jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

tl;dr: Religious abuse only happens because religious leaders are allowed to claim ownership of things other people need in order to live, which is basically the spiritual version of "private property." Because of this, most Internet Atheist criticisms of "religion" would be better directed at capitalism instead.

Content note: Discussion of abusive religion and eating disorders.

Defining capitalism

From CollectQT's Political Definitions page:

capitalism - An economic system wherein the means of production are largely privately owned. Capitalism is inherently oppressive.

To unpack that a little, "the means of production" are what you need access to in order to make a living. They can be anything from printing presses to app stores to hunting preserves.

In a capitalist economic system, like the ones in China and the United States, these things are all privately owned, meaning that one person or corporation is allowed to control them despite the fact that everyone needs them. This is why capitalism is inherently oppressive; whatever political freedoms you may have, the people who own the means of production have the power to decide whether you live or die, and under what circumstances.

When critics of capitalism are talking about "private property," this is what they are criticizing. The "property" in question is the means of production, not your personal effects. They are not saying that you should be forced to give up your plushies or miniatures. On the other hand, if you've ever seen someone eBay their most prized possessions in order to make next month's rent, you know that this is exactly what capitalism does to the people it makes into losers.

How and why abusive religions do this to their victims, and how to help people escape )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: The links in this essay may contain NSFW artwork or ads, or animated icons.

One of the artists I follow on FurAffinity was recently surprised to find out someone had taken on the persona of an incredibly popular character he designed, on Twitter. He didn't explicitly say (in the journal) that he disapproved of this, but soon afterwards the Twitter account vanished.

As far as I know, the person on Twitter did not credit him in any way. He also did not mention them making money off of his persona. He, on the other hand, has sold commissions of people's characters posing with this character.

I used the phrase "taking on the persona" rather than "impersonating," there, because I'm not sure I see anything wrong with what this person did besides not crediting him as the artist. I'm not even sure one should need to ask permission for something like this.

A black-and-magenta foxgryphon with wings, wearing a sleeveless teal top and jean shorts.
Artwork by [personal profile] aliaspseudonym.

If someone looks at our avatar, and has the same feeling the-part-of-us-that-is-Rei did when she watched Evangelion for the first time, I don't want to take that away from her.

I don't want to pretend it's impossible that she exists.

I don't want to tell her that what she is feeling is wrong.

I don't think she should be able to tell me not to be upset, when she posts transphobic nonsense on her Tumblr. But I don't think that should be illegal because of an exclusive "right" that I have to this character. I think that it should be outlawed because it's hate speech.

I personally feel the whole system of ownership is designed by and for rich people, usually rich white hetero cis men. The whole system of "property" seems designed to transfer as much social and financial wealth to them as possible, at the expense of fans and indigenous peoples. Then, after they "own" everything, they license or rent it to everyone else, including in some cases the people who made it.

The first victims of "property rights" on this continent were First Nations people. My understanding is that many of them didn't know just how evil the men they were dealing with were, until they found out that they'd "sold" their lands. And that they continue to be victimized in this way today, by "copyright" laws which allow capitalists to exploit their oh-so-exotic designs for profit and ignorant white people to use their designs without attribution.

But try to sell your Final Fantasy fangame, or publish fanfic without attaching this to it:

I DO NOT OWN THIS! All characters (c) by Square-Enix

And watch the legal and/or popular reprisal.

People self-police on this stuff, in the parts of the web that I go to. I think some of that is okay. You really should attribute the original creators. You shouldn't impersonate them or imply their endorsement of your work, whether you're drawing fanart or explaining religious beliefs.

(Don't get me started on the irony of Christians getting mad at Mormons for appropriating Christianity.)

But a lot of the policing goes on along lines of oppression. Corporations sue fans for making things that were inspired by the work of another person just like them, just because the people in charge have the money to say that they "own" that person's work. And people who had the lifestyle and ability to allow them to create artwork tell people who don't that they aren't allowed to have refs for their RP characters.

When I start creating a new character, like the one that I played in D&D Encounters, the first thing I do is look up other people's interpretations of that idea (or ones like it) on DeviantArt and Bing image search. I've never been able to draw very well, and I don't feel that being able to do so should be a requirement for having a personal character. I don't feel that having money should be a requirement.

