Anita Sarkeesian has apologized for using the fan art image of Princess Daphne in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games banner, saying the Feminist Frequency team mistook it for official art.
It came to light earlier this month that an image of Princess Daphne of Dragon’s Lair fame used in the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games banner was not actually a “real” image of the character, but rather a fan art rendition. The artist, Tamara Gray, wrote an open letter accusing Sarkeesian of stealing her art, using it for commercial purposes and refusing to respond to her inquiries.
It appeared to have all the makings of an ugly situation, but cooler heads have prevailed; the offending image of Princess Daphne has been replaced by a properly official one, and Sarkeesian has posted an apology and an explanation of how it all happened in the first place.
“Her rendering of famed animator Don Bluth’s character Princess Daphne is so professional looking that we honestly thought it was official art used in the marketing of one of the dozens of Dragon’s Lair remakes and ports that have been released over the past 30 years,” Sarkeesian wrote. “Compounding our confusion, Tammy’s image is used on many video game sites and forums without proper attribution to the artist and without indication that it is fan art. It was on one of these sites that we originally found the image which was grouped with many other official images of famous female gaming characters.”
Sarkeesian maintained her original position that the transformative use of the image qualifies as fair use, “but since we honestly did not intend to use fan art in this case, we have voluntarily gone ahead and replaced the fan art in our old collage as a gesture of goodwill.” She also said reports stating that Gray’s initial inquiries went ignored are false, and that the team responded to her as promptly as possible. “We did not see her ‘open letter’ blog post until after we had already sent her our first response,” she wrote. “We did not feel it would be appropriate or professional to publicly discuss this incident until a resolution could be reached.”
On her blog at Cowkitty.net, Gray thanked Sarkeesian for removing the image but expressed regret that they couldn’t reach an agreement that would allow her to continue to use it. She did leave the door open for future use, however, as soon as Sarkeesian provides proof that Feminist Frequency is a properly registered “non profit public benefit corporation.”
“While I’d love to take your word for it because women + games is a topic that is true to my heart, it wouldn’t be fair to the other orgs I’ve worked with to give you permission without proof,” Gray wrote. “I know it’s frustrating, but I have to at least try to play fair and not play favorites.”
Sarkeesian noted in her blog post that Feminist Frequency is in fact registered in California as a public-benefit non-profit corporation.
Source: Feminist Frequency