Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Be Original - A Copycat Story
A few days ago I was browsing etsy when I came across an etsy seller offering a print that looked exactly like a poster sold by another artist. This awesome, very popular in the design world & very successful poster is familiar to me. I love it. Seeing the copied print made me gasp. I couldn't believe the nerve of this person who had tried to reproduce the original the best she could with what she had available. Sure the typeface was a bit different & it was lacking some cool texture that the original has, but as far as the design, words, placement of elements & the colors it was a blaringly obvious rip off.
I was so mad! That part of me deep down (or maybe not so deep down...maybe just right there on the surface) that gets worked up when I come across something that is obviously wrong & unfair & messed up reacted. It is hard for me to keep to myself when this gets triggered. I must tell the offender & try to set them straight.
Well, when I clicked over to this copycat's shop & started browsing through her other items for sale, I noticed that she had another stolen design. Another really successful one. One I was familiar with. I gasped again in unbelief. Then looking down a little further, my jaw dropped when I saw her copy of our "La La Love You" poster. Sure she changed some of the wording, but it was obviously copied. Obviously!
I couldn't believe how ridiculous this was getting. Three designs stolen from three different artists & that was all that I recognized. There may have been more there in her shop that were taken from others.
That was it! I was ready to fight this fight. I sent her a short convo letting her know that quite a few of her prints looked really familiar & how not cool that was.
She responded with this, "Thanks for the email. Business is Great. I love how artist can all inspire one another. Its all about the reproduction. Best wishes!"
And with that flippant response, I was ready to give this girl a little hell. I let her know that she was stealing. She responded that inspired is not stealing. Which is true. Inspired is not stealing. But this girl clearly was not inspired. Her prints were direct rip offs & I so wish that I could show you side by sides of them. But I'm just not going to do that. With inspiration I think you can sense a hint of the design that inspired, but the new artist infuses themselves into it so much that it becomes an original & not just a copy of what they saw to begin with.
Dylan put it this way...So if I copy somebody's test & change one or two of the answers then I'm not cheating anymore? No! That sounds so stupid! And that's exactly what I was hearing from this girl.
Well, it didn't take very long for me to shake her conscience & she removed the questionable prints.
What I really want to say is this....especially with 2 dimensional designs...be original! The copy is never as good as the original. The original is so successful because it is so sound in it's design. Your copy of it will never be as good. Plus you bring negativity into the handmade community where we should all be supporting each other. We should value each others creativity.
Never browse etsy looking for new ideas for your shop. Never! Definitely browse etsy to see if anybody else is selling this new design you came up with. Definitely browse etsy to see what others are charging for similar items. Never browse etsy to find what others are making & copy.
Much of the time spent on a new product takes place in the mind of the artist before they even touch their supplies & begin making the physical product. Make sure you are spending that time creating in your mind beforehand & not just stealing it from somebody else. Copycats will never be as successful as originals.