Today's post is a really hard one for me to write. I have been struggling with the feeling that I need to say something about this issue for a long time and it's finally gotten to a point where I just have to do it. There can be a really fine line between finding inspiration in someone else's work and copying it and claiming it as your own. I have found an amazing online artist community on both Etsy and Facebook that is filled with wonderful artists who are full of integrity and original ideas. Then there are the ones who are not so original or honest, though those are, thankfully, few and far between. I usually ignore these people. However, there is one who keeps popping up all over the place. I get messages from other people at least once a week about this person and their tendency to "glean" ideas off of other artists. Just to put it out there, this is the artist in question's view on copying, in her own words.
"These people don't understand what "copying" means. If you take the exact fabric, shape, colours, and copy every single detail, then that's copying. There are no original ideas out there. Someone's borrowed something from someone, and you have to realize that they are probably jealous. Just keep doing what you're doing, and you'll be fine. CHIN UP!"
"Oh, and if your design is 10% different than this person's design, you're safe. That's the rule in the art world. Take something, change a minimum of 10%, and you're good to go."
Myths about copyright
top 10 myths about copyright
You can decide for yourself but, as far as I'm concerned, and I know several other artists who strongly agree, she is a copycat.
She copies artists over and over again and we, the artist community, point it out to each other, privately, but very rarely say something out loud. This is a topic that we need to be more public about. I am not going to name names today, because I'm rather positive that my pictures will speak for themselves. If you still don't recognize this 'artist's work and would like to know who to watch out for and hopefully unlike and block on Facebook, please message me privately and I will give you the person's name.
Remember--in her mind, all you have to do is change a design by 10% They may not be exact, but you can tell exactly where the "inspiration" came from.
The worst part is that she claims the designs as her very own and often blogs and remarks about how awesome she is and how her business is so wonderful.
It surprises me that she won't even wait a while after she gets "inspired". She just jumps right at it and makes a similar item of her own.
For example, I came out with my little cupcake monster with a unique cute nose and the copycat even commented on a couple of my monster photos that I posted. Then, the VERY NEXT DAY, she came out with her "new" monsters with the same noses, saying, "I also love the furry noses, and I think they are a fantastic addition, something I thought of later on. I'm so glad I did it."
Seriously? If she had said something about liking my monster noses and wanting to try something similar on hers, I might not have been as angry.
Here is one more photo of an item that was just copied today (7/10/12).
There are more. I could sit here for hours and put together photo collages, but I'm not wasting any more time on this person.
Do you think I am being harsh or unreasonable? Many of the artists who are being copied are earning their living from the time that they invest in their craft. They work hard, thinking of new, fun ideas, only to wake up the next morning to see this person posting their items on Facebook, claiming them as her own. Where do you stand on this topic?