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Thread: What qualifies as art theft?

  1. #1
    One Thousand Member indescribable's Avatar
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    What qualifies as art theft?

    I'm sure that this topic could cover plenty of discussions (which have been touched on in past threads), but I will limit my post to this.


    I recently came across this image (posted July 26, 2012), which, in my opinion, bears a striking resemblance to this image (posted Nov 24, 2011). I decided to check the comments to see if anyone else had noticed this similarity. After digging through all 41 pages, I found these comments:

    (No response.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Giuliabeck Jul 27, 2012
    did you take inspiration from here?

    [link]
    (See the original comment and responses here.)
    Quote Originally Posted by kimmerbe Jul 31, 2012
    Well done! But I've seen this before.. Right here:

    [link]

    I think you should've mentioned it. (wherever you found it) just to give the artist some credit..
    (See the original comment and responses here.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Niffler13 Jan 23, 2013
    This is a beautiful piece but I wish you would link the original artist's image and name along with it, seeing as though the meaning might've changed, but the image itself is practically identical.
    I understand that the images themselves do look relatively different. This girl has obviously given some thought to the concept behind this image, and denies ever having seen the other image prior to posting hers. I also recognize that the ideas of revealing one's inner self, particularly through the removal of a mask/skin/undressing/etc. (or something along those lines) are not uncommon ones. However, I cannot shake the feeling that these two remain markedly similar in execution. v

    The removal of a "shirt" that cuts off at almost the exact same point on the hips, revealing nothing beneath but ribs, a spine and some hip bones (aside from the glowing heart, the only truly unique element, in the most recent image). Both figures face similar directions. One figure is wearing pants, the other does not appear to be and so is cut off at a higher point. Does this go for or against the artist's claim?

    So, my questions to you:

    1. Do you believe that these images are as similar as I do?
    2. If so, do you think this was purely a coincidence, as she claims?
    3. Is it possible that she had, in fact, seen the image, forgot about it and subconsciously imitated it? (Is this in any way a problem?)
    4. Do you think she might be lying and that her image was inspired by the other or intentionally copied?
    5. Am I just slightly crazy, sleep deprived and maybe have too much time on my hands? > . >
    6. If yes to #4, do you believe it's wrong to deny credit for inspired work?
    7. And while I DO NOT consider this art theft, it made me wonder: how far do YOU think inspiration goes before it becomes theft?

    Obviously it's a fuzzy area, and it's not very clear with this image, but there is a line which can be crossed, as seen here and here.


    SPOILER! :
    Question 5 is rhetorical, in case you can't tell.
    Last edited by indescribable; 11-29-2013 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Teacup Ninja Tots Cloudy's Avatar
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    I think that they are different enough that it would not be considered "art theft" but still should merit credit for inspiration if it was taken from the other artist, who knows, this could be completely coincidental. stranger things have happened.

  3. #3
    One Thousand Member indescribable's Avatar
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    Agreed. Like I said, I don't consider this art theft. I'm wondering if other people think these images are as similar as I thought them to be, or if I only think so because I had seen the older one first and then was reminded of it by the more recent one. And aside from that, how similar do two images have to be for it to be considered theft?

  4. #4
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    I wouldn't consider it to be art theft just because the idea itself is simple enough that replication of that concept could hardly be done any other way. A hyper generic female character can only look so many ways. Also, the original is not really a finished piece (done only in pencil with no colors or other distinctions), so its vagueness makes it difficult to draw something similar but different.

    A while ago I posted some art from a Chinese MMO (the masters of rip-off) that had a striking resemblance to Hyung Tae Kim's art. I would consider that more like art theft because "a guy with a sword" can be drawn a million different ways due to details in costume, colors, posing, and overall design, and yet the artist chose to use extremely similar designs in the exact same poses, using the same color palette.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 11-29-2013 at 11:04 AM.

  5. #5
    101 Dalmations Member
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    i think this is what an art theft should look like




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  6. #6
    Sir-Mass-a-Lot Sylux's Avatar
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    anyone who uses 9gag or reads bleach is not to be trusted

    in all seriousness tho, no i dont think its art theft unless its literally copypasta. it seems the incarcerate author was copying but not necessarily stealing intellectual property. copying images like that is like covering songs, and in many cases the original artists are never attributed (see: garage, inc.).

  7. #7
    Three Trio Tres Member Gaff's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'd forgotten about the business with Incarnate. I do get the argument that Simmons was creating a new story, but I think I would be far less inclined to buy a comic created in that way, at least unless he was directly crediting Kubo. There's a very similar debate surrounding the work of pop-artist Roy Lichtenstein. His later work sprang from his own mind, but the paintings that made him famous were basically just hand-painted enlargements of existing comic-book panels. The original artists received no credit nor share of the money Lichtenstein made from the works.

    Staying on the topic, there's a local artist near me who makes a few quid from fan-art. No big deal, but Artist A (I feel I probably should not name said person) basically seems to be drawing characters by looking up an existing image of them, then copying it as closely as possible and selling the results. I've yet to see any mention of credit to the original artist or even acknowledgement that it's a copy of an existing image.

    Not a lot of money is changing hands here and I haven't checked all of his pictures, but it just seems unsporting. I do fan-art and I like looking at fan-art, but I think the interesting thing about it is looking at familiar characters in the style of someone else. I've considered mentioning this to the organisers of the events Artist A can often be found selling at, but I don't know if I'm really upset because this is going on, or if I'm upset because said artist is making more money off doing this than I am from making originals (and has ten times as many likes on bleeding facebook).

  8. #8
    101 Dalmations Member
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    well it seemed like theft but the pic indescribable mentioned seemed to me like a fan art ....i do that kind of stuff all the time to learn

  9. #9
    One Thousand Member JJJorgie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arsland View Post
    well it seemed like theft but the pic indescribable mentioned seemed to me like a fan art ....i do that kind of stuff all the time to learn
    ^Yeah, but even if it's a fanart, there should be credit to the original artist

    I think the idea was most likely stolen, but the art definitely wasn't. The poses are just too different to count as art theft.
    Quote Originally Posted by Demonfyre View Post
    She has spoken and so we must obey!

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