There are currently 0 users and 1 guest online.
IN WHICH Mojo Gets a DMCA Takedown Notice, and Does Not Respond Well To It.
Submitted by mojo on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 8:40am
AGES ago, and by that I mean YEARS, some Christmas I was struck by all the Christmas cards depicting the whole lion-lying-down-with-the-lamb thingie. Which is all very well and good. But every time I see one of those, I am reminded of the amusing Woody Allen quote: "The lion and the lamb may lie down together, but the lamb won't get much sleep."
So at some point I decided to paint my OWN lion and lamb card, to illustrate the Woody Allen quote. But when I was done, I found that--while I like him (much better than the lion, by the way; the lion kinda sucks)--my lamb did not look at all frightened, and hence he did not really depict worried insomnia at all. So instead I ended up captioning it with another sheep-inspired truism that I felt DID capture the essence of Mojo's Little Lamb:
Fast forward several years, when Mojo decides to throw the image up on Zazzle so she could bask in the millions reaped from her obvious genius. I've been with Zazzle for years, and I've always been fairly happy with them. (In fact I have a HUGE project I am in the middle of right now, called Lear200--a bicentennial celebration of the nonsense writer Edward Lear--that has an equally large Zazzle component. Which is, by itself, a compelling reason to stay with them, since we all know how damned lazy Mojo is. This whole fiasco had me briefly consider leaving them, since I was THAT annoyed.) So I threw the sheep up on Zazzle along with various other graphics I had done through the years. Where it stayed, pretty much forgotten aside from the occasional sale of various and sundry knick-knacks. Because that is what Zazzle does. Everyone in Mojoworld is happy.
Fast forward to Monday evening, March 19th. Mojo is getting ready to settle down for the night to eat and watch cartoons when she gets two emails entitled "Zazzle Content Review: Sheep Are Pretty Stupid." Mojo mistook the subject heading at first and idly thought, "oh, someone's reviewed it" in the sense that someone left a comment about it. Well, not exactly. Here is the content of both emails:
So I did some deep breathing exercises to calm myself from a Major Snit to a Minor Snit, and when I guessed I was rational enough, I wrote a response to attempt to clarify the issue at hand. This is what I wrote to the good people at Zazzle:
Enter poor hapless Mike from Zazzle's customer service. You'll like Mike. He's a good guy, doin' his job. Or he's a bot. I can't tell from his emails, to be honest. Either way, Mike(Bot) is a pleasant and patient person/robot. Unfortunately for Mike(Bot), his job entails regurgitating canned responses that has been vetted by the legal team of a smallish corporation bristling with lawyers, who, it turns out, is under the unkind and litigious eye of an even BIGGER corporate entity whose very BRISTLES are bristling with lawyers. Meaning--I was unaware of this at the time--poor Zazzle has had a rather unpleasant recent history with Summit Entertainment that I won't really bother to go into here.
So good ol' Mike(Bot) writes me back. If you are interested, you can vote in my unofficial Mojo Poll (that would be the comments) whether or not Mike is a real person or what they call a chatterbot. I'll go with "person" myself since his name is "Mike" and not, say, "Rudy" or "Robbie" or "Cyclor". But Mike has a really special talent at saying soothing things without actually answering any questions. To wit:
Oh, dear. Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike. Or, perhaps, Bot Bot Bot Bot Bot. I'm sure you're a good guy. Or at least a good bot. I appreciate you're in a difficult position. I recognize you have to repeat the company policy ad nauseum. I'm sure you deal all the time with incredibly ignorant people who cannot grasp the very concept of copyright and intellectual property. If it's any consolation, Mojo is not one of those people. Mojo understands and appreciates intellectual property law. Mojo's been in the biz for decades. Which is why Mojo was asking for a clarification of the charges, so to speak, against her ... NOT a clarification of basic copyright law and Zazzle's rather generic common sense policies regarding it.
