Copying: All Risk and No Reward

"Autumn Hues" by Yael Berger of The Joy of Color
In the art world, imitation is rarely seen as the sincerest form of flattery, but instead as violation of intellectual property rights. In a recent AGTeam article, the line between Inspiration and Copying was clearly defined. Yet, artists who are perfectly aware of this line will often still copy. Too often, an artist will convince themselves that they aren't copying and that the style, image, or idea is a generic one and they weren't influenced by someone's work. While the reasons why this hurts the original creator who is being copied are fairly clear, the plain fact is that it hurts you as an artist to copy and sell another's work without permission more than anyone else.

Three of the major drawbacks to copying are:

It's not just an illegal copyright violation, you can permanently damage your reputation as an artist. If people see you to be copying, they may begin to assume that it's because you aren't capable of creative ideas of your own. Even the integrity of your original work can be diminished because people may lose respect for you as an artist.

You don't create an identity of your own when you copy. When potential customers run across your work, they may mistake it for the original artist's and even vice versa. This doesn't help you out at all and can hurt the original artist.

As an Etsy seller, you run the risk of having your shop closed. Etsy reserves the right to close down shops that don't operate within their terms of use and having a claim made against you for copyright violation can be enough reason for them to close you down.

The costs of copying someone far outweigh any benefits that could be gained. Large companies, small businesses, and individuals have all found themselves in hot water for doing it. The best policy is to respect other artist's as you would like them to respect you and not reproduce their work without permission.


WolfeWoman said...

All very good points! I would like to add that there isn't a lot of money to be made in the arts. A person who lacks integrity can profit better in almost any other field. Which makes those who copy other artists and artisans not only uncreative and dull, but sort of stupid as well.
lee/ OneClayBead

steinschmuckdesign said...

Totally agree!!!!! and you do not get out the satisfaction, like you can get if you design and create a Piece all by your own :)

TheJoyofColor said...

I agree, there is a fine line betwwen getting inpiriation from someone's work and copy.
Inspiration is good we are all inspired from our surroundign from other forms of art and good ideas
can rise from it bit copy as you said don't add a lot to any of us
Thanks for featuring my work