Just Because Two Things Are Similar Doesn't Mean One 'Rips Off' The Other

from the that's-crazy dept

I was recently alerted to the fact that comic artist Kate Beaton got quite upset at a guy named Chris Bouldin, claiming that he had somehow "ripped her off" with a graphic he had created for a t-shirt.
So, let's take a look at the "ripoff." Here's Kate's drawing:
And here's Chris's supposed ripoff:
Huh? Am I missing something here? They may be similar ideas, but otherwise they're pretty different all around. As we recently pointed out, different people come up with the same jokes all the time, and it's not a "ripoff" at all. Even if Chris had seen Kate's original, his work is quite different, and hardly a ripoff in any way shape or form.

Repeat it with me: You cannot own an idea.

And yet, so many people like to think they can, even when it's a totally simplistic idea that lots of other people also likely had. And, apparently blogs are springing up to "call out" people who "ripoff" others. First, in the comments to Kate's complaint, someone suggests submitting the story to You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, which is a blog that tries to call out and shame cases where they believe there's been "a blatant rip off of a creative work." And, just as I was going through that blog and shaking my head at the sheer disingenuousness of it, Parker sent over a very similar (if much more obnoxiously named) blog, Copy©unts. That one mainly focuses on ad agencies doing things similar to what others have done.

Now, to be clear, I've always pointed out in the past that sometimes shaming someone for blatant copying can be much more effective than reaching for the old "copyright" claim. You only have one reputation (it's a scarce good!), and if it goes bad, there are consequences. That's why social pressure can be much more effective than a legal attack to deal with questionable behavior.

But, here's the thing, these sites and efforts really seem to stretch the definition of what's "questionable." As seen in the very example up top, just because two people have a similar idea, that doesn't mean that one is a "ripoff" or that the person should be shamed. Lots of people have similar ideas, and even if one person is inspired by another, taking a stab at doing something different and unique around the same theme shouldn't be seen as a ripoff at all.

Certainly, some of the items that appear on both blogs do appear to be clear attempts to appropriate someone else's work in questionable ways and I can see how naming and shaming them might make some sense. But a lot of them really just appear to be similar ideas, or even very different attempts to build on a good idea. Take, for example, this post, which compares a bit of artwork of a little boy crying, with an advertisement that includes a boy crying:


Again, I'm at a loss here. Yes, they're both boys, and there's a blue background in both images... but that's about it. Suggesting that one is a "copy" of the other seems ridiculous.

And that's where these things start to become so troubling for me. They seem to become less about calling out misappropriation situations, and much more about pretending that an idea can be owned. Unfortunately, efforts like these merely perpetuate the myth that you can own an idea (even if others come up with the same thing independently). And that's really troubling.

Hell, if we're going to go down that route, can't we just say that one of these two blogs "ripped" off the other? After all, they seem to have the same basic idea, and the posts actually have a very familiar feel to them. So, damn it, what a ripoff! Everyone complain to one of these sites about how the other one "ripped them off!" It'll be so meta.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    John Doe, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    I own the idea that ideas can be owned

    I hereby declare that I own the idea that ideas can be owned. Therefore, anyone who thinks ideas can be owned owes me a royalty. No, scratch that, it is mine so I am not sharing because I don't want anyone else thinking ideas can be owned.

    Seriously though, I had an idea for a product one time. It was something I have never seen on the market but needed myself. It is something a lot of people could use. So I did a little digging and sure enough, I found a patent application on a product very similar to what I wanted. But guess what, nobody is making it as far as I can tell. I haven't seen one on the market in the several years since I found the patent application.

    So there I am, with an independent invention but someone beat me to filing the patent and now nobody has the product because I can't market it and that patent holder apparently isn't marketing it either.

     

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    Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Seems like You Thought We Wouldn't Notice has been hacked or something. It now advertises Canadian Viagra

     

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    Rachel @ Last Res0rt, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Well...

    YTWWN Gets it right about half the time, and the other half of the time, they get called out on it in the comments.

