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    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019 edited
     
    Professional artists and publishers (all those who have the money to be able to sue for breach of copyright in any case) need to be aware of this...

    https://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=44110

    It affects everyone globally. If you don't pay to register your own work no matter what nationality you are, then you can't sue the person who just ripped off your artwork if that person happens to be an American, and the case is heard in the USA.

    That's as I understand it from the conversation linked above, anyway. Aeshnidae, who made the announcement, is a qualified and practicing copyright lawyer.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Probably won't really change much as I see it. Taking someone to court is an expensive and time consuming affair anyway, and the requirements for paperwork and such for the court will normally be just as much or more as the paperwork to register it anyway, after all, one of the things the courts need to decide on if you sue someone over this is if the work is yours in the first place. According to Aeshnidae's post, you can sue for damages that occurred before you registered it, so it seems that if you find you wish to go to court, you can registered then, and then immediately sue, and if you are going to sue, that additional fee then is just a drop in the ocean.
    Most people that infringe upon copyright knows that the chance of getting sued is really low anyway, unless their infringement is something that will cause losses for a big actor with lots of money for lawyers. This doesn't change that at all.

    Still important information to be aware of though.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Registering is impractical if you want to sell thousands of textures and symbols - none of which are worth $35 individually in the first place.

    I was hoping to carve a very low income professional career out of selling my symbols and textures on Patreon so that I could spend the rest of my life doing the only thing I'm any good at (art), but since my entire 'empire' could be so easily destroyed by just one person deciding to redistribute the work I would have made available on my Patreon page, I can't throw everything into it and take such a huge risk with my own future like that. Even if 99.9% of Americans are perfect saints, it only takes one...

    Its all very well when established professionals call me 'silly' for not going ahead with it, but they are already established, and the work they do is generally worth a lot more than $35 a piece - worth registering.

    I took the trouble to look up how to sue someone for stealing my art - my livelihood as it would have been if I'd gone ahead with it, and I discovered a little detail that isn't mentioned in that thread. Yes, you can register 'after the fact', but if you do that you can only sue for lost income. There's no recompense for anything else, including court fees. So if I'd become some kind of a Da Vinci of the texture world (LOL) and actually made textures that were worth thousands of dollars a piece, a thief could still get away with stealing half my hoard without it being worth my suing them, and even then I would still lose the cost of taking the thief to court for loss of earnings.
    • CommentAuthorLadieStorm
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    But Sue, there is one major factor that you have been overlooking in all of this. You are NOT a US citizen! American copyright laws, DON'T apply to you.

    When it comes to court proceedings and lawsuits over copyrights, those lawsuits are handled in the courts of the Plantiff's origin, NOT the defendant's. For example: If you, Sue, put up a texture on Patreon, and it starts making money for you... then I come along and steal the texture and start making money for myself, you would file a copyright infringement lawsuit in England, where YOU live. And I would have to come to England, and settle it through your courts, with your country's laws. The American laws would never enter into it, because you are not an American citizen, and you don't live in the US.

    These laws that you are worried about don't affect you at all. Now I do have to worry about all of this, because I AM an American citizen, and I DO live in the US. And if I had to file a lawsuit of copyright infringement, no matter where the defendant lived, I would file it in the US, under American laws, because I am an American citizen.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: LoopysueRegistering is impractical if you want to sell thousands of textures and symbols
    Of course it is. But so is suing. My point is just that for most infractions, people wouln't put in the effort to sue anyway because everything involved in it. And if you don't sue, don't having them registered don't really change much anyway.
    I am not saying things were good before, because they weren't, I am just saying this won't really change much for most small artists, because they wouldn't sue in the first place anyway.

    We don't live in a perfect world where intellectual rights protection is concerned. But keep in mind that most thefts are just people using things they are not allowed to, it doesn't affect your ability to continue to profit from it. Yes, they shouldn't be doing that, but it doesn't ruin your business.
    Yes, everything you make will probably end up on a piracy site as well, that is the world we live in, but even the huge corporations with plenty of money to spare have problems stopping that, works registered or not. This is pretty much unavoidable, but contrary to what RIAA and MPAA like to claim when they calculate their losses, not every pirated download is lost revenue. Extremely annoying, yes, and there will of course be some revenue lost, but again, this registration process won't change anything here. In this scenario, finding the correct people and suing them is extremely difficult and most probably you'll never end up suing anyone, which means the registration yet again means very little.

    Again, not saying this is a good thing, just arguing that the change (or confirmation, really) doesn't change the scene this much, simply because the likelihood of a small artist to take someone to court in the first place is really low, so the partially lost opportunity by not registering is not likely to have a real impact on your business.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: LadieStormBut Sue, there is one major factor that you have been overlooking in all of this. You are NOT a US citizen! American copyright laws, DON'T apply to you.

