Aug. 28th, 2017
Something I’ve noticed lately is the idea that being a “Social Justice Warrior” is becoming lauded by people. This idea of “punching Nazis” and attacking anyone who does something that offends people…
I don’t agree with white supremacist assholes. I don’t agree with assholes in general. But it also isn’t right to terrorize people in the name of peaceful protests, where those affected don’t want “help” dealing with their issues with such force.
Before I get into my mini-rant, a bit of backstory.
I'm a huge Mozilla supporter. I enjoyed using Mozilla Suite 1.0, and SeaMonkey when it became that. I enjoyed using Thunderbird. I enjoyed using Firefox OS. I enjoyed using Firefox... Note that I'm saying enjoyed in the past tense.
Thunderbird is effectively dead in the water outside of maintenance releases. SeaMonkey is having problems keeping up because of a lack of dev power and infrastructure. Firefox OS was killed off completely with a massive middle finger to the community (more on that in a moment). And Firefox itself? Well, I'll get to that later.
So... Here's my question: What in this blue marble's name happened to Mozilla?
Sometime prior to the ousting of Brendan Eich, it seemed like Mozilla Community were starting to get shafted quite heavily by lower management within Mozilla Corporation/Mozilla Foundation. SeaMonkey was downgraded to being a community-run project (and benefited greatly at first), and Thunderbird followed relatively soon behind it. Meanwhile, Firefox OS looked like it might've started to gain some ground, especially in Japan and India.
Then, the concentrated attack on Brendan Eich came from so-called LGBTQ allies (they certainly weren't my allies) within Mozilla Community, and within a few days of taking on the CEO role, he was out of the company entirely.
Since Chris Beard took control of the company, the place has slowly become more and more corporate on the public-facing side. It's like we're talking to old Microsoft, not a company that values community and the open web. And this can easily be seen in their "Take back the open web" campaigns, where everything is worded in such a sterile and uncaring manner. Even the Mozilla IRL podcast sounds bland and corporate, and I've heard Veronica Belmont when she's at her utmost best thanks to the old CNet Buzz Out Loud podcast.
Then there's Mozilla Blog, which used to feel quite personal, but now looks and feels more like a corporate activism landing page.
And also the "Open Design" thing they recently did. It didn't feel open. It felt like they got someone to make some designs, had some people give a bit of feedback, then disregarded that feedback for focus groups and random polling from people on the street. The whole process often felt like a giant middle finger to the community. (Aside: They're doing the same to Mozilla Developer Network, and it looks like an eyesore, but I doubt they care.)
And lately, there was the debacle with Firefox OS...
Not long after releasing what can be considered a flagship phone for the OS, the LG Fx0, Mozilla pulled the carpet out from under the project, and didn't even give community developers a chance to take over. "Sorry, it's done. Forget we had anything here." That's how it felt the were acting.
Now, during the Open Design project, Mozilla mentioned that they didn't want to just be known as the "Firefox guys"... And yet they keep making themselves exactly that!
Firefox OS is gone. They don't work on Thunderbird or SeaMonkey (or provide them with infrastructure to continue the projects easily). MDN is made for devs, not users. Their web literacy stuff is practically invisible among the open web campaigns. And to make matters worse, they've effectively closed off the two things that could let them fight evenly with Chrome: XULRunner/WebRunner/Prism (an Electron-style app framework), and keeping Gecko separate from Firefox's core.
Gecko is becoming integrated more tightly with the browser, which is part of the reason they've been killing off projects that use modern Gecko. It's also why Goanna and the Pale Moon project exist, keeping XUL and such alive where Firefox isn't.
Oh, and Mozilla have considered bringing parts of Chrome into Firefox, including Chrome's PDF reader (which is inferior to Mozilla's own PDF.js) and Flash replacement. They're already committed to replacing the old plug-in infrastructure with Chrome's Web Extensions API.
To that extent, I've begun to wonder if they're actually just slowly giving up to Chrome, or if perhaps someone is trying to sabotage the project by bringing in a bunch of Google-backed projects to replace Mozilla's own. I'm pretty sure that's happening at Microsoft, and I wouldn't put it past Google to act like IBM used to with their tricks. But that's just speculation and opinion.
Personally, I've started using Pale Moon and FossaMail (the latter of which is discontinued) for web and email. I still want to support Instantbird for IM, and projects like Nightingale and NVu/KompoZer/BlueGriffon that use XULRunner. They're great projects, and deserve a lot more respect. Something which Mozilla doesn't seem to want to give to the overall community these days.
I miss the days before the politically-fueled ousting of Eich, when Mozilla still felt like the community-driven project that it started out as. I don't like the corporate crap that's befallen it. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to call myself a fan of the company, and what it's become.
(Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be one. I'm not dispensing legal advice, nor am I actually touching on how the law works. I'm a creator who's stating an opinion, as per my First Amendment rights.)
Thanks to FA user ReezyTheGarchomp posting a journal about it, I became aware of a video from Rambutan Illustrations titled "Is Fanart ILLEGAL?". Clickbait title aside, the video itself is well written and worded, proper disclaimers were provided about the artist not being a lawyer, and research was done on the subject.
However, it's very clear that it wasn't a lot of research, likely consisting of Google searches on the subject. I say this because, in their cited sources, there are no links to actual laws provided, nor are there any cited case laws in which these laws are put into practice. The only sources she cites are Nintendo's very simple page on copyright, a post from Toby Fox about how he wishes his IP and copyrights to be used, a post from Redbubble about the previous post from Toby Fox, and a video from a laywer's talk at COMIC CON.
However, this comes from someone who doesn't want people selling fan works of their intellectual property (thus a conflict of interest to begin with), and really wasn't given the due diligence that the subject deserves.
I'm not ripping on Rambutan Illustrations for posting this. She did a lot of hard work in making this thing. But IP, copyright, and trademark law is very complex. Far more so than a simple 10 or 30 minute video could even hope to cover.
Concepts like "generic characters vs specific characters", "generic species vs individual character", "Is it copyright or is it a trademark?", and even something as simple as "What are the creator's wishes?" are all factors that have to be taken into account. Works involving original characters aren't held to the same laws as canonical characters, as a species isn't always afforded the same protections under IP and trademark law.
If you want an example of this, I suggest reading "The Protection of Fictional Characters" by Ivan Hoffman, B.A. J.D..
For another quick example: a generic Pokemon trainer is an idea, while Ash Ketchum/Satoshi is a developed character. The latter will have far more protections under law than the former will, especially in the sale of merchandise. Likewise, a generic Lucario character is a generic idea, but once its given a name, gender, backstory, etc..., then it becomes a developed character, at which point lawful protections change, and may even grant the creator of this original character rights that the species creator would not be able to override.
That all said, this is a subject that is more complex than even I myself can tackle, much less Rambutan. We've both looked into the subject, but it goes much farther than one would know from a quick web search.
Leave these subjects to the lawers. Don't take the word of someone outside of the law world as canoncial proof that something is or isn't illegal. That goes for myself as well. Always consult a lawyer when in doubt!!!!
That is all.