My statement to the Melody incident. I’m leaving this in 2020.
Today I’m finally going to share my experience with Melody from beginning to end. I have wanted to share this since the week of the incident but have been trying to sort things out directly with the Melody team. I may have waited too long but I’d like to get the truth out there about how everything happened.
This will be a long read and I’ll break it up into the categories to make it easier to handle. There is a lot of context including timing that was not included in Melody’s first statement, which slightly changes some things.
My conversations and DM’s with Melody go back months at some 8-30 direct messages a day. So there was a lot of time to get to know one another and lots to go over. Far too much to completely paint a full picture.
-First before I get into this I want to make it clear YFU and GIGA has never had anything to do with this. My issues with Melody have been between ME and Melody only. Never has anyone at Giga had hard feelings about what happened besides myself. YFU has never been involved from the start and hasn’t even talked to Melody.
-Second thing, Melody work was NOT contracted.
-Third I did not intend to dox Melody or even suggest the idea to her OR hold her character model for ransom. The character model was never even discussed. In fact, at the point she brought up doxxing I flat out told her I was NOT going to dox her.
-Lastly my interaction with melody I feel has been complicated by 2 people using her identity to respond to me. A lot of development discussion took place in twitter DM’s and oftentimes it was confusing who I was talking to. Both of these people have different personalities and due to some responses it made reading the situation very very weird. Sometimes I’m talking to what felt like the actual melody and then there are times in discussions got very coy and suspicious responses. At times I had to ask both of these people to tag their responses to not get confused or misunderstand. They stopped doing this as things deteriorated, making it more confusing.
It should come to no surprise most internet personalities and celebrities and anyone with influence has a management team using their social media to help them respond to things. However DM’s with Melody were to conduct work and I feel the gap in personality and background starts to cause misunderstandings in terms of feeling out a situation that lacks tone. These people talked to me from the start before Melody went public and the misunderstandings got worse as they grew.
Melody’s early development:
I met Melody through Deviant art. My Deviant art was deleted due to their inability to handle a later situation with doxxing due to melody getting popular. It was on Deviant art where I was contacted by a person representing Melody. I’ll call this person her manager. When I was contacted, Melody had almost nothing besides a broken TDA edit model, 30-40 followers on twitter and no real idea how they intended to make their project realistic. At one point I think live 2d was their plan for a cam girl or maybe that was a joke.
I sat on the idea of taking this project on for about 2.5 months for 3 reasons:
A) It’s hentai and I’m not sure I wanted to be involved at that scale, just like all the other people Melody’s manager reached out to just to make a model alone.
B) I was busy working on other projects
C) I don’t know who these people are and they have nothing to show for themselves.
After nearly 2.5 months I realized I had some time to do Melody’s project and I had a change of heart that it could be a big deal so I agreed to do it. Not Melody, her manager, or I had any actual idea how successful this whole thing would be. This is why we never discussed contracts.
This started out as a model commission. BUT it later transitioned into a full time job with no pay and no contract and that is where the problems begin. I’ll touch on that in a bit.
I concepted her and designed her clothing, body type, branding (like NNT), and built her model all on my own. The only instruction given to me was Melody wanted purple hair with faded tips and a bandaid. This was well over 1.5 months of work and included figuring out things like how to deal with layered clothing and multiple outfit combos, and moving things to tease viewers. These were things V-tubers just are not doing period at the time. Much of this was me building solutions from scratch and pushing myself because Melody and her manager had no experience with this, or knew what we could or couldn’t do but were very enthusiastic.
Her bill at the end was 5k usd. Which frankly was an undercut on myself if you consider any skilled person working at $20-30 a hour for 1.5 months over 8 hours a day with no weekend breaks. The low end of the value of the work was over 8k but they were sharing the fact that Melody had saved up for this and funding had limits which made me feel sympathetic. I didn’t want to hit them with a big bill and not have enough money left to even get this project started and ruin this person’s life with an incomplete project due to underestimating the costs of even a complicated character model.
They were quite transparent early on about her funds and where it came from and I felt personally responsible for her future so I wanted to make sure it was a success. I was looking out for them when I wasn’t obligated to because I want to support people trying to make something new..
Talks start on partnership or service deal:
Almost the 3rd week into designing and modeling her character model, I connected Melody’s team with the people who would later be Giga to talk about the idea of partnering. These discussions were mainly over calls. Both her and her manager liked the idea of coming together to make H-stream idols real. H-stream was intended to be a multi character cam girl company.
