Band Images

May 20th, 2010

Just a quick post to let you know why we have started to ban band’s with images of people.  As you know, we’ve always banned images of “real” bands on Figment.  These are often copyright images, cannot be attributed to a “fake band”, and are not allowed to be used on Figment.  We have in in rare cases allowed a photo to be used where the photo has been significantly altered or where the people in the photos cannot be clearly identified, but even in those cases we often ask the player to change the photo.

Recently we’ve had several players use clearly identifiable pictures of people who may or may not be “real” musicians.  I just wanted to let everyone know that we will ban band images with clearly identifiable people unless you can prove that you have permission to use that photo.  For instance, RevSpike often uses pictures of his friends and has let me know that he has their permission to do so.  GothZilla’s band image is of the band’s two creators.

If you have plans to use a band image that contains a photo of a person or people, please make sure you have their permission to use that photo.  If you use a photo of a friend ask them to send you an email confirming their approval of it’s usage.  Once you have that email please pass it along to us at customerservice at figment dot cc.  Once we have that acknowledged that approval via email you can proceed with releasing it on Figment.  If you have a question about a photo you can also send it to us in this manner and we’ll let you know that if it’s okay to use.

We’d appreciate everyone on Figment follow these rules.  It will save all of us a lot of time and aggravation, plus it will protect all of us from the legal issues that might arise from improperly using someone’s image.

So in short, try to stay away from using photos of people who you don’t know, and in those cases where you do make sure you have their permission to use it.  If your looking for my advice, the best artist picture is often one of yourself.

If you want to find out more about bans and other issues related to your bands click here to read a recent post on the subject.

Dashboard Changes

April 8th, 2010

For those of you who haven’t already noticed, we made a change to your dashboard page that you’ll see the next time you log in to Figment.  Gone is the old Fan Interaction List, and in it’s place are two new lists – “What’s Happening With Your Bands” and the “Last Five Things Your Friends Did”.

We made this change in response to your requests to have a better way to track the interaction with only your bands.  As you know the old Fan Interaction list showed not only activity with your bands, but also the activity of any player whose band you had become a fan of on Figment.  Due to the large amount of activity on the site this often pushed activity with your bands down the list and it was hard for you to know who or how someone had interacted with a band you created.  Thus the new “What’s Happening With My Bands” list.  The title says it all.

The new “Last Five Things Your Friends Did” list will provide you with information on the activity of those players whose band’s you have become a fan of, but on a more immediate basis.  After all if you want to find out more about what bands they’re buying/listening to you can always visit their profile page where a list of the last 10 things they’ve done on the site is displayed.

We think these two lists will better help you track the progress of your own bands while still providing you with some insight on what your favorite bands are up to on Figment.  We hope you like the change and look forward to any feedback you have on it.

Bans, Cover Tunes, and Tips

March 29th, 2010

I thought it was about time that I addressed a few things concerning some of the rules on Figment since they seem to keep popping up.

Band & Album Bans:

The first thing is why we ban bands and albums.  Although all of this is covered in our Figment Intellectual Property Policy document, I realize most people don’t have time to read all of the documentation involved with our site.  We ban bands/albums for a variety of reasons – copyright/trademark violations, real bands posting on our site, and inappropriate, sexist or hate-based content among others.

Without a doubt the most common reason though is the use of copyright images or trademarked brands/logos.  I don’t think I need to go into a long discussion of why this isn’t allowed (suffice to say we’re not fans of receiving mail from lawyers), but before you go using an image for your next band or album consider the following:

1.  Is the image of a famous person, a real band or from a film or TV show?

2.  Does the image contain information regarding the artist or does it contain a website URL?

3.  Does the image contain a logo, character or mascot from an existing band or company?

4.  Does the image contain something that is graphic in nature – violent or sexual?

5.  Does the image contain something that promotes, glorifies or in any way supports a hate-based group or is racist in any way?  So no Nazi imagery, anti-gay or homophobic band names or songs, racial slurs, etc.

If your answer to any of the above is yes, DON’T use the image.  While there are some exceptions to this rule – by heavily manipulating the image and/or using it for satirical purposes – it really is pretty good guide to follow.  If you don’t follow our advice, chances are we’re going to ban your band or album.

You can also help us police these types of image situations by using the links at the bottom of every band/album page (located just under the song titles) that asks you if you think this band/album is offensive or a copyright violation or simply by dropping us a line using the feedback link at the bottom of every page on the site.

We also ban bands because they have the same name as a real band.  Since Figment is a site devoted to fake bands we don’t want to invite any confusion about whether the fake and real band are one in the same, and we certainly don’t want to invite any legal problems as the result of a naming issue.  So please do a google search on your band name (search on the band name plus the words “the band”) to see if anyone is using a band name before creating the band on Figment.

Every time we do ban a band or album we always send an email to the email account you’ve associated with your Figment account, so if you notice that one of your bands/albums has been banned please check your email to receive some more instruction, and if you have any questions about the ban please drop us a quick email using the feedback link at the bottom of every page on the site.

