Lessons Learned : Copying


I am so bored of talking about copying. I have had two occurrences brought to my attention this week, one came from a  company who really has no imagination and sponges off everyone else's talent. The second came from a company who I used to do work for and I guess didn't feel like paying anymore so has crudely photoshopped from existing paintings of mine to create their latest packaging, to fit in with the other work I did for them. I am not going into it anymore then that, I just want change. When I mentioned on my stories about how I had been copied my inbox became flooded with people not only showing their support but also telling me how they have had similar things happen to them. Apart from being so touched by how many lovely people wanted to give up their time to help me get this company who is doing something incredible unethical, I was concerned that this is just the norm for creatives to get copied. I am drawing a line in the sand now, no more copying. And stealing shouldn't be mistaken for inspiration. Theft is a criminal offence when someone robs your house, the thief doesn't get let off because they were really inspired by what you have in your house. And when someone steals your work for their own profitable gain, it does feel like someone has robbed you.

Going forward I would like it when companies work with an illustrator, designer or artist. The work comes out with their name on the product, and when listed on the website the name is listed in the description also.  Not just a blog post that slowly gets lost over time. With this I hope it will be a peaceful solution to an epidemic of copying. What I hope it will achieve is bring awareness to the people who create this beautiful image for you. When their isn't a name on the product you can assume the image has been copied.  You can then decide for yourself if you would like to purchase the item knowing that this company is stealing from someone. 

This will also help to bring awareness to the artist. It only happens at the moment credit is only shown to large scale companies, see Ikea x Hay etc I want it to be for the no-names I would love it if each design, at the bottom it has the name of who designed it, it becomes as important as the sell by date. It doesn't have to be a big song and dance, which costs the company huge amounts to make a campaign each time they work with someone as it will put them off. It is a subtle act like telling someone whether the food they eat is organic. I already achieved this with The White Company, on the bottom of all the packaging I provided artwork for they listed on the base that I was the artist. So it can be done.

I realise there will be problems. Being sceptical now I can see companies making up names, or employing artists to mimic other artists, putting your name so small people can't see it (thats happened to me already). Who knows but this I feel will be a step in the right direction for change.

Let me know what you think, will you take part?

Share this idea with your fellow creatives see what they think. 

Picture : Photo of my studio by Remco Merbis.