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Fanart Crackdown

Review TeamPermanent AccountSolarism
July 30th, 2006
15 comments

All right. I really despise making nasty news posts here, because goodness knows I really do adore all Unknowable Room users. However, I find that yet again we have a problem in the Fanart section of the site. After all of the recent chiding we've done about some of the photomanipulations (because they were not original works, just coloring jobs), I find that this new situation begs my attention.

I'm really unsure if some users of this site simply have never read our TOS--I suggest you do so now to avoid potential account freezing, pending trial by our Wizengamot--but, really, whatever the reason, the shenanigans in Fanart are just plain rude. Let me make something very clear: IF YOU DID NOT DRAW OR CREATE THE ART YOURSELF, IT IS NOT YOURS AND YOU MAY NOT POST IT.

Lately, now that photomanips/color jobs have been moved to the forums and discouraged, some users have taken to simply pulling (read: unlawfully borrowing) other fanartists' work and uploading it to the Fanart section. I cannot repeat to you all enough that this is a grave infraction of Unknowable Room TOS. Even when you credit other fanartists when you post their material, you are still crossing a line into illegality, as many fandom artists require explicit permission to repost any type or portion of their work. As such, you are putting this whole archive at risk of a lawsuit and closure.

I can think of nothing more stupid or selfish. Read the TOS, follow our simple, straightforward rules, and everything will be fine. This website has always been extremely accomodating and lax, but there are a few things we simply cannot tolerate.

All users that have posted fanart not expressly created by themselves in the Unknowable Room Fanart section have 5 days starting from the time of this post to delete the art from the archive. Failure to comply within the given 5 days will result in all delinquent accounts being frozen and sent to trial with the Unknowable Room Wizengamot. The Wizengamot will determine whether or not the infraction begs account deletion or not.

Thank you.

In a slight twist of positive news, if you haven't seen the amazing, original art of _weetzie_bat_ yet, you simply must! I am sorely tempted to beg this girl to design for the site. Go see her stuff, let her (and me) know what you think.

New Mod!

Permanent AccountSilverspinner
July 29th, 2006
16 comments

So, about that new mod appointment everyone's been so anxious to hear about. Good news: She's been named!

Congratulations and welcome to the Unknowableroom.org Staff, twinsuns!

I'm sure a good number of you know who twinsuns is: Past Scrivenshaft winner, long-time writer, and one of the Mentoring Staff since last winter. She'll be filling Holly's old shoes and running the Scrivenshaft Challenges from hereon out. Erin, we're honored to have you with us.

Many cheers, everyone. Let's have a round of applause for our new moderator!

Session Notes

Permanent AccountSilverspinner
July 25th, 2006
16 comments

Hey, all! So, a slightly hectic day and a half after the last chat session, I've got the notes more or less in presentable shape--the last section needs more elaboration, and the exerpts from the transcript haven't been added yet, but those should be up tonight--it's about 6:00 PM for me, and I have to leave for practice in about five minutes--so check back within the next day or so for an upgraded version of the session notes.

Oh, and: Don't forget to check out the polls! It would make me very happy if everyone who's been to a session so far voted. C'mon, you know you wanna...:)

'Til later, everyone!

Mentoring session

Permanent AccountSilverspinner
July 22nd, 2006
29 comments

Alright, everyone, heads up for the next mentoring session!

Date: Sunday, July 23
Time: 8 PM - 11 PM EST
Subject Matter: Plot, Theme, and Writing Style (and how they tie together)

Same procedure as usual - sign onto AIM (if you don't have it, click here to download it), add 'zazenica' to your buddy list, IM me, and ask to be invited to the chat.

As always, I'm trying to schedule these sessions so that as many members from around the globe as possible are able to attend at least a few. Everyone who's interested is of course welcome to come. The more, the merrier.

Hope to see you there! :)

Monday's Downtime

ModPermanent AccountThe Owl Post Staffmissers
July 18th, 2006
14 comments

Just to explain what happened on Monday, the 17 of July.

