16 June 2016

Autodesk Tech Support and the Creative Commons

Recently, a certain someone in my +DevWatch I won't name posted a journal entitled, "Uncopyrightable" announcing their uploads as being public domain and usable by anyone for any purpose. This in and of itself does not bother me; the first and last say in how one's art gets used always falls to the artist. Your art, your terms. The part of that journal that did get to me, though, was the reasoning behind the move, that copyright law is a hindrance to human progress. 

No. 
Simply no. 

Copyright protects the investment of artisans, be it only time or time and money. It guarantees them a means by which they may benefit from their work to enable them to keep creating content with as few hurdles as possible. There's nothing remotely wrong with this idea; it's basic sweat of the brow logic. Is it beneficial for their to be some flexibility in these terms? Absolutely. Again, it's the artist's terms. Can this system be abused? Of course it can, but we don't ban hammers when one gets used to bash in someone's skull. Can it have the reverse effect of causing an artist to stagnate by letting them rest on their laurels instead of pushing themselves forward? Sure, but remember what we said earlier about having the first and last say on what an artist makes? 

I could go on about this until the end of time and I practically have over the years, but I bring it up now not just because of the "copyright is bad" sentiment, but also because I spent the last week getting Autodesk to admit to what's apparently a known issue with their mobile app. It has to do with DeviantART and the Creative Commons

For the record, cards on the table, I HATE the Creative Commons. I hate every bloody thing about it. Put simply, the CC is nothing more than Copyleft with its teeth pulled out. It's a GNU in a china shop. It's a clumsy, pandering, pretentious implementation of a license system intended for software patents. I don't like it and I don't get why anyone uses it. I like Copyleft, and I like the GNU, but all the CC does is add condescending, dictatorial stipulations like "non-commercial" and "no derivatives" which may as well say, "I want free, non-critical advertising!" 
"But I don't want people making money off my stuff!"
That's what copyright is for.
"But I want people to share my stuff and do things with it!"
That's what fair use, Copyleft, and the GNU is for.  
Anyway, back to Autodesk and their Sketchbook app. Sketchbook has a really nice option to let you post your work directly to DeviantART, rather than save it to your phone's album and then upload it from there. I don't actually know if this has any real advantage apart from skipping a step, but I like the idea of these two entities cooperating, like Wacom support for Muro. However, I found that when I posted through the app, everything was slapped with a CC 3.0 Non-commercial sharealike license, the most worthless CC license of them all. Naturally, I was a tad annoyed by this. I don't mind that my 3D print designs on Thingiverse or Pinshape can't be copyrighted, but they at least give me the option to set my license (I go with GNU/GPL). After a few more tries on my Xperia and my iPad, all while carefully scouring the menu and settings, I went to tech support to get an answer. Here's what transpired:

ME: Whenever I submit to DeviantART through the app, it sets the default license to Creative Commons. I then have to go into DeviantART and edit the license there. Is there a way to change the submission settings in Sketchbook?

DL: Can you send me some screen captures of what is happening with you?

ME: Well, that's the problem, nothing is happening. The option to change the license when submitting to DeviantArt does not exist. I may as well simply show you the screenshots from your site.

I did send him some screenshots after this part, but I don't think they were ever received.

DL: This is what I get... (link to a BOX account I can't access even after I log into BOX)

ME: I can't open that link. I have a Box account, but it's not letting me see what's in the folder. Are you saying there is a way to change the license when exporting to DeviantArt?

5 Days Later: 

DL: Sorry - Try now! (another BOX link that doesn't work). I would get a video if possible via Quick Time (on Mac) (a link to Apple's support site). 

ME: I'm still not able to load the folder. Look, I'm trying to be patient here, but this is a very simple issue and it's taken you five days to try and send me a Box link I can't open. I've sent a screenshot of what I'm shown when using the "submit to DeviantArt" option. There is no option to change the license from the default Creative Commons 3.0 license to standard copyright. If it's buried in the menu, please just walk me through it. If the settings cannot be changed, please say so, that we can address this obvious fault in your app.

DL: There isn't a way to change the settings. 
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