However the Giga team eventually came to the conclusion they didn’t want to be involved in adult content. But were open to essentially being contractors via a service agreement to handle her technology and art asset creation. This felt like the best option based on both of our situations.
And to make it clear here, a service agreement is paying another company to provide technology assets and services to a private party. That would be Melody. And to clarify some rumors, Melody never worked with or was involved with Giga.
Transition from Melody Commission to Melody Project Manager:
I had gotten to know Melody and her manager quite well at this point. I trusted them and they trusted me. I was even trusted with an equipment item valued at 4k USD to be shipped to me early in Melody's development, which I had to figure out, work with to make demo videos for melody to learn how to use it and then later sent it all to Melody to use in order to complete the project and Debut.
All of this was trust between all of us with zero contract. Melody also had router problems where there was a way for malicious people to remote into her machines due to bad port security. I was there to jump on it to reach out to my network and quickly research the issue and recommend a solution. So I was no longer just a character modeler for Melody. I was doing everything I could to help Melody and them grow.
It seemed like we were going to start working together in an official capacity soon so I didn’t stop and demand a contract when I was handling good portions of her overflow PR or being hit with opportunities for melody (which I was forwarding to her Manager and having discussion in twitter DM’s). I was so focused on helping Melody succeed and trusted that repayment was coming that I didn’t realize I was cornering myself. All these hours spent on Melody were hours I wasn’t working on paid projects and burned through my own savings.
I was getting talented friends involved to do merch, who still work with her. I was moding her public discord, and CB as well.
I had very close involvement and looked after Melody and her Manager far beyond a normal “commission” as if my future depended on it. Nobody else cared at this level or was trusted with this level of information and it was 100% honest, enthusiasm and obvious dedication that earned me that. Trust is important because this is how things developed without a contract and we didn’t know how big this would be so no contracts were considered. Later I felt my trust in Melody was compromised through awkward situations later.
So I had been working on Melody’s project way passed the model being completed.
For the next 2 months I was doing the following without pay:
-Created random art assets she needed to keep her stream content fresh like her toys, tom and more. At least half of these assets were idea’s I came up with.
-Became the live tech support that is required to keep this stuff running. As well as offered help constantly on production value problems explaining things as simple as rule of 3rds.
-Monitored streams for issues and live chatted with her manager to help sort things live.
-Got my personal friend network involved and brought their talent, to help code and create more features that I am unable to create.
-Got Melody other misc contacts I have like a friend that can do actual merch.
-Consulted and worked as a manager between melody and her manager and my coder friends constantly. Created a discord for developers to communicate.
-Researched new tech to deal with issues nobody else has like electro magnetic interference from vibrators with magnetic gyroscope driven tracking hardware. Also working on audio solutions. Some of this stuff I had been working on she later did move to after I left her. I know this because I’m still in contact with the vendors she got it from.
-Made hardware recommendations and explaining setup and tips to look out for issues.
-Moded my own character IP Nanoko to allow Melody to meet with fans in VR Chat as a sacrificial lamb to protect her official model. Had I not been looking out for her she most likely would have uploaded her model I made blindly just to have it ripped that day.
-Fixed world issues, polished it and added new features or modifications when issues came up. This includes simple things like the twitch world she uses down to changing a poster due to copyright issues.
-Created renders that were sold on patreon and used all over her content.
-modified art assets and rigged them for her to interact with like her gaming chair. A friend coded it.
This entire time I was not being paid and she was getting bigger fast. So Melody is unable to provide an invoice or pay stub for any of this time except a toy I made (Jackrabbit) and editing Melodys shirt to say “Fakku” which was her first sponsor.
I did this because we were on good terms and I thought we were going to come to an agreement on a service deal since everything was going well. This was the entire reason I did so much and Melody’s team accepted the help.. It was to ensure she could pay the other people helping and get Melody to the stage so they could afford all the R&D I was doing and later afford the help of other talented people that would be added to the project.
I wanted it to reach a level where the service deal was easy to afford and eventually it felt to me like it indeed reached that point. Melody, who was making what appeared to be 6 figure profits for the month, felt otherwise.
Service deal offered:
Since Melody and her manager didn’t know what they needed help with they asked the team what they needed to grow. The giga team then provided a list with people, hours, salary, and services that was recommended.