    This would be one of those times (as there's no direct "trace" involved).

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    Um...

    Is Kate the person who draws cyanide and happiness? The art looks quite smiler.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    The problem here is that I can see where the "new" work is just a variation on the original. It has the same layout (big word to the top, character with speech balloon in the middle, crazy tag at the bottom), and the things are in the same order. They also have the same sort of type face, design, etc. It is very easy to see the duplications.

    I would even go so far as to say that the person who made the new design very likely saw the old design and just decided to play with it. The new deal is just way too remarkably similar to the original to be much of anything except exactly based on it.

    The kid crying images are very different, they don't have very much in common except "kid crying" and perhaps a particular filter used in photoshop - and that filtering is to pay homage to a very old style look back to maybe the 30s advertising images. They aren't really the same at all.

    The cartoon / t-shirt design has significant similarities on all levels (layout, overall design, font, ordering of items, phrasing, etc). The photos do not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    I actually think the commenters on You Thought We Wouldn't Notice are pretty good at distinguishing "rips" from just somewhat similar ideas.

    As for the crying kids photos, I there are a lot more similarities than just sad boys on a blue background, but still not really anything actionable in my book.

     

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    Joshua Bardwell (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    Again, I'm at a loss here. Yes, they're both boys, and there's a blue background in both images... but that's about it. Suggesting that one is a "copy" of the other seems ridiculous.

    I basically agree with you, but there's more similarity to the two "boy crying" images than you mention. The lighting is very similar, as is the use of HDR. Well, I'm pretty sure the first image uses HDR. The second one, I'm not 100%, but if HDR wasn't used, it's lit in a way that produces a similar result--as if somebody wanted to create an HDR effect but didn't know how to do HDR. As for the lighting, notice that the background isn't just flat blue, but there's a highlight creating a halo gradient behind the boy.

    I'm not trying to make the argument that the second image owes anything to the first image. Even if the second image is explicitly copying the first one, nothing should be owed. I'm just saying that the similarities between the images are more than just "a boy crying." What makes the first image distinctive, to me, is the lighting and the use of HDR, which is still a new enough photographic technique that it stands out.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:51am

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    The problem here is that I can see where the "new" work is just a variation on the original.

    That is not a problem. There is no law against being inspired by someone else's work. The two works are different enough that a lawsuit would not make it passed filing.

    As Mike said, you can't own an idea, only the expression of the idea.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re:

    "The two works are different enough that a lawsuit would not make it passed filing."

    Not sure about that. Original selection/coordination/arrangement of elements that are themselves unprotectable is considered protectable expression.

    I could definitely see this case getting past a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment (not that it would be worthwhile to spend that kind of money/effort on it).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    You think that first image is HDR? It would be hard to get three (or more) images in quick succession where the facial expression doesn't change, don't you think?

     

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    MrWilson, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    I think we should tear down the Mayan pyramids because they clearly ripped off the Egyptian pyramids. There's no way that two different groups of people could come up with the same architectural concept/recognize the architectural necessity of stacking stones with a broader base than the top of the structure.

    /sarcasm

     

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  13.  
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    Kate Beaton, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    [An impersonation.]

    I'm sorry. I thought I owned and had full international copyright secured on the word "crazy".

    Perhaps I meant it as a Trademark, instead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Abolish Copyright

    Abolish copyright. It's the only way.

     

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    Nick Dynice (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Re: Abolish Copyright

    hi Crosbie.

     

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    V, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Review Time

    Let's review the dissimiliarities...

    Background - one is green, one is navy

    Font color - one is yellow, one is white

    Color scheme - one uses two colors (green/yellow), one uses 3 (red/navy/white)

    Font style - while similiar, notice that one is a combination of upper and lower case, while the other is all uppercase

    Subject Matter - Reading vs Earthquakes

    Cartoon Subject - stick person vs cracked cartoon figure

    Offensiveness - one uses an offense word, one doesn't

    Overall, I would have to say that the only similiarity is... they both have the word crazy in them and have a cartoon drawing.