If your band or album has been banned you can easily fix it by visiting your dashboard page.  If it’s an album you released it will be back in your Albums in Development list, while banned bands will simply be in your Bands list.  Edit the band/album to fix the problem (name or image) and then click on the remove ban link under the band or album on your dashboard page.  When you request a ban removal an email is sent to our customer service department who will review the edited album, and if all is okay will remove the ban and your band or album will once again be displayed on Figment.

Again, if you have any questions on these policies please read our Intellectual Property Policy document or drop us an email using the feedback link at the bottom of any page on Figment.

Covers:

A lot of bands on Figment release albums with “covers” of songs by real bands on them.  We understand that our players do this because they love those real bands, and in most cases we have no issue with that.  However, we’ve noticed that more players are starting to release albums made up entirely of covers, and in some cases albums containing only covers by one band.  To us this is not in fitting with what Figment is all about.  After all, there’s no music involved with Figment, so it’s about creating song titles that sound as if they could be real and even more so that help create the image of a band and an album.

While we have no problem with the occasional cover tune on a Figment fake album, we have decided to ban albums made up entirely of cover tunes.  Why?  Simple, because there’s not much creativity involved in it.   While it does give us some insight into what bands might have inspired your fake band, there are plenty of other places on Figment to list those influences, including the band and album descriptions as well as on your profile page.  In the end, if we allow everyone to just write down their favorite real songs what’s next?  Copying real albums in their entirety?  This is not what Figment is all about.  If you want to create lists of songs you love, there are plenty of sites that you can do that on, we’re not one of them.  So again, if you want to have your band cover a tune by a “real” band you love – no problem.  You can even release it as a single.  All we ask is that you give the real artist the appropriate credit by listing their name in parantheses next to the song title.

Now, if you want to create a cover album containing songs by another fake band on Figment we have no issue with that as long as you once again give the proper credit and ask the Figment player who created the song for the rights to cover that song.  You can do this by leaving a message on their band page using the shout box.

As for any cover albums that have already been released, we reserve the right to delete those albums or leave them on the site as we see fit.  No lucre earned from those albums will be taken away from the player who created them as a result of their deletion.  Any new cover albums created as of this date however, will be banned and any lucre earned will be removed from the creating player’s Figment account.

We hope this post provides some valuable information that will help you navigate our rules and policies.  Again we encourage you to read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy PolicyCopyright/IP Policies and even our Lucre Program documents to understand your rights, the basic rules of the site and what we expect of our players.  We also welcome any comments or questions you might have regarding bans, our new rule concerning cover albums or any other aspect of Figment you’d like to discuss.

Why Phallic Acid Disappeared

November 20th, 2009

If you’ve been a Figment user for the last few months you know the band Phallic Acid.  You’ve seen them release a series of successful albums, launch a North American tour, and maintain a virtual lock on the Hot Albums chart for the past few months.  In return, you, the Figment community, rewarded them with sales, positive reviews and support for whatever new venture they were involved with at the moment.  In short, you trusted them as fellow players.  Unfortunately, that trust was broken.

Earlier this week, we confirmed that TheOldCougs was using multiple accounts to buy/listen to his own albums and in doing so artificially driving Phallic Acid and their albums up the charts.  In short, he was cheating.

For any of you who have taken the time to read Figment’s Terms & Conditions, and I recommend you do, the creation of multiple accounts and/or the use of someone else’s account is NOT allowed.  Of course, we understand that most people don’t take the time to read the fine print. Even so, no one we’ve caught doing this has been surprised it’s against the rules, or claimed they thought it was okay to create as many accounts as they want.  As a result, we always issue a warning on the first offense.  The second time it occurs however,  our policy is to delete their primary account and ban them from the site.  In the almost 3 years that Figment has been online we’ve only had to delete users on a handful of occasions.

In the case of  TheOldCougs he was warned not once but twice.  While he contends that the accounts he used were originally set up by his friends in good faith, he doesn’t dispute the fact that when his friends refused to maintain their support of Phallic Acid he took matters into his own hands and began using their accounts for his own purposes.

When approached we must say he was very honest and owned up to his deception immediately, which is usually how this kind of thing goes.  After hearing his side of things, we considered following through with our usual protocol, but given his confession and willingness to bear the repercussions of his actions, we decided to offer him a reprieve in the form of “probation”.

After considering the specific probationary terms we offered, he told us he didn’t deserve the probation and the more we thought about it, the more we agreed.

So what’s the end result?  Well, TheOldCougs is no longer a Figment user and Phallic Acid no longer exists.  We wish him well and according to him it’s reciprocal.  If anything this situation emphasizes how important trust and integrity are to a game and community like Figment.

If anyone would like to voice an opinion on what happened or our policies in general we welcome your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment on this post or send us an email via the feedback link at the bottom of every page on Figment.