    When it comes to court proceedings and lawsuits over copyrights, those lawsuits are handled in the courts of the Plantiff's origin, NOT the defendant's. For example: If you, Sue, put up a texture on Patreon, and it starts making money for you... then I come along and steal the texture and start making money for myself, you would file a copyright infringement lawsuit in England, where YOU live. And I would have to come to England, and settle it through your courts, with your country's laws. The American laws would never enter into it, because you are not an American citizen, and you don't live in the US.

    These laws that you are worried about don't affect you at all. Now I do have to worry about all of this, because I AM an American citizen, and I DO live in the US. And if I had to file a lawsuit of copyright infringement, no matter where the defendant lived, I would file it in the US, under American laws, because I am an American citizen.

    I didn't know that. Thank you :) Now I only need to worry about it if I become ridiculously rich through my art (not likely) and the thief decides to claim the work was his/hers and the court action winds up in the USA anyway.

    Posted By: Monsen
    Posted By: LoopysueRegistering is impractical if you want to sell thousands of textures and symbols
    Of course it is. But so is suing. My point is just that for most infractions, people wouln't put in the effort to sue anyway because everything involved in it. And if you don't sue, don't having them registered don't really change much anyway.
    I am not saying things were good before, because they weren't, I am just saying this won't really change much for most small artists, because they wouldn't sue in the first place anyway.

    We don't live in a perfect world where intellectual rights protection is concerned. But keep in mind that most thefts are just people using things they are not allowed to, it doesn't affect your ability to continue to profit from it. Yes, they shouldn't be doing that, but it doesn't ruin your business.
    Yes, everything you make will probably end up on a piracy site as well, that is the world we live in, but even the huge corporations with plenty of money to spare have problems stopping that, works registered or not. This is pretty much unavoidable, but contrary to what RIAA and MPAA like to claim when they calculate their losses, not every pirated download is lost revenue. Extremely annoying, yes, and there will of course be some revenue lost, but again, this registration process won't change anything here. In this scenario, finding the correct people and suing them is extremely difficult and most probably you'll never end up suing anyone, which means the registration yet again means very little.

    Again, not saying this is a good thing, just arguing that the change (or confirmation, really) doesn't change the scene this much, simply because the likelihood of a small artist to take someone to court in the first place is really low, so the partially lost opportunity by not registering is not likely to have a real impact on your business.


    I was thinking maybe if there are 2000 people who might eventually be my patron, then the lowest level on my Patreon page could be as little as 50 pence (£0.50), since my art isn't exactly Schley standard, and he sells sets of maps for $1-2 a time on his site. If I charge 50 pence per month and build up my following to 2000 patrons, that would give me an income of £1000 a month, which is a survivable amount of money to live on. If however, I only get 200 patrons because all my stuff is being given away by thieves to the other 1800 people who might have become my patrons if they weren't getting it free from the thief, I would only make £100, and I'd be homeless pretty fast.

    Its a balancing act as it is, even without the thieves. I was about to embark on a venture that I judged to be an acceptable risk level, but now that I'm aware of just how difficult it is to deal with thieves the risk is far too high for me. Those thieves out there aren't stupid at all. They know little artists like me can't afford to do a thing about anything at all, so they target us more than anyone else. The option of increasing the charge for the first level to compensate for this loss is unreasonable and unfair to honest folk who would become patrons and pay for the work. It would also significantly reduce the number of patrons I might expect to have overall, which would defeat the purpose of the exercise - to live by my art in a way that is fair and workable for me and my future patrons.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: Loopysuethen the lowest level on my Patreon page could be as little as 50 pence (£0.50), since my art isn't exactly Schley standard, and he sells sets of maps for $1-2 a time on his site. If I charge 50 pence per month
    Don't undersell yourself.
    I am not sure why Mike sells his map this cheap, but if you look at his pricing for the Schelyscapes token set, that is more in line for what you are making. That set is $10. You may not intend to put out quite as big a set of fills/symbols every month, but I still think you should go for at least a couple of dollars each month. Patreon also allows you to charge for each work instead of each month, so you could also consider setting up a patron which charges like $5 for each set you put out, although that makes things more unpredictable for everyone, but it lets patron know they only pay when they do get something in return.
    And everyone knows how real life works. There is nothing unfair about the artist having to recoup piracy losses through the price of the artwork. The artist have to live after all, everyone who enjoys the artist wants them to succeed and produce more art for them, and the money for battling copyright issues (either this is by silently take some losses, or fighting a court battle) do have to come from the income. Nobody wants their favorite artist to stop making art because charging enough to survive is unfair.
    Getting as much as 2000 patrons may take some time to build up though.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019 edited
     
    You really think so?

    Very kind of you!

