Anyone working in a creative industry will be fully aware of the pernicious extent of the crime of copyright infringement. Anyone who has been victim to such activities as plagiarism will know that it is a crime that affects the victim in a way not dissimilar to being burgled. Creative workers often put a lot of their emotion into making their work as enjoyable for the reader, viewer or listener as they possibly can, and to see someone else get credit for something into which you have put blood, sweat and tears is as galling as you can possibly imagine. It is worth taking every step possible to protect your work in such cases.
In recent years there has been a boom in the Internet-based pursuit of making images using PhotoShop in order to create a satirical image or a parody of something in the public eye. The amount of work and creative intelligence that goes into such images is variable, but in many cases the feedback given to such images puts it very firmly in the camp marked "creative art." These images have proven to be so popular that communities have built up to showcase them, and this has attracted the attention of other areas of the media, including printed magazines and newspapers. It is not unheard of for these publications to take the images and compile them into a story. Although this could ordinarily be considered to be a positive for the creators - recognition is good for any artist - it is not quite so simple.
The standard practice where these works are concerned is to reproduce them without giving any credit to the person who created the image. This is all the more prevalent because the people creating the images often work under a screen name which gives them a level of anonymity. Proving the work to be theirs is often far from simple. One solution to this is to "watermark" your images. Often, however, the watermark needs to be placed on the fringes of the picture in order to keep the integrity of the image. In cases like this, newspapers have been known to "crop" the images, thus removing any identifying watermark.
In many ways, the crime of plagiarism is like every other premeditated crime - as soon as a new way of combating it is discovered, the criminal changes their tack and finds a way around the problem. This has led to a number of frustrated artists, seeing their work getting the recognition it deserves, but with the credit going to a corporation who had nothing whatsoever to do with the creative process. There are also issues surrounding media appropriation of popular trends, which can lead to a loss of overall quality control and damage being done to the art form. A lot of thought is required if plagiarists are to be thwarted in their efforts to pass off other people's work as their own. It is to be expected that this will include the artists becoming more aware of, and more prepared to exercise, legal solutions to the problem.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.
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