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Troubles with the Ballet

March 8, 2008

This might not be common knowledge to a lot of people, but until recently, I served as the Second Life Ballet’s resident artist– that is, I designed some sets for them, made art for their playbills, designed their performance posters and, most importantly, I designed their logo.

Upon resignation of my position with the Second Life Ballet, I decided to draw up an agreement for the director, Inarra Saarinen, to look at and sign to insure that the ballet would use the art that I created exclusively for non-profit endeavors (which, as I understand, would not be a problem, since the SLB is a non-profit company to begin with).

This is the first email I sent on February 28th, 2008 at 9:25 PM:

Hey there Inarra:

The following is a quick and painless agreement in regards to using the posters, playbill images and the logo that I’ve created for the Second Life Ballet. Please read and send a return email indicating that you agree along with your RL name and contact information. Thank you!

The Second Life Ballet hereby agrees to use all materials created by Cyanide Seelowe (posters, playbill images, the Second Life Ballet logo, etc.) for non-profit purposes only. If any for-profit endeavors wish to be made in the future, royalties must be paid which will be agreed upon if the need ever arises for it.

The Second Life Ballet’s CafePress site (link redacted) must therefore cease the sale of its merchandise containing any content created by Cyanide Seelowe by March 31st, 2008.

Copyrights to the posters and logo can be found at the following web addresses:

~”Les Fleurs Rose” poster: http://cyanidebutterfly.deviantart.com/art/Les-Fleurs-Rose-poster-75811469
~”The Nut” poster: http://cyanidebutterfly.deviantart.com/art/quot-The-Nut-quot-Poster-71859393
~”Windows” poster: http://cyanidebutterfly.deviantart.com/art/quot-Windows-quot-Poster-v-1-0-56441425
~Second Life Ballet logo: http://cyanidebutterfly.deviantart.com/art/Second-Life-Ballet-Logo-55885634

Sincerely,

Cyanide Seelowe/Jackie Steffen
(RL contact information redacted)

A little more than half an hour later, at 10:07 PM, I received this notice in my email:

[20:06] Inarra Saarinen: You have been ejected from ‘SLB Productions’ by Inarra Saarinen.

48 hours later, I had not yet received a response from Inarra, so I sent a follow-up email:

Hey there Inarra:

If you would be so kind as to sign this agreement (by “sign” I mean just sending a return email stating that you agree with your RL name and contact info) by sometime on Monday, March 3rd, that would be fantastic. If you have any questions or concerns in regards to the agreement, I’d be happy to clarify. Thanks!

~Cyanide Seelowe
Founder, Virtual Artist Alliance
Admin, VirtualArtpedia (http://virtualartpedia.wikisite.com)

Several days later, without a response, I sent Inarra a Second Life IM (she was offline at the time, unfortunately) requesting that she respond to my emails:

[2008/03/05 14:35] Cyanide Seelowe: Hey Inarra: I need you to sign that agreement that I sent you in email. If you didn’t recieve it, I’d be more than happy to resend it, or if you have any questions or concerns about it, I’d be more than happy to discuss them. Either way, you need to respond to me. Thank you.
[2008/03/05 14:35] Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

I understand that offline Ims are not the most efficient way of getting a hold of someone in Second Life… but I was left with no choice at the point, since I only have one email address with which to get a hold of Inarra.

As of this point, I still have not received any communication or response to these mails from Inarra or acknowledgment of my rights to the work.

This whole situation is making me regret not drawing up the agreement when I first started working with them. The lack of attention, the ignorance of an obviously important issue for any artist– it’s one of the reasons I left in the first place. There was no apparent appreciation for the volunteer efforts, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that I will have to take legal action just to ensure that a simple agreement that is beneficial to BOTH parties gets signed.

Tonight I will be crafting emails and sending take-down notices to Linden Labs, Cafe Press and the hosting service for the Second Life Ballet website asking for the removal of my copyrighted materials.

Now, I realize that there may appear to be a dichotomy between my situation and my previous comments on Richard Minsky’s trademark of the term “slart”– the difference, as I see it, is that the Second Life Ballet logo and all other materials that I created are unique creations. The term “slart” was and continues to be a commonly used term within the Second Life art community that predates Minsky’s attempt to trademark it for his own purposes.

The lesson here? Whether you are a volunteer or an employee, always-ALWAYS- draw up an agreement to protect yourself and your art.

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Flight of the Conchords

March 7, 2008

If you have not yet discovered New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk/parody band, allow me to open the gates of your musical tastes:

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Photohunt- 05March08

March 6, 2008

Sure sure, this blog is a day late… but you shouldn’t be too surprised by that 😀

This week’s Photohunt was so much fun! Welcome Doobie (currently the VAA’s only Photohunt moderator) chose Tesla City as this week’s theme location, which is packed full of interesting places to explore, and we nearly filled up all 15 entry boards!

Since Welcome Doobie and I alternate turns between holding down the fort and accompanying the Photohunters to the hunting grounds, I thought I would take a few pictures of my own to pass the time:

They’re not nearly as good as what the entrants came up with, but they were certainly fun to take! If you’d like to see the this week’s entries (as well as archives of all of the contests up to this point), be sure to drop by the Photohunt Gallery to have a look-see!

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Haiku Speedbuild- 06March08

March 6, 2008

Record attendance tonight! I think Welcome Doobie counted something like 22 people total… the VAA has grown into an amazing community since its inception 😀

This week’s theme haiku:

The raindrops have plenty

of personality–

Every one

~Jack Kerouac

1st Place- Sunn Thunders

2nd Place- Artfox Daviau

3rd Place- Jeanni Nishi

Runners Up- Jhonan Thor, Misprint Thursday, Nadiya Destiny, Peli Dieterle, Ransom Silverspar

All sculptures will be on display at Blekinge Sculpture Park until next Thursday, so check them out while you can!

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Homework

March 2, 2008

Above, a screenshot of my current desktop as I work on two assignments simultaneously for my “Design, Research and Conception” class: on the left, doing research for the redesign of a local coffeeshop logo and on the right, my Corel Painter workspace for a performance poster for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

It’s gonna be a late night.

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Cleaning the Glass

March 1, 2008

I am on my break at the moment, and I thought that I would inform you all that being a custodian at the Milwaukee  Public Museum is quite an awesome job.

This fact is blog-worthy simply because I’ve lost count of how many times people have stopped me and said things like “Thank you for keeping our museum clean.” while I’m cleaning the glass at Body Worlds and so on. Most janitors are not afforded that luxury, and are often left to lurk in the shadows to make fingerprints and bags of trash disappear. Here, we are treated as human beings… which, I’m sad to say, is a somewhat foreign concept to most custodial workers.

So, a toast of my iced tea to all of the appreciative patrons, and be sure to thank your local custodian next time you see them busting their ass– we keep the gears of society greased up and working!

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Haiku Speedbuild-28Feb08

February 29, 2008

Weeee! For the first time since we started the weekly haiku speedbuilds, we actually filled up all of the building pads! Huzzah!

This week’s theme haiku:

dreams under the tent
of the Burpee seed catalog
winter gardens

-Jane Reichhold

1st Place- Synn Mounier

2nd Place- Apollo Reinald

3rd Place- Ransom Silverspar

Runners Up- Adrian Harbinger, Alizarin Goldflake, Azadine Umarov, Corcosman Voom, Jeanni Nishi, Wee Dod, Welcome Doobie.

All of these will be on display at the VAA Contest land in Blekinge Sculpture Park until next Thursday– be sure to check them out!