Monday, June 13, 2011

Addendum: The Magic Hat

ADDENDUM 6.13.11

Due to all the chatter that has happened over my last post, please read the following addendum:

The person who originally asked me for a design did so in good faith (not a Linden). I said yes in good faith because they were a friend and also the one to ask me for the Burn2 logo (flaming hoops) and that turned out ok. It was not design-by-committee. So I said sure, despite the BurningLife experience...

I admit that art can be influenced from a variety of sources. The logo is just different enough; I suppose also you might argue that the Hat would be a natural pairing with a theme of "magic" (as it was to me). I do remember the pitch and that Courtney Linden brought up the issue after my pitch with "I like this idea of the Hat" and then the discussion after that was about color schema as I mentioned (and my question that had to be "fed to Legal" about using The Hand).

I, not being paranoid, did not keep chat logs of course. I kept one photo of the session as a silly joke for friends ("look! I was with Lindens!"). I've been looking for the jpgs of the design but can't find them; I sent them to both Courtney and to the person who asked me to go for the design initially. I'm not sure if I have the prim mockup either; I am OCD/prim-thrifty and probably just deleted it; it was only a rough (to me) and not a sculpture I'd want to keep, especially when I heard nothing back for so long. I don't remember any "Jillian Linden" at that meeting (and I was keeping tabs because it seemed funny to me that I'd be in a meeting with Lindens!!!! lolz)

I have no intention of getting a lawyer on it because... that's just nuts. That's something a corporation would do, not me. I am neither mercenary enough nor greedy enough nor do I think that would really make a difference. I certainly did not copyright a rough design. It was an obvious lift and I had my little hissy about it. I'm not going to run to my friend who originally asked me to do the logo (who has been absent during this, engaged with a family emergency). I'm not going to go to my friends I sent the "Linden Meeting" photo to and ask them to dig through Trash for something they probably viewed as a quick joke and then tossed (and probably cleared their Trash folder like I do obsessively). I'm not going to get crazy going through my horribly-unorganized and uncategorized "SLUploads" folder looking to "prove" anything.

There was no "contract"; there were several hours of work involved in the 3D mockup, the photographing of the primset and the back-and-forth with my friend. There was one meeting I was at where I pitched the idea and an additional IM from Legal via Courtney about a week later about not using The Hand. After weeks of silence I just... blew it off. I figured they were cherrypicking for ideas and changed their minds or didn't like the proposal. I also have the experience with good professional people who actually want something done (other logo design work I have done through SL) and figured this was just another "mess by committee." If I knew in the first place I'd end up in a meeting with a couple Lindens and a bunch of other people I never would have agreed to the friend's request for a design.

I am certainly not going to go Full Metal Legal on anyone. That's a corporation thing; it is not my thing. I have ideas, and I will have more ideas. To me it was just more graphic practice. Certainly no one's going to make money off that logo (like if it was licensed for use as a cereal box or television logo) so the whole discussion about "legal copyright" and "lawyers" just hits me the wrong way and I do not plan to pursue such a course; it's ridiculous. It's in the modern area of "copyrighting concepts not executions" which I am opposed to as ruining the creative and common culture of us all. I was peeved and I had my little hissy. I'm just sorry I had it in public.

Maybe I am just lame. I never viewed such work (esp solicited by a friend, who remains a friend) as a moneymaking opportunity. I never expected to be paid. I don't plan to be a golddigger; that is not a "business model" to me. I just thought it would be a nice thing to include in my portfolio.

With the first BL logo, at least my name was included (although after the redesign I asked it not be included lol). The Burn2 logo, as far as I know, is still being used (maybe it won't be after this) which is nice, because that one didn't go through committee revision; I can point to it on my resume as a nice piece of design that I was happy with.

I was up late and in physical pain when I blogged and probably should have kept my grouse for the few friends who'd listen instead of blogging my bitchy. I was miffed about the whole business of not being able to using The Hand in a design for the Lab (which I thought would be a great thing for the Lab), the inclusion of my name under Estates/Buildouts when I had no intention of being involved in SL8B and the switch on credits for the logo but no revision of Estates/Buildouts list... but had blown it all off until someone sent me the New Logo.