To create a service agreement that could handle Melody’s tech and also laid out a budget Melody’s team could execute on for launch other H-stream idols, it took a month of development planning and finding out fair prices for art assets and talking to lawyers before a proposal was ready to show Melody’s team. While doing this proposal and other projects, I still worked for them for free.
The service deal was 30-45k a month. It included multiple people ranging from programmers to artists being paid competitive full time / part time industry salary with on-call support, and investment into R&D for interactive experiences. This also had to include pulling me away from future projects to work on hers.
This cost also included the plans for a physical studio, and the hope for Melody and her manager to ideally relocate since the equipment is expensive and her being remote is extremely challenging since nobody there with her actually knows much about this stuff when it breaks.
It was also to launch new characters for H-Stream idols since it was one of Melody’s end goals.
This cost was for a full team and new character development, not for me personally.
Despite myself and my talented friends already working on her stuff, Melody’s team considered their financial future to be unstable and had little idea how to project the coming months of income. This makes it pretty hard to discuss or make any deal if you can not figure out what is affordable much less what you need.
Despite this the team had a good idea of what the earnings of Melody were and how much she would continue to make for about 6 months out since the team has analytic backgrounds crunching data and very comfortable creating such docs with data. It was very frustrating to be told by Melody’s manager that they don’t know what they can afford after spending the time to create the deal.
Internally at the time of this discussion the data seemed to indicate that the service deal was going to be about 1/3 to ¼ of Melody’s monthly income and they had easily already breached 6 figures and were still growing.
The service deal also was written in their favor with a 3 month trial where they could test then reassess and even adjust everything, including how much the service deal costs to even lower it.
Deviant Art Hacking:
During the entire time this is happening, my Deviant art is hacked and hijacked. I assume this was because I was the only public figure to be involved and was targeted. But it was stolen and my art work and downloads replaced with doxing information including screen shots of emails where Melody information is exposed including the person working with her with full name and involvement. I spent over 36hrs waiting for Deviant art to return my account to me to deal with it. It was an attack on Me, Melody and her project.
Later the deviant art was deleted because of their bad handling of returning the profile to me and I wasn’t interested in going through that again if it ever happened.
Service deal talks continue:
With the service deal issue, both Melody and her manager took some time and came back saying they did diligence and went and found people that do the exact same thing for a fraction of the price. That’s great, not sure if they are expecting us to price match something but what was strange to me was the coy nature of how it was delivered. This is where major issues started for me and I started to question their angle here. We had been working closely and as honestly as possible even offering free assistance both on analytics and my help for a while at this point and to just be told yeah we found other people felt really betraying to be honest.
I remember having to walk them through a lot of stuff up to this point. They didn’t know the value of their streams to sponsors, what to buy, or who to talk to. It’s a bit ironic both melody and her manager were asking us what they needed for support then decided to handle it as opaque as they did considering how supportive we had been. The whole thing is honestly really weird.
What well-known company was going to open a studio focusing on Melody and start building out all other H-stream idol projects especially in the covid months to come. That is a hard task and obviously wasn’t going to be cheap if I was going to hire a full team to launch new characters.
So I wondered:
-If these companies that do the exact same thing existed from the start, why did I spend months laboring for melody.
-Why did Melody approach me to start with when nobody else was interested. I mean these well known companies are available for a fraction of the price, right?
-Why didn’t Melody name the companies since they are well known.
-Why doesn’t Melody share the quote? They believe it’s a fair quote and it should be quite easy to judge. We’ve been transparent about so much but not this?
-How do these people providing their quote know what’s involved at this point like I do. I worked on and have been part of almost all aspects of the project and know everything about the projects techniques and technology.
-How does Melody and her manager ask the right questions to get a fair quote when they are not savvy at all in this field. They didn’t even know what to ask us to start with.
-Why is this happening now that Melody is growing fast in popularity and making lots of money?
The thing that gets me in hindsight all this is, what well known company provides support like clipping clothing, generic worlds with reused assets, and other recurring tech issues.
To be honest this experience made me feel very weird about Melody and how this was handled when I thought we were being transparent with one another just felt very betraying.
Service deal fall out:
I had already been holding in anger over what appeared to be Melody occasionally telling fans her tips go to improving her tech issues when I could see the large disproportionate spending on tech and the fact I had been working for nothing annoyed me. I started to realize I over spent my kindness and it was turning into resentment.