    Personally... I find earthquakes much "crazier" than reading... tho some stuff I've read is pretty crazy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re:

    It's heavily digitally manipulated. It's Jill Greenberg. It's what she does.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would agree with you. Moreover, I think that Mike really does agree:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110620/04343514759/disney-when-we-copy-its-inspiration- when-you-copy-its-infringement.shtml

    If this is enough to try to hang Disney, this near cloning of a t-shirt design is pretty obvious, no?

    I could see this making it well past filing, and likely not even getting an early dismissal. There is clearly more than enough here to show that the design, layout, and overall tone of the original was lifted.

     

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    Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Um...

    Nah, she draws "hark a vagrant" it seems...

     

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  20.  
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    Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    "As Mike said, you can't own an idea, only the expression of the idea."

    It seems more and more that people are trying to own the ideas, less so that expression.

    There was just the recent post about Paramount C&Ding a 3D printer pirate.

    Sony believes they own all rights to the PS3.

    And every company out there right now in the music industry believes they own all rights to making money in the digital era.

    It's quite stunning that such diversity in art forms can't be explored because everyone believes only their ideas (expression or otherwise) is of paramount importance to their own well being.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That was the first article I thought of when reading this article.

    However, several people pointed out in the Disney thread that the "point" wasn't really that Disney copied, but that they would supposedly get all litigious if the roles were reversed (although, of course, the allegation of copying was one of the points in the article).

    Notably, I don't think Mike was one of those people, and claimed the notion that the cars weren't so similar as to indicate copying had been "debunked."

    Any way, calling Masnick out on his biases and double standards doesn't get him to engage in any self reflection and most of the commenters just rush to his defense, so whatevs.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    Regarding the shirts, if she considers that a ripoff then she herself has ripped off pretty much every 5yo who ever picked up a crayon.

    The level of stupidity + self-entitlement being demonstrated here is nothing short of mind blowing.

     

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  23.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > Sony believes they own all rights to the PS3.

    Sony believes they own all PS3 units sold.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Don't the ideas flying over your head all the time worry you?

     

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    Joe Publius (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Um...

    I enjoy Hark, a Vagrant.

    She should focus more on that than some guy who happens to be using a gimmick that anybody could have conceived of, and probably did, well before her. Not to mention the gimmick's format that's also equally broad.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    ROFL that is epic

    post it as a response to the comment section on that site, it needs to be seen

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Where can I buy one? I want to support Chris!

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    WTF??? copying the complaint that someone is ripping them off?!?!?! WHAT A RIP-OFF!!!

     

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  29.  
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    Ta-kun, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:13pm

    just took a look at "You Thought We Wouldn't Notice" and while some of it targets people blatantly taking others works and passing them as their own most of it is just people with excessive butthurt.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:26pm

    I drew stuff like this when I was 5.

    I'm suing her for ripping me off!

     

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  31.  
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    Hothmonster, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Mike I recently did a blog about ripping the sleeves off of shirts. This post is pretty much a copy I would like you to take it down.

     

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  32.  
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    Spaceboy (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:45pm

    What a hypocrite.

    She has drawings of Alpha Flight and Aquaman on her Twitpic feed...

    http://twitter.com/#!/beatonna/status/84340371341066241


    She is selling a shirt with Sherlock Holmes on it in her store...

    http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=BEAT -HOLMES&Category_Code=BEAT

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can't tell which of you is dumber the original poster or the Anon Coward responding.

    1. You can't own an idea.
    2. Mike didn't write the post you linked to.
    3. The post explicitly states that using the car as inspiration isn't a problem.
    4. "calling Masnick out on his biases and double standards doesn't get him to engage in any self reflection and most of the commenters just rush to his defense, so whatevs" Fuck you, go away. I'm GLAD people defend this site from idiots like you. Neither of you idiots got even 1 fucking fact straight before getting your panties in a bunch. Go somewhere else and bitch about how no one follows your convoluted logic.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1. Nothing I wrote implies that you can. However, patents can give you exclusive rights in "ideas" (depending on your terminology).
    2. No kidding. But he did comment on it, which is what I said.
    3. But it does accuse Disney of copying based on similarities of common features, regardless of whether it says it's a problem or not.
    4. You might want to get your own facts straight before writing comments like that.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Alas, better to have a head out in the air than one shoved up your own ass. Don't fart, you will hurt yourself.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You must have missed the "fuck you, go away." Do I need to repeat it?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    An idea can still fly over your head even when it's up your ass.

