[UPDATED] Randy Queen Pulls Defamation Threats, Apologizes to Escher Girls Blog Admin
— Ami Angelwings (@ami_angelwings) August 6, 2014
Yesterday we told you about how Escher Girls, a tumblr dedicated to scrutinizing the inaccurate female anatomy that’s become industry standard in comics, was facing legal threats from an artist upset with his work being featured. Today the blog’s admin, Ami Angelwings, has heard from that artist yet again, and it seems like the matter is going to work out in her favor.
Angelwings told her Twitter followers today that she received an e-mail from Darkchylde artist Queen with the header “Apology.” He also made a public statement on his Facebook page where he cited recent personal troubles as the cause of his actions. He writes (bolding ours for emphasis):
Hey everyone, Just wanted to clear up a few things that happened this past week. I have been having a very hard time in my personal life with the loss of my mother and my marriage having fallen apart and found myself in a very vulnerable and fragile state of mind. There were posts on the web criticizing my artwork that were brought to my attention and added to my stress. I reacted without thinking it through, but have now stopped, realizing my response was the wrong one to take. I am doing my best, each day, to get myself back on my feet and getting my life in a better place and realize now that I have just try to move on and get back to my art, the thing I find the most joy in these days. I want to thank those professionals, friends and family who have been giving me their support, understanding and love. Thanks for listening. ~ R
Obviously, everyone does really stupid things when they’re upset and fragile, so if Randy Queen is truly repentant, then I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt considering how things have worked out. Besides, however misguided his actions were, he has very successfully demonstrated the inherent problems in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is that it unfairly sides with the person claiming copyright infringement in most (if not all) cases regardless of whether any infringement occurred. Also, he has taught us all a valuable lesson in what not to do when you see someone critiquing your work, which is to harass them with legal threats. Just walk away, kids.
Meanwhile, Tumblr has also restored the text of most Escher Girl posts concerning Darkchylde, though not the images.
The reproduction of those images still falls under fair use, and Escher Girls had every right to post them for purposes of analysis and education. However, considering that Queen was initially using the Digital Milennium Copyright Act not to protect his copyright but to censor the criticism accompanying, it’s encouraging to see that criticism still intact—especially in the case of redraw-style posts that included work from other artists.
“This has been a surreal 2 days for me, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve gotten,” Angelwings said on her personal blog. “I want to thank everybody else out there for the kind words I’ve received through this so far.”
Update: Angelwings has since written a post on Escher Girls that she hopes will be the final update on the situation. She’d like those who’ve followed the incident to know these new details:
Since yesterday evening, I have had private email conversations with Mr. Queen. He’s personally apologized to me, and I’ve accepted it. He is also withdrawing the DMCA takedown complaints against this blog.
As of this post’s writing, Tumblr has not yet restored the content, but I am hoping that they will soon. I am also checking with them that the now-retracted DMCA complaints will not be counted against Escher Girls or the Tumblr users who submitted content to Escher Girls that was removed.
I consider this situation resolved with the restoration of the removed content, and I wish Mr. Queen well. :)
You can read the full text of the post here, in which she shares some details about Tumblr notifications and thanks folks for their generous outpouring of support.