I feel if I would have collected pay for the 3d character and left the project at that point it would have made launching considerably more difficult considering what there was left to figure out.
So I decided to leave the Melody project for 2 reasons. I can’t be bothered any longer with people that I just busted myself for months over to be massively disappointed over numbers and people that were never proven. Then to be told they don’t know what they can afford on a service deal.
Reason 2 I needed to get back to paid work since bills are stacking up and at the time, these were YFU things which Melody knew about because she was privileged to YFU and Giga information early on since as friends I shared what I was working on and how Melody’s technology stack was similar to what I wanted to do for YFU.. But in reality almost everything was changed on YFU and I had to figure it all out all over again.
Notice the date on this and how much time we had to talk about it.
More on that later.
I told Melody very frankly how I felt about the service deal issue and that I had worked hard to get to the point of some kinda fair agreement to make it easily affordable. I also explained I was mad that she kept dropping my credentials on twitter when she knew all the work I did and the fact I pretty much made everything when it comes to her look, style, and quality.
Nothing about her project was normal and my involvement wasn’t normal and bringing YFU up like this felt petty when that was a paid project with a contract. Ruka credited btw and I didn’t bother her or even ask. Very early on the Melody team tried to make sure my contribution was noted but that faded super fast when we started to have problems. Later went as far as removing my rank on her discord to hide me and all sorts of things that did not help de-escalate anything. Even went as far as to block me on twitch which we have never used to communicate before. At the time it felt like I was not only not getting paid but my contribution was being erased and I was being told that the hours I put in meant nothing to them. I’ll admit - this hurt.
In terms of the service deal honestly I don’t think Melody or her Manager had the same vision for what we did. They had a hard time trying to figure out what they needed. How much they could spend, who is required, and how many hours these ppl need to work. Nobody can create a service deal package if you can’t figure this stuff out on your own.
We did a lot to bring it this far just to be left with well I dunno, but they went and asked ppl anyways to get some quotes... Like I said they picked some items but the team can’t be chipping away at our time like that so the entire service deal felt like a massive waste of time.
It was the minimum service offered because Melody and her Manager wanted to pay for a skeleton crew of skilled people to do a cherry picked selection of items out of a list of recommendations that they asked us to create. This would mean pulling people off important projects for very unprofitable side jobs for Melody. That is part of why it tied the Giga teams hands and wasted everyone's time.
I was mad at what seemed like a huge waste of my time and I wasn’t paid yet. The payment I was seeking was for a fair service deal that we were still open to work on but they were making it difficult with uncertainties and requesting to dilute the deal so much it wasn't worth it.
Melody and her Manager then offered to pay for my un-paid work I did up to this point however the history and way things have gone up to this point made me feel confident if I made an invoice for the level of involvement I’ve been in, it would have been an epic bill and I told them I was concerned.
They said if I send a reasonable invoice they will pay. I kinda felt like I knew this was a good chance Melody’s manager wanted to get a good price on things I felt really lifted her during critical growth. I knew it would lead to an argument so I did not want to go down that road yet.
The rest of the Giga team was fine going separate ways after the deal didn’t go through but would stay in contact to revisit something possibly in the future. But when the deal ended that was the last time the Giga team ever talked to the Melody team.
We stopped talking for a while and I went to go work on YFU things. I did hear of melody through at least one of my vendor contacts since she was having thumb problems. The vendor wanted to share my solution and findings since I had been working on this problem with the vendor for weeks and Melody was suffering from the issues I had discovered.
Post YFU launch and communication picks up:
I hadn’t talk to Melody in a long time while working on YFU. YFU launched and being the modeler and most public person to work on Melody, YFU got a small amount of Melody’s fans. Which is fine but the fans wanted Melody and YFU to co-exist and in some ways interact. I kept getting messages from people about this and I could see there were attempts to feel this out publicly and Melody ignored it all publicly.
I finally attempted to reach out to Melody in DM’s to start feeling out what was going on.
Eventually I figured out she was acting this way towards YFU over me.
I think most OG Melody fans know I haven’t been working with her for quite some time. Any new fans don’t really know me that well since she’s been sweeping me under the rug. So I’m unsure where the confusion would be, BUT if it mattered so much we both could have made a clear and simple statement saying I walked away which I clearly did on my own some time ago and it would have resolved it. Simple.
