Information flow and the grievances lobby

One would think that people who stand up for something right and good are strong in character, brave, and to be commended for that.

But what has crystallized after my observations, experiences and pondering is that in such cases, you can distinguish between those doing it for strong selfish motives and those who actually do it regardless of whether they are personally involved. The latter seems quite rare, and they might elude attention due to the many who are motivated to do right for the wrong reasons.

The recent case of Drawponies (a.k.a. Traceponies) making money by selling traced MLP show art caused an impressive degree of attention, or you could say, publicity. Because what I see is that in such cases, there is a lobby. There are people who invested financially by buying ‘his’ material. There are people who are artists themselves, following proper rules, and thus being upset about someone else breaking them to gain an advantage. On another level, there can be emotional investment, which is still connected to time spent and to the bad feeling of being deceived. All this is still personal though.
Add to that the legal ramifications. Legal means business. Serious stuff. Connected to money again.

People who you’d never expect to take up any noble cause can suddenly morph into bloody revolutionaries if their personal material interests are under attack.

But the true test of character is whether someone would do the same in the interest of others. This is the crucial indicator of whether the motivation is egoistical or altruistic. When you have a big group of people all following a shared egoistical goal, it can easily be mistaken for mutual caring. (I blogged about this point before.)

I know from personal experience how decisive it can be whether an issue has this kind of lobby or not. If, like in the case of Drawponies, interest groups like Equestria Daily start sweating because they have been unknowingly supporting art theft and because they have a large following of other artists that they might piss off if they don’t react strongly and decisively, you thus have a major content distributor with a self-interest of publicating the issue.
If, on the other hand, someone does something rotten while such interest groups don’t see their own interests under attack, it can continue without interference. And when you witness enough of such things, you cannot just forget and deny, even if you want to. You then see the shadowy side of people and the many deceptions they practice towards themselves and others.

If Drawponies had not sold his material, but merely claimed it as his own, thus lying to others for personal admiration, just as he has done anyway, this incident would have had a wholly different character and far less public attention. Especially since then it would only have been Hasbro who’d have material grievances. If he had noncommecially stolen art from other fans, the lobby would have been stronger, since then material concerns of fans would have been involved. It would still have caused a more forgiving reaction though, especially by Equestria Daily and such, but also since many people aren’t that much of warriors for justice if it’s not about their own money.

Remember when animators used the leaked Flash puppets, not just for internal practice purposes, but in their publicated work, making no mention that they didn’t create the puppets themselves and silently accepted any praise based on that misconception? That was willful deception, but (potential) material grievances were only on Hasbro’s side. (And fan works and leaked production assets are two different things, so this is not the same as using show material where it’s totally apparent and goes without saying that it’s not original material.) So here, too, artists gained an unfair advantage through deception, and for them this strategy worked. To this day they’re still benefitting from the fruits of that deception. And just like Drawponies, they didn’t come forward until someone else called them out.

If the ‘brony community’ was as noble in principle as they’d like to see themselves, then those animators would have received as much flame as Drawponies now did.
And if they applied the same standards to Drawponies that they applied to others, then Equestria Daily would continue publishing Drawponies’ material, but only his original works. … Sounds unthinkable? Unacceptable? That’s because money.

Start caring for others not because you have a vested interest to do so, but because it is right.


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