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Comic Artist Allegedly Uses DMCA Takedowns, Threats of Lawsuits to Stifle Criticism

Written by ThanosCopter on Tuesday, August 05 2014 and posted in News with Benefits
Tags:
Comics

Comic Artist Allegedly Uses DMCA Takedowns, Threats of Lawsuits to Stifle Criticism

A comic artist is allegedly using several tactics to stifle criticism of his artwork.


Source: Escher Girls

Randy Queen is the artist of Darkchylde, a 1990s Image comic known for all the things 1990s Image comics have been known to do.  As such, Darkchylde was occasionally featured on the Escher Girls tumblr, a blog dedicated to pointing out how female characters are drawn in distorted poses in order to sexualize them.  I'd link to a couple of the posts on the Escher Girls blog that shows Queen's artwork, but Tumblr has taken the articles down, allegedly at Queen's request.

According to a post on the Escher Girls website, Queen allegedly used the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to have those Escher Girls tumblr posts critical of his artwork removed from Tumblr. In a post from three days ago, Escher Girls posted that several posts featuring Queen's artwork had been removed, and that they had been contacted by other websites who have also been informed that Queen was using the DMCA to remove their posts.  Escher Girls later updated the post to say that Queen had also allegedly requested a DMCA takedown of the article stating that Queen had been using DMCA takedowns, although Tumblr had let that post remain up.

Here's a screencap of the email Tumblr allegedly sent Escher Girls, informing the blog that the DMCA takedown requests had been filed.  

If that weren't worrying enough, Queen then sent the site an additional email, threatening legal action if they didn't "put a stop to all this", claiming that the site was defaming him for saying that he was using the DMCA to stamp out criticism of his artwork.  Here's a screencap of the alleged email Queen sent the website. 

If you're unable to read the print, here's a transcript of the alleged email:

Dear Eschergirls and Kim,

I would encourage you to put a stop to all of this. I have no problem getting legal involved for defamation, and for your various allegations on your takedown notice thread, and am happy to send a formal cease and desist letter from my lawyer.

Instead of simply removing the content you do not have the right to electronically distribute, you wish to push further, and publicly challenges my right to protect the perception of my IP as it exists today.

At this point, I will ask you to please move along, as no good will come of this.

Additionally, instead of taking shots at art someone did 18 years ago while they were still learning - which are no longer representative of their current art style or direction for their character - I encourage you to spend your time and energy on creating your own characters and comics which you can make your own personal sacrifices to bring to the world.

Sincerely,
~R 

Despite Queen's alleged claims, Fair Use should protect Escher Girls should any legal action be taken.  Fair Use specifically allows the copying of copyrighted material for the use of criticism or commentary.  It's part of the reason why the Outhouse is able to use copyrighted images when writing parody or critical articles.   

When I reached out to Escher Girls about Queen's alleged takedowns, the site owner declined to comment.  However, she did make several tweets stating that Queen had sent follow-up emails claiming that publicizing the ongoing dispute was grounds for harassment, and was upset with "armchair lawyers" (lawyers contacting her via Twitter, or writing articles explaining the shaky use of DMCA being used to take down her posts) getting involved. 

We'll be following this story closely.  If you are a party that has been contacted by Queen or been sent a DMCA takedown notice, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .






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About the Author - ThanosCopter


ThanosCopter is a specially designed helicopter built to transport Thanos the Mad Titan. Built by Sterling Custom Helicopters, ThanosCopter appeared in several Marvel comics, before being abandoned by its owner during the character's ascension into major villainy. ThanosCopter was discovered by the Outhouse and given a second chance at life. He now buzzes merrily around the comic book industry, spreading snark, satire and humor like candy to small children.
 

 


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