Also odd she followed me on twitter but would never follow YFU yet the reason is to not look like we are working together? I just don’t get her angle. It seems to lack a basis that isn’t easily solvable.
The other point is there seemed to be NO public outrage or issue when Melody willfully talked about YFU in her own twitch stream early in YFU’s early public appearance. In fact many ppl were excited and called them sisters. So this didn’t fall in line with what she was trying to say to me.
I felt the optics of taking this out on someone not even involved aka YFU to be extremely petty. Also to seemingly use the company info given to her early on to draw connections and appear to try to limit YFU’s opportunities to be extremely petty. So I’m thinking here is this person I busted myself over and has achieved more success then they ever hoped for, for them to then try to limit the success of someone not involved by using their new found influence.
Regardless of your feelings towards me my enthusiasm to have YFU associate on good terms with the rest of the community is not out of self interest but because I don’t want a new and growing creative to be at a disadvantage in public opinion as a result of something that had nothing to do with them and they had no involvement with or control over.
The point in which problems happen:
It’s important to know when I last reached out to Melody and felt I was being ignored. I also attempted to contact her manager on the private discord user name and got nothing. I waited and then reached out to one of her discord mods who was one of my “friend/contacts” and had been with Melody almost since the start. I mentioned the first name of the manager when I reached out that was already doxed and leaked to the public from the Deviant art hacking to this discord mod.
Melody was well informed about what happened at Deviant art because Melody or whoever was reading the DM’s over the week of the incident was made aware of the Deviant art issues repeatedly over 4 days and even responds about it. We talked about it for about 4 days mostly updating on how bad Deviant Arts service was.
These are the 3 mentions of the first name of the manager’s name in a private DM to the Mod. This was not intended to be malicious nor was it done publicly and the info was in fact made public already which Melody acknowledges above.
The discord mod then screen shots stuff to get Melody’s attention because I was asking him to get a hold of her. I’m not sure what the nature of intent the screen shots were made in. I didn’t ask him to do that.. Such as was it malicious? Or narrative framing? But Melody then replies via DM on twitter accusing me of doxing already public info to this mod.
Also around this time Vice was already reaching out for an interview and I was considering talking to them since I felt pretty used and that was the only thing I was considering especially since I now felt I was being ignored too. I did not say I was going to talk to them about doxing. I didn’t even specify what I would say to them at all nor did I even HINT at what it would be. I even told Vice I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about anything with them but I’ve had some problems with Melody.
I don’t know why but it seems she took this brief Discord mod conversation along with this one DM puts words in my mouth saying I’m going to dox her to vice. I’m actually confused at this point. Also it’s weird she doesn’t think I have anything I’m upset about I’d ever want to talk to Vice about.
Despite this super off the handle response I calmly respond to her still confused.
Melody responds with this (She meant to say Vice, Wired was never part of this discussion ever)
I then respond with a google doc screen shot because the conversation was getting crazy and I needed to respond to every point directly which can’t be done in long twitter DM’s.
I explained to her the info was already public due the Deviant art hacking and I shared it the day it happen with Melody and her manager. We talked about it for 4 days. She apparently forgot? I shared nothing critical on anyone. I never intend to share anything further and I did not intend to dox her to Vice. That was a narrative not part of this discussion. I was honestly confused since I never said anything regarding sharing her info.
Any public comments I made that could have been taken out of context or misunderstood were made in frustration with the internal situation that has been going on for quite some time.
But whatever led her to that it was NOT my intention to make her feel that way and her information has always been safe with me. Perhaps she is hyper sensitive about this topic and for that I’m sorry but this is flat out addressed in this conversation between us which puts to bed any assumptions, misunderstandings, or mischaracterizations.
Despite this I have not talked to anyone about anything personal even with the information already made public past this conversation with her. And the mod I know will probably not say anything since he seems fairly protective of her to start.
I NEVER brought up her paid for main character model in ANY of these discussions. I was seeking something in return for the months of unpaid work I did during her growth period that I busted myself on.
The idea of me messaging her threatening to dox her over her character model is a massive leap of truth and it’s upsetting that some people spread that rumor. It’s pretty clear in her DMs that I explicitly told Melody I wasn’t going to dox. I never even talked about her character model even once in my messages.
