Friday, February 21, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Steal

We all know how easy it is to be an artist, right? You just find something you like, copy it as best you can (maybe change a couple of details) and there you go. Um no.  WAIT!! Stop right there. Copying even parts of an image is copyright theft.

So . . . yet ANOTHER so called artist is ripping off Saturated Canary illustrator/owner Krista Smith, whose original work you can see in her shop.  ANOTHER "wanna-be" who fancies herself an artist has tried to jump into the business of selling art without taking care of two very important prerequisites FIRST:

1. Understanding copyright law
2. Knowing how to draw her own ORIGINAL work

This time it’s a woman named Francesca Lopez. Stamp Out has been communicating with her and her husband for several days, wanting to get this taken care of quickly and civilly by explaining why it is illegal -- a federal crime in fact -- to copy another artist’s work. We have attempted to educate both Lopez's on the facts, by showing them these side by side samples which should be instant proof for anyone one with eyes that Francesca is COPYING, and by directing them to some of the important info on copyright law and "substantial similarity" you can find by simply searching.

Example:



We also encouraged them to talk to some IP lawyers THEMSELVES so they could be informed by a neutral third party, since they refuse to listen to us. Instead the absurdly irrelevant clippings they have posted on Francesca's blog about copyright indicate they don't have even the simplest understanding of how original artwork is protected by the law. (Scroll down past the Bible quotes.)

Here’s another example of a highly questionable drawing that is very like a well known Precious Moments illustration.  It this one, it appears the angel's head has been put on the bed boy's body -- then the bed flipped and small details changed. 


From "The illustrated Story of Copyright" by Edward Samuels, copyright 2000:

"The issue in these cases is whether the second work is “substantially similar” to the first. It doesn’t have to be an exact duplicate to be an infringement, but it does have to take enough of the copyrighted work that it can be said that the second work was not “independently created.” Drawing the line between noninfringement and infringement, between independent creation and substantial similarity, can be frustratingly difficult. The courts have pretty well refused to adopt a simple numerical test to resolve this issue, instead relying upon general statements of policy, and sensitivity to the facts of particular cases. What is clear, however, is that taking even a small portion of a copyrighted work can constitute copyright infringement."

(Search "Striking Similarity" or Substantial Similarity" to find more information about this online)

And another taking legs, feet and theme and pose directly from a Magnolia image.  While it is PERFECTLY FINE to draw using the same theme (ideas are not copyrightable), and poses may be really similar just by coincidence, this particular image is obviously NOT coincidence as the legs, pants and feet are nearly traced they are so exact.


Of course, besides this being illegal, it’s also immoral. Besides theft, it’s cheating and lies -- things that good people try to avoid.  Francesca and her husband, Senior Pastor Art Lopez have their own Shekinah Fellowship Church in southern California.  Seeing that, we tried to appeal to their morality by encouraging them to be honest, accept responsibility and suggested Art to counsel his wife to do what is right on this LEGAL matter.

Obviously, communication has failed with this pair. They have closed or disallowed all private talk with them -- so here we go. Wall of Shame.

Please BEWARE of “Cute as a Button/Buttin” owners Francesca and Art Lopez in all their iffy endeavors. (They are particularly marketing toward Christians as you can see.) 

Any questions about about this aspect of copyright, please ask in the comments and we'll discuss:

Stamp Out

21 comments:

  1. I would be very careful. This blog has no legal authority and you are all behaving unprofessionally and immature and acting as judge, jury and executioner. I have seen the pictures and they are not exact copies. Copyrights have not been infringed upon and case law will show that. Inspiration from other artists is not copyright infringement. All of you do it. This forum is lucky that past individuals that have been bashed in a public forum have not individually sued each one of you for slandered and defamation of character. This individual might because she is standing her ground, with every right, and has an extensive legal background.

    Slander and defamation of character on a public forum who has no legal authority? Hmmm great causes of action for a hefty $$$ law suit

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    1. Art Lopez, glad to have you here. Perhaps you could address the great similarities in your wife's art to other artist's work?

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    2. I'm agreeing with Mo Manning. Perhaps the woman could take classes to learn the skill to develop her own creativity rather than lift (borrow) the works of other artists.

      Kind of sad, honestly. This doesn't constitute fair use or transformative use. Just lazy copying with a few modification from a person who likely lacks art training or skill.

      Reminds me of when another artist saw her work copies for a chalk art festival with the artists claiming the work as their own.

      Apparently the above Pastor and wife were asking for divine guidance and misunderstood when God showed them an example of artwork meant to lead them to get art training.

      So said.

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  2. Well said. I totally agree with all of what you have said about them. I, for one, shall not be even looking at "Cute as a Button/Buttin" so called images. HOW can they not see that this is blatantly copyright THEFT???
    {{{hugs}}}
    Marg B ;) x

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  3. Apparently she asked God for something Original and Unique, it seems that God wasn't listening here, doesn't it?I find it contemptible that someone would push their venture under the name of Christianity. Personally I'm agnostic (though I went to a church school), but if I was Christian I'd be fuming at having my faith abused in this way. Since they won't participate in any discussion it seems that they know full well that this is wrong. I would hope that both Christian and non-Christian people avoid these pariahs.

