Sunday, April 20, 2008

Theft=Highest Form of Flattery?

Relaying a link on request.

Yesterday, my pal Darren Di Lieto, from The Little Chimp Society website, emailed with some upsetting news. Turns out someone scraped the contents of his website and published it into a 350-page book being sold online for $100. You can read more on this post in Darren’s blog.

This book — which reprints without permission several dozen artist interviews which Darren had posted on the LCS blog — transcribes these interviews word-for-word, including the artwork, and was “published” under the title “Colorful Illustrations 93°C”. The book even includes a CD with all the illustrations from the book, all lifted off the site as well.


The publisher — one very fake sounding “Great Creativity organization” [sic] — is allegedly in Hong Kong, so pursuing legal action seems pretty pointless, seeing as China has such a sparkling reputation for respecting copyright law. The ISBN they provide — ISBN 978-988-98142-0-5 — is also a fake. You can easily search ISBN databases online, and this number comes up empty.

The international black market for intellectual property has done some good (see certain Thai revolutions during which the government couldn't prevent DVD footage of government massacres from being distributed), but stuff like this is still immensely frustrating. Still more frustrating are some of the comments on this blog. One girl actually posted,

perhaps, if approached, they will give you some of the money. and perhaps they are interested in future projects. theft is, after all, the highest form of flattery. regardless, you can feel proud that you have influenced another culture.

ps. i am broke, too.

And when she was told this is ridiculous and that profiting from someone else's work without crediting them--let alone paying them--is theft, she replied,

personally, i find that theft comes in a little higher on the scale, than flattery, but i am certain we can agree to differ.

That's what should really be alarming. Someone else posted that things posted in electronic format can't be copyrighted. The hell, people.

But really, China does this kind of crap all the time. I'm not sure what can be done beyond just reposting this and cluttering up search engines with bad press.

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