    You seem to be suffering from both problems.

    Also, you seem to be retarded. You'll want to see a doctor to find out for sure.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't generally follow orders from people who display your combination of arrogance and wrongheadedness.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do any of you three ACs think these insults make you look intelligent or witty?

    They don't.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Excellent comeback.

    I am still doing you the honour of assuming you are ignorant and stupid, as opposed to the other possible theory that you choose to constantly deliberately misrepresent articles and opinions here for some reason known only to yourself.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's like looking in a mirror!

     

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  42.  
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    Any Mouse (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re:

    Well, let's break this down:

    1st picture:
    - Blonde hair
    - Green eyes
    - Ears stick out
    - Mouth open
    - No shirt

    2nd picture:
    - Brown hair
    - Blue eyes
    - Ears back
    - Mouth closed
    - Shirt

    So, the similarities? They're both sad boys on a blue backdrop. Even the flare points aren't the same. What other similarities are you seeing?

     

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    The eejit (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Re:

    Never underestimate the things we whore ourselves out for.

     

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  44.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    Re: The problem here is that I can see where the "new" work is just a variation on the original.

    You can’t copyright an idea, only the expression of an idea.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Pointing out dissimilarities is irrelevant to the existence of similarities (unless you think there is a finite list of "things" that can be pointed out about the photos and you've actually addressed all or nearly all of them).

    Also, I'd say the kids' hair color and eye color is similar (not identical, but not "blonde v. brown" or "blue v. green" either).

    Additionally, both subjects are young boys; both backdrops are of a similar shade; both backdrops are lighter behind the subject and darker nearer the edges; both subjects have similar lighting/highlights at their temples/sides, both subject have sad expressions, the filter used looks to be the same (though I'm not a Photoshop expert).

    Anyway, not too big a deal, but anyone saying the only similarity is a sad kid on a blue backdrop is either not very perceptive or not being completely forthright.

     

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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think that while the article does call it copying, it makes a strong distinction: Disney did nothing illegal in the act.

    On your third point, from reading the comments and the article, I gleaned that the author's point is that the similarities between the cars are of design elements that can have wildly different interpretations; for example, the disconnected front wheel arches. This is a very unique design direction.

    On a side note, while the wheel arches are rather puzzling, I'm still not sold on the cartoon car having been inspired by the real car.

    In the above cases, anyone who's ever spent time on websites dedicated to internet memes knows that phrases like "It's Crazy," are literally everywhere. Moreover, rough doodles are also everywhere. It's simply a style. A VERY popular one. There is a distinct possibility that the two artists have never even seen each other's work.

    I am also a photographer, and my sister just graduated from photography school. We know our stuff. The two pictures are done in similar styles, but that means nothing. Barring Photoshop editing, there are only so many styles in which one can photograph. At a recent gallery show, there were many photographs that were lit and post-processed in a similar way.

    Just to prove this, I went to Dreamstime and iStockphoto and looked up stock photographs of "Boy crying."

    I found DOZENS of photos by dozens of photographers selling boys on blue backgrounds, in similar poses, a few even had the same high-contrast effect applied. But, again, coming from a photography background, that effect can be applied to any photograph in a few minutes with Photoshop. It simply makes the photo "punch" a little more.

     

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    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's NOT enough to hang Disney. The article wasn't making that argument. It was highly derisive of Disney specifically because Disney has been so litigious in the past.

    Moreover, I don't see this as a "near cloning" whatsoever. The styles are similar and the wording is similar, but that means nothing.

