3

Edit: They finally responded and the cartoonist and his work submitted has been disqualified from that competition.

I recently found out that a cartoon which was drawn just like one of my own posters has won a bronze in a contest in China. The cartoonist is from my country.

enter image description here

The left poster was designed by me 2-3 years ago (2016-2017). The right cartoon won a bronze this year (2019). I uploaded my work on 3 social networks (Coroflot, Behance and Instagram) and pinned one of them into Pinterest as soon as I learned that doing so is useful (which was 2 years ago). Anyone can find my poster by searching Water Poster on Google and Pinterest. Isn't it something that we all should do?

Can we call the right cartoon a copy of my poster? Why? What's the right thing to do in these kind of situations?

Some says using different colors and designs, make the cartoon different. That doesn't sound like a logical reason to conclude it's not a copy. Everyone has his/her own style, even if he/she is using somebody else's idea. If that's the case, can we just get exact ideas from somebody else and change its colors and some lines based on our styles, and call them ours?

I've already read answers on this question. But designs on that page are too broad.

P.S. I'm not saying that the designer copied my work. I'm not sure what's right.

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    Hi mrmowji, I asked a similar question a while ago What's the limit that defines a copy of a design?. Although it has been closed, it has a couple of answers that can help you. For me it's still a correct question to ask. – Danielillo Jun 28 at 11:28
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    @Danielillo Based on your example of fingerprints, I added the times these designs are done. There is no record of that cartoon that's indexed before 2019 and I could find. – mrmowji Jun 28 at 13:00
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    I voted to close this. I'm uncertain what answers you anticipate beyond "Yes" or "No" opinions. I do not see how any resolution to anything could be accomplished via any answer. If you feel the artwork is infringing upon your intellectual property, contact an attorney. – Scott Jun 28 at 13:50
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    It is really hard to get this plagiation case done. First the drop shape is common in hangmans nooses. Second your image does not really invoke water. So the only real commonality is that you have 3 loops. – joojaa Jun 28 at 21:20
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    @Danielillo I did actually. No answer though. – mrmowji Jun 29 at 4:39
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My advice would be to let it be. The only thing the "copy" has in common with your work is the idea of a noose with a drop of water. The style is different and the context probably also.

It's not hard to imagine that someone could come up with this concept without knowing about your artwork.

Actually it seems that someone already created a poster with a noose and a drop of water back in 2008. Have a look at this.

So your design isn't the original, but still I guess you feel that it's your original idea? It is! Doesn't matter that someone else also came up with it.

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    wow, we should bring Cameron Nelson to participate here :-) – Danielillo Jun 28 at 23:01
  • This is a great find. Thanx for the research. – Stan Jun 28 at 23:54
  • Wow, thanks for your effort. Well done. May I ask how did you find it? – mrmowji Jun 29 at 5:19
  • Although I'm not sure the date on the link is correct (I'm not saying that's fake), and couldn't find other references to that poster, but I decided to accept your answer. It seems that letting it go is the best thing to do. I can't find what's really happened. No time and money to follow the case. – mrmowji Jun 29 at 5:47
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    I did an image search on DuckDuckGo for "noose water". Found it near the bottom. – Wolff Jun 29 at 8:01
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My lawyer told me that, in simple terms, a design infringes another if an uninformed person could mistake one for the other.

At the very least, one could be described as an alternate or alternative design to the other.

To me, the dead give-away is the conceptually identical filling-of-the-gap created in the empty loop created in the line shape. That's not a change from one shape or colour. That's a unique concept to my way of thinking.

I'd venture to say that another instance of a similar concept duplication is not available.

I'd vote for revocation of the award given to the latter "realistic rope" version.

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    See :) I'd kind of disagree. The concept can't be copyrighted and beyond the overall concept, next to nothing is similar - not the placement of the highlight, not the rope, certainly not the coloring or quality of execution..... In fact, the only aspects which are similar is the idea and the 3 rings on the noose..... and ideas aren't protected as intellectual property.... definitely an arguable case (for either side) in my opinion. – Scott Jun 28 at 21:25
  • Not my down vote, BTW. – Scott Jun 28 at 22:12
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    @Scott I see your point. I have an interesting dilemma, now, in that I agree with you, too. It's the "turns" and where they are that "make" the rope. The realistic brown drawn "rope" version is just redundancy to push the issue which kills the elegance of the design. Good comment though. Thanx. – Stan Jun 28 at 23:50
  • Thanks. Good to hear a lawyer's opinion. But as others have mentioned, beside that there was already another same work, we can't really conclude if the cartoonist has used my work or not, and that's a huge pressure if we keep thinking about. On the other hand, I don't believe that just using different colors or lines makes a work different. If he's a cartoonist, he draws the idea based on his own style. That says nothing about how he came up to the idea. That's not a logical reason to my mind. – mrmowji Jun 29 at 5:54
  • @mrmowji Ideals are not protected intellectual property. Anyone is free to use any idea. It is the only the implementation of that idea which can be protected. Everyone reading this is free to go out and create their own "Noose with Water highlight" image. You can't claim ownership over a concept. – Scott Jun 29 at 16:56
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There needs to be more clues to the context of both pieces to determine that. I can figure yours but not so much the other's.

Yes they look the same, but without the context, both are a hanging rope with a drop.

In all honesty, I don't believe any other human being would've got there without much help due to the simplicity and universality of both simbols.

  • As I replied to a comment, if that's a common shape and those symbols are simple and universal, so is the idea. And brings the question: Aren't we supposed to search for previous works on the same idea? How about judges? – mrmowji Jun 29 at 5:41
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    Absolutely agree. We need to stay current in our disciplines to not repeat ideas if we wanna bring some differentiating value to our work. And so for the judges. And so for ourselves. – Hector Jun 30 at 12:07

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