Echoes will have it’s first major rules update. It’s been a long time coming, and I’ve honestly taken too long to resolve this, so I apologize to all parties involved.

This update is going to regard how Echoes will handle displaying art going forward. We were just sort of comfortable with how things had been done on the Green Ronin forums that we never really considered the implications of just posting other people’s art on here. I initially had my own misconceptions about things like Fair Use, artist/creator rights, but having done some reading I think I have a better grasp of the situation.

As I now understand it, things like trademark and copyright exist to protect a creator’s ownership over their intellectual property, and to prevent any confusion as to said ownership. Ironically, the more popular and well known something is, the more things like “fair use” apply to it, and the easier it is to get away with using art related to it. Everyone knows who Superman, Batman and Spider-Man are. No one can reasonably pass those characters off as their own, especially given the respective pocket books of the companies that own them. As such, large companies like Warner Bros and Disney don’t mind when people post images of their characters on sites, since they tend to view it as free advertising. Note that this only applies to people who are not making a profit off of said character, as the Mouse is VERY quick to shut down people profiting off of their IP’s.

This is one reason, for instance, why Kevin Siembieda and Palladium have no real power to shut down people who post up adaptations of their Rifts stuff. Palladium is a large enough company with a history of publishing that no one is going to assume the fans translating Rifts stuff to less crappy systems is anything but a fan thing. No one is claiming ownership over their IP, no one is profiting off of their IP, and that kind of translation actually falls under fair use.

For smaller creators however, there is a very real need to establish ownership over their creations, since failure to do so can be seen as legally giving up the rights to said creation. Take our own bsdigitalq. If someone starts posting up images of his Thunderwoman character without his permission, then he has to try and establish ownership to maintain his copyright of the character. Until Thunderwoman becomes well known enough that ownership isn’t in question, He is legally required to ask people hosting images of her to cite him as her owner.

Likewise, artists do have a say in how their art is displayed, and do have the right to ask you to not display their art, provided it isn’t something that was commissioned by a larger company or is of a character owned by another company. If an artist draws a picture of Superman, while they do own the labor of their work, they do not own the art itself since they don’t own the characters. It’s a bit of fan art that they don’t technically own but can still request be taken down, and their wishes definitely should be taken into account.

As such I am going to outline the following guidelines for both posters and artist/creators. Please follow the links to the appropriate post, or just scroll down. If you have any questions, please contact me via PM.

- Poster Guidelines
- Artist / Creator Guidelines

Re: The Rules - Crediting Artists and Creators

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:09 pm
by Ares
For Echoes members and posters:

Hey guys. I know a change like this feels like a bit odd, especially to folks who have been posting RPG builds like this for more than a decade now. It’s weird that this never came up before now, but it’s better that we correct things late than never.

Moving forward, I would like all posters to abide by the following guidelines:

#1: If you obtain art from places like deviantArt or ArtStation, please at the very least, cite the artist. Preferably, use a url-link that links directly to the artists page.

I do understand that places like Pinterest can make finding the source artist difficult, but in most cases, if the art is online, then the artist has a page where they’re displaying their stuff. In which case, please link to it to give the artist their proper credit.

If the art is of a character owned by another creator or company that isn’t a big name like Marvel or DC, then please include them and links to their pages as well. This normally isn’t hard, as most artists will have links to the pages of the creators who commissioned them for art.

Note that I am not going to require you to go back through your threads and add these in, though I will ask that you follow this policy moving forward. However, I will recommend you go back through your older stuff, and wherever possible cite the creators and artists where you can. It’ll just make things smoother overall.

#2: If an indy artist or creator approaches you and asks you to properly cite a picture you have posted, do it. And if they ask you to remove said art, do it.

This might seem unfair, but the truth is that most of us here do not own the art we post online. Art that I am hosting on a website meant for us all to have a good time. If we didn’t pay these artists and creators for their work, then they have every right to ask us not to display it.

The one time where you might not have to take the art down is if the art has been edited/photoshopped to such a degree as to count as Fair Use. Note that Fair Use is a tricky thing, so contact me if you have any questions regarding it and how it applies.

But for the most part, if you don’t own the art and the person that does asks you to remove it, do so.

#3: Don’t antagonize the artists or creators.

Everyone on this site is some flavor of creative individual, so I understand how passionate and possessive we get about the things we create. Sometimes the inspiration for that creativity comes other people’s creations. So I can understand any knee-jerk defensive responses to criticism and accusations. And I definitely understand making jabs at people that annoy you or who have done things you find worthy of criticism.

But for the love of Jack and Stan, please don’t antagonize people. Don’t ignore people who come to you in good faith and ask you to respect their wishes regarding their creations. Don’t take their art and then include insults to them in your write-ups. And don’t be passive aggressive when they don’t like how you’ve repossessed something of theirs for your own project.