If Mojo's last letter was written in a Minor Snit, this next one was written in the throes of Obsessive-Compulsive-I-Know-I'm-Right-and-You're-So-Wrong-It's-Temporarily-Painful-to-be-on-the-Same-Planet-With-You Crazy Psycho Lady Snit. There are some things you just don't call Mojo, and copyright infringer, it turns out, is one of them. Go figure.
After I had sent this scorching little shrieker, I calmed myself by doing more research. Okay, I admit it: first I had a chocolate chip cookie, and then I drove to the Home Despot to price materials for some raised garden beds I am planning (Oh, great, now the lawyers at Home Depot are gonna get on my case for calling them "Home Despot"), and then I came home and puttered around in the garden for a bit, had another cookie, and THEN did more research.
Originally I was trying to find out who at Summit Entertainment handled DMCA takedowns, but I gave up on that pretty quick. I'm sure it's a bot; they probably issue THOUSANDS of these. What are they gonna do? Write me a Special Letter I can then present to Zazzle explaining that they've given me some sort of special dispensation so I can not only have my own non-Twilighty work put back up on Zazzle, but they will still allow me to breathe air on a regular basis? Noooo way! I was SO gonna fight this. They're gonna be SO sorry. Summit Entertainment is going to be wetting their pants every time they hear the word "Mojo". Yep. Mojo's gonna WIN this one. The poor innocent little girl against the Heartless Soulless Media Giant.
(Yeah, I know. I can hear the Summit Entertainment lawyers giggling from here, as well. But I ask you: where would Mojo be without an active fantasy life? Living in REALITY? Yeah, like THAT's gonna happen anytime soon!)
So I went back to reading all the Summit-hating stories. And all the comments. And the links those stories were based on. And, down in the comments section of one of the kickstarters for the whole affair, I happened upon a comment that totally changed things. The very crux of the biscuit, so to speak. (Oh, great, now I'm gonna have Frank Zappa coming after me from beyond the grave in addition to the sparkly vampires.) It looks as if Summit, unpleasantly strident though they may be, might very well have a case during all this, after all. Perhaps Mojo has indeed become an unwitting, trademark and copyright-infringing stooge. Perhaps. More information is needed. So a Chastened and Subdued Mojo wrote yet another screed to good ol' Mike(Bot) at Zazzle, and introduced yet another variable into the equation while begging for more information:
But I am still really kinda intrigued by this whole Tagging Fairy thing. I'm not all that involved with the Zazzle social life of commenting and rating and foruming and whathaveyou, but in my quick perusals of various items I see no way to tag them. Perhaps it's right there in front of me and I have some sort of post-traumatic scotoma, but I don't see it. If indeed rogue tagging was to blame (you will notice Mike(Bot) did not mention any of this) how did Ms. Howlett's product (and, I assume, though that is yet another unanswered question, my OWN products) get these bogus tags?
While I do not agree with their tactics, I will also reiterate that--assuming my theory is correct and my stupid sheep products WERE somehow egregiously tagged with excessive "Twilightly" words--well, being something of a persnickety bitch myself I can't really blame Summit Entertainment for complaining. Different franchises treat their fan base differently. It would be way COOL if Summit Entertainment embraced this newfangled sharing and mashing trend and used their pull with their young audience to inspire and encourage creativity by promoting fan fic and fan art. But hey, litigating the HELL out of them seems to be working out JUST FINE for the music industry, so who am I to judge?
(Dear Mike(Bot) and others who might not understand variations in human speech: That is called "sarcasm". It sometimes does not come across well in print. Hell, sometimes it doesn't come across well in real life, for when people can't accept being teased they tend to get REALLY MAD AT YOU for doing it. So use with caution.)
So the final score, for now, appears to be Mojo: 1, and Heartless Soulless Media Giant: 0. But Mojo has learned a valuable lesson in all of this. And that is, no matter how many subtle complexities and variables might be involved in any given situation, after carefully viewing all the many colorful sides of the kaleidoscope and carefully weighing the many aspects, it turns out ... apparently if you are a big enough bitch you get your way. Which is such a heartwarming after-school-special message I just had to share. You're welcome.
LOOK! LOOK! MOJO STUFF!