A timely warning about fanart and fics!

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Aylstra Illianniis
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A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Fri Mar 06, 2015 9:09 am

I posted this here as a heads-up to anyone here who is also a member of Deviant Art, to warn those folks about an issue that is rearing its ugly head there. I hope that we can all stand together to preserve fanart and fics from being unfairly removed from the site by "watchdog" groups whose sole purpose seems to be to stamp out any mature or adult content from the site, by either driving away the creators of such works, or by simply forcing them to self-censor to please these same self-appointed groups who feel they are the "morality police" of the site.

I would like to ask all my fellow Chosen- especially those who are writers and artists (you know who you are)- to help me spread the word about an issue that is very close to my heart right now. Censorship, bullying, and bigotry rolled into a dirty little package on a popular creative community many may be familiar with. I am referring to Deviant Art, and the situation is this: A small (but friendly and supportive) group of fans of the TMNT are being unfairly targeted by the site's admins- through the possible agency of a separate (but vocal) group of critics of their niche. You may ask why we should care, but it's really very simple- they are being bullied and driven off the site by self-proclaimed "art police" using rules loop-holes to get rid of content they dislike. If this can happen to ONE fandom, it can happen to others, as well- including those who create art related to D&D/FR/dark elves in general....

The group being targeted are those who write or draw pieces that involve same-sex relationships involving the TMNT, whether it is implied or expressed directly within their work. The other group is adamantly against these pairings, and has frequently expressed offense at the works of those who create it. They have apparently gone to the admins, and now the site has begun citing a rule violation as cause for removing art and stories by the victims, saying that because these FICTIONAL CHARACTERS were "underage in their original context", they are not allowed to depict them in any kind of romantic relationship, and are claiming the works are considered "porn"- EVEN when they are only kissing or engaged in activities that have nothing to do with sex, but are implied to be a couple, and even if they are clearly depicted as being older in said work! The worst part is that the rules being cited were not even in place when most of the works being removed were originally submitted- it was added later, without being announced directly, as part of an update to the TOS of the site- but neither of the rules being sited is being enforced regarding other fandoms- JUST THIS GROUP.

This blatant manipulation of rules to remove a group from the site is sickening. I am urging anyone who is a member of DA, or who visits the site, to voice a protest against this unfair harassment of a creative community's members, and to help spread the word about this outright homophobic attempt to suppress works that are deemed "objectionable" by a few self-righteous hypocrites. These rules are not being enforced for Harry Potter fan-works, nor for Sailor Moon, Pokémon, or any other fandom at this time as far as I am aware. There have been mentions of other small niche groups being treated this way in the past, but the scope of the current purge is ridiculous- a dozen or more members who have all had 100 or more pieces removed- in some cases as many as 500!- and several have had their accounts suspended or banned, and many others who are also having pieces removed without warning for containing adult content, whether it is psychological, violent, or sexual in nature, even though the site has filters to hide the content from casual view by minors. There is NO reason to remove mature-content pieces when there are filters in place to prevent it from being seen by those who should not or do not wish to see it. It is blatant manipulation of the TOS to suppress works deemed "inappropriate" by a small minority, by claiming them as "porn" and thus, against the TOS.

And many of these same artists and writers have recently been victims of art theft, and have complained to the admins, but nothing was ever done to stop the thefts or reprimand those who were found responsible. It is a double standard, and is not only hypocritical, but intolerant and oppressive. I want the community's members to stand up, to call out for a review and reform of the TOS, and to stop this mistreatment and disregard of DA's users. But that can only happen if we do so with one voice, and protest both by removing our funding of the site, and by letting the world know what DA is doing to its members. Other fandoms are not being treated this way, because most of their pairings are either M/F, or F/F, and most are considered more respectable and have larger followings than the few M/M TMNT fans who are being forced off of a site that is SUPPOSED to encourage and support them as artists and writers!!!

The scary thing is that this could very well happen to ANY fandom, including this one. And if they decide to start going after other groups with ambiguous works, it will only get worse. While most of you probably don't particularly care about a small niche group in a fandom unrelated to FR, it is important to remember that ALL such groups deserve to have their works be shared, no matter if we personally appreciate them or even agree with the content. We must show the site that this kind of treatment of members is unacceptable, or it will continue.

Please, if you or someone you know is a member of Deviant Art, or is a writer or artist, pass this message along and spread the word, or better yet, send an e-mail to the site to voice your concern over censoring the very people who are the foundation of the creative community. Let's stop this unfairly stifling artistic creative efforts on the grounds of homophobic and ambiguous agendas, and make places like DA the artistic haven it was intended to be!
By the Dark Maiden''s grace do we meet. May she guide and protect us.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

A link to my tales, including my Marvel hero!:
http://mickeys-tavern.com/index.php?showforum=188

Irennan
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Irennan » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:31 am

I don't know any artist or writer or DA user, but I think that what they're doing should never happen -short of extreme content, maybe-. So, what e-mail adress should I contact?

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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Kaote Bruchedaine » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:09 pm

You lost your fight and support from most of us the moment you mentioned the characters being underaged. Besides truth be told I hate DA anyway and am rather pleased to hear they are abusing their members again because it means new sites will spring up and DA will have some well deserved competition. As long as you fight tooth and nail to stay on DA, they hold the power. But as soon as other sites spring up and you hold more power because DA will no longer have as much control over the artistic market.

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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Irennan » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:15 am

Well, the characters might be underage, but there's this part:

''EVEN when they are only kissing or engaged in activities that have nothing to do with sex, but are implied to be a couple, and even if they are clearly depicted as being older in said work!''.