Again, this applies only to Indy Creators and Artists. If you want to take the piss out of Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld, I’ll happily join you in doing so. But if it’s someone on deviantArt whose art you’re using for a character build, don’t be rude or insult the artist of the owner of the character you’re using. Especially when those people might wind up joining the board to point out what you’ve done.

So for example, if I was going to post the following picture by dartbaston, I’d do so in the following way:

Art by dartbaston

Jade Wolf appears to just be a simple commissioned piece of art, so there’s no need to include the creator.
If I was going to post pictures of our own bsdigitalq’s Thunder Woman, I’d do so in the following way:
Simple enough, right?

When the artists contact you about any art issues, I will be included in those messages. You’ll have a reasonable amount of time to make the requested changes (usually a week), after which I’ll be forced to go and make those edits myself. If I have to make those edits, then you’ll receive a temporary ban from Echoes equal to one week plus one additional day for every image you didn’t properly cite or take down. Repeat failure to comply with the new rule will result in official Warnings, which can result in a permanent ban.

Again, I know this will be a change for most of us, but I think overall it’s the best thing to do, and I appreciate your cooperation.

Thanks again for your patience and for making Echoes your home.

Re: The Rules - Crediting Artists and Creators

Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:10 pm
by Ares
For artists and creators who have found your work on Echoes:

First and foremost, welcome to Echoes of the Multiverse. I sincerely hope that however you found your way here that you enjoy your stay and consider sticking around once we’ve resolved the issues you have.

Most likely you’re here because you’ve found some of your art or characters being used here by posters who are using it as sample art for their RPG builds. I promise you that no one here is claiming ownership of your creations and I sincerely apologize for any unintentional insult on our part. Most of us have been part of this RPG community for almost 15 years now, and it was only in the latter part of last year that this issue of ownership, IP protection and the like came up.

Again, no offense was intended and I promise to help make everything right. To do so, please comply with the following guidelines:

#1: Create an account here on Echoes.

#2: If you find uncredited art/creations you own on this site, please consider allowing the art to remain on this site rather than remove it. Once proper ownership is established, Echoes can serve in effect as free advertising for you, complete with links to your own site.

If you find a post with some art or a character you own, rightclick on the post’s topic and select “copy link address”. Then create a Private Message with both the poster of the aforementioned post and myself included. Explain who you are and your ownership of the picture / character in question, and provide the link to that specific post.

Also provide a link to your own art page or website, as well as the name you’d like us to use when citing you as the artist/character owner. Either the poster or myself will then edit the image to include the proper links and ownership credits, which will hopefully resolve the issue. This will be done within a timely manner depending on the amount of art you want credited, but the standard timeframe will be a week.

#3: If you feel the art must be removed rather than cited, that is understandable. In which case, please follow the same steps as Step #2, only instead make it clear that you want the picture removed. Again, the art will be removed within a timely manner, normally a week.

#4: Please be polite, patient and understanding. I completely understand that it can be frustrating to see other people use things you own without your permission. However, I promise that the majority of posters here did so out of ignorance, not malice. No one here claims ownership of your work and it was just a weird combination of this issue having never come up before and a misunderstanding of the law. All of us here are just looking to have fun and be creative in our own way, and it was no ones intention to create trouble for you.

As such, when approaching posters to have your art properly cited or removed, please be polite with your requests and please be patient with the posters when it comes to making the requested changes. I promise those changes will get made, one way or another.

#5: Please consider sticking around once the issue is resolved. I’m a bit biased as the site owner, but I think Echoes is overall a very fun place full of creative individuals. There’s plenty of folks here that would be happy to collaborate on projects, talk about all kinds of stuff, and possibly pay for commissioned art of the characters they want to create (maybe consider an Echoes discount for potential bulk art requests). We’d love to have you hang out here with us.

For example, let’s say in the above post I didn’t properly cite dartbaston’s Thunder Woman picture, nor cite bsdigitalq as the character’s owner. A simple example message might read as follows:
Hey there,

I’m writing with regards to the art found in the following post on your thread: ... 47#p131125

Just letting you know, I own the character/art, and would just appreciate it the artist to be credited for their work, and my ownership of the character to be acknowledged.

Please add the following information to the post:

Art by dartbaston ( ... -838893860 )

The character (Thunder Woman) is owned by bsdigitalq( )

Thanks for your time!
- bsdigitalq
Simple, non-confrontational, and friendly. Make sure that I’m included in all posts regarding these matters and I’ll make sure things get taken care of.

Again, I apologize for any issues and inconveniences because of my ignorance. I appreciate your patience and hope you’ll enjoy our little corner of the internet once everything’s resolved.

Re: The Rules - Crediting Artists and Creators

Posted: Thu May 13, 2021 11:08 pm
by Ares
Minor update / Reminder: If you don't know the artist of a piece you want to use, please feel free to use it. Just acknowledge that you don't know the artist and will credit them once you find out or someone lets you know. And if you're the artist of said piece, just follow the above instructions and let the person know.