Attempt at honorable agreement to end all issues:
I was starting to feel pretty sick that YFU was seeming to be blackballed by influencers since Melody was alienating YFU so I decided to try to come up with a fair proposal to resolve this all once and for all. I figured this is such a one sided offer in her favor surely this will be easy. Because I wanted this over as well.
So since she is actively ignoring YFU I asked for her to stop black balling, black listing, ignoring, and dropping all petty natured actions toward YFU in exchange for the FREE labor I did. This meant zero monetary payout at all for me. This also had nothing to do with her paid for character model. This was made clear to her. Even thinking about it now I would have even offered a statement saying I have no involvement in her project on top of that.
I asked her for peace and to get along. I told her I wanted to make this easy because I don’t enjoy this anymore then them. I wanted to walk away from all of this feeling like my work was at least for something. I saw nothing but benefit for both of us resolving things like this and being on at least neutral terms, ideally good terms.
She comes back with fine, I will “appear” to be on good terms in exchange she wants a signed document stating all work I did for her is now hers as in she owns it. I did not write to her asking her to “appear” to be nice to YFU. I wanted her to drop the beef and genuinely brush the chip off her shoulder. I also never asked her to collaborate with YFU in any of this..
Now when I made this offer this was intended to be a gentleman's / honorable agreement. I would drop all expectations of reimbursement for any past work in exchange for her just doing something I feel I shouldn’t be asking her to do in the first place.
So when she asked for the documents, I started to reach out to lawyers to pay for a contract and learned how a contract like this is kinda crazy for what I was offering her. What am I going to do if she doesn’t deliver and I get taken advantage of by signing over everything? Am I supposed to shout about it publicly like she isn’t being nice to projects I’m involved in just to spite me? What if after I sign things over things get worse instead or every future project I work on gets blackballed because I’m involved. So I was advised that this could turn out really bad or the deal needed to be a lot more concrete on her behalf. And to be fair, I also don’t feel this idea is from Melody, which is the problem with 2 people using her identity to talk to me.
2nd trade attempt with monetary value:
At this stage just doing a simple agreement isn’t going to work. I was actually kinda offended that she wouldn’t trust me and accept all my work on her project in exchange for such a little request so frankly I was annoyed as heck she wanted more out of me.
I thought about this for a long time trying to figure out a way to make this easy and in the end the only thing concrete that is fair is to exchange money for ownership and contract since being nice to YFU isn’t binding enough.
At this point I finally for the first time put a value on my months of work that I feel helped her out monumentally and the full copyright ownership of the Melody model, tom, renders for patreon rewards, and the NNT logo that was being used in merch. I agree it was expensive but she made a lot off my support as well in that time. Also I assumed we were going to negotiate it down. My language was frank because I was already annoyed I am still having to do this all the while she is still black balling. Again I was angry so I would have normally toned it down some. Of course this is removed from context by everyone and makes it out to be some kinda demand. I couldn’t just get us to settle on an honorable agreement without exchanging money. But I realized it was the only way to get a fair trade if she wanted contractual docs now.
Again this entire time saying stuff like this about agreeing to pay for the labor.
So messaged her on what I think is a starting point for what it’s worth. I’m not going to bother invoicing until we at least get this far on it.
Of course this was narrated by so many as a demand and distorting this into “pay me or be dmca’ed for the stuff you paid for '' and while we’re at it lets throw doxing in.
This was payment for the labor and multiple IP copyrights that she never paid for.. The unpaid for labor she acknowledges over and over.. Also something funny was going on with her friends with following and unfollowing YFU a day later and my own friends making merch for Melody decided to use logos on apparel that she wasn’t going to use. She made lots off my renders on patreon and I made dozens for her and she used them constantly because frankly they turned out good.
She quite literally has used everything I ever gave her including my contacts and she didn’t try to negotiate payment but instead ignored me and it seemed like she got everyone to start alienating YFU at the same time to get back at me. So it seemed very disturbing and kinda started to have the air of abuse of influence to me.
Example of just 1 render I made for her that she was using.
The ONLY thing I mentioned in here about the possibility to copyright strike was about nanody which is NOT the Melody model. That is because it is obviously my OC and it was never explained to her it’s hers to own to even be confused and I went out on a limb and ended up taking a massive hit to my IP when it was ripped because of her in the first place.
