Monday, December 12, 2011

Awfully Familiar....

Before you read this...please be aware that the image above is NOT the image in question! It is a sample of the type of work I do as a volunteer.

Time to expand on the issue of copying one’s work per my FB posting. Last week I opened a holiday flyer from a place affiliated with a volunteer organization for which I do quite a bit of free design work. Oh, I should warn you all that this will probably be the most vague posting ever because who knows what the eventual outcome will be so no sense giving the legal eagles any free food. 

Inside was a product that in my eyes, and based on a side by side scale comparison, is my work redone in different colors and with one side changed. Why the change? I suspect it is because the source, from which my work was most likely taken, did not show that particular area of the design so the person had to invent a solution.  I also truly believe that the use of my template shall we say, was purely innocent.  I am in no way interested in pursuing legal recourse for the violation of intellectual property rights or copyright infringement; I just want to know how my design got into a nationally distributed flyer.

Yes, I sent out quite a few emails to various sources but so far no luck. The original venue essentially “blew me off” as the saying goes, hoping I would probably go hide under a rock and let this go. Everyone who sees the side by side comparison agrees with me. There are certain tell tale markings on my work that unless copied, would not be present if someone had come up with the same concept on their own. Somewhere, someone, affiliated with the venue got the job to design the item needed, remembered seeing one and used that one (mine) as the template.  If the venue had asked me, I would have agreed to allow the use of my work with a right to approve color changes and design changes, to keep from happening what happened. The reincarnation is a cheap looking copy with poor color choices and a bad layout of text. I maintain however, that nothing was done maliciously. I just don’t like seeing my work made to look ugly. Only a handful of people out there would have any knowledge at all that I did the original design, but I know.

My point being, the art work is a very small place even though the number of us is quite vast. We know our work. Art teachers will probably agree that we can identify a student’s work time after time long before we remember their name. So unless clip art is the source for ideas, clip art being free for use by the creators, then to search the net for images or to flip through a book and find something, is basically “stealing”.  As artists, our products offered to the world of commerce are our creations which develop from deep within us. 

I don’t know whether to be flattered or flabbergasted to find my design as the source for a national offering that is making the venue some money. Good for them, I support the venue and wish them well and many happy sales. What I want to know is how it got there. Who liked it enough to want to copy it? An apology would be great but I don’t think it will ever happen. A few freebies of the item would be nice, but that is unlikely as well. Let us leave it at this….as the song goes… “Anything you can do, I can do better, I can do anything better than you….”  so when the time comes to design the 2012 version, how about giving me the job?

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