Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Art of Copying

This blog is sometimes been archived on draft for a number of reasons.
Firstly, if I am travelling and not able to keep watch over things, or if something happens like an excess of copying comes to light, it closes whilst the situation is observed.

Currently, much of the archive is closed. This relates directly to what has arisen in this past month.

Most professional painters have originality as their ultimate aim. All art students have this awareness drummed into them from an early stage in their education. This is because to be original is the only way to really make your mark on art history. The issue of copying, plagiarism and the stealing of ideas and imagery is one thing, influence is another. All art students are expected to learn through influence, but this is also expected to drop away as originality emerges.

Each month here in my studio we do a digital reverse image test, and also receive digital notifications of where the images from my website and blog have been copied and or pasted.
This is on the rise as a problem, for many artists who have not only their imagery stolen directly but their ideas also copied.

Last month two commercial companies cut and pasted my images from another art website, and placed these images on their own commercial websites in the USA and in Indonesia. Both were using these images to sell their products. They were both discovered and consequently removed these images.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the problem is on the increase. I am told there is now technology to remove watermarking and take screen shots directly and then increase the resolution of an image, flawlessly. In addition, this kind of act is detrimental to any company who legitimately purchases the rights to imagery.

In my world, it has recently come to light that some of my writing on this blog has been used by a PhD student as a part of their dissertation. This has been reported to me by their tutor.
Also, some of the writing on this blog has been taken and translated into a book and published in another language, in another country. This came back to me via someone who understood that language.

What many don't seem to grasp is that I allow the use of my imagery and my written words, if permission is applied for. It would appear that what some people want to do is actually take what is not theirs, and put their own name to it.

On each of these occasions, I was informed by well wishers and generous people who don't like to see this kind of thing happen.

I also have seen a rise in the number of emails from young artists who's work has been plagiarised by older more successful artists. Understandably, this is very alarming, and I tend to view this habit as a kind of intimidation.

I know from how many times I have been copied that it is damaging and difficult to come to terms with. I have replied in person to all those who have contacted me who have been plagiarised in this way, and asked me for help in how to cope.

My personal approach is to forgive, because I see that plagiarism in the fine art world is often an unconscious act. One that is a desperate form of aggression. Both plagiarism and the stealing of imagery is the opposite of generosity.

If I could give every desperate artist a free idea of originality I probably would. But first they would need to understand that giving and receiving are separate from the desperate desire to be famous.

Given the above, I have been advised to have the new website password protected.
This is so that I can have control over who views it.

I am told that things are going this way for more and more artists. Looking ahead, my view is that a password can also hide copying, so this may actually not be the way forward.

We know that with this issue a culture change is being demanded.
Thank you to all the kind and loyal people who have informed me of what has been going on.

On reflection, I will carry on being open, and placing security as a priority.

Currently the copyright notice for the new website is being composed, and this makes for interesting reading.