If I set up a factory and started producing cars that looked just like Volkswagen Beetles from the early 1960’s and called them Molkswagen Teetles, would that be legally okay? I would certainly hope not. Why then do people like Nick Simmons regularly copy the work of real artists, put their own name on it, and try to make a profit?
Nick Simmons, son of KISS musician Gene Simmons, started a comic book series called Incarnate, in which a secret organization on Earth discovered a method for killing a seemingly immortal race of beings and is striving to do so. It is fantastic that Nick is setting out to make something of his own, but it is not so great if he’s stealing the work of others to do so.
Fans of the long running Japanese comic Bleach noticed a great number of images in Incarnate that were too similar to earlier images from Bleach. Fans placed many images side by side and then overlapped them to further drive home the point about copying in the current and stealing from the original. It was not just one or two images that somewhat looked a little bit like Bleach images but numerous images that were practically traced from the older comic.
Nick Simmons responded in a statement that makes one wonder if he even saw the images in question and the original images on top of one another.
Like most artists I am inspired by work I admire. There are certain similarities between some of my work and the work of others. This was simply meant as an homage to artists I respect, and I definitely want to apologize to any Manga fans or fellow Manga artists who feel I went too far. My inspirations reflect the fact that certain fundamental imagery is common to all Manga. This is the nature of the medium.
It doesn’t matter how many different people draw a hobo — there are similarities in the hundreds of drawings despite the many artists that contributed to the “700 Hobos” project — but no one drawing is a duplicate of another. Much like a cloned cookbook, it is clear that these images are solid proof that something shady was involved in the making of Incarnate.
Thanks for the great article, Gordon! I had no idea that sort of blatant stealing was going on — and with Nick Simmons no less!
I fear this is the trend of the future. Young people under 25 now believe that copying the works of others and selling it as your own is fine. They just don’t care. A young European writer stole lots of work from others, admitted it in her book, and didn’t care her book was “written on the backs of existing work.” Her book sold well — but did she cut in the original authors? No. She rejects any and all accusations of plagiarism.
Someone once said, if you copy from one person, it’s plagiarism; if you copy from lots of people, it’s research. Ugh.
The new crop of stealers will, one day, rule the courts and the governing bodies — and it makes one shudder to think there will no longer be any notion of Copyright or infringement or plagiarism because nobody will care enough about it to enforce it.
So true, David! I hope your bleak future does not happen. Hundreds of years of copyright shouldn’t fall down to one very copyleft friendly generation, I would hope!