Unauthorized Work Take-Down Request (Please Help!)
Foreword: Hello, I’ve already contacted Luftificus and the Council about this matter but given Luftificus seldom seems to check in these days and from what I’m to understand doesn’t really want to intervene in group management, and that the Council has to my knowledge made no progress towards acting to resolve this matter, I’ve decided, or I’m really hoping at least, taking this to a public setting, where I'm easily able to address any concerns, is likely to be my best bet for resolving this matter.
I know many of us have had our differences in the past and as such we all have rather strong feelings for each other, however I take this matter very seriously and I’d ask that you put those feelings for me aside so we can focus on the issue at hand; I’m raising this issue because I sincerely am concerned about it. Thank you, and thank you for any assistance in this matter.
It’s come to my attention that several derivative versions of my work have been published and used by the group on this wiki. While I am content with the work I originally let the group use staying in place, if just because I recognize how unrealistic it’d be to try to take all of it down given its quantity, I am not however comfortable with the existence and use of these derivative versions of my work which I must note I did not consent to or authorize the creation of and did not give to the group for its use.
This is the list of the infringing assets as I could find them from a quick skim:
To address some big points I foresee coming up here real quick (by all means skim down to the points most relevant to whatever concerns you may have):
What right do I have to request this work be taken down?
Under US copyright law I inherently own the copyright to my work upon its creation, as such I also hold the exclusive right to its use, distribution, and to authorizing derivatives - or edits or remakes - of my work; I have in no manner signed that right away at any point in my membership or leadership of SFMB.
The creation of a derivative work based on my work without my consent is a breach of that copyright, furthermore while the criteria isn’t very clean cut, I do feel that your use of these derivative works does not qualify for fair use, not least of all because it is not a transformative work, which the Copyright Office says that “Transformative uses are those that add something new, with a further purpose or different character, and do not substitute for the original use of the work.”
Aren’t I going back on my past advocacy for a policy against deleting content submitted to group projects?
TL;DR - No. I didn’t give the group these images, nor did I authorize their creation.
I can understand where that idea might be coming from, but the answer quite frankly is no, because I never gave these materials to the group to use. I did not authorize or in any way consent to the creation or use of these new versions of my work and as such could not have submitted them to the group.
Further, so far as I can recall that policy was only ever applied to written work - to roleplay, not to images, especially not to original images which would fall under the scope of copyright law, but again even if that policy did apply to images it can’t be applied to images which the original author didn’t consent to the group using to begin with.
What does any of this really matter, it doesn’t hurt me right?
TL;DR - It does.
It does actually matter quite a lot, I put a lot of labor into my work and it does cause me distress to see it, and my rights to it, abused like this. If someone had wanted to get my permission to make a new version of my work they need only have asked, but unfortunately you didn’t and I can’t ignore that.
Why should you fulfill my request, what does this matter to you?
TL;DR - It’s the right thing, and it costs you nothing to resolve this liability to the group.
Because we may not have always gotten along but you aren’t totally terrible people, this is by all metrics the right thing to do and I know many on the Council are on average inclined to do the right thing.
It also doesn’t cost you anything, in my discussions with some admins so far I’ve even been lead to believe most of these infringing images aren’t even relevant or useful to the group anymore as it moves to a new project - the group is entering a new era with a new theme and is likely to rebrand itself as such, rendering seemingly all of this unauthorized work useless to you, as such why fight to keep it around? Especially when you consider it’s a liability to the group and the wiki, if just because Wikia could take measures against the SFMB wiki because of copyright breaches like this.