Artist & Internet

I would like to apologise in advance that this post got a little tl;dr. I added section headings so you can skip to the sections you are most interested in. I covered a lot of topics such as Intellectual Property, Copyright, Creative commons, Miss-atttribution and ‘Renders’, Creative Communities and lastly, User Generated Content and Collaboration.

Intellectual Property, Copyright & Creative Commons

Art is a personal process that is often conducted alone in a closed studio. But what happens when you open that process up to a collaborative space? And how can you share your work freely with the world? Don’t worry the internet has got your back. Although, we know that the internet is a massively public space where your every post will live forever even if you delete it. So how can you manage the dangers associated with the loss of control over your own work, created by the nature of the internet?

In order to discuss how we can protect our work, we must first understand what Intellectual property (IP) is. IP is defined by IP Australia as

“a term that describes the application of the mind to develop something new or original. IP can exist in various forms; a new invention, brand, design or artistic creation. “

So how can you protect your IP? For the purposes of this post I will only be discussing Art, literature, music, film, broadcasts and computer programs; All of which are protected under the copyright scheme. Unlike Patents you don’t have to apply for copyright, it is automatically assigned to your original work. This means you own the rights to how your work is shared and used. Something that is important to note is that only “the owner’s original expression of ideas is protected, though not the ideas themselves. The owner has the exclusive right to use, sell or license the copyright work” (IP Australia). This means that you can create a beautiful original character and only that drawing of them will be protected not the character itself.

Understanding copyright is important because it is a very powerful tool at your disposal when it comes to protecting your work. Although if you’re trying to use online publishing methods to get your name and work out there, it can make it more difficult for your work to spread. This is were Creative Commons come into it all.

Creative Commons are a set of licences that help creators outline the rules they wish others to follow if they decide to use creative works. Almost all of the CC licences require a reference of attribution to the original artist (with the exception being content licensed under the Public domain). Other rules include Share alike (requiring the product created using the licensed work, to be shared under the same CC licence); No derivative works (meaning the original work cannot be altered in any way); or Non-commercial (restricting use of the original work in materials used for monetary gain). These rules can be applied in various combinations to allow the artist maximum control over how their work is used.

If you’re interested I found a short video by CommonCraft that explains both copyright and creative commons in very simple terms. (Unfortunately they restrict the embed feature to members, so I couldn’t add the video directly to this post).

Mis-attribution & ‘Renders’

So now that we have a good understanding of how Copyright and Creative Commons work let’s apply it to a real world situation. In the art community there is a common issue with the creation of ‘renders’. A render is traditionally defined by Wikipedia [1] [2] as

“The process of formulating, adding color, shading, and texturing of an image.”

or

“The process of generating an image from a 2D or 3D model, by means of computer programs.”

Below is an example of a 3D render called Glasses by Gilles Tran Licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

Glasses_800_edit

 

A common problem that has arised is the incorrect definition of a ‘render’, which is circulating art communities. The incorrect definition is as follows

“A closed vector path, or shape, used to cut out a 2D image in image editing software. Anything inside the path will be included after the clipping path is applied; anything outside the path will be omitted from the output.”

Meaning the character or object is ‘cut’ out of the background. This however, is actually the definition of Deep-etching or a Clipping Path. Additionally, these ‘artworks’ are rarely attributed to the original artist.

Knowing what we know about IP, Copyright and Creative Commons, it’s easy to see that this practice does not correctly follow the licensing rules and regulations. Unfortunately, even with the current laws it is difficult to discourage this kind of behaviour and the best sites can do is the remove art and ban users who re-offend.

Creative Communities & User Generated Content

So if you take into account how even with the best efforts of law on our sides there will still be issues of art theft and mis-attribution, why risk online platforms for exposure? Wouldn’t offline methods work better? Not necessarily.

No matter what method of sharing you use there will always be risks involved and you shouldn’t be discouraged so soon. One of the main benefits to consider is that online platforms give you access to a wider audience and a large range of associated benefits. Depending on where you share your work online these may be slightly different, but I’m going to draw from my experience with DeviantArt.

One of the main benefits I have found is access to large community of people who have a shared interest. The community is full of people with varying knowledge and I have found it to be the main contributor to my learning experience. There are lots of great artists who are always so generous with their knowledge and do a great job at answering questions. Additionally, it is inevitable that you will be more experienced in something than someone else. This means you will have an opportunity to experience the opposite end by sharing your knowledge to help others learn. This is a priceless opportunity because, to steal the wise words of Roman philosopher Seneca, “While we teach, we learn” (Additionally, I found an interesting article by Annie Murphy Paul in TIME that explores the phenomenon she calls The Protégé Effect).

Beyond the benefits of online communities there is a unique opportunity for ‘User Generated Content’. In my time on DeviantArt I’ve seen a couple of interesting instances of this. Instances that go beyond users submitting their work to the community and instead incorporate the community into the artworks. One example of this is Collaborations.

Collaborations can be a lot of fun and can incorporate as many people as you want. They involve multiple artists contributing to a single artwork, this can be each artist contributing a character to a scene or one artist drawing the line art and someone else colouring it in. Another example was from an artist I ‘watch’, who called out for their community to submit a one word comment. The artist then took these comments and incorporated them into a single artwork.

