Creator Kutty Sark had been publishing the comic Arcane Flames, a gothic fantasy series, on webcomic site Tapas.io since 2019. However, on January 28, Sark revealed that their TeePublic store had removed a t-shirt featuring the art of their original character Al’vis following a DMCA Takedown Notice from Riot, “claiming that said design is their intellectual property”.
Riot Games claimed that my original artwork is their
I'm just some girl from Ukraine and have no voice if such a big company as Riot Games claims that my work belongs to them, even if all facts prove them wrong.
The only thing I can do is to speak here. pic.twitter.com/I7InAI1uFl
— KuttySarkArt (@kuttysarkart) January 28, 2022
The issue seems to have been down to Riot aggressively defending its trademark for the animated League of Legends spinoff series. However, Sark tried contacting TeePublic to explain that the work was original and not owned by Riot, but was told, “we are unable to reinstate this design because it was a DMCA claim from Riot Games.”
Sark said on Twitter, “I’m just some girl from Ukraine and have no voice if such a big company as Riot Games claims that my work belongs to them, even if all facts prove them wrong.”
Riot has since issued an apology (as spotted by PCGamer), saying, “we want to thank players and Rioters for alerting us to the takedown notice issued to an artist earlier today. Like many large companies, there are a number of teams and third party agencies working to protect our IP. While we’re still investigating what happened here, it’s clear that this takedown request was made in error. We apologise for this experience and wanted to assure you that we’re actively reviewing.”
Sark acknowledged the apology, and thankfully the story has a happy ending, with Sark’s artwork restored today (January 31). However, Sark notes, “My situation was solved because I was lucky enough to be seen, but a lot of small creators around the world face similar problems. I do really hope that my situation would bring some awareness regarding such issues.”
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