Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Plagiarism: Major corporates vs Indie Artists

I've spotted another case of what appears to be gross plagiarism of work by an indie artist.

This one has now made it to Bored Panda - see Zara Accused Of Stealing Designs From Independent Artists, And Here’s The Evidence so it'll be viral in no time at all (13k views in 22 hours!)
  • Do please share with any illustrators and designers you know who post their work online. 
  • They might also like to check out the Zara website for work which shares an amazing similarity to their own.
Below is the image featuring on the shoparttheft.com website page which highlights the various concerns. It invites designers to go to shoparttheft.tumblr.com to submit comparison photos and links so independent artists can be supported.
Image created to demonstrate the nature of alleged plagiarism
Once is a mistake. This many times is inexcusable. Global fashion retailer Zara appears to have stolen dozens of artworks from over 20 independent illustrators, designers, and brands including Tuesday Bassen (whose particularly awful case has gone viral) and Adam J. Kurtz (that's me). Help us hold the company accountable to directly address this glaring intellectual property infringement and fairly compensate these artists.Shoparttheft.com

The big mistake Zara made was implying that they are so big and have so many visitors that they can ignore a few complaints
The thing they forget is that

  • there are an awful lot of indie artists who have an awful lot of indie artists friends 
  • the internet is awfully good for highlighting matters of concern to indie artists around plagiarism 
.....and I'm pleased to highlight their concerns!

Who are these designers?

  • Tuesday Bassen is an award-winning Illustrator and the force behind Shop Tuesday. She creates designs for pins and patches, clothing and home goods. She lives in Los Angeles. Clients include The New Yorker.
  • Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author whose first book, 1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion has been translated into fifteen languages. He says his design and illustration is rooted in honesty, humor and a little darkness.

More examples of plagiarism highlighted on this blog

Long time readers of this blog will recall I like to highlight blatant examples of plagiarism. Past cases and posts include the following

Luc Tuymans - the famous Belgian painter

The prominent Belgian painter Luc Tuymans was found guilty of plagiarism by a Belgian Court in 2015.

Plagiarise at your peril - the Luc Tuymans case (Jan 25, 2015) examines:
  • the facts and reporting of the case
  • the copying of photographs by artists; and 
  • the use of 'parody' as an exception from the law on copyright in the European Union
  • the importance of country in relation to copyright
  • a key issue relating to freedom of expression and appropriation art
There are a number of examples of major artists thinking that the law on copyright does not apply to them. Tuymans is just one of them.

This post earlier in 2016 highlights Copyright infringement - recent lawsuits involving artists which includes
  • Litigant Mitchel Gray vs Jeff Koons
  • Litigant Donald Graham vs Richard Prince and the Gagosian Gallery
  • Litigant Ally Burguieres vs Taylor Swift
  • Litigant: The FBI (re. Kungfu Panda and Dreamworks) vs Jayme Gordon
  • PLUS Associations of lawyers specialising in intellectual property
This week I came across a different approach to copyright infringement on an artist's website. The message on the website didn't look to dissimilar to those you see on many websites with respect to who to contact if you want to reproduce the art. What was different was that the link went straight to a firm of lawyers in the USA who specialised in copyright and trademark infringement. Suddenly one knew that this particular artist meant business - in the literal sense.

The American Watercolour Society Controversy

One that should be read by all art societies and organisers of art competitions awarding prizes to hyper-realistic paintings!

The posts included:
I think it's a very great shame that Mark E Mehaffey AWS doesn't get to include AWS 'Gold Medal Winner' in his resume.

Is copyright infringement always clear cut? Lisa Congdon vs Cody Foster and various photographers

Are stories of copyright infringement as clear cut as they appear? This episode had two stages.

Plagiarism online - more posts

Plagiarism comes up on a regular basis on this blog. Here are some key posts I've written.
  • Plagiarism or 'passing off' - it's got to stop - this is a very long post which relates essentially to principles relating to plagiarism and derivatives. The post has been revised since first published for the reasons stated in the introduction to the revised post. The original post - and the revised version - were prompted by the daily painting movement and "Duane Derivatives". This post got a lot of visitors and an awful lot of comments. It includes definitions of both plagiarism and derivative art.It invites readers to have a discussion - with an educational intent - about what is and is not OK in relation to copying, plagiarism, imitation and derivative art.
  • Make your own art! - This followed on from the above. It focuses on why original art is best and why every artist has it in them to be a complete original. 
  • If you don't want your artwork stolen..... - Artists can learn a lot about how to handle copyright issues from photographers.
  • Plagiarism on Facebook - This is about people who claim other people's artwork as their own - and highlights a case study of an example on Facebook. This is not uncommon. It's an issue which every Moderator of a Facebook Group needs to be aware of - and MUST take prompt action when it is highlighted with proof.  This post focuses on:
    • Why do people copy other people's images?
    • How can you tell if somebody is copying?
    • What should you do if you see somebody copying?

More about Copyright for Artists

I recently had an article published in the June edition of The Artist magazine in the UK about How to protect your art online.

Extract from my Article about How to protect your art online

I don't profess to be an expert however I have been following cases and looking for expert information and advice online for the last decade or so.

My website Art Business Info. for Artists has a section all about Copyright for Artists which provides a reference of information available online about copyright, trademarks and brands for artists. Specifically:
Other blogs posts include

Copyright & Pinterest

Plus a major initiative on my part when Pinterest created the functionality for blatant copyright infringements

1 comment:

Aletta de Wal said...

What you have done here for artists is magnificent! I'll pass it on to my readers. Thank you for helping artists to help themselves, accept their responsibility and defend their rights. Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training.

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