Tuesday, 13 July 2010

You thought we wouldn't notice...

Earlier today I happened upon, via the medium of Twitter, a discussion about yet another case of the plagiarism of independent illustrators and designers.

Of course all plagiarism is dispicable, especially that committed by big companies against independent artists, but what I find most sad about this whole episode is that the plagiarism was by a 3rd year illustration student, a young artist at the beginning of their career, who has tarnished a fledgling reputation through their own laziness. They have so very blatantly ripped off not just one, but several fairly well known artists and illustrators including Gemma Correll, Kate Wilson of Little Doodles, Nan Lawson, Julia Pott and sadly too, me.

Below is an example of my two original drawings, and their amalgamated version. They didn't even bother to correct my terrible misquote of the lyrics to Rock Around the Clock!! Unfortunately I don't have any other examples of the other artists whose work was taken as all traces of the student in question's internet presence was swiftly cleared as soon as the shit hit the fan.

EDIT - Image removed...see below!


I'm not going to go on a tirade of how awful this is, to me, and I hope to others this is fairly obvious. I just want to put out a reminder that even if the work you are producing isn't for financial gain (though in the case of a 3rd year student who will be putting together a portfolio to find work, it technically will be) it is just wrong, wrong, WRONG to steal another artist's ideas and visual imagery. At school and college it is drummed into us not to take another's words for our essays without quoting them, and the same rule goes for visual ideas and imagery too.

The internet is an amazing place to showcase work and also to draw inspiration from, but what it gives us is also it's downside. In putting my art out there I, and no doubt countless other artists are fully aware of the risks involved with putting work on such a public platform, but still, there is a big difference between being influenced by someone's work, and copying it.

Sadly this isn't the first case of a student ripping of another artist's work for the benefit of their degree. The case of Samantha Beeston last year caused a huge amount of outrage, especially as she went on to win a prize with the images she stole...more of which can be read about here: http://bit.ly/3bB1y8

However vast the internet is, it has quite a close knit community of artists and illustrators and when something like this happens it really doesn't take long for the news to spread (see youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com for further reading!). The student in question has been contacted as has their art school, who knows what action they will take on this. Plagiarism in any form just won't be tolerated and I hope this silly person has learned their lesson.

Anyway, I have been meaning to broach this subject for a while and I guess it happening a little too close for comfort gave me the push I needed to do it! I'd love to know your thoughts...

More 29 project updates coming this-a-way later!

EDIT - This article has been edited and the image removed due to a legal threat...Yes, really!

12 comments:

Stephanie Webb said...

When Julia Pott first posted about this on twitter last night I was shocked! Such blatant rip offs, it really does make your stomach turn. I think watermarks may be the only way to protect your work whilst still getting it out there on the net, which is a shame, because who wants watermarks all over their Etsy shop!?
I have been the victim of plagiarism myself, and it hurts! Im glad you posted this, hopefully it'll put other's off copying in future!
I am a big fan of your work and blog Lee, keep it up!
Steph

Marthaamay O_o said...

Wow, disheartening.. :(

Anke said...

oh no, she copied you too! :(
Although I was sure she had copied those drawings from somewhere, too. I wonder whose the piano drawing is, it looks so familiar, too.

Claire said...

JEEZO. That is all.

Wendy Roby said...

Goodness, what a very balanced and measured post, considering how furious you must be.

craftylittlething said...

I mainly design custom tattoo art but I'm now too scared to share it on any online medium. I have a design that I drew, especially for myself that is obscenely personal, popped a WIP shot of it on a website, before I knew it one of the 'fans' had copied it and had it inked on their skin. I don't mind people taking inspiration, but it's so so sad when they copy, let alone they now have words that mean something specifically to me, tattooed on their body for life. Great blog btw!

Elizabeth said...

Was directed here via twitter - this is total crap...how can any artist work with such a lack of integrity in their creations. I am glad they have been outed but it is a sad truth that some people will copy your work.

On a positive note, this episode has pointed me to someone's blog and work I enjoy and I look forward to following!

Lee May Foster said...

Thanks for your comments everyone! To be honest, I'm not that angry with the culprit, just more disheartened that despite copy cats being named and shamed so often it still goes on in such a blatant way and that it is being gotten away with in our art school system.

Michael May - I hadn't heard of that, but I should imagine that they wouldn't really have a case against any artist she has copied!

Craftylittlething - That really is sad to hear. It's one thing having work copied but when it is something so personal that must be very upsetting...

Stephanie - Unfortunately watermarks don't stop people tracing or stealing ideas...it's difficult one indeed!

Anke - Yes, I thought that too...

xXx

Kim Roberts said...

Yeah, this is a terrible situation and a really hard one to avoid. I guess the only real defence against this is keep networking, make sure people know it's YOUR work and leave no room for people to get away with copying (because word of mouth is a very powerful tool).

But wait... you've been threatened with legal action?! Why?!

Anonymous said...

Threatened with legal action?

Lee May Foster said...

Just to clarify! Yes, me and another of the artists whose work was copied received a legal threat this week asking us to remove any mention of the student's name and any examples of their work. The student took all necessary steps to remove examples of offending work that they were claiming as their own, and apparently, so should we.

However! There has been no actual apology from the student in question, as far as I am aware, to any of the artists involved.

I won't be pursuing this further as to be honest, I am glad it wasn't a major corporation using my ideas and images for financial gain (as has happened with many other independent artists I know)

I just hope the article has highlighted the problem a little bit and that the student in question (and others who may be doing or thinking of doing the same) has come to realise the error of their ways. I have been reliably informed that their art school take this kind of matter very seriously and I hope they deal with it appropriately.

Thanks for all your comments and support, it means a lot!

makeanddowithperri said...

Really sorry about this dude. x