It is these unique interactions that would not be possible without the connection between Artists and the Internet. If you have anything interesting you’d like to add or any questions let me know in the comments below. Or let me know your opinion, what you think is the biggest advantage the internet provides the creative community? This can be artists, writers, or makers of any kind. Also let me know what you create and share on the internet? I’d love to know more about what you are all interested in.

And if you read the whole thing, thanks soo much!
Have a good day~
-M.

Are We A Community?

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In this post I’m going to talk about Online Communities, but first let’s look at what an online community is and how we can define them.

An article on i-Scoop describes communities as:

“A natural phenomenon, a mindset and a way of engagement. Communities of people have always existed and online communities existed long before we even used blogs. Social communities are online communities using social platforms. An online community is no different than any other community except for the fact it’s online. It is a group of people with something in common, which could include shared interests, experiences, ideals, goals or profiles.

This is an interesting definition because it implies that the technology is irrelevant to the concept of communities, even though in some cases it is the main platform for communication.

i-Scoop defines 7 parameters for classifying communities: Scale, Scope (Exchanging ideas or answering questions), Settings (Public/private), Maturity (of the features, Networking and content sharing or collaboration and co-creation), Value Proposition, Members and Tools.

Using these definitions and parameters you could say that a blog or a site such as LinkedIn is not a community. This is because there is no clear community goal or engagement. Let’s see what happens if I apply this information to some of my own social networks.

Facebook – has a small scale based on my personal connections; is an environment for sharing ideas, having conversations or answering questions; the setting is private; the network has basic community features, and it has a wide range of members from various profiles all with a shared goal.

DeviantArt – has a large public community of members all with a shared goal or interest in Art. It is a platform for communication and learning and even collaboration, utilising basic tools and features.

By this definition, both of these networks can be considered communities. But let’s look at one more, and consider Kate’s twitter network of library and information professionals.

Twitter – has a large public and private audience; utilises basic features of networking and content sharing to communicate between people of a similar interest; and is used as a platform for sharing ideas, conversations, learning experiences and collaboration toward similar goals.

It meets all the criteria, I think it’s fair to say it’s an online community.

Lastly, I was going to write about my networks, where they exist, how I participate, enact relationships, etc. But I feel like I covered most of that In my previous blog post about my online identity so if you want to give that a read go ahead and check out my previous post, Internet & Me.

If you disagree with this definition of online communities or my conclusions about specific networks, let me know in the comments, I’ll be interested to hear your different opinions.

Have a lovely day,
– M

More statistics than you’ll ever need

stats 2So many statistics~

What you’re seeing here is a glimpse of my personal statistics collected from my Facebook and organised graphically by the WolframAlpha “Facebook report” tool.

I know the aim of this activity was to generate a network map but to me the most interesting data was about my activity history and friend demographics (age, gender, relationship status, etc.). It was interesting to see when I’m most active and the type of updates I commonly make.

What do you think? What was the most interesting thing you observed when you completed this activity? And for those of you that didn’t, what is the most interesting thing you noticed in my data?

I look forward to hearing from you.
-M

 

Internet & Me

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A few days ago I was asked to blog about where I draw the line in the sand with my public and private online identity. I feel I have a very hard line between the two but It took me a few days to properly consider this so I hope this post will make sense.

I don’t have too many social networks and I maintain different identities on each. My Facebook is a personal zone where I can connect with friends and family and share photos and comments on my day to day life. On Facebook I’m more free to talk about personal issues (not too personal though, TMI) because I know these people and I feel comfortable sharing certain facts.

Then I have my DeviantArt, Tumblr and YouTube. These are more professional spaces. I talk very freely about my art and art journey on these platforms. I also enjoy connecting with other people and sharing a learning experience so we can all improve together. But in terms of private details the most I ever share is my name and my very general geography. I don’t talk about people I know unless they are also on that network, and I will stick to using their username when I refer to them to maintain their privacy.

When I think about what to share and not share I usually ask myself “Would I like to get up in front of a large room of strangers and shout it out?”. I also apply this question when I’m posting about people I know, “Would I like someone else to get up and shout that out to a crowd if it were about me?”, It depends, but usually it’s a no.

I believe I have quite a reserved view on information sharing on the internet because I have always been taught that everything on the internet is available to a wide audience, permanent and difficult to remove. I’ve also been taught that the internet isn’t just full of the lovely people in IAB206 but some not so nice people that probably shouldn’t know where you live.

You may have noticed I use a display picture that I drew, that is not a photo. This is because photos of me are reserved for my private networks as they make me more identifiable. I know this might seem a little over the top but it’s where I feel comfortable sharing at the moment.

I recently signed up to twitter and I’m having trouble finding things to tweet about that I feel fall within my comfortable zone of public sharing. And this is usually the case and the reason why I tend to be an internet lurker more often than a contributer. But you never know, maybe this blog will help with that a little. I hope this made sense and didn’t go off topic.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day.
– M