Years ago (okay around 2007 and then again in 2008) I came to a crossroad, not a major life changing one where I could not decide whether I wanted a paper or plastic bag, but one where my scruples & my integrity came into play. I noticed an artist in my industry continued to get copied over and over by dozens of other artists. I just felt that I had to say something - and I used my blog to do it. Ironically my designs would soon come under a similar attack and I was forced to address the situation head on. Happy Times? Ya, no. But as I have always said, with success comes copying. It is just a shame it is and was so prevalent in the Children's Industry.
I refused to stand in the middle, I did not want to waiver. I had to make a decision as to where I wanted to be, and where my alliance stood. There really was no doubt, nor was there time for me to contemplate what to do - I went with the side I thought was right. It wasn't that I ever doubted who was right, it was just that I decided to say something about it.
Let's Stay or At Least Stay Positive
I went back today and read my posts about plagiarism and copy cat artists and I was pretty wound up. It is strange to go back and read your past posts and think, "ouch - that kind of stings." Yet, even though I was brutally honest and a tad bit nasty - I feel that it was worth being said. Copying is wrong and if you are going to do it - then get ready to get called out on it. And, that is exactly what I did.
Fast forward to the end of December, where I mentioned a short time ago about an industry friend who has been copied again, yet she keeps on creating art. I am not sure if it was the hair that broke the camel's back or so shall we say the last hair in her paintbrush. But, this I know - she was at the end of her rope. If she is anything like me, she probably started yelling, "I am mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore".
Be Your Original Best
Unlike me though, she decided to take a negative and turn it into a positive. She started a blog, a movement, a facebook page that literally called us artists out on our own weakness. She made, or asked us to take a pledge to be original, to be unique and to be honest about where we got our inspiration from. It was not negative, it was not combative, hell it was not even specific as to who or what had ticked her off. It was basically, "Let's all band together and find a way to educate artists about what the difference is between copying and finding inspiration in others art. Let's educate each other on what is right and what is wrong. Let's all get along."
Shelly Kennedy decided to make lemonade (or lemon drops if you ask me) out of a dire situation. She started the movement "Be Your Original Best". She is even looking for guest bloggers, so I would suggest going on over there and taking a gander at what she is doing.
Shelly took the high road. She acknowledged she has been copied, yet she decided that we could all learn from what had happened to her, we could all educate each other so it did not happen again. The day her blog launched it was all puppies and rainbows and love all around.....and then not so much.
Why Get All Nasty?
Her post on her personal blog just let readers know about the movement/blog and how we should all be aware and educate each other on the in's and outs of copying. Anyhoo - it was all very positive. Readers started leaving inspirational and "You Go Girl!" comments. But then things turned the corner. Take a look at this comment:
You guys have nothing phenomenal to be proud of. I can't see anyone wanting to copy you so stop flattering yourselves
wow... yikes... now that's not nice!
i'm against "anonymous" comments ( i really should remove that comment option)
comments are available to create constructive conversation that is "on topic"..
this comment seems to be neither.
2nd: even though it is an anonymous comment - i can track "who" was
on this blog when the comment was made... (again..shout out to PA!)
I will leave this comment "public" just to stress the point that
is is such a tough topic, and a "nasty" situation -there are obviously
lots of crazies out there who just don't get it
this comments reeks of a copy catter. you should spend more time
working on your "original ideas" and less time reading my blog
I've watched u slander my mom and her artist friends over the years and despite her attorneys and others telling u that you're wrong and have no claim against them, u continue. My mom stays true to herself even though u try to hurt her. Wonder what ur followers wld think if they knew the real story of how u stole her first design in 2003 n claimed it as ur own. She is a good Christian and refuses to say anything-she turns the other cheek. But as her son and someone who cares about her i am asking u to take a good look at urself and all te wrong u do just to get ahead. Im proud of my mom. Wld ur kids b proud of what u have done to harm so many other artists over the years with the way u bully every new artist that comes along?
ok - REALLY not nice... really?
IF (IF) you are a kid... why aren't you are school right now?
(its' mid day/ mid week... and looks like your spelling
could use a bit a school help!) again - another anonymous
i proudly, LOUDLY stand behind ALL of my designs. (why would i go to all this effort to protect images and ideas that weren't really mine?)
-it is not slander if it is true. i have fought for my rights - that's all.
- i have never stolen anyones design. on contrary - i have had ideas that i was about to launch, and decided NOT to when
others hit the market w similar designs. i go out of my way to achieve a look that is MINE.
-after copy cats, my next pet peeve is hypocritical- religious folk.
- my kids have SEEN my heartache. they are very proud of what i do- and i have done my best to teach them to be original!
(oh.. PS i have copies of all my emails from 2003 - i have carefully recorded the events of that terrible year (at recommendation from my lawyer) i don't think your mom told you the entire story!)
i'm open for comments - but if you'd like to be taken at all seriously - i'd advise you to stand behind your comments, not hide behind an anonymous claim.
I am at a loss for words to be honest - and that does not happen very often to me. I don't understand why someone would take what Shelly was doing as negative or a reason to lash out at her. It is obviously someone with a personal vendetta and if I may go out on a limb, the person, I mean their mother sounds guilty. The expression "Why doth protest so much?" comes to mind. Like I said loss for words. Where is Rodney King when we need him?