Lately I’m bothered by what I see as an increase in accusations of copying/stealing/plagiarizing being made against and in defense of certain artists/designers. What I find particularly disturbing is how many of these accusations turn out to be:
A. Unfounded and/or made in haste.
B. Made by people trying to extend their claim on an finished idea/design to include its inspiration(?!)
C. The person allegedly being ripped off isn’t even the originator of the “stolen” idea or design.
At this point, it feels like wolf has been cried one too many times, and I’m having a hard time caring anymore. And while I don’t want to become indifferent towards legitimate claims, I think a lot of us creative folks need to check our egos, get a grip on reality, and lighten the hell up.
Below is a flow chart I created to help determine a course of action when/if you suspect that someone has stepped on your creative toes. (DISCLAIMER: This is simply my opinion, not an offering of legal advice.)
I also compiled a list of quotes/articles/videos that collectively sum up my thoughts on this subject.
1. The Bible
2. Amy of Pikaland’s post, “Creativity, Competition & Copycats”
3. Austin Kleon’s piece (and soon to be book), “How to Steal Like an Artist”
4. Johanna Blakley’s TED talk on the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry.
5. Maya Angelou’s quote on creativity
6. Kirby Ferguson’s series of videos entitled “Everything is a Remix.”
7. “The Illusion of Originality: Plagiarism vs. Synchronicity & How to Cope with Both.” from Jessika, editor of Oh My! Handmade Goodness.
(Note: Now if you’re some douche who’s never had an original thought in your life, who trolls the internet looking for ideas and designs to blatantly copy, steal, present to your boss as your own, or send to China to have cheap knock offs made, this post is not directed at you. No, there is a special circle in hell waiting for you, a cramped room where you will spend eternity surrounded by hideous, offensive, obnoxious clones of yourself that become more unbearable with each iteration. Enjoy.)