60-Seconds #330 : Is it a copy? Is it not a copy? Copy-anti-copy? Plagiarism? Stock?

by Fred Showker

Fred Showker's 60-Second Window During our work on this year's Designing Women series we returned to catch up with Marian Bantjes, one of our 'featured' Designing Women back in 2006. She just keeps getting better and better -- and we enjoyed reading her blog. Which brings today's topic, one of her posts "Copy-Anti-Copy".

In her blog, Marian wrote about a Facebook page called Copy Anti-Copy. Marian writes :

Quoting  begins . . . is one of my current internet favourites. I have no idea who runs it except that English is not their first language and they have an abundance of work from the middle east. Whoever they are, what they do is post images of design work (with designer and date), next to a more recent example by a different designer that may or may not be a copy of the original. Quoting  ends

This is a very thought provoking Facebook page which has some really striking rip-offs and comparisons. I'm not going to go into an analysis since Marian has done such a superb job. If you look around, the signs are everywhere. You can't tell what's authentic and what's not -- or what's stock and what's not! What's worse is today's politically charged Facebook where I'll bet 99.9999% of those stupid political memes utilize ripped-off photos. In fact, there are people getting rich off photo rips like these Canadians with "Funny Memes dot net." Those idiots don't have rights to those photos! They don't even own the memes, but they're making bucks off them! Who cares? Nobody.

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If you follow Jeff Fisher's LogoMotives on Facebook, you know he's a one man tour de force* against plagiarism -- or rip-off. His logos have been rippd off far and wide, primarily because he's published them in a "Identity Crisis: 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities into Successful Brands", along with his logo designs being published in more than 75 other books on the design of logos -- then sold to millions of beginners, students and wannabees all over the world. Jeff tracks them down, writes letters and gets revenge. He uses all kinds of modern technology, most particularly Google's Reverse Image Search where you simply use your own picture as your search to find related images from around the web. Very effective!

Although, plagiarism is not a crime per se, many in academia and industry consider it a serious ethical offense, and many cases of plagiarism actually constitute copyright infringement which is litigative. So, be careful who you rip off. If they've got deep enough pockets, or a vengence for thieft like Jeff, you may be in for a rough ride. Which takes me back to Marian Bantjes' advice if you run across some of your work ripped-off :

Quoting  begins If the offending copy is turning up on the internet, you can submit copyright infringement complaints with Pinterest, (and there may be similar complaints areas on other sites). Google will also remove links from their search engine findings if you submit a report to them, with URLs of the individual images. And if it’s widely distributed advertising work for a large company? You should sue their asses. Quoting  ends

On second thought, if you have any idea how much it costs to litigate these days, I feel compelled to remind you of the hard and fast rule we established back in the late 1980s while building forums for the start-up America Online. In the original desktop publishing forum I must have warned people a thousand times : "If you don't want it stolen, and used, then don't put it online!" .... a rule poeple still haven't gotten through their skulls.

At least, now you know! Thanks for reading

Fred Showker

      Editor/Publisher : DTG Magazine
      +FredShowker on Google+ or most social medias @Showker
      Published online since 1988

Follow the leads . . .

GO Marian Bantjes' Blog - Thoughts about image-making and design
GO Copy.Anti-Copy Facebook page
GO Rip-offs & unauthorized usage of Jeff Fisher LogoMotives designs
GO Jeff Fisher's actual LogoMotives Facebook page
GO Bob Bartlett's LogoMotives Facebook page
GO Google's Reverse Image Lookup: find who is ripping you off
GO Plagiarism, according to Wikipedia
GO Political Plagiarism - does Facebook think plagiarism is okay?

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The original copy of this post is located at http://www.graphic-design.com/60-seconds/330_copy-not-copy.html

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