At this point, it is more a caution to me about "new media" and how a minor blog like mine can repercuss and end up to be a whole bunch of trouble and that I sometimes I should keep my mouth shut and not throw a fit in public. For better or worse I had my say, and like the deleted prims I'm done with it. That doesn't mean I am unthankful for all the nice things people have been saying to me about that post and the situation.


I'd also like to clearly state that I know Linden Lab is people, not some monolith. Some of them make stupid decisions and others do nice things. As Saffia says in the comments to the previous post, some things are just cockups. My particular complaint is for a couple particular people (and Legal for just being so dense). The only Lindens I have ever met in three years were the two at that meeting and M when I did the design for his Doodle Art show (although it was only a handshake-nice-to-meetcha thing; the design was solicited by White Lebed, who did her best along with Jayjay Zifanwe to make sure my name showed on the credits, which is all I really cared about). I still like Rod ^_^


sororNishi said...

I think it's perfectly cool to have a rant in public, we are all just people after all, and readers are friends too. If you can't rant on a friend's shoulder....

I do think, however, that it would have been nice for someone to have emailed and said "Hey, Miso, I loved the idea with the hat, is it OK if I use it?" .... it's the very least I would have done.....

Still, good manners are not that common.

Ron T Blechner said...

A few thoughts:
"I certainly did not copyright a rough design."

Any published work (including Internet, where Second Life resides) is automatically copyrighted.

"There was no 'contract';"

But there was a verbal agreement.

"Maybe I am just lame. I never viewed such work (esp solicited by a friend, who remains a friend) as a moneymaking opportunity. I never expected to be paid. I don't plan to be a golddigger; that is not a 'business model' to me. I just thought it would be a nice thing to include in my portfolio."

Several things bother me about you writing this:
1. Linden Lab has a long reputation of getting free / cheap content from artisans by promoting this very thought. "Oh, it's just a hobby." Well, it's not a hobby to Linden Lab when they use an artist's work for promoting their multi-million dollar business.

2. If you do work, while you may or may not expect to be paid, you should understand that your work still has monetary value.

3. "from a friend". Welcome to the world of professional network. Many, many opportunities are through acquaintances and friends. That's how a lot of business works.

4. I think you're probably right that the most important thing to you is your portfolio. That has *value* though, and you should insist on it.

Does that mean you should get a lawyer? No, I think people saying to lawyer up are ignoring the fact that the lawyer will cost more than the value of the work. BUT - I think you did do something right - you used social media to express your story, air your wrong, and very well read bloggers like Tateru have picked up on it, and now Linden Lab has egg on their face.

And while I think you shouldn't be so negative about your artwork, I do think being humble is the right attitude and tone to take. Keeps you as a wronged victim, not some whiny complainer.

Good luck! I hope Linden Lab offers you an apology and official artist credit!

Rowan Derryth said...

What Soror said. I blogged this on Prim Perfect (without pointing fingers) because even if it is a mix-up, you were part of the design process with LL, and they should have some respect for that.

I really want to see them working WITH creators... and they certainly do, but there are some seriously grey areas they need to work on.

And post updated, too.

Anonymous said...

Miso... I do understand the rant / venting thing.. Im guilty of it more often that I care to think of and Ive often been taken serious when I was merely ranting and things have been blown out of porpotions...
That said I totaly and fully agree with Soror and Ron.
An appology is needed and the very least they could have done was to inform you they were going ahead with your idea and given you some credit officially.
That is not greed it is common sense.
Linden Lab has often enough reminded us they are a business so they should act like one.. One with a good reputation (or at least trying to save what ever is left of it)

Miso Susanowa said...

@Ron: I really appreciate your comment; very thoughtful. The whole lawyer-up thing is crazy to me. I do understand that my rant poked a rat's-nest for the very reason you list as #1 and that embarrassing as all this is to me, it is another of those submarine issues that LL really needs to address, seeing the response to that post.

If it was my company, these are the core issues I'd be focused on as user-experience that seems to be (pls note 'seems')a widely-held opinions of my company, true or not. That's PR Priority #1 in any social media business plan in these days of the Streisand Effect.

