Matt Hackmann

That Time I Resolved a Copyright Complaint

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Hot on the heels of yesterday's post, I received an email from the company that produces the Ben Heck show. They were, of course, wondering what was up with the copyright claim and apologized since the production company switched between when the video was originally posted and now. The dude's name was Matt, so you know this is an an individual to be trusted.

Humor aside, I found working with him on the whole thing to be rather easy and pleasant. As stated above, he was apologetic, but professionally so. All he wanted was to have the video restored, all I wanted was an ask for permission and attribution. Over the course of a handful of emails, I retracted my copyright complaint, and the video reappeared on YouTube with one small change:

That's my name, don't wear it out!

Now that this whole issue has been nicely resolved, I can finally feel that little bit of accomplishment knowing that some of my design work is being seen hundreds of thousands of people and enticing them to watch the video.

Really, that's pretty cool.

That Time I Got to File a Copyright Claim

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About nine years ago, I went to college. While I was there, I did things with Adobe programs. One of those things was a vectored NES. That version is actually the second of two attempts for that class. My original was based off of an image I'd found on google search and it was fucking awful.

There's a reason it never got finished

Unhappy with that, I took my own photo, getting the angles and such that I wanted.

That's my DAD portfolio bag in the background

Which, if you didn't click the blog link above, resulted in this:

It's actually not bad.

While I'm here explaining the whole backstory, I will call attention to two things wrong with this image:

- "Nintendo" has no registered trademark symbol.

- "Entertainment System", "Power", "Reset", and the controller port numbers are some computery looking system font that ships with OS X.

Fast forward nine years.

Recall in a post a few days ago where I mentioned how I was currently binging arcade repair videos (a thing I'm still doing). That stemmed from just watching a bunch of electronics videos before that, and when you do this a lot, YouTube catches on and recommends other similar videos. One channel that's right up that alley is the Ben Heck Show, the long running electronic projects series by Internet famous console modder and published author, Ben Heckendorn. So, consider my surprise when I'm scrolling through recommendations and I see this:

Mighty familiar...

I raised an eyebrow, but didn't think too much of it at the time. I figured that it was just a really similar image or they'd used the same photograph I based mine off of. It'd been nine years, and I'd forgotten that I took that photograph. So, life moved on.

But YouTube was apparently desperate for me to watch this video, because they would not stop recommending it. Each time I saw the thumbnail, I'd inspect that NES a little harder. I was skeptical enough to dig up my version from deviantArt and saw the similarities. I tweeted Ben Heck that something seemed amiss. Eventually, that nugget of doubt brought forth the vague recollection: "wait... didn't I take that photo?". Lucky for me, I have nearly all of my source files from school and I was able to dig that out of the Illustrator file. But just to be extra certain, I dug up the big thumbnail picture, fired up After Effects, and made this:

Oh shit...

That's pretty damning, but the final nail in the coffin is in the small details: the registered trademark on Nintendo is missing, and the "Nintendo Entertainment System" font is that shitty LED sign font. (Now that I think about it, I may have snatched that from dafont.com. I baked the paths in my Illustrator file, so I can't tell.)

Ben Heck and his show ripped off my work.

I was a little ticked, but more out of principle. This was a professionally produced show and, instead of acting like professionals and ensuring all royalties and licensing is squared away for externally sourced assets, just waltzed into Google image search and picked whatever suited their fancy without caring. Sadly, I'm sure that this happens all the time. Luckily for me (and I literally just realized this), but I released that image under an atribution/non commercial Creative Commons license (very forward thinking on my part). Long story short: you can use the image only for non-commercial purposes (Ben Heck show is very much commercial) and if you do use it, give me credit (which they did not do).

And you know what? If they had just asked, I would have gladly given permission and been beside myself that my work was seen to be good enough for use on a show that I already enjoyed. They certainly couldn't hide behind the excuse of "we couldn't find the creator", because when that image shows up on Google image search, it goes to that deviantArt page or my blog. All of these have non-hidden ways of contacting me.

Armed with my little gif and a bit of anger, I passively aggressively tweeted all this at Ben Heck, his sponsor, and the production company. No response. (In Rev3's defense, I think they're dead.)

It would probably have ended there, my small rage subsiding with the passing forgetfulness of time. However, YouTube just. Kept. Recommending. That. Video. I think Christmas Story summed up my feelings best (and, no, the irony of linking to an illegal clip of a video in a post about copyright is not lost on me).

So, I filed a copyright report on it.

Next day, YouTube's copyright department emailed back asking for additional proof, which I provided in a more compact version of the above. This morning, I received this:

Delicious.

As of this writing, that video has been removed from YouTube search, Google search (surprisingly fast on that), and if you try to visit the video itself, you're greeted with this:

So, so delicious

My favorite part is how it says my name.

Morals of the story are:

1. If you're working professionally in a professional industry, be professional

2. Just ask. It doesn't hurt anybody and you might just get permission.

3. Don't fuck with me?

The Fabric Unravels

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I don't know what to write about.

