How to Avoid Accidentally Committing Art Theft as an Arts and Design Student

Here’s a glimpse of what students can learn from CIIT Philippines, here are some of CIIT’s tips to combat committing accidental art theft.

They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, but when it comes to art, it’s not just a faux pas. It’s a crime. Especially now that artificial intelligence (AI) art has become popular, it can be easy to fall victim to committing accidental art theft. 

Why accidental art theft is a crime

If you’re interested in media and visual arts, animation, and anything involving digital art, you should be careful not to commit accidental art theft. Why? Although it may seem like an unlikely thing to happen, accidental art theft is a real thing and is a severe offense and can cost you not only your job but your credibility as an artist. 

To give you a quick background, Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, provides and secures protection for the exclusive rights of creators, including artists, to their intellectual property and creations. Furthermore, this law ensures artists have the right to protect their artwork from art theft. So how can you protect yourself from commiting accidental plagiarism?

How can an arts and design student avoid art theft?

As an institution specializing in arts and design college programs, CIIT Philippines is committed to helping all students have a well-rounded learning journey. This includes teaching aspiring artists how to be responsible and respectful towards their peers. To give you a glimpse of what students can learn from CIIT Philippines, here are some of CIIT’s tips to combat committing accidental art theft.

Get inspired

Even if you’re an incredibly gifted artist, you need some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. For you to develop new ideas, you should spend time watching art pieces you admire. If you don’t know where to start, you should seek inspiration from the classics. You can learn much from these artworks’ techniques to find your original style. 

Modify an artwork

If your forte is in digital art, you can avoid accidental art theft by changing a famous painting or illustration that’s not copyrighted. Try playing with the Mona Lisa or A Starry, Starry Night. What can you do with these? You can experiment by putting them into different circumstances and environments. This will also help you generate and expand your own artistic style that’s original and unique.

You can prevent committing accidental art theft by having fun with another existing piece. How exactly is this done? There are many ways to transform another artwork.

Here are some you can try:

  • First, choose that piece as a basis, and add new elements to change things up.
  • Second, reanimate something forgotten or give it a modern twist.
  • Lastly, go online to search for the latest trends in the contemporary art world, and apply them to your project. 

Ask yourself, ‘what if?’

Before you start to work on a new project, you can avoid accidental art theft by asking yourself one question. What if? Look at your chosen piece and ask yourself how you would have done things differently. Once you’ve decided on your answer, you can recompile elements uniquely. 

Mix things up

Finding your original style can be challenging, even if you’re a talented artist. How do you ensure you’re not committing accidental art theft? You should mix different styles and sources to make your piece unique. Take an element or two from each technique, and make the artwork uniquely your own. 

Cite the source

If you decide to use an image from pop culture or another artist, you should give credit where it’s due. Acknowledge in writing that someone else’s work inspired your project. Moreover, you should check if that particular piece is copyrighted. If yes, you should make a legal request and use it only if approved. 

How do you avoid becoming a victim of AI art theft?

It’s a hot topic nowadays in the art community; with numerous AI services generating artwork with the use of machine learning, a lot of artists are falling victim to these companies where their work is being allegedly replicated without their consent. 

If you’re not a fan of this, there are a few ways on how you can protect yourself from getting your artwork stolen by AI:

  1. Make use of copyright protection: don’t post your artwork in websites and forums where your work is not copyright protected and make sure to include clauses in your posts like: “Any unauthorized use of the artwork, including but not limited to AI training, is strictly prohibited and may result in legal action.”
  2. Add watermarks: we understand that watermarks can inhibit your art from looking perfect but if you want to keep it free from plagiarism or theft, this is one of the most effective ways.
  3. Don’t post on social media platforms: As painful as it may seem, social media is filled with content theft and it’s best to avoid it if you always want to get credit for your work.

Avoiding accidental art theft with CIIT

Following these tips can be helpful, especially for young creatives interested in pursuing an arts and design track. While there’s nothing wrong with borrowing ideas, you should be mindful not to commit accidental art theft.

If you intend to land an arts and design job in the future, you give yourself an advantage by investing in quality education. CIIT Philippines provides aspiring artists and creatives with the right skills and discipline to nurture their inner masterminds. With CIIT as your guide, you can push the boundaries and discover your potential as an artist. 

So, where do you begin? You can explore CIIT’s senior high school (SHS) media and visual arts (MVA) track and Multimedia Arts program to follow your passion for the arts today. 

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