I am hoping my other posts also get read, where it is plain that I do have hopes that things might be being looked at with the new CEO and this process takes time. I say so not on mere wish-fulfillment but on cautious optimism for the recent demonstrated engagements and effort on Rod's behalf. A good CEO can turn around a company; that is what the best ones do. As always I hope only the best stuff for SL and consequently LL. I mean, I live there :)

pete said...

Hi Miso, Amanda Linden tried posting the comment below on your original post, but it wasn't published. Here it is again:

Despite how this unfortunate situation clearly feels, it’s really just a misunderstanding and a case of two designers independently choosing a similar image to represent the theme.

The Lindens and community organizers who saw your original submission liked the idea, but it needed to not make use of the eye-in-hand SL logo. They asked that you re-submit the design without the eye-in-hand logo, but when they’d not heard back after several follow-ups, they asked a Linden designer to create a few options so that we would be sure to have a logo in time for the event.

The Linden designer presented a few concepts based on the theme of ‘the magic of SL,’ and, without having seen your concept or having been told about it, she also created a logo using a magician’s hat image to represent the ‘magic’ theme.

At this point, the Lindens picking the logo had an opportunity to notice the similarities and should have addressed this with you directly; we didn’t, and for that we apologize sincerely. While the Linden designer arrived at similar imagery independently, we will update the attribution of the logo design to reflect that your earlier submission first presented this concept. [posted by Pete Linden]

H said...

If LL wants to think about retention they have to stop BSing its best allies. It's enough of Miso's to warrant action. Neither she nor Linden Lab need or can afford legal intervension. But something should be done. Maybe some old-fashioned "do the honorable thing" if a company can wing it? Because it's enough of Miso's and blatantly edited. Anyone can do a magic hat but not like she did it. And Miso? It's yours until 50 years after your death. Did you check your sent items for an attachment - in the event you sent it via Email? In your honor I will NOT use their logo for poster promos or freebies under these circumstances.

Miso Susanowa said...


Thank you for the comment but I'd like to clarify a few things in your statements:

The original design specifically did not have the Hand incorporated; knowing how LL feels about the Hand, I presented the logo design without it, and merely stated that I'd like to know if I could use the Hand and outlined my vision of the Hand behind what I presented.

No one asked me to "resubmit" anything. I got an IM from Courtney exactly 8 days later that said, "sorry, Legal says you can't use the Hand." That was the total extent of any "contact" I had after that initial meeting.

No one "followed up" on anything - that's why I figured it had been blown off or voted against. No one contacted me about anything beyond a single IM sent to me by Courtney as quoted above. No one told me that my design was being considered, requested or about anyone who was actually looking at my design beyond the people in that meeting (and there were only two Lindens there, Courtney and Blondin).

Please don't make me get all asinine or anal about this. There were more than a dozen people at that meeting. I'm not going to play trump cards with you. Your story has serious errors in it.

Ron T Blechner said...

@Pete - So it *was* a "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing" situation? I'm not so sure you should be so proud of that, either. Sure you're not hypocrites about IP, but it's more of the same Linden Lab.

From her original post: "I heard nothing from anyone associated with this for 6 weeks (except for the Legal Dept.'s 'no!' on use of the Hand) and figured they got pissy after my little quiz on what they wanted and blew me off."

Pete, I'm not a trained PR person, though I did pick up some working with PR people at Involve. But I can give you this advice.

"We at Linden Lab are sincerely sorry for this *obvious miscommunication* and do confirm that Miso's artwork was an inspiration for the final piece. We'll be giving her co-creator credit and giving you a free year premium membership as a token thank you! We value the artist community and love to highlight their successes!"

Boudica Destiny said...

I vote for this!! Linden Lab.. show us there's still something to hope for. Wipe away the tarnish and shine!

Ron this is great!
(Ron T Blechner Said:)
"We at Linden Lab are sincerely sorry for this *obvious miscommunication* and do confirm that Miso's artwork was an inspiration for the final piece. We'll be giving her co-creator credit and giving you a free year premium membership as a token thank you! We value the artist community and love to highlight their successes!"