Nanody = Nanoko edited to look like a version of Melody that I made as a favor I allowed her use to meet paying patreon members on vrc without uploading her other main character model. I did not have to do this. I did this as a nice favor to help her. Never was she like, let me return any favor for this. She made her money and was happy to use it and at the time I didn’t mind until it felt like not only was she not going to pay me in any way but she was going to actively try to spite me..
So after my response, she responds with “I need to think on this” one day later.
I respond to her a day later letting her know I realize what she’s doing with replacing the assets while not coming to any kinda solution or agreement after she goes on about having no problem paying. I felt she was replacing assets intentionally to dilute my request for payment even though she had been using this stuff since the day I made it.
The whole thing just flies in the face of her saying “send me an invoice and I’ll gladly pay for it”. I’m stunned as to how it’s gotten to this point from willingness, to this...
How else am I supposed to take what is happening? 15 days and no response just to be blocked later certainly doesn’t feel like she had any intention of working this out.
Then the block happens and there is no way to resolve anything further.
Embarrassment of using someone's stuff you don’t want to promote:
The reason for the block was started over using assets of mine she simply just didn’t want to credit for.
The issue starts with one of her MMD people using a witch hat model I made 4 years before Melody and distributed publicly on my now deleted Deviant art. This was used in a holiday render of Melody.
I got authored data and posts that pre-dates Kizuna AI on that hat so arguing it’s not mine is a losing battle.
I was irritated at her actions that she couldn’t even credit me for even a basic hat that had nothing to do with her project and then to add the context that I did so much work for her that she knows I feel owed is actually crazy.
Normally I don’t care about the credit for this kinda thing but she and I have been having these issues with credit and she stepped on a land mine doing this. She deletes the original tweet and has the guy remaking it a day later using some other art asset he found. I comment on the bad look of what she just did and she decides to block me and followed up with doubling down on crediting anyone she can find involved in the new render in a follow up tweet. This was an obvious display of spite towards me of epic proportions.
She blocks me over pointing out the odd behavior and now there is no way to come to a peaceful ending to this or walk this downward spiral back. So I played the only card I thought I had which was trying to DMCA Melody so Melody’s team would have to talk to me. I just wanted closure of some kind. And we all know how it turned out - DMCA took things down, #FreeMelody trended on twitter, I didn’t fight to keep things down so the channel came back up, and the Melody team shared their side of the story.
But from my side, It’s crazy that Melody would say she has no problems paying me for the free work. Then start replacing the work while delaying me 15 days without coming back with any counter offer and then blocking me.
All of this should have ended much earlier than this but it was handled badly by both of us. I feel because of these 2 people responding to me as Melody identity and their backgrounds being in different fields it really sends mixed messaging with trying to feel out a situation. It’s already hard enough to deal with this through text. I feel I did a lot for them and when it came to looking out for someone that went out on a limb to look out for them, she did not deliver.
I felt Melody and her Manager were not exactly honest on what was affordable and that is what got me thinking they would not be fair about the value of my work. Perhaps it’s a misunderstanding but there was a lot of time to figure that out.
There was also another incident with one of my programmer friends that compounds this feeling. Remember I had been working for free to make it as easy as possible to pay my programmers. I went to touch base with one of my programmer friends weeks later that was working with me on Melody. I asked her about if she got paid and she explained to me she was shorted $100 by Melody’s manager on a $200+ project task because Melody manager felt R&D for code neither of us have seen done before doesn’t count as labor hours.
I’m not sure what field Melody’s manager believes R&D or just research period is excluded from paid labor hours but just so you know in this industry it’s counted. In fact some programmers only do R&D and they are paid for this. He could have consulted me because I was the person that made all the hourly rate estimates which apparently he was not following in this case for production and I know this field pretty darn well. I knew what was being asked of the programmer was not normal either. So I feel really bad for this person since they are a very good person. I got them involved in this and had I known this occurred when this happened I would have said something immediately to Melody's manager because that’s just not right to me.
You can easily research wages and even as a Jr. programmer you can get an idea of cost. On the lowest end possible Melody’s manager owed $220. But couldn’t for some reason manage to pay the suggested rate and for all of work when Melody and her Manager are seemingly pulling in a 6 figure income. Honestly to learn this when I myself was taking a financial hit for Melody all this time to pay these exact people infuriates me.
I obviously was very upset about all of this and though I should have never talked badly about the Melody team, this is why I was so angry in my messages. I would not have cared if all of this time wasn’t invested into her and then at the end it felt like myself and others were not being treated fairly.
