Friday, February 17, 2012

Hollywoodilluminati.com Is a Blog By a Douche-Bag?

 I ask this question, having already formed my own opinion.  I had read a post or two on the hollywoodilluminati.com and thought then that this had to be a parody mash-up of conspiracy-theory sites and TMZ style "news".  Having recent dealings with the blog's author, one "creoleguy32", I delved further into this hole-in-the-Internet and discovered that he is as serious as a retarded heart-attack.

 What prompted my exchange with this... person was a blog post on Deviantart.com by a person I follow, Roman Helmet.  RH was complaining about how his artwork had been used on hollywoodilluminati.com as an example of Satanic symbolism and color-scheme as used in Madonna's 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show.  As offended as RH was about the art being used without permission, he was also offended by it being used in this context.  The artwork in question is Satanic in nature.  Madonna's Halftime Show was not.

 That being said, there has been a minor outbreak of posts like this on Deviantart and elsewhere decrying the use or outright theft of artwork.  Some bloggers have actually compiled lengthy lists of offenders and have petitioned communities like Deviantart to black-ball these thieves.  In most cases, the artwork being used has been retooled or is being offered for sale by the thief as their own original effort.

 That is not cool.


 Hollywoodilluminati.com was not doing this.  The blog merely featured artwork as an example in reference to what it was discussing; Satanic imagery.  When I read RH's blog, I went to hollywoodilluminati.com to see what piece of RH's had been used.  I found it, along with another familiar piece.

 Yep, there was one of my OLD designs from over a decade ago.



 I have no problem with my artwork being used in this manner.  I used to.  Man, the hoops I jumped through to keep my stuff from being used without my permission were ridiculous.  I inserted codes onto my web-pages that prevented the ability to "right-click" and save an image.  I posted images with just enough resolution to be legible.  I placed digital water-marks on my work.  The sad thing was that for every precaution I took to protect my work, I found a way around it on my own.

 Eventually, I realized it wasn't worth the fight.  Most of these blogs and sites that have to borrow work on the 'net could not afford to pay for its use.  If they could, they would hire an artist.  Indeed, the reality is that such use might actually help promote the work, which is kind of why artists make art in the first place.  I have been considering for some time now simply offering the digital versions of my work on my site freely to anyone who wishes to have them for their own sites or blogs.  My only stipulations would be that they do not try to market the work for profit and that they credit myself and my site.

 And therein is my only complaint about hollywoodilluminati.com's use of my work.  It doesn't give credit to the artist.  Now, to be fair, when your pulling an image from the Google that has been lifted and re-lifted by hundreds of sites tracking down the original artist is next to impossible.  Still, if you have any integrity, you could then simply only use the work of artists you could identify. 

 Integrity is not, apparently, part of hollywoodilluminati.com's agenda.

 Here's what I think.  The particular piece of mine that this guy opted to use is my own rendering of the "Sigil of Baphomet" made famous by the Church of Satan, so much though that it is considered their un-official logo (the Church of Satan has an official logo, but this symbol has been used so much on their publications that it overshadows the symbol they actually own).  I think that hollywoodilluminat.com would have opted to use the Church of Satan's "Sigil of Baphomet", but since they don't know what I know (that the CoS does not own the symbol), they chose to use my stylized version.
 Hollywoodilluminati.com probably did not want the CoS to sue, even though the CoS would have no grounds for a lawsuit.  Going up against an organization that has been around for decades is a little more daunting that being opposed by one lone artist.

 When I saw my art on this blog, I was simply amused.  Still, other people were angry, so I decided as a friendly gesture to drop creoleguy32 a note advising him of some of the artists concern about the use of their work.  I mentioned that I had no problem with the use of my work, although it would have been cool if he tracked me down and gave me props.  He responded with the following:

 "Listen buddy, for your sake I suggest you get out of my face. I dont run ads on this site and I do not profit from this site. I am making no money off any of your “art work” and being that it is Fair Use Clause because it is related to news, I think you need to get a life and tell Google to stop making it free online. I am using it as part of a narrative and no one is knocking down my door to buy your silly “art”."

 Wow!  Can anyone say "anger-issues"?  I wasn't being a dick, so I see no reason for this guy to respond in this manner, other than maybe he is a nut who has been harassed for his opinions by far too many people.  Now, as a default response, he lashes out at the slightest suggestion of impropriety.
 For those who might be curious, I looked up the "Fair Use Clause" from the US Copyright office:

Fair Use Clause

107: Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phone records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use, the factors to be considered shall include:
1.The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2.the nature of the copyrighted work;
3.the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4.the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. (added pub. l 94-553, Title I, 101, Oct 19, 1976, 90 Stat 2546)
 So, they guy is right, if somewhat angry about it.  My point was that it would have been the cool thing to do to credit the artists for their work.  I didn't threaten a lawsuit or any form of retribution.  The discourtesy was totally uncalled for.
 Thus, you have this blog.
 I will do what the blogger should have done.  Here is a link to the page above: http://hollywoodilluminati.com/2012/02/06/madonnas-nfl-satanic-ritual-disguised-in-the-half-time-show/#comments.
 I know some of my fans have a hobby or reaching out to people like this in order to address their lack of good Internet etiquette.  Please, try to restrain yourselves.

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