• EDITORIAL: The Human Costs of Art Theft

    This is a huge departure from what I normally write on Equestria Daily. Usually it's just a couple of quick paragraphs to get the readers excited for the latest news from IDW Publishing on their My Little Pony Comics. Comic Previews, Solicitations, SPOC Sneak Peeks, and posts for when new comics are out, I'm EQD's go to guy for all of it.

    However… on the weekend where the biggest movie of the year should have been the only piece of media news in the world, where families spread out across several generations come to experience something magical, and where a toy company like Hasbro should have been looking at all their movie related merchandise fly off the shelves (both physical and digital), the unthinkable happened.

    I'm pretty sure everyone who read this blog, or any of the pony blogs, over the weekend knows exactly what the unthinkable is. After the break you'll be able to find my thoughts, views, and opinions of what happened. Though to give a small spoiler: I couldn't be any further away from feeling happy about this if I tried.

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
    Feeling a lot of emotions right now over what happened this weekend with MLP. Anger, outrage, and disgust present in spades (and directed specifically at the leaker) but the emotion which outweighs them is sadness.

    I feel sad for a multitude of reasons. The first of which has my thoughts dwelling upon everyone at both DHX and Hasbro who had to drop everything they were doing this weekend to have to head into work and deal with the single largest brushfire the franchise has ever seen. Their weekend was stolen from them. Which in and of itself stinks beyond all reason, but to have the weekend before Christmas stolen, when people are starting to travel to visit loved ones, do last minute Christmas shopping, or just take a breather before the long holiday to have to come in and deal with this…

    My heart goes out to each and every single one of them. None of them deserved to have their downtime stolen.

    My thoughts dwell upon those who had their company e-mails stolen, and then published on the net. In addition to the massive crime which this was, this is also a massive violation of privacy. Just thinking of the potential contents being correspondences with loved ones, jokes shared with friends, ideas collaborated with co-workers and to have all of that released to the world… I wouldn't wish that upon one anyone.

    I can't help but think about the writers on the show who had their work stolen and released before their stories were ready to be seen by the world. There is something about being a writer on a cartoon, or really television show, which I know a lot of people don't realize. For the most part, the writers don't see the process where their scripts are turned into fully animated cartoons. The first time they see their stories is when they air… just like the rest of the audience.

    And then there's everyone on the production crews who had their work released before it was complete. For those who have ever worked in the arts, at all, it's quite literally the same as having someone release an unfinished version of the piece you are working on right now. It isn't finished. It's not done. It's not the final reflection of the vision… but the world has seen it and there is not a whole lot that can be done to make the world unsee.

    The theft and subsequent release of in progress intellectual property is not something which can be resolved by returning the stolen content. There was more stolen than just the IP. The part which was stolen, and can never be brought back are the opportunities to showcase their work for the audience to experience. The creators of this content have lost the opportunity to surprise their audience with new story ideas. No longer can they wow the audience by showcasing their mastery of their newest skills.

    It was their moment to shine, their moment of vindication, their ultimate reward for all the work they had put in on the show, which was stolen from them. It was stolen from all these wonderful, amazing people who I have met and gotten to know, even just a little bit, over the past 7 years… and the actions of one selfish criminal have hurt all of them.

    What happened was something terrible. It is not something to be praised. It is not something to go and confront/harass the show staff about. It is not something to be used as a rallying cry. It is not something to complain about. It is not something to derive enjoyment out of. It is not something to be dissected and analyzed for review or critique. It is none of that.

    What it is, and how it breaks down is simple. What happened is a crime. The leaker is a criminal. The people who have worked on the My Little Pony franchise at both Hasbro and DHX are victims. Those are the simple, indisputable facts.

    There is only one person to whom any ire should be directed. I hope beyond hope the party who is responsible is found and brought to justice. Enough is enough.