Kaote Bruchedaine
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Kaote Bruchedaine » Sat Mar 07, 2015 4:59 pm

I've come to learn that when a person is defending a subject that is under attack they tend to cite the least offensive part of the subject as a means of making said subject seem less harmful. Just like the attacking side of such an event tends to cite the most malicious part of the subject in order to try to eliminate the whole subject. So when a "yaoi" fanclub is citing "kissing" as their defense to protect their fandom that means they are using maybe.. 5% of their fandom to justify the whole.

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Aylstra Illianniis
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:10 am

Not sure if any of you are familiar with the TMNT fandom in particular, but the problem here is that they are citing this rule to prohibit ANYTHING of mature nature from those fans, up to and including CANON-BASED material. For instance, Nickelodeon (the owner of the TMNT franchise) has had a running plot in the cartoon of Donatello having romantic feelings toward April, who is a teenaged girl in that version. But because of the premise that both characters are teens, they are removing ANY content that deals with that plot-line in a serious way, not just yaoi stuff. Same with stories involving those characters in their adult years- they are simply using the "rule" as a Catch-22 to delete anything they deem "inappropriate" even though the comics and cartoons have ALL had storylines set in their adult years! And that's what makes it ridiculous and insulting to the people who have put their time and effort into those works. Doesn't matter if all the characters are doing is kissing or cuddling, or if they are 15 or 30 in a certain story. (Because of the loophole of "you cannot age up the characters to evade this restriction". Even though the franchise itself includes such content, however "tame".)

I understand that some people do not approve of underage relationships IRL, but let's face it, first, these are fictional characters, and second, they are TEENS, not little kids. Suggesting they wouldn't have romantic lives at that age is just- unrealistic and naïve. The point is that the site is using draconian measures to remove content that is "objectionable" to a small group, while other fandoms like Harry Potter, Sailor Moon, Inuyasha, Pokémon, and even some slash F/F art of several Disney Princesses (Ariel and Aurora, who are both 16!) remain untouched.

See the issue? It's personally biased against yaoi and slash content that is M/M, or content with human/anthro characters. Age has almost nothing to do with it, especially since the age rule being cited wasn't even in place when many of these works were first posted! To be clear, it was apparently added as part of a TOS update, but was never announced, nor was anyone ever notified.

What I'm defending here is artistic freedom within a community that was originally created to foster exactly that. If it had been any other fandom that I wasn't even part of, I'd still defend the rights of artists and writers to share their work without it being systemically removed, when there are already filters in place for those who object to that sort of thing. It amounts to a small group of trolls actively searching out and reporting works they dislike on personal grounds, which is both intolerant and judgmental.

As for what is "least offensive" about it, if that were the case, I wouldn't even mention the fact that the characters are not only mostly male, but are considered family, albeit adoptive. But whatever one's personal feelings on that subject, banning people or removing hundreds of works based on a loophole in the TOS is ludicrous. Because it doesn't allow for those same characters having been shown IN CANON as becoming adults and having lives of their own later in the comics or cartoons. Which is pretty stupid, if you think about it. Not to mention Nickelodeon's portrayal of Donatello crushing on April and (yes) even getting kissed by her ON THE SHOW!
By the Dark Maiden''s grace do we meet. May she guide and protect us.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

A link to my tales, including my Marvel hero!:
http://mickeys-tavern.com/index.php?showforum=188

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Aylstra Illianniis
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Aylstra Illianniis » Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:18 am

[quote="Irennan":3v68t949]I don't know any artist or writer or DA user, but I think that what they're doing should never happen -short of extreme content, maybe-. So, what e-mail adress should I contact?[/quote:3v68t949]


Well, DA does have a contact page on the site, so I would suggest using that. The folks whose works are being targeted would surely appreciate the show of support. (Also, I'm not advocating a boycott of the site, but a rather a request to review the TOS and keep this sort of thing from happening again.)
By the Dark Maiden''s grace do we meet. May she guide and protect us.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

A link to my tales, including my Marvel hero!:
http://mickeys-tavern.com/index.php?showforum=188

Irennan
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Irennan » Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:51 pm

IME, messages like this should be directly sent to whoever is in charge, customers service and the likes won't do anything. Either way, I'll make an account and send them a report.

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Shir'le E. Illios
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Re: A timely warning about fanart and fics!

Post by Shir'le E. Illios » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:02 am

I find censorship[sup:1mrbq70v]*[/sup:1mrbq70v], particularly of content that's not illegal but something someone personally doesn't agree with, incredibly sickening. In this particular case it's difficult to say without seeing all of the work in question being censored, but from the sound of it the stories themselves (or most of them at least) are perfectly legally acceptable and are just running foul of this anti-moral group.

[quote="Kaote Bruchedaine":1mrbq70v]But as soon as other sites spring up and you hold more power because DA will no longer have as much control over the artistic market.[/quote:1mrbq70v]
Unfortunately this kind of censorship, abusing existing rules and protections the site put up to get rid of things you don't agree with, is rather rampant everywhere. In particular DMCA takedown notices and copyright protections put up on various sites tend to be grossly abused by various groups to get rid of content they don't approve of (if even for a short time). You're not going to get away from that by going to another site. It's just a matter of time in the end.


Love -x-x-x-

Shir'le


* Yes, I know it's technically not censorship as any such site can host and remove whatever they please; if DA wants to remove anything that references the colour blue then they are perfectly in their right to do so. It's not censorship unless it comes from the government, but I'm not sure the distinction matters as the end effect is by and large the same.
F'sarn natha tithaur wun l'su'aco.

-= Shir'le E. Illios =-
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