I don't feel that agreeing with the creator should be a requirement, either.

Just look at the "genderbent" fanart on Tumblr. The feminist appropriations of characters originally meant to be male fantasies. Hell, Christian Sonic the Hedgehog is how I got into writing originally. And I may write elaborate backstories for my characters, but the more popular my writing becomes the more likely it is that someone will draw them as her lesbian love slaves.

(Plz send me links if you do.)

Sometimes, I feel this is wrong. That I do need permission, and that everyone who disagrees with us should have the right to shut us up. Or at least the people in the social justice world, or whatever we look to for morals and purpose these days.

But the thing is, if I had to get permission from everyone whose ideas I use, I would have to throw out two-thirds of my identities and all of my essays about them. What should I ask them for, anyway? The right to exist? To use the words that they say to mean what they say they mean?

Does the word "dysphoria" stop meaning what transgender people say it does, when a trans woman who's also an otherkin uses it?

Rei I'm not claiming to be an albino Asian girl because I want to make a statement about albinos, Asians, or young women. I'm not saying it to pretend, or insult people, or make money from others' hard work, or make an intentional political statement. I am saying that because it is part of who I am.

I don't care if otherkin hate fictives, trans women hate otherkin, radical feminists hate trans women, or the patriarchy hates radfems. I don't care if everyone agrees that "transethnic" and "transability" are not real things, and that the only people who say they are those things are posers. I don't care if an actual, Asian, albino young woman thinks I'm making fun of her, and I wouldn't care if someone we all agreed was the actual Rei Ayanami told me to please cease and desist.

Even the-part-of-us-that-is-Rei, quiet and compliant as she is, could not do that. Because she can't help but believe that this is who she is, the same way we all agree we're female. She could stop talking about it, stop claiming to be it, or prepend "I believe" to statements she knows to be true. But the people who would ask her to do those things have the privilege of not having to do any of them, theirselves. And if the person she feels she is has less privilege along different axes than we do ourselves, well, maybe that isn't her fault.

I don't think it's right not to credit creatives, and I feel copyright laws should protect them and indigenous peoples from misattribution and capitalist exploitation. But I don't feel that anyone can legitimately gatekeep someone else's access to a myth or an identity. Whether their "ownership" of the "intellectual" "property" comes from being the artist, hiring the artist, or being a person who has been hurt or oppressed, on account of believing in that myth or having that identity.

"Fake geek girls," represent.

Trans women, represent.

Trans everything, represent.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The Firefox web browser's code is open-source, but the Mozilla Foundation protects the Firefox name and trademark, especially from people using it to spread spyware.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Slowly, the player's in-game funds will dwindle, and every new game that they create has a high chance to be pirated until they eventually go bankrupt. There is no way to fight it, in an ironic twist, players of the cracked version of the game are doomed to constant failure due to rampant piracy.

But even more hilarious are the pleas for help that the pirates have posted on the official forums, not knowing that they have unwittingly outed themselves as pirates.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/123585-Pirating-Game-Dev-Tycoon-Dooms-Players-to-be-Ruined-By-Piracy

This is kind of an awesome way of educating people about a real problem.

As you might have guessed from the last essay, I am not a fan of technical measures which prevent players from copying or transferring ownership of their games, especially ones which lock them to one store for the rest of their lives. I don't feel that they should be legal, and the Court of Justice of the European Union apparently agrees.

I personally think the best solution to "piracy" (a word which trivializes actual attacks by pirates at sea) is to make buying games more convenient than not doing so. A lot of it seems to have appeared in the first place in response to barriers to distribution, such as Google Play (formerly the Android Market) rolling out paid apps very slowly in different countries. By the time they get there, the "pirates" are already entrenched, sort of like the anime scene in the States. And creators treat them like enemies by default.

At any rate, I'm not sure how I feel about the current game and "digital content" market to begin with. At the very least, there should be some equivalent to the public library system, so that people who don't have a lot of money (or expensive game consoles to play things on) can still experience our shared cultural heritage.

Right now, everyone only seems to be thinking of ways to solve the problems of a) extremely rich "intellectual property" "owners" and b) middle-class "consumers." Independent creators and developers have been convinced that their interests lay with one or both of those groups, even though the system is not designed to benefit them at all. I'm not sure what solidarity would look like in this situation, but I don't feel that it exists right now.

