Yes, I'll admit it: the new designation feels almost as awesome to me as Deviousness itself did two years ago. I must have spent nearly an hour cackling with glee.
But no need to spread the word about that.
My week's gotten unexpectedly busy - short notice on an important model, to shoot twice this week while she's on break from University, and I've got to scramble like hell to get ready for it. I won't have time for any major essays for a few days yet. So in the meantime, let me just rush this one out...A
s I understand it, there's still a lot of free-floating anxiety out there about the Agreement, largely for failing to understand what we've accomplished recently, and, of course, among people who never found their way to our specific campaign to begin with.
So let's all start keeping out eyes open, and spread the message where we can. Let's try to blow out those flickering flames that burn to no purpose.N
ow, if someone's still got issues with the Agreement, they might have valid points - I'm not suggesting they wouldn't. And it's always important to listen.
And heaven forbid someone ever does
actually have a reason to go to court over such things. Pretty much no matter how the Agreement is written, that would be lose/lose for everyone involved. And, no question, the Agreement's top priority is to protect DA itself.
But let's make sure to celebrate so many of the positive ramifications of what we've all accomplished.F
irst off, and undeniably, the latest version
is the most substantially improved Agreement ever
engaged at deviantART. It frankly towers over its predecessors.
Legal micro-parsing aside, it is a new
contract and understanding between artists and deviantART, that does
indicate very clearly that we as artists are free to come and go as we please.
(I.e., one piece at a time, or even nearly completely without any bother of written notification.) It makes clear that we're loaning
out license to use our work, not intent to give it away.
Yes, the Agreement expects us to trust
DA's ambitions, but it makes clear and easy an escape route if we ever feel that trust has been violated. It even (for the first time ever
) "dries up" the sublicensees' rights to our work if we ever choose to depart. (That was the most alarming "black hole" before, and now it's gone.
As I've said, the BIG win is that we no longer have to worry about "worst possible futures," because we are no longer locked into participation
in those "worst possible futures." We can simply relax and enjoy the day-to-DA, because we know that if we're free to leave, it's safe to stay, and see what happens.F
urthermore, if one remains nervous about the broad scope of rights afforded DA, there is
a middle solution, rather than just leaving, which is to simply upload smaller versions of your work. (You'll notice a lot of the more professional artists do that anyway, as a hedge against rippers of course. That same hedge would make uploading to DA itself nearly risk-free as well.) Or watermark, or both, of course anyone is free to do that.
We can think of DA as a service, for which to garner attention for our work, and play the balance between on-site and off-site presence to whatever extent suits each of us. My point being that there's simply no reason to fret
any longer. If the improved Agreement doesn't "meet your needs," then moderate your own risk investment.
Now, some might say, "Hey Thorne, you could have taken that position all along." And there's some
truth to that.B
ut I did think it was unjustifiably wrong to be bound into an "all or nothing" arrangement before, and critical to fix that overtly.
I stewed long and hard before taking up that cause, but I'm certain it was a critical failing in the previous versions (for a host of reasons).
And sewing up the sublicensees makes the arrangement much less needlessly ominous. Plus, as a statement of principle, the new Protection clause in 5 is substantial.
Much of my point here is that it's as substantial a progress in understanding
as it is in legal terms. Regardless of legal nitpicks, it serves also as a contract of our expectations of one another, that had been too vague or ill-defined before.
But let me be clear that I, personally, am
going to upload larger versions of my work, because frankly my work is made
to be large (2' tall prints, actually), and because I feel a new deep underlying comfort level that's even more important than the Agreement itself.
I'm gonna write more about this soon, but let me give you the broad stroke.I
f there was a possible danger to be mightily concerned about last year, it was that deviantART was on course to become "just another website."
That is, there are sites all over the web that provide services, and "if you don't like them, then leave." These sites are generally administered by people who only trivially care "what the riff-raff have to say."
In those business models, it's very easy to think, "hey, if two thousand people leave, ten thousand more will show up to take their place." And we were right
last year to wonder if that's what DA was bound to become. (Not "right" to expect
that, but damn right to be concerned.)
We, "out here," know that the difference between "those sites" and deviantART is the passion and heart of the community itself. And that passion and heart isn't provided by everyone, but rather especially by those who feel personally invested in the promise of DA. Enough to care, enough to pay attention, enough to assert positions and not settle for their concerns being trivialized.
By either their attention or their indifference toward our concerns, DA's administration had an opportunity to effectively choose,
between respect for "two thousand of us" who have helped make this place what it is, or to merely wait for "ten thousand more of 'them'" who have not yet arrived.
The new Submission Agreement reflects their priorities, with a profound and substantial step forward that cannot be denied.
And that's why I'm going to keep trusting them with my work, for the foreseeable future.
Between those who would demand nothing from them, and we who would expect the most from deviantART...
They chose us.