After a week away from this site, and part of another week to give it some thought, I’ve decided that I’m leaving Redbubble. At least for now. Possibly for longer. I get the feeling that the longer I stay away, the easier it will be.
After having (yet another) Not-For-Sale work removed by Redbubble for somehow breaching publicity rights while not being for sale….and then feeling like I’d been told to go f*ck myself when I sent a counter-notice to have it reinstated (on the grounds of “explain how there is commercial gain in a not-for-sale image (also… explain Facebook and Flickr in that case)”)… I’ve had enough. Especially when all you have to do is type “Game of Thrones” into the search function on this website to see Redbubble’s underlying view on DMCA and copyright infringement is. To summarise: “surprisingly and hilariously self-serving”.
It’s quite obvious that not only are Redbubble a group of opportunisitic money-grubbing shills, which I can accept since I studied Business at Uni and I have no problem with that….. but they’re also a bunch of cowards and hypocrites. And this I can’t accept.
Redbubble is filled with talented artists whose work I love seeing and commenting on. But the price paid to interact with those artists seemingly amounts to Redbubble saying “Shut Your Damn Mouth and Do As We Say and P.S. Have Fun.” Weirdly, under the circumstances I’m not feeling a cheerful vibe from that. And the problem is also that the regime in charge is not a Monarchy where you can depose the King or Queen, and it’s not a Republic or Democracy where you can vote out the President. It’s a Dictatorship. And while a benevolent Dictatorship can be efficient, spontaneous and fun, it can also, historically, not be (citation needed).
I always wondered why, when countries get worse and you can’t kick out the people in charge because they’ve got the guns / power / laws, people don’t just leave. Get out. Stop emboldening a regime by showing them that no matter how bad things get, you’ll persevere. Don’t people see that things don’t get better when you silently comply? But I do understand. People build communities and that takes time, and when things are nice they just want to enjoy that. Storms can pass in time… maybe this is just another storm and it will pass by.
But over time I’ve also learned that if you consistently give in to bullies (especially in a weird suboptimal world where it’s literally their playground and you can’t fight back), then all you do is validate their behaviour. That’s because in our world, silence is consent, and consent is approval, and approval is loyalty, which is basically some kind of monetisable thing. And nothing will get any better, because why would it? Nobody’s fighting, and those who are in charge are happiest and wealthiest. Situation Awesome.
The fact that a strong community has sprung up here at Redbubble is also to their advantage : there’s something that other people value more than a lot of annoyance that can be imparted (refer also : Why Do People Stay On Facebook). It’s almost like they’ve got a family connection they can hold hostage if you ever think about leaving. But I will not validate the behaviour of a company that will not stand up for artists, even if that means saying goodbye to other artists whose work I adore.
I get it. It’s their playground, it’s their rules, they can apply them as they want, they can be as inconsistent as they choose… the only choice is whether you’ll (or in this case “I’ll”) put up with it. And I don’t want to any more. That time has passed.
In the meantime, I wish you all the best, and I hope Redbubble serves you well. I’m not suggesting that anybody leave, indeed it’s totally logical to stay here right up until the point Redbubble no longer serves your purposes when it chooses to serve its own. Which for most people should be fine.
But for me : it’s crossed that line. Again / still. But that’s fine. I never did fulfil my quota of kitten photos or kickass t-shirt designs during my stay here. Redbubble are legitimately competent and polite and no doubt profitable, but to me they’ve shown they lack the soul that’s present in the artists here. I’ll admit I like the pillows they’ve newly introduced, though. You can do interesting stuff for pillows with a properly composed square crop. The iphone cases didn’t inspire me…. and I’ll admit I’m not sure about the duvets. That’s a pretty big canvas.
If you want to contact me, I can be reached at email@example.com . If you run a business that makes money from spam and scams and embedding viruses into emails, feel free to sell my details to whoever, but tell them to get in line because everyone already sends those things to me at that address. But if you can make it through my junk email filter, it’d be nice to hear from you.
Anyway, good luck and all the best, and a big thank you to everyone who supported and inspired me over all these years.
It’s not the end of the world. It’s just art.
Until next time, and perhaps ‘until elsewhere’,
24 July 2014