Edit: One of Game Dev Tycoon's developers describes the experiment from their perspective here.

I think it was an interesting experiment in trying to create empathy, but I'm not sure it went far enough.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

"To be really concrete, 10 times as much content comes from the user base for TF2 as comes from us," [Valve CEO Gabe] Newell said. "So we think we're super productive and kind of badass at making TF2 content, but even at this early stage, we cannot compete with our own customers in the creation of content for this environment. The only company we've ever met that kind of kicks our ass is our customers. We'll go up against Bungie, or Blizzard, or anybody but we won't try to compete with our own user base, because we already know we're going to lose.

"Once we start building the interfaces for users to start selling their content to each other, we start to see some surprising things," Newell added.

http://www.polygon.com/2013/2/1/3941274/gabe-newell-steam-box-talk-ut (Trigger warning for ablism)

On the one hand, this is sort of inspiring because it's a corporate leader who Gets It about fanwork being valuable. Team Fortress 2 players are actually making money from their creations.

On the other hand, it's really not "democratic" so much as it's an entire market completely owned and controlled by one company, which exists at that company's whim. TF2 fans have no legally-recognized right to the title, or to sell their in-game hats for it.

EVE Online's players at least have a democratically-elected, officially-recognized council, with a say in what goes on in New Eden (and with representatives whose character can reflect that game's brutal playerbase (TW for suicide)). All that TF2 fans have is an unusual privilege.

Newell goes on to talk about how all of your MMO achievements are tied to one company:

The future of the Steam marketplace, Newell said, is to ensure that goods can be more permanent in a player's collection; that they can be transferrable and exchangeable between titles. He called to fault the MMO model of player progression: Characters level up, purchase new items, then when you play a new game, everything you worked for is gone. Game creators currently have a "whimsical notion" of player's property rights, Newell said.

"It's like, 'Hey, I'll sell you a house, and you can do a bunch of work, paint it and put furniture in it, and then, when you go to a new house, we're going to burn that one down,'" Newell said.

It's ironic that he should say that, though, because that's how the whole of Steam works. Buying games from Steam is like renting a game console at the store and leaving all of your purchases there with it, and losing access to them forever if your identity changes or you get banned somehow. I had to abandon several games because my account was forever tied to an old, pre-transition identity, and there wasn't a way to change that which I saw.

I'm glad that someone's thinking about how these things affect people, and taking their rights seriously instead of being classist and ageist. I'd feel a lot better if it wasn't a white cismale guy in charge of a corporation and trying to figure out how to make money from it, though.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Or at least add a disclaimer that the conversation I had with [personal profile] aliaspseudonym was prompted by discussing the good points that [personal profile] armaina made. I don't agree with everything she said, in the comments on my first copyright essay, but she reminded me that I did not use the best example and that some legal protections are needed to preserve individual creators' brands.

I was trained to be a submissive perfectionist. I'm supposed to back down if I anger someone. And I am not supposed to make mistakes. So when something I write angers people, and I can tell that I did or said something wrong but can't put my claw on what it is, it unnerves me. It unnerves us a lot.

I just get mad when I read about terrible people doing terrible things. I want to talk about it someplace where like-minded people can empathize, and others can show me what I'm leaving out.

I don't want to intimidate people. I don't want to be attacked by people who don't share my values, like what happened when I tried to write for Planet GNOME. And some of the arguments I've gotten into lately with people I care about and respect have been draining. I feel like there's something wrong with me, like I did something wrong, like I didn't explain things well enough, like I'm a terrible person who really ought to shut up.

Especially when I realize that I am at least partway wrong about something, like I was in this case and did not specify clearly enough.

I'm cutting people off or distancing myself from them, for the sake of my own well-being and sanity, more than I'm gaining new readers and contacts. And that doesn't sit well with us at all.

Edit: From an earlier essay:

... pretty much everyone thinks they're a nice person. The difference is what you do when you're confronted with evidence that you've hurt someone. Is your priority to save face or heal them?

This is why the follow-ups that we wrote didn't sit well with us. We weren't giving credit for or really acknowledging how we were changing the way that we looked at things. This is how one acts when one wants to pretend one's infallible. We are not. We are sorry for doing so.

