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Only be sure always to call it please "research"
April 16, 2010 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Nobody is saying anyone is ripping anybody off. They are just SIMILAR is all.

'The pairs of images in this "Similarities" set are similar visually in one way or another. They are presented without judgement as to the motives of their creators. The viewers of the pieces can form their own opinion(s) about what they see.' Some are accidents, some are homages, others are examples of appropriation and re-contextualisation. Via Design Observer, before anyone points out the similarity.
posted by WPW (48 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
I so want this to be a double post.
posted by mazola at 9:12 AM on April 16, 2010 [29 favorites]


Saul Bass on the Anatomy of a Murder/Clockers homage: "'The convention is when anyone steals something, they call it an homage.''
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:12 AM on April 16, 2010


Rule 1: When copying previous design, remove shirts from females in the image and make their boobies bigger.
posted by contessa at 9:19 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh man. Concert posters aren't all composed of original artwork?! My world is crumbling!

Some cool design throughout.
posted by ODiV at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2010


very interesting
posted by caddis at 9:22 AM on April 16, 2010


787404 Represent! (not that i currently live in the '04 or could '04ord to (bad pun, on the spot))

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24140210@N05/2862790451/in/set-72157607329841191/
posted by djduckie at 9:24 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like how every image in the set is tagged with 'plagiarism'. There's no such thing as homage, coincidence, appropriation, etc. It's all plagiarism.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:26 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like how every image in the set is tagged with 'plagiarism'. There's no such thing as homage, coincidence, appropriation, etc. It's all plagiarism.
posted by mattdidthat at 9:27 AM on April 16, 2010 [46 favorites]


I am totally going to plagiarize that '04ord pun.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:27 AM on April 16, 2010


very interesting
posted by chinston at 9:28 AM on April 16, 2010


Dirtdirt, the creator of the set does draw that distinction in his description; why he then spoils his non-judgmental attitude in the tags is beyond me.
posted by WPW at 9:32 AM on April 16, 2010


Nobody is saying anyone is ripping anybody off. They are just SIMILAR is all.

...Only be sure always to call it please "research"
posted by not_on_display at 9:49 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have been a much more interesting set with dates attached. As it is, I don't know enough about pop culture to form any sort of coherent narrative about these items. I wish I knew if they happened around the same time or at wildly different times.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:50 AM on April 16, 2010


The dates are all in the titles, for most of them.
posted by graventy at 9:56 AM on April 16, 2010


So they are! Thank you for point that out to me! This just got much more interesting.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:57 AM on April 16, 2010


There's a guy I know who's earned the nickname "Xerox" for copying so many ideas. It's sad to see how widespread a practice this is.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 10:00 AM on April 16, 2010


"Dirtdirt, the creator of the set does draw that distinction in his description; why he then spoils his non-judgmental attitude in the tags is beyond me."

A Freudian tag?
posted by bz at 10:07 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


SIMILAR is one of the strangest photo collection I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these people got their propaganda posters wedged in their Flickr sets, or why.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:08 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bully's Separated at Birth is an awesome source for this w/r/t comics covers.
posted by griphus at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is fun and fascinating, WPW, thanks for posting it.
posted by mediareport at 10:24 AM on April 16, 2010


Enh. The pairings seem to be pretty evenly split between lazy concert posters and knowing appropriation, neither of which move me to anything like outrage (that Gettysburg Address cover is a touch problematic, though, IMO).

I give "appropriation" as an assignment for my 1st-year BFA students. The guidelines I give them is that the appropriated source should either (a) be familiar to a reasonably informed audience, (b) of a type where the source could reasonably be deduced (the Soviet propaganda posters would be a reasonable example of this—I don't need to have seen the specific poster in question to be able to surmise that the source was a Soviet propaganda poster) or (c) specifically cited or otherwise acknowledged.

Then the task is that the appropriation should somehow "create a new meaning for" the image (and Sherrie Levine did the "appropriation for appropriation's sake" thing, so one has to go farther than that).

If those conditions are met, you're good to go, for all I'm concerned.
posted by wreckingball at 10:33 AM on April 16, 2010 [5 favorites]


So the quick and cheap path to collecting artwork from either the Cold War or pre-World War Two is to rip concert posters off the sides of buildings.



Sweet.
posted by Atreides at 10:34 AM on April 16, 2010


Like ODiV pointed out, isn't this normal for music posters? I know a lot of (local) musicians here in Nashville, and almost no one designs original artwork for posters. The effort isn't worth it when you're playing at dives across town every weekend, but you still need to catch people's attention. Find an image of a gorgeous old propaganda poster, slap your band's name over the text, and print on goldenrod paper.

My friends and I try to Name That Source with all the flyers stapled on poles all over town. That new book with Joe Shuster's fetish art has served as a goldmine, it seems.
posted by Toothless Willy at 10:36 AM on April 16, 2010


what about reading articles in the Economist that strangely echo the points made in an article from back in Feb in a design zine site? what does that fall under? inspiration? ;p derivation? even the intro starts off with the same academic quoted
posted by infini at 10:38 AM on April 16, 2010


People create things based upon what they've experienced. News at Eleven.