    Go to any of the I Can Haz Cheezburger websites. Phrases such as "It's crazy" explode into memespace very quickly and organically. These two artists may have never come in contact at all.

    Finally, the "rough doodle" look has been popular and around for a LONG time. I remember posters with similar art on them back in elementary school, which would have been the early 1990's.

    Are the two works similar, yes, but they may not be connected at all. Instead, the inspiration for both works sprang from the same external systems of society and the internet. Whether it's a copy, inspiration, or anything doesn't matter. If it's possible and even likely that multiple people would have had similar ideas, then we can't make accusations.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not sure if you're attributing the right quotes the right people. I distinctly remember the author of the Disney article (Dark Helmet) saying he did believe that Disney copied from the real car (both implicitly in the article title and explicitly in comments). Moreover, I'm not sure if his point had anything to do with legality or illegalty, but whether is was good or bad. In other words, I think he said there's nothing wrong in his mind with that sort of "inspiration" (which is not the same as whether it's legal or illegal).

    Also, legal or illegal is not really the topic of my comment here. I think it's a poor case for copyright infringement (although I don't think it would get dismissed initially).

    I do think that this article and the Disney article demonstrate different standards being applied to the same issue: when does similarity indicate copying?

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The article/author did indicate that the similarity in the Disney case indicated copying, though (even if he doesn't think that's necessarily bad).

    I agree with your conclusion that these two works might not be connected at all (or they might be). But people (including the author, Masnick, and other commenters) seemed very, very reluctant to accept that possibility in the Disney case.

     

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    freak (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    It goes a bit farther than the article indicates, (Before I go on, I think that the copier in this case is doing so perfectly legally).

    For one, that guy's site has been constantly attacked for constantly copying other people's ideas.

    For another, it wasn't Kate Beaton looking around and finding that shirt, it was quite a few people emailing her to inform her her shirt had been copied.

    For another, when she inquired, (and this is the part she's angry about), the site owner replied back with basically: "Fuck off, I'm tired of being accused of copying, I changed the background colour and subject" (Which implies he was familiar with her shirt, and that this type of complaint has occurred multiple times)


    Let me sum up:
    He DID rip off her art, he does so to other peoples art and ideas all the time, he's very rude about it, and I think he is correct that he is not infringing on anyone's copyright.

     

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  51.  
    icon
    freak (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Re:

    On the argument that it is infringement, it DOES hurt the target market of the original shirt a lot of the time when he rips off the shirts. The effect has been statistically shown before by some webcomic artist somewhere before, and I'd link to that if I remembered exactly who.

    OTOH, that's what, one of four possibilities for fair use IF we do think it IS infringement? (Which again, I don't)

     

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  52.  
    icon
    freak (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 5:42pm

    Re:

    Also, I fail basic reading. The article does contain Kate's screenshot of the email I paraphrased.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    DCL, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So they are the same?... except for how they differ.

     

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  54.  
    icon
    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I went back and re-read the article to make sure I got everything right.

    Dark Helmet, Tim, did say that he suspected copying. I used the term "illegal" since he was talking about law suits and Disney suing itself, and of generally legal things.

    He then said "the issue is not that Disney used a real life car as inspiration," indicating that he specifically thinks that there is nothing legally amiss with what Disney did.

    I also do not think that different standards are being used. Essentially, he's using the metric of "is the aspect of the work being analyzed of a unique enough character that the likelihood of it having arisen from external elements very low?" If yes, then inspiration or copying has likely occurred.

    This post is arguing that the above mentioned examples do not pass this test. And even if they did, the previous article is arguing "so what?" I think that the logic between them, while being belligerent and derisive, is consistent.

     

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  55.  
    icon
    Aaron Martin-Colby (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh certainly, Tim was definitely, unequivocally saying that he suspected copying.

    And they make their case in the comments that they suspect this because the details between the two cars are highly coincidental for such specific elements as disconnected front wheel arches, which is certainly a very unique design touch.