    I expect that 2000 patrons would take a couple of years of ceaseless and shameless self advertising to achieve, but if I put up the price to the £ equivalent of $5 a set, I would probably only get a couple of hundred patrons at most for the same effort. I never did business studies at school and now I wish I had. I remember there being a graph that plotted the price against predicted sales of the product, and the trick of it being to find the optimum price for the maximum profit. Maybe that is what Schley has discovered already - that selling really cheap ultimately makes more profit because many more people will buy? I don't know either. Maybe he's had to lower the price to encourage sales as a result of pirating on his older work - people being less likely to buy it if its several dollars when they are sure they've seen the same for free somewhere else just recently. Who knows...

    In my mind a lower price would also discourage theft, since if I'm practically giving it away there's no gain for a thief. He or she would have to sell it for 25 pence, or abuse it in some other way.
    • CommentAuthorRelyt
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Don’t worry about people stealing your stuff. On Patreon it’s easy to abuse the system and steal from the artist, all you have to do is become someone’s patron, download all their stuff and cancel the subscription before you get billed, it’s happened to me a couple times and it can be annoying.

    The thing is, those people are not your fans and customers, if you had everything on lock down, they would not give you support. Focus on your actual fans and customers, you would be surprised, a lot of the people who support on Patreon are not doing it to get stuff from you but to support what your doing.

    So don’t worry so much about thieves and get out there and let people know who you are and what your all about.

    I agree with Monsen, don’t sell yourself short, we are a niche community and it will be hard to build up a large support base. You can always do tiers with higher tiers having access to more fills/symbols as well as rights to use them commercially.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Of course, lower price means more sales, but there is a bottom line where it will have an effect too. For example, if we talk about the £0.5 you suggested, if you charge £1, you only need half as many people for the exact same result (I am unsure exactly how patron charges per contribution work, if there is a fixed charge per pledge, then £1 is many times the income for you compared to £0.5).
    Now, in the grand scheme of things, when you pay for something, how many people will really think £1 is to much, but would have pledged at £0.5? My guess is that very few people will think that, so increasing to £1 would probably double the income without any dropoff in supporters. Now, increasing it to £5 would probably mean a bunch of people would fall off. I'm not going to even try guessing the net effect, but it would certainly mean less customers.
    Patreon also recommend not going below $1. Also remember that the people on Patreon are people that want to support you, it isn't a store.
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: RelytDon’t worry about people stealing your stuff. On Patreon it’s easy to abuse the system and steal from the artist, all you have to do is become someone’s patron, download all their stuff and cancel the subscription before you get billed, it’s happened to me a couple times and it can be annoying.

    The thing is, those people are not your fans and customers, if you had everything on lock down, they would not give you support. Focus on your actual fans and customers, you would be surprised, a lot of the people who support on Patreon are not doing it to get stuff from you but to support what your doing.

    So don’t worry so much about thieves and get out there and let people know who you are and what your all about.

    I agree with Monsen, don’t sell yourself short, we are a niche community and it will be hard to build up a large support base. You can always do tiers with higher tiers having access to more fills/symbols as well as rights to use them commercially.

    Thanks Rely :)

    I might do it one day. I just don't know right now. My head is all in a muddle, which is annoying because yesterday it all seemed so clear to me.

    Posted By: MonsenOf course, lower price means more sales, but there is a bottom line where it will have an effect too. For example, if we talk about the £0.5 you suggested, if you charge £1, you only need half as many people for the exact same result (I am unsure exactly how patron charges per contribution work, if there is a fixed charge per pledge, then £1 is many times the income for you compared to £0.5).
    Now, in the grand scheme of things, when you pay for something, how many people will really think £1 is to much, but would have pledged at £0.5? My guess is that very few people will think that, so increasing to £1 would probably double the income without any dropoff in supporters. Now, increasing it to £5 would probably mean a bunch of people would fall off. I'm not going to even try guessing the net effect, but it would certainly mean less customers.
    Patreon also recommend not going below $1. Also remember that the people on Patreon are people that want to support you, it isn't a store.


    LOL!

    I don't really understand how Patreon works. I've even been told today that its a social media site, which doesn't really go with other things I've been told. It seems to me to be some kind of mad hybrid creature that isn't anything in particular but many things all mixed up together. I find it quite hard to work with something I don't understand. I go all quiet and cautious for fear of messing it all up big time, which is exactly the opposite to what is required to launch something like that.
    • CommentAuthorRelyt
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Patreon takes 5% and ideally another 5% goes to processing fees, so you are losing about 10% on each pledge. And don’t forget taxes, the government will want their share as well.

