AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Cartoonist Uses DMCA to Censor Criticism

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

Randy Queen is a comics artist who knows… which parts of the female form his viewers like to see. When Queen illustrates these views, he often contorts the bodies of the already-exaggerated women into impossible poses. Queen received criticism for his art from the Tumblr blog Escher Girls, which is dedicated to  superheroine poses that warp spacetime, such as those by Randy Queen (shown below).



Queen, who apparently didn’t appreciate the criticism, has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act– a legal tool that is supposed to be used to protect copyright infringement– to get posts of his work, re-drawings of his work, and posts that depict his work for the purposes of criticism removed from Tumblr. If this use of the law wasn’t questionable enough, after the Escher Girls made a blog post sharing that they given notices to take down the posts that included Queen’s work, he followed the notices up with threats of defamation.

I don’t want to get into the minutiae of why criticism is fair use, Techdirt did a good write-up that covers the legal aspects of this situation, but I’m disgusted at the misuse of laws such as this. I strongly believe that people should retain ownership over their intellectual property, but there is no “right to protect the perception of my IP,” which was Queen’s reasoning to sue the Escher Girls for defamation. If you do something that makes you seem sexist, or at the very least ignorant, that is the result. No copyright law should be used to help bigots perpetuate their bigotry and cover up free, transparent criticism. If the internet allows this precedent to be set, then it’s the beginning of the end of a democratic Internet.



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