Artists, writers, musicians, designers, businesses, even the creative DIY blogger mom at home must decide for themselves where to draw the line between being “Inspired” and “Copying” other’s hard work.
I suppose it is just instinct to absorb what catches our eyes and be influenced by it. The Internet has bread a new era of copycats, most of which are not deterred by legal warnings or ethics, leaving one to wonder who has the original ideas anymore?
Big companies are not immune to this either. Companies on a tight budget or simply opportunistic are quick to jump on the creative ideas of bloggers for example, and leverage their considerable amount of resources to defend their position if discovered.
So, when then do we make a stand against plagiarism and cry foul and threaten copyright-infringement?
One to one copying or slight changes - I suppose legally that is for a copyright lawyer to decide but justifying the need to plagiarize the work of someone else who put days, weeks or longer of blood, sweat and tears to create their original piece of work for monetary purposes, IMHO is the same as forgery.
Unfortunately most online original creative people do not have the legal knowledge or experience to protect their work, nor do they have the resources to track the vast online world who may be copying them. Not to mention even if they have the legal knowledge, getting a Lawyer or copywriting your work, branding etc.. is expensive..
In the blogger world, timing is everything. If a piece of work is posted to the (public), copiers are quick to pounce and replicate, then hope the blogger population as well as anonymous visitors shower them with adoring comments, and likes, not noticing or caring who was original creator and then often capitalizing monetarily.
Exposing these copiers online carries a risk with it however. Suddenly your professional and positive persona, who all know you for, has a dent in it and trust can be negatively impacted going forward.
Having your work plagiarized over and over takes its toll on a person, drains away creativity, and robs you of energy to the point that you even consider giving up on your dreams. It is like having someone constantly standing behind you, breathing down your neck while waiting for your next idea to pop up.
As graphic design professionals, I am assuming this is something you have come across, so I ask you for your thoughts so I can ultimately find a way to bring peace my dear wife’s mind who has here photography and designs copied regularly.