This is exactly why I think copyright (monopoly) should be limited to twenty years, on the outside. Everyone should feel free to riff on what they grew up with. It's the only sane position.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:42 AM on April 16, 2010


Holy cats, I have a site exactly like this one.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:53 AM on April 16, 2010


Have some of the people who are like "well, simply referencing or being similar isn't a crime! No big deal!" even looked at the link?

Some of them are "riffs" or homage. But a lot of them are like this, which seems intellectually lazy and morally suspect to me. Especially when those posters tend to sell for $25+. At the very least, I'm glad somewhere on the internet is pointing this stuff out.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:10 AM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's no secret that a conscience can sometimes be a pest
It's no secret ambition bites the nails of success
Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief
posted by hippybear at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always though concert posters were supposed to be rip-offs of awesome graphic design you'd never seen because you don't read graphic design books all day unlike concert poster designers.
posted by GuyZero at 11:14 AM on April 16, 2010


Talent imitates, genius steals.

El Vez has some pretty good album cover homages: El Vez Calling (original), Graciasland (original), and GI Ay, Ay! Blues (original).
posted by kirkaracha at 11:18 AM on April 16, 2010


WPW, the creator of the set does draw that distinction in his description; why he then spoils his non-judgmental attitude in the tags is beyond me.

I think maybe this is reading too much into the tags. I think the descriptions are an accurate reading of the set creator's feelings, the tags are just a way for people on Flickr to find the images. Plagiarism might not be his preferred word to describe it but it would be a word to describe it and would help people find the set; that's probably it, really. The tags are for other people.

This is a great set, thanks for posting it! I love this kind of thing (poster art, propaganda art and appropriated art.) Great stuff!
posted by drstupid at 11:19 AM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


I used to make flyers for shows... the premise is pretty much always "blow up a familiar existing image and put band names on it". Not sure that's plagiarism per se, as with some of these (like the Little Richard poster).
posted by zvs at 11:21 AM on April 16, 2010


If this kind of doubling of ideas (copying plagiarizing whatever) interests you, check out joelapompe.net which deals with advertisements instead of posters.

[Warning: much of the site is in French, and on rare occasions there may be an ad considered vaguely NSFW]
posted by komara at 11:31 AM on April 16, 2010


Talent imitates, genius steals.

No one is going to accuse this artist of ripping of Leonardo, some people make their entire living off it. If the piece or movement is well known enough that the proper citation is embedded in our cultural DNA, its a homage.

But when you treat obscure art as your own personal clip art collection, you're worst than a thief, you're a hack. At least a thief can say he needed the money.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:04 PM on April 16, 2010




Isn't this kind of a big problem with the internets, too? The lines here aren't always exactly clear.
posted by jasonsmall at 12:26 PM on April 16, 2010


Plagiarism might not be his preferred word to describe it but it would be a word to describe it and would help people find the set; that's probably it, really.

(b_caruthers is the only person who has used "plagiarsim" as a tag.)
posted by Lucinda at 12:46 PM on April 16, 2010


i'm surprised this hasn't been linked yet: you thought we wouldn't notice.
posted by eatdonuts at 1:04 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lucinda, I think that's just because he misspelled "plagiarism".
posted by Danila at 1:07 PM on April 16, 2010


He didn't misspell it - he transposed elements of it to create a derivative word.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:36 PM on April 16, 2010 [4 favorites]


So creative types...aren't?
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:07 PM on April 16, 2010


Isn't this kind of a big problem with the internets, too?

This internet is almost an exact copy of the earlier one, too.
posted by dhartung at 4:46 PM on April 16, 2010


Isn't this kind of a big problem with the internets, too?

The internet you're on now is a perfect copy of the other one, too.
posted by klarck at 4:57 PM on April 16, 2010


oh awesome, great source for concert poster ideas. thanks!
posted by fatbaq at 5:18 PM on April 16, 2010


But when you treat obscure art as your own personal clip art collection, you're worst than a thief, you're a hack. At least a thief can say he needed the money.

I can understand being miffed that someone managed to make money where you didn't. But really, who's fault is that? You even had first-mover advantage. If Joe Blow can make money off your crap and you can't, you need to start taking notes from Joe Blow.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:17 PM on April 16, 2010


Thanks for the Glaser link, egypturnash. Everyone has their influences, but I believe it's not who you take it from, it's where you take it to. There's a difference between building on the shoulders of giants, and just ripping off some old propaganda posters.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 7:51 PM on April 16, 2010


I can understand being miffed that someone managed to make money where you didn't.

Because money is the only arbiter of anything worthwhile.
posted by sneebler at 10:15 PM on April 16, 2010


Because money is the only arbiter of anything worthwhile.

Not really sure where you're going with that. The basis of the discussion seems to assume as much, but I suspect we're in agreement (in our disagreement) there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:31 PM on April 16, 2010


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