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  4. Maurie, thank you again for a great post. Why it is so difficult people to understand that artist have copyrights.

    Ok, in some cases when artist has passed away couple of hundred of years ago, and legally IF it is not under copyright, I would be good at least to GIVE CREDIT or say "INSPIRED..."

    I contacted one "artist" only yesterday and sent her sample of original work and "her design". She deleted the post and never of course replied.

    I am so sorry for this is happening everywhere and particularly in stamping world. How could they :( It is a shame.

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  5. yeah - you need to add your own identity to the character you develop - will shout out a warning too

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  6. I just wish people that do this sort of thing would step up to the plate and own up, the wall of shame from what I can see is a last resort, It is blatantly obvious that these are copied and just making little changes here and there does not make it your art. You can see placement and shape copy along with style, switching of stockings from one side of the image to the other. Shameful at the very least.

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  7. I think when so called artists do this sort of thing they think nobody will notice, ahh...but the www can make this such a small world. And if they quietly obey the law and remove the images they could start over with a very important lesson learned. However, at this point they are not only burning bridges but tarnishing both their personal and professional reputation

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  8. This is indeed a small world and getting smaller every day. It's not possible to hide just what you are anymore.

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  9. What a shame when someone has that artistic flair to make beautiful artwork but doesn't give thought to creating their own sweet images. It saddens me that there could have been another wonderful digi image artist in our midst but because of a lack of originality it won't happen. XOX Lucy

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  10. LMAO....you women are something else...it is so pathetic the drama that unfolds in the crafting/artist world from grown women. You are all drama queens and look for problems. Half of the problems you have are ones you have created yourselves....Grow up! I am sure this post will never see this page as I know the idiots that wont allow this post. You all can dish out the garbage when it is something you agree on....but never when its not. Pure Pathetic!

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  11. I was hoping you wouldn't rear your head, Kim. Birds of a feather you know. I'll show you how fair I am. Let me give your comments it's very own post.

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  12. Oh...I rear this beautiful head proudly....I don't go around bashing people just to get some attention! I try to be nice and fair to people....you have a rep for being ugly and evil to others when you don't like their comments....when they don't suit you. You're a grown woman and it shows that you live for dissension. Girls do that in high school when they are jealous of others. You are not in high school. And if there are artists out there who FEEL they are being copied, then let them handle their own situations....Its not for you to do. I am an artist, and I have never accused anyone of copying my work...I am a realism artist, not a cartooning artist. I see a lot of peoples work online that is so similar its not funny! But you Mo, you go after only those whom you personally don't like. That is ignorant and a ridiculous thing to do. I will never understand why you want to slam people when some of these people you are defending, I am for sure have copied some you are slamming for copying....not the other way around.

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    1. You might prefer raging on my latest post . . . I gave you your own since you seem to want to be center stage on a blog about copyright violations.

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  13. lol...you and youre ignorant cronies don't bother me one bit sweet cheeks....or rather...big cheeks! You are are pathetic and I know it must kill you for me to be center stage and not yourself....poor fat baby!

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    1. Wow! so sad, Kim Gwin... must be hard to stick to the issues of copyright violation. So much easier to sling mud when you have no defense. As I said, "insults are the last refuge for the weak."

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  14. Wow, this has been an eye-opener for sure in many ways including what I see in the comments! Thank you for educating the public on copyright issues and flat out theft! I will definitely be more cautious where I spend my money.

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  15. These pictures speak more than a thousand words. Anyone who is willing to open their eyes can see it! There is absolutely nothing that can be said to justify such blatant copying.

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  16. I do not know all of the ins and outs of copyright law (just some basics), but from what I have read on the government's copyright site, and looking at the side-by-side images here, I can see parts of the image that are substantially similar, if not exactly the same. I see this as an infringement. I do see that Cute as a Buttin was trying to add in some details of her own originality, but the images rely heavily on the framework of the original body poses (especially the top image and the legs of the bottom image). If you were to ignore the fireplace in the top image, they are almost identical--even the shapes of the stockings (just swapped from one side to the other). And if you isolate the legs in the bottom and position of the hands and arms, they are almost exactly the same--even the placement of the stitching on the pant legs.

    I do not think that this is a matter of coincidence because there are several instances of substantially similar work. Another test I like to use is to show a side-by-side to my husband and kids and ask their opinion without saying anything. If they can see it, then it is really obvious. I asked my husband on this one (as he usually has more common sense than I do. lol!) and he thinks it is obviously a copy.

    I think there are a couple of copyright myths that many people cling to. The first is that if you change a certain percentage of an image, it's okay, and the other is that a work needs to be registered first to be copyrighted. Both claims are false.

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  17. And if you want to read the "other side" please note that they have set up their blogs, facebook pages and other sites so NO ONE can comment.. That about says it all, plus the fact that they are out of their minds invoking God and religion in a legal matter..http://francescalopez.blogspot.ca/

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