Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Regarding the "Suhaila vs GS" beef, all I can say is this:

In my opinion, The Guilded Serpent is far from being a credible and reliable, let alone OBJECTIVE news source. I see it much more as an opinion newsletter, wherein anyone can submit their very SUBJECTIVE viewpoints for the bellydance public at large to either agree or disagree with. Are there some writers who are better about forming a rational, news-worthy article that does favor objectivity? Sure. But honestly, I don't read it because I'm looking for a one hundred percent, credible news source. I read it because dancers I am interested in post articles and it's cool to hear their opinions of various subjects and reviews of DVDs or performances. I don't read GS much, because I found a lot of the articles to be misinformed and lacking proofreading/fact checking, but I still pop over from time to time to see what's new.

So, anyways, there's this whole big stink (of which you can see by clicking the link above) on tribe regarding Fair Use of video shot of Suhaila at an event that she requested to be taken down. By reading the linked Tribe post, you can see all sides to the story, sides of which I don't want to rehash. However, there are a few points I feel like voicing.

1. It is not professional, in my opinion, to voice your beef with a performer for asking to take down video/images they do not want published to the public in an airing-of-laundry fashion for the public. That is catty, unprofessional and uncouth. The true mark of a credible, professional news source, as the GS is claiming to be, would be to take down the video with a tactful, "Sorry we had to take this down..." notice, as per Asharah's reply in the Tribe thread. Honestly, if a celebrity asked for a news source like MSNBC, CNN to remove their likeness for one reason or another, whether they were founded in their request or not, you wouldn't see those news sources posting on their web sites a big to-do about taking it down while the conflict was being resolved. So, this action is a bit odd to me.

2. As a representative of a credible news source, you don't make personal attacks against individuals who critique your work. Again, that's taking your "news source" away from being credible and roaming into the realm of it being a personal blogging/opinion site. Which is fine, if that's what it is. But you can't play it both ways. Again, think upon news sources you currently frequent and imagine what it would be like if reporters there started personally calling out and attacking the users that commented on the article for one reason or another. It just takes the publication down that much further.

and finally

3. Artists have the right to protect their image and its usage. Even if you think that you are a member of the free-press, there are laws, rules and usage issues that you have to be educated in enough BEFORE you undertake reporting. I'm not aware of what contractual limitations Suhaila put on this show regarding recording and usage of her likeness, but I'd be surprised if she didn't have SOMETHING in there restricting what it can and can't be used for. And that's not deceptive. That's being a responsible performer and managing your brand. Do I agree with everything she does? Nope! Am I a Suhaila devotee? Not really. I mean, she BLOWS ME AWAY as a performer and I can't wait to take a workshop with her one of these days, but I agree that there's nothing wrong with people posting their OPINION-based reviews of her performances. But posting video and usage of her likeness should correlate with what was put forth contractually for this event, period. If she didn't specify, then it's her fault. But if she did, she has every right to have YouTube remove unflattering video of herself/her representatives. And calling her out and those that are arguing her side as trying to gloss over the truth or censor unflattering images is just ridiculous. Hell, if I were Suhaila, I'd exercise my rights to stop unflattering images of myself, too. It's your career!

I just get so annoyed when I feel people view bellydance as this public, free thing and not as a legitimate career and industry that artists are allowed to legally protect. Art is not free and open for all. Artists don't have to be bleeding martyrs giving their all selflessly for their art and public. They're allowed to protect their image, whatever that entails, to the greatest extent they can.

Sigh... the end.


At 7:24 PM, Blogger Asharah said...

You say it, sistah! I got to talk to Suhaila about it this week, and it's really just a matter of principle for her as well. She never consented for that video to be posted publicly. *sigh*

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Toya said...

Let the church say AMEN!


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