Our hosting site, Dreamhost, was having some difficulties that caused problems, including downtime. They had been aware of a few of the problems over the weekend, but didn't expect things to crash down as they did. The problems should be fixed, as our site is now up and running once again. =)

In the future, for more information if UR is down, visit our LJ site, thegreatbreak or feel free to email an admin.

Sorry for today's inconvenience, guys.

All Paid Up; Thank You

ModPermanent AccountThe Owl Post Staffmissers
July 14th, 2006
15 comments

Hey UnknowableRoom!

I'm here to announce that we were able to reach our goal and the site's bills are paid! We're good to go with what we have for another year!

The other Admins and I would like to send out an incredibly huge thank you to all of you who donated and/or purchased items from our CafePress store or paid for a Paid Account. Your donations enabled us to not only reach our goal, but surpass it. This means that we're on our way to raising money for next year's payment, raising enough money to pay back ChristyCorr who paid the initial payment out of her pocket and to begin raising money for continuous improvements for the site.

Donations are accepted throughout the year and help keep the pressure off of us in the weeks prior to due dates. Every little bit that you can offer helps keep the site going and improving. For any additional information regarding donations of any kind, just contact me.

From the bottom of our hearts, UnknowableRoom, we thank you.

Cheers!

...Continuation of the crackdown

Permanent AccountSilverspinner
July 14th, 2006
9 comments

Okay, back to boring policy stuff...for the moment. I'm just checking in to remind fanartists to please move photomanipulations to the designated forum, since photomanips (unless you've significantly altered the original photograph--see the news post mentioned below for information on what "significant" means) just, well, don't count as fanart. Sorry, guys. :(

If you hit the "News" tab here on the front page and scroll three posts down (and please do), you'll see a rather long entry on our photomanip policy. I know we haven't been up front about it until now, and that's mainly because we didn't have much of a photomanip policy at all--truth be told, we hadn't seriously thought people would post minimally edited photos as fanart in the first place, so the policy has sort of developed as the site gained members. Bear with us while we get our new (and official) policy out there.

For the gritty details and some relevant resources on photomanipulation, check the Terms of Service (scroll to the section labeled "FANART") or the news post I mentioned.

All that being said, there'll be more news soon concerning the new mod and probably a date for the next mentoring session (it's been a while, hasn't it?). Hope everyone's having an enjoyable summer. :)

Cheers,
- Jenna

In All Seriousness

Review TeamPermanent AccountSolarism
July 03rd, 2006
19 comments

Time to sober up a bit, I think.

If you scroll down one newspost, you will see Holly's (everblue3's) resignation as UR.org administrator and fandom icon, et al. (I still love you, Hol.) I hate to take on a snappish persona a la McGonagall, but this change has brought to my attention several things about this archive that I have either been unwilling or unable to mention in the past. (Yes, this is something of a brace yourself post).

Primarily, I would like to discuss the administrators of this website as they stand currently. Most frankly, the person who does the most work on the site itself, barring Cine, is Jenna. I used to be in Jenna's place, but my Junior year of high school and real life sort of bungled everything up. Now that it is summer, though it might be a bit presumptuous of me to come back in a mad flash and expect to resume control so easily, I want to aid Jenna in any and every way I can in running this archive. On that note, you can expect more of me around updating the site, forums, etc.

Losing Holly, a very good friend and business partner, is a blow. However, the admins of UR.org respect her decision and, in fact, understand it very well. We will miss her influence, input, and fantastic work ethic. After all, without her, most of this website would not exist and the Scrivenshaft challenge would have never even started. However, we must take this in stride and progress. As I'm sure the quick-witted of you realize, this is the second of the original 9 TGB mods we've lost now...

Sarina (Sarinileni), who has unofficially left the fandom, was replaced by Cine, who is our web designer and all-around awesome tech girl. But there is the question now of the possibility of replacing Holly, with no natural, obvious choice before us. Cine was a shoo in, as she has had as much involvement in this site as any of the admins since its very beginning. But who, now, will fill the very difficult to fill shoes of Holly? I'm uneasy about replacing her hastily, if at all, partly out of respect for her, and partly because of past experience with appointing people to positions of responsibility too quickly.

