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.
Unhappy with that, I took my own photo, getting the angles and such that I wanted.
Which, if you didn't click the blog link above, resulted in this:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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?