Sunday, February 28, 2010

Linky Link: Plagiarism and Copyright for this week

Part 1: Hot Topic, the store
First, flying around on my [private] Twitter Feed this week was the accusation that Hot Topic (popular teen "punk/goth" store) ripped off yet another Indie Artist with a t-shirt design. Since this is buried so deep in Twitter now (and was Retweeted [RT] often by web comic artists who fall under the "Indie Artist" category), see this link for thoughts and links to the original design. It seems Hot Topic did keep to their word and took the work down.

Now, just two days ago I saw this RT from web comic artist Rene Engstrom (of AndersLovesMaria fame - NSFW) saying Hot Topic had ripped off artist Kawaii Not by using her images in two buttons without her permission. Kawaii Not's images are difficult to link to as the buttons were all listed on the same page and hard to find without serious searching, but the images were basically the same as the Hot Topic buttons. The Hot Topic image links are in the RT and it seems, just two days later that Hot Topic has taken these buttons down as well (they are "Error Links").

I bring this up because one of my favorite web comic artists (Jess Fink - def. NSFW) had a design of hers taken about 2 years ago which was already a Threadless shirt at that point. Here's an excellent write up about that issue.

While I seriously should be more angry at the designers (and I am), it is Hot Topic's fault to be selling it. Hot Topic has been very good at taking stuff down when asked, but I can't help but wonder what is or isn't original about the stuff that isn't Twilight, Invader Zim, Lenore or "brand names" any more.

Part 2: Bleach Vs. Incarnate
I'm really not going to go into this one mainly because I have not read Bleach yet and Johanna Draper Carlson (I hope I'm attributing this to the right author) does a beautiful write up at Comics Worth Reading. She's included most of the links I've seen just browsing on this topic and I think it brings up a great point about "scanlations" (scans of titles unreleased in the U.S.A. [usually Japanese Manga] available freely on the Internet that may be in the original language or "fan subbed" [translated into English by fans]). I honestly did not know all of the history about scanlations or how the Japanese felt about plagiarism until I read this article.

Why bring these up? As I write these, I realize they are more relevant plagiarism cases for teens. Here are some great "real world" examples of what happens when you are caught and how fast this stuff moves. Basically, I think lessons like the two above are more likely to stick with students than those of "don't copy an author's work for your paper."

Part 3: Books too!!
Music, movies, TV shows, and other general media aren't the only things getting pirated any more and as librarians we need to be aware of this. Books are going that way too. Laurie Halse Anderson recently posted about "Book Pirates": Part 1 and Part 2. I suspect that the more we see eReaders coming out, the more book pirating will happen. I believe that as librarians, we need to be aware that this exists and try to do our little part in educating users.

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