Thursday, April 26, 2012

Actual stealing *UPDATED*

A while back I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek post defending the practice (but not necessarily the publication) of artists imitating and leapfrogging off each other, after someone did a lousy hack-job of my art.  But I'm not going to defend this at all:
Look familiar?
I don't care whether your app is free.  Don't use someone's art without permission.

*UPDATE*:  I got a kind e-mail from the developer saying they will take care of the problem and they have already taken the app down.  I'm going to leave this post up because I was unclear in the past about how I feel about plagiarism, and I really want to stop this sort of thing from happening for artists everywhere.


Thanks to everyone for the support!

32 comments:

  1. Disgusting man.. It's pretty unbelievable how they much of it they just straight used. I will be sending them a mail myself.

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  2. I have to agree with you about this being stealing, but I feel it's rude and immature to preemptively have people send angry e-mails for you. Maybe if it's been a week or two and no response, but not yet.

    You don't even know if they paid someone for the logo and that person stole the artwork or if the person doing the logo got it from someone else who got it from someone else that modified it.

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  3. Saturn2888: You're entitled to your opinion, but I don't see anything immature or rude about turning up the heat a little on a company's PR guy so they take this seriously. This isn't personal for them, but it is for me, and I want them to realize that. I will however take down the e-mail address when I get a response from them, since there's no need to antagonize them after they've righted their mistake/bad choice.

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  4. I respect that and will e-mail them now. I get what you mean.

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  5. Wait Sam - Your original piece was the one with the guy under the tree, right? And somebody took the guy off it and stuck that logo on it? Have I got it right?

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  6. That's probably the worst example of blatant rip-off I've ever seen.

    On one hand, I'm jealous you're artwork is so well know and awesome that people would want to steal it, but on the other hand, I can't believe how ignorant people can be, irregardless of where they live in the world.

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  7. ps. Did they take down the app already? I wanted to link to it in an email.

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  8. You should try contacting the App store and Apple as well

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  9. The character artwork is also stolen. I wouldn't be surprised if the sprites and everything else were stolen as well.

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  10. K: Yes, that is correct.

    Nasan: I just went to the page, looks to me like it is still up.

    Andrew: I will do that if they don't respond to my first requests, thank you.

    Calvin: Where is the character art stolen from?

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  11. A little community game in progress called Broquest.

    http://broquestgame.com/wiki/index.php?title=Characters

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  12. Okay, I found the link. I kept trying to find it from the link at the bottom of your post. ;)

    Calvin: Good grief! These guys have no soul! :)

    I'm putting both links in my email to them.

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  13. Wow. Looks like it is up there even still. They are probably scrambling to "create" a new BG(and I guess now also characters?!?) to replace it.

    It is nice however, to see that artists' and followers of art have one another's backs, and are quick to alert each other of such thefts. I've seen many rip-offs lately in caricature and character design and once discovered, word gets around pretty fast. It makes me wonder though, how many other works are stolen each day unknown to anyone. . .I mean, just look at how deliberate and public this theft was of work from an artist like yourself. . .not even like yourself... from YOU! Just crazy.

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  14. I just got an email from the company apologizing and saying that they are going to apologize to you. Their designer was responsible, and she says it makes no sense, because his own work is very good. So you should be hearing from her soon.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. The Apple website for the app is still there, but I couldn't download the app from my iPad. It doesn't show up in a search, and if you go to that link directly from an iPad it seems to be unavailable.

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  17. So sad to see such a lack of artistic integrity. Unfortunately, this is one of many cases I've heard about this week :(

    So sorry this happened!

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  18. Thanks everyone for the help, it is good to see that artists have each other's back for this sort of thing. If any of you ever have a similar problem be sure to let me know and I'll pull what small influence I do have to help out!

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  19. I am actually dealing with this as well. People just find your images on google without wondering how to contact the artist and ask permission. Luckily a simple reverse google search finds that image and find where it's being used all over the web. I highly suggest it for artists whom want to protect themselves.