We're still unnerved and unsure of ourselves after all this, and feel unpleasantly reminded of how immature we still are.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Turns out yesterday was "Intellectual Property Day," and the wonderful country I live in had its ambassadors spend the day promoting it worldwide.

Ars Technica also examined ways to improve the copyright system. Personally, I disagree with their last one; requiring you to manually register to receive any legal protection is just an invisible barrier to entry.

Finally, to put things in perspective

Creative works are relevant and valuable. Unlike this bullshit artist's website, which popped up when I researched MLM stuff after hearing someone mention it.

"Marketers" like that are living proof that libertarian capitalism -- private ownership of the means of production, and allowing the market to determine a person's value -- sucks hard. They're a reminder that money is a way of life for some people. They're exploits that need to be patched.

People like them have way too much power. Especially considering that they produce nothing of value.

Part of the reason Apple was such a lovable underdog is because they embodied the opposite of those people's values. The "suits" weren't in charge at Apple. Steve Jobs was, and as much of a tyrant and jerk as he was, he cared about making things that were beautiful and useful and improved people's lives. An entire culture grew out of those ideas, and I think that culture has value and is worth celebrating.

That culture still exists, as near as I can tell. Apple has largely expanded it moreso than undermining it. They play by the rules, and they play extremely well. It's just that the rules, right now, are a) designed to favour rich capitalists over actual workers and b) not intended to govern a high-tech society.

They need to be changed.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

[personal profile] aliaspseudonym and I have been discussing my last post on Skype.

I think the original creator of a work should have their status protected via trademark, at the least. My ideal situation would be something like how Mozilla runs Firefox:

[11:23:12 PM] Jewelfox: There's a nonprofit foundation in charge of it, with a clear public benefit mission statement. A lot of the work is done by volunteers, who are co-ordinated by the foundation's representatives. The results of the work are shared with everyone via Free Software licenses. BUT the Firefox trademark is owned by Mozilla, in order to protect brand dilution.

[11:23:39 PM] Jewelfox: If you want to make a derivative, you have to call it like Iceweasel or something (yes this actually exists), as well as crediting Mozilla as per the MPL.

I feel fan creators should at least have their rights protected and codified, instead of having them be open to arbitrary attack. I also feel that if copyright's going to exist at all, it should last only 10 years at most.

There's an amazing comic I found years ago that explains a lot of the issues involved -- copyright, fair use, the Creative Commons, and the ways that "intellectual property" "owners" are claiming society's myths. It's called "Tales from the Public Domain: Bound By Law?"

I recommend it to anyone who wants to be informed about these issues.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
Marco Arment makes some really good points about the latest US attempt to shut down the Internet. I'm reposting a huge chunk of it here verbatim.
It’s also worth reconsidering our support of the MPAA. The MPAA is a hate-sink, a front to protect its members from negative PR. But unlike the similarly purposed Lodsys (and many others), it’s easy to see who the MPAA represents: Disney, Sony Pictures, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Brothers. (Essentially, all of the major movie studios.)

The MPAA studios hate us. They hate us with region locks and unskippable screens and encryption and criminalization of fair use. They see us as stupid eyeballs with wallets, and they are entitled to a constant stream of our money. They despise us, and they certainly don’t respect us.

Yet when we watch their movies, we support them.

Even if we don’t watch their movies in a theater or buy their plastic discs of hostility, we’re still supporting them. If we watch their movies on Netflix or other flat-rate streaming or rental services, the service effectively pays them on our behalf next time they negotiate the rights or buy another disc. And if we pirate their movies, we’re contributing to the statistics that help them convince Congress that these destructive laws are necessary.

They use our support to buy these laws.

So maybe, instead of waiting for the MPAA’s next law and changing our Twitter avatars for a few days in protest, it would be more productive to significantly reduce or eliminate our support of the MPAA member companies starting today, and start supporting campaign finance reform.
He links to two groups, United Republic and Rootstrikers, which are trying to change the Citizens United ruling and keep corporations from buying the process.

Yuro and I subscribe to Netflix right now, which I guess is better than buying movie tickets or paying for cable.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

Subscribe

RSS Atom

Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:03 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios