Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cutepet's Stance on Image Reposting

The Curious Case of the Kindly Unsolicited Email & Cutepet’s Art Reposting Policy. 

Some days I enter the spare bedroom that serves as my art studio, sit down, and hammer out the hentai for 14 solid hours. Other days I get entangled in business concerns, life concerns, or technical concerns. Sometimes bills need paying, packages need to be run down to the post office, or a monitor needs replacing. Sometimes I need to respond to commission client emails, or update my webpage. And sometimes I receive an email like this.

“Someone mentioned you aren't fond of your art being posted off of your site without your permission. Your request to Danbooru confirms that. However, a few people have been posting your art at Gelbooru. If you want it removed, it's best that you contact the Admin directly.

[Link to artwork]”

I appreciate these emails, because the people who send me these notes are trying to be helpful. They’re the keepers of long dead Netiquette doctrine. These people know about me, and care about my artwork. They know my wishes as a creator of hardcore hentai on the web, and how much I disdain my work being reposted. They tip me off because they’ve seen a net crime committed, and as a witness, they feel morally obligated to file a report. So, with no tangible reward, they take the time to send me a note. I love these people. They’re the Heroes of the Web.

Thank you. :)

The problem is these emails then require action on my part. They involve hunting down info, finding points of contact, compiling lists, and sending of emails to admins, begging them to please please remove [http links] from their user posted archive. This is the unglamorous secretarial part of being a hentai artist. (Note: There is no glamorous part.) It’s the behind the scenes bullshit of existing on the web and trying to manage what people do with my output. And quite frankly, like me, it’s getting old.

The Problem with Boorus.
From my standpoint, the problem with Booru sites is that pictures tend to amass. Images are uploaded, tagged, and indexed. Before you know it, 200 people have (in aggregate) uploaded my entire webpage. That's why I've had to resort to DO NOT POST proclamations. It's the most efficient method of keeping an amorphous Booru from becoming a publicly distributed shadow of my website. Admittedly, DNPs are an unwieldy cudgel. I don't mind the occasional picture post from a fan wanting to share a favorite Cutepet picture, but once all my work is publically posted, it really disincentivizes the idea of membership to my website. Obviously, I'm still here making new works every week, and relying on subscribers to fund the creation of  new high-quality hentai art, but I imagine that memberships to Cutepet (and the affiliated sites Jigglygirls, HentaiTNA, etc.) become a lot less special for subscribers when everything's been picked through, pulled out, and reposted on the open web. So I ask, "What to do, Booru? What to do?" For now the only answer I arrive at is, “Do not post.” (There’s an implied, “Please” at the end.)

Torrenting is Ass Raping the Ones You Love - Only do it if the Recipient is Dead, Doesn't Care, Can't be Hurt, or You Want to Hurt Them.
My beef with sharing is when it passes into the realm of wholesale piracy. I don't get upset when people post a couple of pics. I do get upset when people dump the entire contents of my site up on the web, or seed a torrent with a full site rip. I realize the only reason people would bother torrenting my work is because they like what Studio Cutepet is producing. But it's more like a slap in the face than a "thank you" when I see these torrent files. If you're seeding or downloading a torrent with my work, you know what you're doing. Don't piss in my face and call it social sharing.

The Web is a Chaotic-Good Teenager - It's Naughty, and Confused, but has a Conscious
Although the Boorus, and image boards have diverse populations, made up of all the scum and villainy of the cognizant cosmos, they also exhibit remarkable restrain and self control. I think it's because in the aggregate, the people using these sites (and running them) are reasonable, agreeable, mostly law abiding, and out to enjoy life (i.e. they're human beings). And while I wouldn't trust the average Danbooru power poster with my daughter's virginity, I might trust them to watch my laptop in Starbucks while I run to take a piss. So, that said, I trust in the aggregate anonymous masses. Anonymous (in its many forms) has shown restraint, the ability to self regulate, and in general, to not be an unwarranted prick. I applaud 4-Chan and the Booru users for respecting Cutepet's anti-sharing policies for all these years. When someone starts dumping my oeuvre on Gelbooru, someone else always marks the works for deletion. I can say this for a fact because I see it happening all the time.

I Hate Bitching. I Like Making Artwork. 
Kind people the world over tip me off to the fact that this-or-that picture is posted on this-or-that website. I follow the links and see galleries full of reposted Cutepet pics. Then, I have to take action. I hate bitching. I hate writing this. I could be writing a short ero fic about adorable creatures fucking a voluptuous blonde's every orifice. Better yet, I could be drawing said pic. Instead, I'm wasting my time having to file reports with the internet police for petty theft. It's way past old. I do it because I care. I care, because if I ignore the theft, it gets out of hand, and people start thinking it's acceptable. So I file my reports, and the sites take down the pictures, and people bitch and moan, and then someone reposts the pic and the cycle repeats. It's like killing cockroaches. The only way the problem ultimately goes away is to burn down the house. Because I can't burn the house (and don't want to), I resort to killing roaches with my shoe whenever I see one crop up. It's inefficient and pointless, but to ignore the roach is to accept the roach. So I kill because it's my moral obligation.

Here's my New Cutepet Policy on Image Posting (Updated for Y2k+12 Compliance)
If I make a picture freely public, either on Hentai Foundry, Deviant Art, Twitter or elsewhere, then I don't mind people sharing it. Feel free to share it and comment on it in whatever forum you choose—be it on 4-chan, Danbooru, Gelbooru, Futanari Paradise, blogs, Tumblr, etc. I'm glad you like the work, and appreciate the exposure. If you're trying to profit from my work, get in contact with me. Either we’ll work something out, or we won't. 

(I might also add, don't edit the art or crop the image tags. Doing so isn't in the spirit of sharing. That's about being a dick, and presenting yourself as the point of origin.)

Hopefully, this new doctrine will let people comfortably share Cutepet pics wherever on the web without worrying about being banned from boards, or having Cutepet sue them (for the record, I've never had to sue anyone, for any reason).

If I don't make the work public, please be respectful about posting. If you have a fair-use reason for reposting it, then we're cool. If you just want to show a couple of pics, we're cool. If you're trying to earn points on g-e.hentai by dumping everything I've ever produced into a gallery… well, you suck. I don't approve.

I'm Not a Greedy Shithole
I'm often characterized online as a greedy shithole because:
1. Adult art is my source of revenue (as well as my passion).
2. I request people remove my pictures from websites that consist entirely of stolen artwork.

(On point two, please understand that 99% of all Japanese artists (who account for 99% of all lifted hentai artwork) would also ask places like Danbooru to remove their dojin, collected pixiv pics, or art book materials, if they knew about these sites, understood the language, or felt that allowing the works to stay posted would impact their bottom-line income. But there are literally and figuratively barriers as deep and wide as the Pacific Ocean between artists like Tony Taka, and 10,000,000 sites freely distributing his art books. I'm sure if he could push a button, he'd make those sites go away. But it's so difficult, time consuming, and pointless trying to police the internet. Better to keep your head down, not worry about how gaijin (not their audience) steal their work. It's better to keep focused on your day job of making slender and curvaceous soft-shaded character designs for SEGA properties. That's where the primary paycheck comes from. Well, that and the dojin buyers at Comiket.)

As an American making hentai art, I sell to a small crowd of H savvy art aficionados. People who like the Cutepet blend of hentai art, and are willing to support me and my fellow artists so we can make more of it. Personally, I think this is a good thing. I think showing support with a financial contribution, to an artist or particular subject matter, is a great model for doing business. It might even be capitalism.

Over the last year, I've seen my subscriber number slow tick up, which is great. Right now the income from Cutepet allows me to pay the rent, and eat far too much low-quality food. It also frees me up to function full-time as an artist devoted to a niche topic--makin' hentai art. As time goes on and the subscriber numbers increase, it'll allow me to hire on more artists whose work I feel signifies the best in H art. In the off chance that things snowball, I can hire even more people, with the end goal of turning Cutepet into a full scale domestic H-art production house. Who knows, dumber things have happened. Why shouldn't Americans try to make (competent or even great) hentai art? As a nation, we like porn, and we kinda like anime. I think we have the talent pool. We just need to support it for long enough to take root and become self-sustaining. That's part of what I'm trying to accomplish with Cutepet. I want the brand to signify the best in Western hentai art.

In Closing
As an artist, I'm flailing at the world with a Wacom pen, trying to make "something" beautiful. You can hate me, ignore me, or help me out. Whatever the case, I'm going to try not to concern myself with the Boorus and the Chans of the world from here on out. You guys know my policy. Basically, all I ask is that you not be dicks to me and my fellow artists. There are far too many evil people and organizations in need of an ass raping. Cutepet isn't one of them. (Our asses are small, soft, and very delicate.)

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter. It's time for me to put my head down, not worry about the web, and focus on what I do best-- making fictional characters cum for people like you. ;)

Thank you.

Writing from the Internet