I do not do this kind of work for people normally. In fact Melody is the only case ever. I typically make a design or a model and hand it off. That is how it has been with any work in the past. Never have I needed to be so involved before.
All past clients I’ve never had a problem with them like this and melody isn’t the only clouted up project I’ve done.
Giga was never part of this:
The few that would later be part of the Giga, (because Giga had not formed yet) last talked to Melody when the service deal talks ended. Never did a Giga member outside of my experiences with Melody have any issues or any involvement at that point. I am NOT the CEO of Giga or ever was. I do not call the shots for Giga. Again none of the team members had ill will towards Melody because again they had little involvement to even harbor such feelings and Melody has been debriefed on this since she misunderstood. I was the single person that spent months working on her stuff and was the only bridge between my personal work with her and anything Giga so I was the only one upset with her. So the Giga brand has no place with Melody.
The issued copyright strike was not Giga related. I filed to have the copyrights since the assets created never involved Giga. Melody was a Digi project not a Giga project and permissions does not mean ownership.
YFU was never part of this:
YFU never asked me to try to work out a deal with Melody. YFU has clearly stated she’s never had any hard feelings toward Melody and she doesn’t have any history with Melody or even know her or even talked to her EVER. People attacking YFU over this is extremely toxic and ignorant behavior.
I do not own YFU’s content, art assets or copyrights. I provide technical assistance and art assistance and direction every now and then. Similar to what I was doing on Melody. I do not personally receive an ounce of YFU’s donations just like Melody. Also anything I do for YFU is contract, unlike Melody. So the few that have been going after YFU, I hope this statement sinks in to how you’ve been attacking someone who isn’t involved.
When it comes to Melody and these issues I am the single person that has dealt with this issue from beginning to end. And in the end, I did get stiffed payment.
However I do not wish for Melody to have trouble. I actually wanted to work with them till this happened. I can still remember the nice conversations we had in the past and do know these are humans with lives and goals, despite the problems. I respected them and only wanted truthful and fair treatment back. Everything was handled like a lemonade stand or a family project where emotions and feelings can get in the way and there were no binding contracts to fall back on.
I would have preferred to exit this long long ago on a positive note for both of us. This has troubled me for months on end and anyone close to me knows I’ve been very upset about it.
I will continue to do what I love and will continue to achieve what I set out to do in a positive light. My other clients know I do not have these problems with them ever. I do not plan on working with others one on one and without contract any longer.
I do not want to bother melody and I agree I should never have tried to copyright strike her. The strike on twitch was to get her attention after the block. When her channel went down I was willing to reinstate it. I received the counter dmca from Melody’s manager and I did not attempt to double down because her losing the channel was not the goal.
But in terms of legitimacy no copyright transfer took place and I typically do not give clients authored files. The Verge did a piece on this called “What happens when a virtual streamer doesn’t own her body?” They get a IP lawyer on it and it’s a fairly neutral read.
Some people say Melody lost money by having her channel down for a bit but I noticed she had gotten generous donations the moment it came back which should satisfy any losses as well as during this drama, Melody gained plenty of attention. Overall, all this drama was likely a net positive for the Melody team. But like me, they probably wish things were handled better and we both had so many chances to come to reasonable solutions, it’s actually kinda disappointing.
To clarify more, I’m disappointed in Melody’s context deprived statement that felt disingenuous to me and the community’s handling of information. But I don’t dislike melody or her manager and there probably was legitimate misunderstandings. At the end of the day, I totally agree I handled things wrong and said/did some shitty things and I own up to that. I shouldn’t have gotten so upset. But it feels unfair that I did so much to help Melody while others are reaping the rewards. I felt betrayed then and I still do but I’m letting this go.
I do not want any more witch hunts or ppl to have hard feelings. I wish for everyone to walk their own path and leave the drama behind us.
In a way, this is really just a long cautionary tale and what I’d want to pass along to anyone getting into freelance projects is this: Don’t get carried away helping others just because you like the people or like their project. Always draft out at least a loose contract to hold everyone accountable and absolutely make sure you are paid for your time. If not, you could end up in a situation like mine where you’ve put in a minimum of 500 hours into a project (outside of making the character, project managers tend to be 30-35$/hour) have lost the friends you made along the way, and have burned through your own savings to devote time to helping the project grow.