I Will Follow

May 18th, 2009

eccentric-arcade

Here at Figment we’re always preaching “promotion, promotion, promotion”, because like a real band a fake band needs fans, and since you don’t have any music it’s important you figure out ways to get your band’s back story and images out there any way you can.  That’s why we’re so excited to see a band like Eccentric Arcade come along and not only promote their band on Figment, but also set up a Twitter account and begin promoting the band on that site.  The fun is that they may very well begin adding followers on Twitter who believe the band is real!  But then if it has fans maybe it is?

If you haven’t checked out Eccentric Arcade’s Twitter feed you should.  Follow them and help them build an audience, but more importantly do the same for your own bands.  We’d love to see more fake bands realize their true potential.  And while you’re at it follow our FigmentNews twitter feed to get the latest on what other bands are doing on Figment.

GothZilla Go Gold!

March 25th, 2009

gothzilla

GothZilla’s debut album “50 Stories of Sadness” is the first album on Figment to go gold!  The band received their golden horn certification this weekend for reaching the 100 albums sold mark with “50 Stories of Sadness”.  Reached for comment the band has this to say about their achievement, “That ole thing?  Really?  Shi….”  When asked why they thought the album resonated so well with fans, they responded “We have no idea.  Honestly we’ve moved on and are working on a new album.  It’s kind of a Perry Como inspired lounge kinda thing with marked Polka influences.”

For those of you who are not familiar with our horn certifications, Figment awards those bands whose albums reach certain sales marks with horn certifications.  These certifications include an icon that’s placed on the album’s page as well as special lucre rewards, which we refer to as “filthy lucre”.  To give you a better understanding of the various horn certifications – here are the icons and corresponding “filthy lucre” rewards for each:

Gold Horn Certification = 100 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 500 pieces of Lucre

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Platinum Horn Certification = 250 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 1,000 pieces of Lucre

hands2

Diamond Horn Certification = 500 sales of an album

Filthy Lucre Award – 5,000 pieces of Lucre

hands3

So congratulations GothZilla on being the first to reach gold!

Are You On the List?

January 9th, 2009

Now that Christmas is over Santa may be done checking his list, but you shouldn’t be done checking your’s!  What am I talking about?  The Fan Interaction list on your Figment dashboard page.

You may have noticed the list when it first popped up on your dashboard page late last year.  The early version contained a list of only those fans who interacted with band’s you created, but just before year’s end we updated the list to include any fan interaction that occurred with a band you are a fan of as well.  As a result of that change you can now see ALL of the activity that occurs with your favorite bands including your own.

The list may go through one more change before long, as we’re contemplating breaking the list into two separate lists with tabs that allow you to access both.

We’d love to hear what you think of the list so leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.

On Figment the whole goal of the game is to amass fans and in doing so increase album sales.  Interacting with your fans through mutual shouts or by becoming fans of their bands will only increase your chances of selling more albums and in turn earning more lucre.  In short, fans are the lifeblood of your band and it’s important that you not only appreciate them, but interact with them, just like in the real music business…or maybe not.  According to this BBC report, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr seems to think that his fans are more trouble than they are worth.

Here’s the video that Ringo posted on his site to fans looking for an autograph:

Now I can imagine that being a former member of arguably the most popular band in the history of music is not an easy task.  I’m sure you can’t take a pee without someone wanting something from you – “Can I have a sample Ringo?” – but I hope you won’t decide to take this same tack with your fans on Figment, because it may end up turning them against you.

Thank god our own Ramgoat Starr still gets by with a little help from his fans!!!

I’m Your Biggest Fan!!!

September 17th, 2008

You may have noticed a few changes to your Figment band and album pages.  From this point forward if want to become a fan of a band you can simply click on the “Become a Fan” button under the band’s picture on their band page.

In addition, we’ve removed the old “Add As A Favorite” link in the upper right hand corner of all the band pages and replaced it with the social bookmarking Add This “share” button that allows you to bookmark a page on any number of sites like del.icio.us, Digg!, MySpace, Facebook, etc.  We’ve also added the AddThis “share” button to all of the album pages. 

 So if you see a band you like, click the “Become A Fan” button and you’ll be alerted via email any time they release an album.  Then help spread the word by “sharing” that band with your friends through a bookmark on your MySpace, Facebook or any other social networking site profile page.  Not only will your favorite bands appreciate it, but they’ll likely return the favor!

Image Available!

September 12th, 2008

Well, thanks to Patrick you can once again upload pictures for your bands and albums.  The bug has been fixed and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  For those people who released an album between this morning and Tuesday (9/9/08) and would like to add an image, please send us an email asking to upload a new image via the feedback link at the bottom of every Figment page.  We will ban your album temporarily which will place it back on your dashboard and allow you to edit it.  Once you’ve added the image you can ask for the ban to be removed by clicking on the ban removal request link on your dashboard.  We will remove the ban and your album (with image) will be accessible again.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.  Now remember – image is everything!