    I’ve read up on the theory behind the pricing an tiers, but haven’t really implemented any of it. You want the lowest to be a 1$ (or £) because Monsen is absolutely right, someone who wants to support you will give you a dollar. That 1$ pledge establishes a base for you because it’s a small amount people are willing to give, and as they see the work you are putting out and the expanded options at the higher tiers, you will get people upgrading from your 1$ tier to your higher tiers.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Posted By: LoopysueI've even been told today that its a social media site
    It is. The whole point about something like patreon isn't just to sell stuff, but to build up a community around doing so. You can allow people to vote on what you should make next (even making the voting a premium tier, so only those that pay a little extra have a say, the rest just have to be happy with what they get, this is a great way of trying to get people to pledge a little higher without too much extra work for you)

    And don't be too afraid of messing things up. Things can always be changed if they don't work out. and as Relyt pointed out, don't be too afraid of people stealing your stuff. It is annoying, getting mad at them is certainly warranted, but they aren't going to cost you your business, as long as you manage to keep your paying customers happy, they will continue to support you. As Relyt said, it is the fans that are the important ones, not the scumbags. It isn't much fun ignoring them, but usually, they aren't worth the effort, and the alternative is often to not make anything at all, and that certainly won't give you an income.
    • CommentAuthorRelyt
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Patreon is kind of a social media. When you make a post people can comment and you can respond, you can make polls or ask your patrons questions and they can message you directly.

    You can do on here what you do on Patreon. I think you would do really well as you engage people and show what your working on and how it’s developing. The main thing I think will be hard for you is finding people to support you as it’s such a niche hobby. You might want to make some maps as well to show case your work and maybe also make some more modular type of tiles. Check out this guy, he’s doing pretty well:

    https://www.patreon.com/forgottenadventures/overview
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Remy - that sounds good. I enjoy doing stuff that people actually want to have, so interaction is good. I still need to understand it properly before I start. I wouldn't want to come over all nervous. That would put people off.

    Rely - That's an impressive setup. The content is also much better than I can do, and more of it because there are 2 of them working at it, so I guess that if I do decide to give it a go I will have to downsize my anticipated number of patrons quite considerably to less than half of that number. Maybe 200 maximum.

    I really don't know about this. I'm going to think about it till I feel ready to either do it or say no and get on with something else instead.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMonsen
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Remember that patreon isn't some kind of exclusivity deal, if your other plans involves making artwork, it can be one of many venues.

    Many artists feel like thy have go give their patreon supporters some kind of exclusive rewards, but that isn't really what most patreons are after, they're there to support (and possibly get something from it), but offering exclusives is a misunderstood gestures, and only is a loss for you.
    Several of the patreons I support are actually people who already put their content out for free, so I don't get anything at all extra for supporting them (other than helping to keep them in the business of producing more free content for everyone)
    • CommentAuthorRelyt
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Also, I charge per post (you choose which posts are charge and which ones are “free”) and that really takes the pressure off me. I’ve been doing good at pumping out content until recently when life caught up to me and I haven’t put anything out in a few weeks, but it’s fine because I only charge my patrons when I put out a charged post.

    Ultimately you need to do what is good for you, but I think you should just jump in and do it. Spend a couple weeks making content and posting as if you have patrons, this will get you used to the system and give you time to get settled in. Then start advertising and getting the word out. If Patreon doesn’t work out for you, it’s no big deal just brush off and move on, it might work later.
    • CommentAuthorJimP
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Sue, we are all a little mad here. But not me. ekieki. :-)
    • CommentAuthorScottA
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Lots of great advice here. You already know what I think, Sue, so I shan't clog up the forum repeating myself! If you do it I'll be the first to sign on!
    • CommentAuthorLoopysue
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement!

    As it stands I need time to think about all of this, and also to accumulate a whole load of art so that if anything goes wrong in the real world I have a reserve to draw on.

    So if I do it, it won't happen for a couple of months yet - when I'm ready for it.

    But at least you have helped me to understand things a lot better - even though I lead this thread a very long way from its original message.
    • CommentAuthortaustinoc
    • CommentTimeMay 12th 2019
     
    Copyright is a very complicated issue. But to clarify (though I am not an attorney, either, but I have some experience in publishing):

    You have to register a copyright before you sue, not before the infringement occurs.

    At that point, you are limited to actual damage, not statutory damages, and generally, not eligible for legal fees.

    There are ways of registering collections all at once that are far, far cheaper than $35/image.

    It really doesn't matter much even if you do qualify to recover legal fees, because the people you'd be inclined to sue won't have that much anyway (if they did, the wouldn't be pirating stuff that costs a few bucks), and any attorney worth his license will want a lot of money up front once they figure that out (and they will). (If it goes to trial, legal fees will generally exceed $100,000. If there's an appeal, that will be quite a lot more.)

    And even if you do have $100k up front, you're far better off using a DMCA takedown notice anyway. That will take care of 99.99% of any problems. The rest, you make some noise online about being pirated, and use it for free publicity. (That really does work - sometimes.) Or don't worry about it, because the effects are generally pretty minimal.