As opposed to what we know, written works aren’t the only ones plagiarized. Artworks may be subject to the act of art plagiarism, too.
If you’re a multimedia artist or hoping to be one, you should know art plagiarism. With easy Internet access and the spread of many designs and tools, how and when can you say someone committed art plagiarism?
Art Plagiarism Defined
Merriam-Webster defines plagiarism as “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person.” Plagiarism takes on many forms, both online and offline. Art plagiarism is more than just copying artistic pieces.
Forms of Art Plagiarism
Plagiarists copy sketches, paintings, photos, and even sculptures. When you copy someone else’s art without permission and/or proper credit—you are stealing. Even mere using of filter, changing of color, and adding of clip art or text are unacceptable and 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 your 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. Enhancing the material to make it look different is also an act of plagiarism.
On the other hand, 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 also involves enhancements. Even after tracing the original piece, putting color doesn’t make it yours. Flipping the traced piece backwards, altering details, and changing the original hues don’t make it unique.
Consequences of Plagiarizing Art
Is art plagiarism a tough offense? According to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, art plagiarism is a form of cheating and is an illegal act. Though it violates the author’s or artist’s right and goes against the law, plagiarism is not a serious criminal offense; but since it amounts to copyright infringement, the act is still punishable by law.
Put yourself on the shoes of an artist. Imagine finding out that someone stole, copied, or published your artwork while claiming ownership of your piece. How would you feel? What will you do? Will you let it pass? Or will you call their attention?
Art plagiarism has its own consequences, so you must avoid it. Here are some of the possible outcomes if you commit art plagiarism:
Damage to professional reputation. Whether or not you are part of the workforce, art plagiarism means damage to your image as a professional.
Potential legal actions and/or lawsuits. Stealing art and claiming it as your own is a form of art plagiarism. Doing this may lead to possible lawsuits filed against you, covering the intellectual property rights of the art owner. In worst cases, acts of plagiarism lead to imprisonment.
Monetary penalties. If art plagiarism is proved in court, one sanction for the plagiarist is to give compensation to pay for the artist’s profit loss.
Tips on How to Avoid Art Plagiarism
Now, what should you do to avoid art plagiarism?
Make another person’s work your inspiration. If you find a piece attractive and want to use it, get ideas from it. Don’t save, copy, trace, and post the artwork. Instead, use it as a guide or pattern to create your own.
Mix different ideas. Take a few sources and make your own piece by drawing inspiration from them. This helps you create a great masterpiece—something you can call yours.
Cite your sources. If you’re inept at creating your own masterpiece, use your sources. However, do not forget to name and acknowledge the owners or publishers. This is the safest way to avoid art plagiarism.
Embrace Your Own Artistry
Stay away from the costs of art plagiarism by embracing your own artistry. You will realize how rewarding it is to create your own masterpiece and receive recognition for it. Remember: Your uniqueness makes you stand out.
CIIT, the top multimedia arts school in the Philippines, values uniqueness in art. We don’t allow art plagiarism; instead, we hone your potential to help you build your own identity through artistry.
Sources: penlighten.com | chanrobles.com