Copy cats 08/01/2009
As I went through my facebook home page, I came across a message from Zack Arias :  How "creative photographers" teach other photographers - Lesson 01: Rip

When I accessed the website in the message, I found the details regarding a photography workshop planned in Cape Town by Bryan Traylor and Ian Mitchinson.  The first thing that came to notice is that the logo is a replica of Zack’s Onelight logo. The only difference was that the colors of the logo were inverted in the image.  The comments started pouring in Zack’s facebook profile from all his fans stating their shock and outrage at the blatant misuse of his logo. (including mine). The comments also flowed into the imitator’s website and within a few hours the logo was taken off from the website.

After all that head rush and anger, calmness and objectivity set in. What the pretender did was wrong and his guilt was apparent from the speed at which he removed the logo from the website. But the thought that bothers me is the question whether we are any different from him? On one side, we flame at people stealing other’s creativity and hardwork. Visit any online photography community and you would find discussions about how unscrupulous people steal images, display and sell them as their own.  One thing that artists hate is pretenders. But most of us wouldn’t think twice before buying a fake Nike shoe from Bangkok or downloading the latest version of Lightroom through torrents.  Stealing a creative idea might not be the same as encouraging piracy and imitations, but the underlying moral implications are the same.   It is only when we are victimized that we tend to see the issue from Microsoft’s, Hollywood’s and Gucci’s eyes. We are willing to bend our principles and break some, if the risk is appropriate and society doesn’t frown upon it. A person convicted for downloading a music album would most likely garner public sympathy than anger.   Are we hypocrites? Do we have a moral right to be enraged when someone sells your ideas as their own while we support similarly inclined people and organizations?  




Sat, 01 Aug 2009 03:24:15

I don't believe the moral implications of stealing someone else's creative idea and then taking credit for it, is the same as piracy. It is akin to comparing stealing a painting from The Louvre and creating an imitation of Michelangelo and selling it as original work.



Sat, 01 Aug 2009 04:02:50

the scenarios that you have mentioned are disimilar in nature, but have similar moral implication. Legal implications might be different, but the dishonesty of the act prevails across both scenarios.. The theft of the painting would be a greater crime. But both are still dishonest activities and the morality of right and wrong prevails.

I should have made it more simple I guess. :) Piracy and stealing an idea might not be the same, but are related. One act would relate to stealing the credits where as the other would be to profit from the credits... The word I should have used in the blog was "similar" instead of "same".


Sun, 18 Oct 2009 06:30:12

creativity is not for some and unfortunately as an alternative seek to replicate the hard work of others. I think trying to replicate and idea from favorite is flattering, however, each artist needs to make it their own. Zack is amazing and his fabulous-ness belongs to none other than himself.


Tue, 23 Feb 2010 10:30:24

Hey Sunith,

Lovely website and pictures you've got.

Read your blog too and I am impressed.

In reply to this post:-

Do you lock your house, car, computer when you are away?

Security is required for all we do. So does our creative work need security? No doubt it does!

Copyrighting your work, Protecting Intellectual and Creative Property, Getting a Patent are a few famous ways we all know about. Companies and people spend loads of money and human resource to make sure what most precious is protected!

However I believe, if you really want to get the credit of, get paid for and have full control over you creative assets, its up to you (the creator or the owner), to keep his work safe! Give access to resources depending on certain criterion that are set by you.

Think about it.



~The most important essential things in this world are free. For everything else there is Money! :)



Tue, 23 Feb 2010 23:07:11

It isn't easy to protect your images online. Copyrighting happens the moment you create art. your images are automatically copyrighted to you. You don't have to register every single image that you have shot in order to copyright it. I am not a big fan of plastering my logo all over the image. I try putting the logo at a place where it doesn't ruin the image. That leaves me open to image theft. I post only low resolution images. But people can still steal my images and put them up as their own and I wouldn't even be aware of it. I am not that famous that people in Australia or Germany might come across my images on some local guy's website and inform me about it. :)


Tue, 11 Jan 2011 21:49:22

We realize the true worth of happiness when we are in sorrow.


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