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  20. I think it's good to share and put a spotlight when this kind of things happen. They're not just individuals putting stuff up without credit, these are companies publishing work. Having a relatively bad experience with many people complaining could deter them from doing this again in a way that a single e-mail from an artist would not.

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  21. What a bunch of jerks, stealing your image like that! I'm glad they took it down. I really like that picture of fall. More importantly it's far better without any logos in front of it at all.

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  22. Joshua: Yeah, if you're using Google Chrome you can actually just drag the image into the google search bar and it will look up the image and anything like it. So companies have no excuse when it comes to that new "reasonable search for the artist" rule in copyright law.

    Pibby: The contact at the company said their artist did the copying without their knowledge. So if that's true it's just one jerk (or at least a very unwise person), and they disciplined the offender so hopefully it won't happen again.

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  23. Well...its embarrassing for them :) but this is happening quiet often. They definitely should inform you about that, they probably though this is secure If this game is freeware. Other possible version is, that their "artist" told them he created it and other team members didn't have any clue about that, till now. He should at least used somebody's painting who isn't that famous as you Sam :o))

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  24. Good for you Sam!! Score one for us little guys!I'm always amazed that companies with sooooo much cash flow feel the need to steal from "starving" artists. God bless capitalism. NOT!!!

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  25. Adrian: I appreciate that you're trying to defend the rights of artists, but you obviously don't understand capitalism if you're using this as an example of capitalism's failures. Capitalism isn't a system, it's a philosophy on how economics works. Someone stealing an artist's work is something that can happen in any economic system, because people are sometimes just dishonest or lazy. How often it happens has more to do with copyright law and enforcement than the method by which artists support themselves. Besides, small companies like this usually don't have "sooooo much cashflow," in fact the reason why this type of thing ever happens is because it is costly to run a business and time consuming to create a product (also something that doesn't go away if you change the economic system, you just change the source of the pressures to perform).

    If this were a case of a company publicly promoting art theft, and the government and consumers both were supporting them; you might have a case for complaint against the system. Instead, this is another case where individuals steal or cheat to save themselves work; and as long as the world has lazy people in it and work to be done, that is going to be a problem we have to deal with.

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  26. Which is why artists have to be ever vigilant to protect each other like you guys did in this case. It's a bit like a village surrounded by bandits. We can hope the bandits leave us alone; but if they ever come our way we need a militia at the ready.

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  27. So wait...you're saying I shouldn't steal your stuff? Crap! I steal your stuff all the time. I mean, we're related, and I only use it to impress my kids and tell them, "Look, I draw like Uncle Sam." What if I put a tiny little 'drawn by Sam' in the corner?
    *sigh*
    Fine.

    BTW - nice explanation of the differences between economic philosophy and individual shortcomings.

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  28. Hi Sam...I'm from Brazil. I did tell you about this stolen a few days ago. I didn't sign the comment because I was not sure about if it was a real stolen.
    This guys contact me a weeks ago and tried to contract me as a freelancer to do some arts for a new game of their 'company'. And they showed me this other game as a reference of what kind of art they want. I immediately recognized your art cause I'm always visit your page on Deviantart. I questioned them about the image and they said they bought the picture on the Internet. I thought they were lying and so I did the comment here. I suspected that the rest of arts was stolen too. So... I was right.
    I'm a game artist and I also have a indie game company on Brazil... and I fell ashamed for this guys that do not respect the artists.
    Count me in for the 'heads up' e sorry about my bad english. =)

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  29. Steve: Good thing I studied my flash cards.

    Gabrielle: I'm still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt---how would you react when a client/contractor accuses you of stealing if you didn't know your artist was doing it? Still, that is a bit fishy and dishonest so it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on the company's future projects.

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  30. Wow I can only imagine the feeling of seeing that. Good to hear it's being taken care of

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  31. Hey Sam, glad you got this all cleared up. It's very frustrating to know that these people get jobs by lying and piggybacking off of artists with integrity.

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