Miso Susanowa said...


in fact, I didn't even start translating the prim mockup and photos into an actual Photoshop graphic design with layers and all that (although I'd begun a rough workup of it for element spacing and font experimentation). I wasn't going to put in hours of work when no one gave me any indication that they thought my design was worth using. What I presented was an "initial client design mockup" common in the industry; I got no real response or feedback in any professional sense and so decided it was a no-go and dumped the design so as to concentrate on work that had some chance of going somewhere.

If you are getting all legally-defensive in your thinking, you should probably look at this logo on Google.

I am not denying that the trope of "magician's hat" is so uncommon as to not have occured to anyone else. I am objecting to your portrayal of "resubmission request" and "followups" that never occured, which is why I wrote the whole thing off originally as just the usual muddy confusion of design-by-committee and neglect for any kind of followthrough.

Pamela Galli said...

Sounds to me like the root failure is LL's legendary and pervasive failure to communicate. Not just "communicate effectively" but AT ALL -- ie what people too often experience from them is stony silence. You don't know if they hate you or if they just have forgotten you exist. Either way, the silence does not make you feel like you are of much value to LL.

Miso Susanowa said...

@Pamela: to be fair, I am so self-effacing about my work (except when I throw an embarrassing public fit like this)that when I heard nothing beyond that initial meeting (where the logo design was just one small item in a whole "planning" type meeting that I really didn't understand why I was at in the first place)I just assumed they didn't like it and went onward. I know, I'm lame, I admit it. I'm not hiding anything; unfortunately this has become a public issue and the only hope I have of not drowning is to maintain transparency.

for Paisley Beebe said...

Because I'm curious can we compare the logos? I'd like to see how likely it is that the similarity is co- incidence?

Brinda said...

@Miso... Sweety, I would have expected no less of you than this post. My gosh, the ranting and raving that goes on. Below please, all of you, take a look at a comment I made on another blog, (I'll not link to the post... the reason should be obvious from my comment).

[brinda Allen
June 13, 2011 at 17:47
Sadly, why is this even a matter of discussion?
In my previous life I have met some very devious members of society…
when one tries to wrestle with a pig, everyone gets muddy.
Logging in to SL can be akin to walking around the edges of the mud.

Miso is a personal friend of mine, and while what happened wasn’t ethical from my point of view. Everything going forward is wasted ink.

As per @Gwyneth Llewelyn:
“My full support goes to Miso. No matter how LL will sneak their way out of it (like they usually do), Miso is just another one in the long list of residents who have been cheated out of their IP without getting any credit due. I was hoping that Rod would put a stop to this practice, but, alas, it seems to permeate the whole of the ‘Lab and will take a long time to get eradicated.”

@ladysakai says it all.]

om Charron said...

If you Goggle..Images with the word will see lots and lots of Hat's. One is even Purple.. You should sue them all for stealing your idea.

Rowan Derryth said...

Don't be an idiot, om. Miso's entire post here is about how she wouldn't think of suing - and she even started our her first post saying a hat was an obvious choice.

Reading and thinking is a good idea before you fire of snarky comments.

Miso Susanowa said...

@paisley: I haven't logged into SL today; it's been too overwhelming dealing with all this via Twitter, comments and comments on other blogs to try to get some ramping-down for what was basically a hissy-fit.

The mockups may be in my Inventory although I am compulsive and prune inventory mercilessly or it gets overwhelming. The person I send the original mockups to may have both the 3D and the photos; I don't know.

If I had a deliberate axe to grind I would have certainly kept them secure. If I didn't think the logo was as deliberately and stylistically a knockoff I wouldn't have gotten irritated. If I knew what a typhoon this would turn into I never would have published my embarrassing rant.

At this point I feel stupid, naked and gunshy but I am doing my best to answer these questions but it is beyond me at this time to log into SL and even address the problem of "where did I put that junk" and getting someone else involved in this... mess.