All things considered, I could still "win" this thing if I missed a day. But, who said this was a contest? It's more of a "this is a thing we want to do, let's draw strength and encouragement from each other". Kinda like a diet buddy, but with words instead.

I'm forced to wonder, however: what exactly am I getting out of this? Sure, for the past year or so I've wanted to write about serious topics that weigh on my mind. But, instead of actually trying to put that stuff to words, I'm bullshitting a paragraph of text. The weird thing is, as I'm typing this, I know that all this rambling will come off like some disturbed and emo teenager on LiveJournal in the mid-00s.

I was just telling my mom this evening that I write this blog for me. So, given that, why should I care what words I lay down? I'm me and I understand the context within all this is written. Of course, come next year I'll have lost that and be just another outsider looking in with only a vague recollection of the times my current self was going through. But, even given that, it's still me so why should I worry?

Aha!

Despite this notion of writing for my future self, I'm fully aware of the publicness of these ramblings. Any Joe Schmoe (or people I know and know read this blog) can and will happen upon this post. If they've made it this far, they're wondering "okay... just how crazy is Matt?" And I'm aware of all this.

As I continue to type.

Fully knowing that eyebrows will be raised. Raised in a curious pondering, perhaps a tinged with a little worry.

...

Belinda blinked.

I Guess I'll Write About Anime?

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I dunno. Running out of ideas to write about that aren't heavy, heavy topics. So, instead I'll write little blips about the anime shows I've sampled this season.

WWW.Working!! - Sidequel to one of my favorite shows, Working!! Same universe, same restaurant chain, different actual restaurant and, thus, different cast of characters. Each one has their own particular tick, and each week we're given a glimpse into their interactions with each other. I haven't warmed up to these new characters yet, but I'll give it time.

Flip Flappers - Just watched this last night, but don't recall much. Some space girl finds some other girl and then are teleported by a pet robot into some "Illusion Zone" or whatever. Hijinks ensue, turns out everybody is a magical girl, there's some yuri undertones, and the credits roll. It was bright and shiny and had some fluid animation. Reminded me of a studio Trigger knock off.

Girlish Number - Looks like my favorite characters from "Gekkan Shouko Nozaki-kun" and "Humanity Has Declined" have been rolled into one up-and-coming voice actor. Sweet on the outside, utterly cynical on the inside, you have that ol' fashioned Japan cute factor mixed with sassy inner monologue and it's quite lovely. I think I shall continue to watch this show.

Kiss Him, Not Me - Here's a fun one to explain. Nerdy, pervy (creepy pervy), overweight girl is so destroyed by the death of a character in one of her shows, that she locks herself in her room for a week and, when she exits, is suddenly thin and gorgeous. Naturally, she gathers a harem of love-struck boys at school. I've never watched a reverse harem before, but after seeing this, all the flaws in the harem shows I've sometimes enjoyed are completely exposed. Naked before my mind to comprehend... I might watch a couple more episodes.

My Wife is the Student Council President - I'm convinced the animators of this show are just trying to find the line with the censors. There's really nothing more that can be said. It's a terrible piece of garbage and I am watching it...

Yuri on Ice - It's the ice skating equivalent to "Free". Kid did a bunch of figure skating in high school, flopped at some big competition, got fat for a while, but suddenly his Russian rival (and man crush) swoops in to train the poor boy. There's lots of pretty boys and abs and cleverly placed branches. The story itself is compelling enough that I may continue to watch, but I do not believe I'm the target audience...

So, that's what I've seen. Oddly busy season for me.

Round 2

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Want to polish up my LED grid a bit before writing more on that, so I'm going to do that "stream of consciousness" thing again. Giving myself four minutes out of the gate, this time. And... WE'RE OFF!

The easiest thing to start this off on is my day. Or my weekend? We'll stick with day, it's a lot shorter and I only have so much time.

Attempted to move the voltage converter circuit off the breadboard and onto a circuit board. Got everything designed up in Eagle, fidgeted with the printer for a bit because printers suck, and then attempted to iron it onto a copper board. Well.... that didn't go so great, so maybe I'll just solder everything up on a perfboard. Still, I want to get this etching shit figured out.

Other things I did today was gorge on 'Nilla Wafers. There are a lot of things I would say are "krytonite-esque" for me, but 'Nilla Wafers are the real deal. I fucking love these things and always have. They're cookies, clearly, but there's something special in their simplicity. The way the crumble under the pressure of your tongue as the spit in your mouth begins to slowly dissolve the cookie. The rush of flavor that dances across your taste buds as those little crumbles brush past. Oh, what's this? Looks like somebody has decided to douse the whole scene in some lovely, lovely milk. The flavors are mingling together, creating an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. You savor the -

TIME'S UP!

Guess I had a bit of a Remy from Ratatouille moment, there. Play with matches only if you're going to do something cool... like set things on fire!