I'd heard about this, but I will admit, I just had to go see it for myself. I had to stand in the shop and see what they'd agreed to do.
The full kiosk, with the orange ribbon the organizers thought had no confirmed meaning; with the ribbon button that looks like an insincere smile; with the "Step Up!" in lettering straight from 1974.
Right. We're seeing the posters, the banners, the kiosks, all over the grid now. People are walking around with their group tags--"I'm Stepping UP!" Why is this different?
Because this is inside Boxed Heroes.
For once, I'm not going to rant and rave and carry on--though I easily, EASILY could. No, I'm just going to let a few pictures do most of my talking, I think. To illustrate the point.
After certain individuals who actually owned copyright on everything they were selling came in and stomped them flat, it took a bit for Boxed Heroes to reinvent themselves. You'd think they would have learned, but...apparently not.
This is their version of Batman, and Robin. Not from the comics; from the movie. So they're not just risking the wrath of DC, again, they're risking the wrath of Warner Brothers.
They're not even trying that hard. Oh, their version of Harley Quinn has a different hat, and they're calling Ivy "Deadly Ivy"--but it's instantly recognizable.
The "Doomed Doctor Avatar"....are they kidding? Right next to a version of Iron Man that is directly lifted from the film version! Which is above a version of Wolverine that is also lifted directly from the film version of X-Men!
The Crow--he's even called "Eric"--and Captain America.
They've even gotten Blade and Serena in on the action--and Blade and Serena? Are just down the row from Neo and Trinity, from the Matrix movies.
In honor, I suppose, of the potential Wonder Woman film coming out, and the Watchman film that did come out--Wonder Woman and Rorschach.
Finally, "Arachnid Woman"--which proves they can do original stuph (and they can, some of their armor sets are INCREDIBLE)--which, nevertheless, still draws heavily on comic books and Adam Hughes artwork--and a green-skinned ultra-muscled "Gamma" hero.
So what's the hang-up? A store liked the concept of supporting content creators. The Step Up! people--who are obviously not in the least bit interested in policing who asks for a kiosk to display--have sent Boxed Heroes a kiosk. They put it out. What gives?
I'll tell you. Do you honestly think, for one moment, that Boxed Heroes' largest concern is "content theft"? SERIOUSLY??
No! Their largest concern is not having Warner Brothers land on them like a ten-ton spiked weight! Their largest concern is hiding from DC and Marvel! Their largest concern is NOT GETTING CAUGHT!!
Oh, pardon me--not getting caught AGAIN.
Now, I should state that Boxed Heroes, as a creators' collective, does an amazing job recreating these (copyright-protected) avatars. And, as I mentioned, they do original work, some of which they give away in their lucky chairs, and I have never failed to be less than impressed with the work they do.
But that's beside the point; their original work isn't what keeps their coffers full. What keeps them paying tier is the work they've done on the backs of other creators. And isn't that pretty much directly what Step Up! stands against? What it was, in fact, founded to combat?
First, if "Step Up!" as a campaign is to be taken seriously at all, they need to police who's picking up their kiosk. That's the main point I'm making, and I am deadly serious on this--otherwise, they're just a bunch of lip-service gossip girls who want a cause for five minutes, and as soon as the next thing goes bang, they're going to flutter off to it.
And personally, I know most of the women involved in this, and I cannot believe for one moment that they are that brainless. So they need to pull it together and look at what they are--by kiosk presence--approving on the grid.
Second, if "Step Up!" is seriously invested in preventing copyright infringement, then Boxed Heroes cannot be on the list. Nor can any store that engages in copyright infringement. Because it looks bad. You know how it looks?
It's Marianne-McCann-dancing-on-Zindra bad, that's how bad it looks.
You want your campaign to be taken seriously? Then take it seriously. Don't blithely hand out kiosks to everyone who's made a t-shirt to put out. Check who's going into the group. Go look at what they're doing.
Because Step Up!'s kiosk in Boxed Heroes? Is laughable. Worse, it's sickening and it's a tragedy. It's empowering to anyone who's ever thought, hey, I don't have to pay for things, I can just copy them. It's the fast buck mentality in spades.
Am I blaming Step Up! directly for their kiosk in Boxed Heroes? No. Indirectly, absolutely. But more, I'm saying if Boxed Heroes retains their kiosk, anyone seeing it is going to know two things, beyond any shadow of any doubt:
1. Step Up! is a joke, and it was never a serious effort to make the Lindens sit up and take notice of the problem of copyright infringement; and
2. The Lindens' edict on no items that infringe copyright on XStreet isn't serious, because look what they allow in world.
Yeah. Just look.
Welcome to the new world.