Admining on UR.org is a task that can no longer afford to be shirked, by myself, by Jenna, by any of our other admins. (I do not mean, by the by, to accuse any of our other girls of abandoning us--we have all had very good good reasons for not devoting much time and effort to running this site. We understand it very well, and we know that they contribute as much as they can when they can.) Who, then, could possibly be appointed to Holly's place? She took on a lot--she ran Scrivenshaft by herself, you know. Being an admin does not mean taking orders. It does not mean waiting around for instructions or the all clear. It means making smart business decisions, having a wildly creative mind, a great work initiative, and the natural intelligence to catch on quickly. It means acting independently and together at once, taking on projects with fervor although no one has asked you to, keeping the peace, being the bad guy, setting an example, taking the crap, the complaints, the abuse, the publicity.

Really, then. Who? If there is anyone out there who feels as though they fit the qualifications, honestly and whole-heartedly, and are ready for the surge of dedication and commitment I insist on bringing back to UR.org this summer, I beg of that person to contact me immediately.

Use xsolarismx@gmail.com with haste so we can discuss this.

If there is no one, someone will have to be hand selected by the admins and I when we can find the time.

Thank you. More updates soon.

- Dede

Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.

Permanent Accounteverblue3
July 03rd, 2006
15 comments

Just a note to state (officially) that I'm resigning as an admin for UR.org. This includes my work with the Challenges, which will now be looking for a new coordinator. I've posted an announcement, for those who may be interested in taking the mantle.

Fandom is an incredible outlet for creative energy and imagination, and I'm grateful for all the memories I've had here. I simply can't give it the attention it deserves, and am unwilling to keep you all waiting for me to bounce back.

Thank you for everything.

A crackdown of sorts

Permanent AccountSilverspinner
July 03rd, 2006
6 comments

Alright, everyone, listen up.

Dede has already mentioned this, but I'll say it again because we haven't been clear at all with regard to our policy on fanart and photomanipulation, and it's high time that we addressed the issue:

All fanart hosted here on UR.org is to be original (that is to say, it's original if you're the one who created the image--we realize nobody's claiming to have created JKR's characters or stories), and posting photos scanned from magazines/posters/etc., photos in which all you've done is change the models' eye color, or photos you've otherwise left entirely or almost entirely unaltered do not count as fanart. They are photographs, plain and simple, and unless you were the person who took them, they can't be considered original, so please don't post them in the fanart section. Depending on who took the photos, you may be in violation of copyright law--and in the worst-case scenario, someone could get sued. It's improbable, yes, but it is possible.

Here's what we do allow:

  1. You may post minor photomanipulations here under two conditions: 1) You must find out if the image is copyright protected (sometimes it says so on the front page of the site you've taken the photo from, or the photo itself is designated with the (c) symbol; and 2) credit the source of the photo you used, if you didn't take it yourself. If you don't know who took it, write a disclaimer.

  2. You can post any photos that are in the public domain (i.e. not protected by copyright) in the forum, so long as you don't claim them as yours (which you guys already know). On the chance that the photos you want to show are copyright protected, just provide a link to the photographer's home page. Don't reproduce the image here, as it's technically illegal.

  3. If you are going to post photomanipulations in the fanart section, please ensure that your base photos aren't copyright protected--AND make sure that any manips of those photos have been significantly altered, as in, you've changed the content of the photo, added or removed images, etcetera. As Dede said: Put some real effort and creativity into your manips if you want to post them as fanart, because otherwise, they don't count.

If you're fuzzy on general copyright laws, you'll probably find these sites helpful:
What you can and can't copy
Myths about copyright

That said, please move minor photomanips of the kind Dede and I have discussed out of the fanart section and into the forums as soon as possible (we'll say by the end of July, for those of you who work better with duedates). Although we're not above asking you personally to move them if you don't heed the request, we'd much, much rather not nag--it's not our style. Really.

I've updated the Terms of Service to include a brief description of our policy. It's late to do such a thing, I know, and we apologize for not having done it much sooner.

If you have questions about your fanart, you can email me at silverspinner@unknowableroom.org or leave a comment here with your username.

Thanks, guys. 'Til next time.
- Jenna

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