Sorry, that's the best I can do at this point. There were at least more-than-a-dozen non-Linden people at that meeting/conference or whatever it was; I was TP'd into the middle of it not expecting to be in such a place and would have rejected the TP if I had known it would be such a thing.

@om: I don't know how to take this. None of the "sue them!" stuff has been coming from me as I have tried to answer. But try also Googling "hand of fatima" and see how many similar images there are to the Hand logo; I'd think that a lot more questionable as to influence, concept and idea than something as nebulous as "magic." Herein lies the question and madness of today's world of "IP" and trying to control thought by copyrighting concepts. It's broken.

LL employees did their thing; I did mine. All this talk of lawyers is just so distasteful and upsetting and overkill. It's a mark of a real problem LL has if a little hissy-fit like mine erupts into such a debate.

Aunt Foggy said...

I am sorry you were treated so unprofessionally. I certainly understand the "ack" factor of having your situation become the LL issue du jour (my much smaller one was courtesy of SL5B).
That said, thank you for making it public as a service to others who may be more concerned about protecting their IP. It is clear that LL still has a long way to go before they can be trusted to treat their talented residents in a respectful and professional manner.

Miso Susanowa said...

Ok... I am exhausted trying to keep up with this today. So this is my last comment.

Tuna Oddfellow's comment on the original post is what I am best able to process at this moment and why I am duplicating this last comment to both posts. I am not about black eyes, contrary to what you might think after my initial post. I was irritated; I sounded off in my little diary and didn't expect to become a flag. As Paisley commented, cockups happen and that's just how things go. I've been as open as I can be about my own mistakes and lameness in this matter.

I understand that I have touched on a very sore issue for many people that has long historical roots and teeth. I also understand that this was mostly a bad failure of communication on both sides and that this is the actual underlying issue. I am thankful for all of your suggestions and I understand why you made them.

I made the mistake of blowing off steam in a public forum which had repercussions I never intended or foresaw. DMCA notices are part of something that concerns me a great deal these days about IP, copyright and the whole mess that is strangling creativity and common culture. It's a complex issue and no one really has a grasp on the repercussions of such things in this age of digital shift. I do not think my issue in this case would rise to the level of such a thing.

Tuna commented:
What resources do we have to make this an issue that the art community stands behind and effect change?

I'd say to Tuna: the resources we are all, artists/creators and LL alike, supposed to be involved in- communication. It can't happen when something like my snarky post escalates into DMCA Notices at 50 paces, nor can it happen when the other side rallies behind a wall and refuses to simply admit there'd been a screwup and try to deal with it by rote principle of denial. People mess up; I messed up. The whole firestorm that's happened over the last 24 hrs illustrates this huge rift in communication and the problems it breeds and engenders; the deep underlying feelings of betrayal and mistrust that have surfaced in this whole mess.

I've tried my best to calm things down today because I am responsible for lighting this match. The feeling of "not being on the same team" appears to have touched many people in a sore spot. It's this rift I worry about a lot and I feel is at the heart of the problems between LL and its consumers/users/residents in terms of the profitability and future growth of Second Life.

I'll say again: I think Rod Humble shows more awareness of exactly what SL is about as a platform than I have seen from previous CEOs in the three years I have been in SL. I think he's walked the walk so far of a good match for a company involved in social media and I have nothing but respect for him. I have hopes that he can actually get a team together that could work on these deep fractures which appear to be inside LL as well as outside in Residentland and I do not appear to be alone in this hope. Such a thing would be the best for all of us, company and consumer alike; that is a platform I'd be more confident about trusting and bringing new people inworld to experience. It would also be a profitable business model and serve the interests of LL as a profitable company with a future because customer loyalty has been the single best advertising and retention tactic for a business for thousands of years.

Cecil Hirvi said...

Really? LL would save themselves alot of GRIEF if they had mature people who know how to COMMUNICATE with artists (a huge community in SL)instead of the tech-monkey children they have running around sipping their over-priced lattes wondering when the next worthless tweet comes there way.

Just my two cents. :)

Miso Susanowa said...

@Cecil: well, I have admitted to sucking at my job of communicating too and posting an immature rant instead of communicating with the Lab too so it's as much my fault :(