    I also think that Tim and Mike were annoyed in the Disney article because a number of commenters latched onto the copying element and whether there was any veracity to that argument while missing the point with which they were actually trying to attack Disney.

     

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  56.  
    icon
    UriGagarin (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 10:40pm

    Hp ad

    Hmm well the style of the picture isn't particularly unique - more 30's drawing done with a photo .
    Plenty of others have done the same. besides a picture of a sad boy doesn't mean anything without the tagline.

    Personally I don't really see the copying, similar idea yes, copied no - its not that original and HP has a history and a brand that harking back to the 30's style is not out of character - besides framing is wrong and the background colour is pretty much the same as the label's background colour - and its been that for at least 20 years .

     

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  57.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 29th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re:

    Is there some other kind of butthurt? ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Prisoner 201, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 2:56am

    Re:

    "The problem here is that I can see where the "new" work is just a variation on the original. It has the same layout (big word to the top, character with speech balloon in the middle, crazy tag at the bottom), and the things are in the same order. They also have the same sort of type face, design, etc. It is very easy to see the duplications."

    Bettr not to be make T-shirt of teh lolcat.

    It can haz much sue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re: I own the idea that ideas can be owned

    But I own the idea of language, all of you who are using it to share information should cease immediately, or pay me *pinky to corner of mouth* 1 million dollars, or I'll send my shark-lawyers with frickin' lasers to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Re: Well...

    And Copy©unts only exists to shout profanity alongside ads, while it's trying to make an excuse for its existence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    How many people were inspired by Van Gogh?

    Or to use a more recent example, by Bob Ross?

    Being inspired by someone is something COMPLETELY different from making a copy.
    A copy should resemble the original a lot more than the examples shown here.
    The figure on the t-shirt is different than the one in the cartoon, the text is similar but not the same. So, it's not a copy, one might be inspired by the other, but there is no clear proof of that, nor is that illegal. People are inspired by others all the time, hence the saying "standing on the shoulders of giants."

    For instance, Edison wasn't the first to think of lightbulbs. He was just quicker in filing for a patent. And Edison was a bully and a blowhard. He stifled a lot of progress with his patents.

    And if scientists couldn't built upon other people's ideas, gravity would still be a mystery to us, other than that apples can fall on people's heads.

     

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  62.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    psst, it's "plagiarist" ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 10:50am

    ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 10:55am

    Patents

    I'm sorry: did you just say that patents can give you exclusive rights in ideas? I'm going to ask for a citation for that, because it's exactly wrong, and I'd love to hear why you think you can defend what you said aside from your bogus "depending on your terminology" throwaway. Yes, "depending on your terminology" one could argue that copyright, trademark and patent law ALL protect exclusive rights in ideas--all you have to do is define "ideas" to mean "expressions of ideas" and you'd be right. Otherwise, utter fail. Again: citations please--after that, I can continue to school you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, dude--are you the one who said that patents protect ideas? I'm still waiting for your citations that will make you look intelligent or witty for making that inane misstatement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    Jill Greenberg

    She also gives the kids candy and then takes it away from them to make them cry for a second while she snaps their pictures. I totally have a patent on that method of making kids cry, and am going to sue her.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Want some nice rope for Disney?

    They sent a cease & desist to the owners of the source truck for "Tow Mater," demanding that the owners not name the truck "Tow Mater."

    Keeping it classy, Disney.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 11:16am

    Re: Want some nice rope for Disney?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    iBelieve, Jun 30th, 2011 @ 5:36pm

    Lawsuits. People are Sue crazy. They're just crazy about Sue. Rather than focusing on promoting their origional ideas and making others appreciative for their products, some would rather focus on Sue. Its crazy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jun 30th, 2011 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Want some nice rope for Disney?

    Off topic, but his name is "Mater. Like tuh-mater, but without the 'tuh'".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    Nick Dynice (profile), Jul 4th, 2011 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    fixed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2013 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re:

    No, it wouldn't. Tripod, the right film and light and a good shutter speed... Could get probably fifteen shots in the time it would take for the kid's eye to blink.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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