Contrary to popular belief, writings aren’t the only ones plagiarized. Artworks, too, may be the subject of the “fraudulent” act of art plagiarism.
If you’re a multimedia artist or are hoping to be one, you should know art plagiarism. With the ease of access to the Internet and the spread of many designs and tools, how and when can you say someone plagiarized an art?
Art Plagiarism Defined
Merriam-Webster defines plagiarism as “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.” The act takes on many forms, both online and offline. Art plagiarism means copying of artistic pieces alone.
Plagiarists copy sketches, paintings, photos, and even sculptures. When you copy someone else’s piece of art without permission and/or proper credit, you are stealing. The act is unethical. Even the mere use of filter, changing of color, and adding of clip art are unethical.
Like literary plagiarism, art plagiarism also comes in many forms such as theft and tracing.
Art theft is the “obvious” stealing of artwork and publishing it as one’s own masterpiece. Without seeking consent from or giving credit to the source, the act is an indirect claim or ownership of the stolen piece. Art theft isn’t limited to simple posting of an unreferenced artwork. Plagiarism can include as well enhancing the material to make the piece look different.
Adding a caption, text, or dialogue bubble doesn’t make the stolen artwork yours. Likewise, applying effects (filters, color change, etc.) can’t make you claim ownership.
Tracing is an act of duplicating the original artwork either with little or no change at all. Similar to art theft, tracing also goes beyond the traced copy as it involves enhancing the material, too. Even after tracing the original piece, putting color doesn’t make it your original work. Flipping the traced piece backwards, altering details, and changing the original hues don’t make the work unique.
Is art plagiarism a tough offense?
Art plagiarism is a form of cheating and is an illegal act based on intellectual property rights and copyright laws. While it violates the author’s or artist’s right and goes against the law, plagiarism, however, is not a serious criminal offense. Since it amounts to copyright infringement, the act is still punishable by law.
Avoiding Art Plagiarism
What should you do to avoid committing art plagiarism?
- Make another person’s work your inspiration. If you find a piece attractive and want to use it, get idea from it. Don’t save, copy, trace, and post the artwork. Instead, use it as a guide or pattern to create your own work.
- Mix different ideas. Take a few sources and make your own piece by getting different parts from them. This will help you create a great masterpiece, something unique.
- Edit photos. Use editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, but make sure your work looks a lot different from the original. Try advanced image manipulation techniques to create a startling output. Be careful with editing blunders!
- Cite your sources. If you’re inept at creating your own masterpiece, then use your source(s), yet name and acknowledge the owner(s)/publisher(s).
Stay away from the costs of art plagiarism by taking advantage of your own artistry.
The premier multimedia arts school in the Philippines, CIIT, values uniqueness in art. We don’t allow art plagiarism, but instead hone students’ potentials to help them build their own identity through artistry.
Join our ranks and work on your own genuine art piece. Enroll at CIIT now!