This is a difficult post to write. It’s hard to put words to something you are unclear about, or don’t know the full story behind. The question is about whether there should even BE a question. Allow me to explain.
I love trolling through flickr.com. Who doesn’t? It’s fun to see what people come up with and how their creativity might spark something inside of you. So, making my usual rounds I stumbled onto the Artist in Question (A.i.Q.) offering a seamless tile texture: Exhibit A.
This tile looks really familiar to me, plus the fact that it’s seamless gets my attention. (FYI: seamless in graphic design terms means that you can repeat an image flawlessly.) I hopped onto a website I have used in the past, and found something remarkably similar: Exhibit B.
Now, should the A.i.Q. have to explain themselves? It’s clear from comments on the website that the original image (Exhibit B) was posted at least a year prior to copy (Exhibit A). I don’t know. I didn’t feel right about revealing any of the names of the parties involved, but I did wonder where do we draw the line? Since this isn’t an exact copy (the curvatures are different and there seems to be a “map” layer not used by the A.i.Q.) – should it matter?
So if this wasn’t complicated enough, the A.i.Q. does it again with another texture. However, this time the “map” of the image is identical. The effects and colors placed on the “map” are unique. Below is the animated GIF demonstrating the identical map. If you look at any point, you can see that the A.i.Q. solely modified the lighting and color scheme.
Do we care? I don’t know.
I think the part in ALL of this that probably irks me the most is the outright arrogance of the A.i.Q. on their flickr descriptions for these textures. Each texture goes into a lengthy copyright agenda written with venom and snark, for example:
“ ..I do not place quantifiable limits on art. by “minimally altered” I mean someone that takes my texture and puts some text over top. That is not art or an artwork that is laziness…”
Again, do we care? I don’t know.