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Thread: Coincidence or Thievery?

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    Varsity Member JoeG's Avatar
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    Coincidence or Thievery?

    I do not believe that I have ever mentioned on the threads that I am a visual artist. There has been a discussion of late amongst some artist friends of mine over Target and their blatant use of artwork in advertisements and products. I am generally a frequent customer at Target, however as I begin to see more and more examples of this supposed thievery I can't help but start to reconsider shopping there. I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

    A couple of examples:

    A T-shirt found in Target


    One of many paintings to feature this type of image by artist Tim Biskup.


    A commercial by Target


    Painting by Eric White

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    What's a visual artist?

    And, you've taken the time to confirm that Target didn't license these images before accusing them of stealing them, right?

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    Target isn't run by a bunch of monkeys. Where they use other people's intellectual property, I am sure they have acquired the appropriate permission or license.
    BenR

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    Super Moderator Shomas's Avatar
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    @MikeAD91: I'm assuming a visual artist is someone who makes art that is intended to be viewed by the human eye - or was that a rhetorical question?

    The latter image looks more like reference or homage than theft to me (always a tricky line, but that's my knee-jerk take). The tshirt, assuming it's not licensed, is a bit more shady. Could be a coincidence, I suppose, but it looks a little more like a copy.

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    Varsity Member JoeG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAD91 View Post
    What's a visual artist?
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_arts

    And yes these claims were brought to my attention by the artist that created the original art. Just to be clear, I am not trying to instigate a witch hunt. I have suggested shopping at Target several times here on these forums. I myself shop there at least every other week, and wear their socks and shirts on a daily basis.

    Target may not even be to blame. It could come down to the advertisement/marketing company, and the designer/vendor that supplied the shirts.
    Last edited by JoeG; February 20th, 2013 at 10:01 AM.

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    Super Moderator LesserBlackDog's Avatar
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    Are those shirts even Target brand? I've never seen sizing stickers like that on Target items, nor have I ever seen Target offer size extra-small in its men's apparel.
    BenR

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    Quote Originally Posted by LesserBlackDog View Post
    Are those shirts even Target brand? I've never seen sizing stickers like that on Target items, nor have I ever seen Target offer size extra-small in its men's apparel.
    Those are boy's shirts. The Circo shirts have those size stickers on them.

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    Super Moderator greg_s's Avatar
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    This is a really interesting concept. Where is the line between using another's idea and running with it, an homage, and theft? Also, where does one draw the line with a place like Target potentially copying images? It seems the first one is much like a copy while the second more of a hat-tip (like shomas said). I would still be hard pressed to believe Target simply stole the images, but hey it's not out of the realm of possibility. Additionally, one has to consider (not that this is a justification if they did steal it) some of the reciprocal attention an artist might get if a place like Target uses their images.

    I think that taking little bits from all over the place is common in design of any kind, but that does seem extreme.
    "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shomas View Post
    @MikeAD91: I'm assuming a visual artist is someone who makes art that is intended to be viewed by the human eye - or was that a rhetorical question?

    The latter image looks more like reference or homage than theft to me (always a tricky line, but that's my knee-jerk take). The tshirt, assuming it's not licensed, is a bit more shady. Could be a coincidence, I suppose, but it looks a little more like a copy.

    It was a real question, I was trying to avoid assuming. I wasn't sure if it was something more specific. The arts are not my area of interest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greg_s View Post
    This is a really interesting concept. Where is the line between using another's idea and running with it, an homage, and theft? Also, where does one draw the line with a place like Target potentially copying images? It seems the first one is much like a copy while the second more of a hat-tip (like shomas said). I would still be hard pressed to believe Target simply stole the images, but hey it's not out of the realm of possibility. Additionally, one has to consider (not that this is a justification if they did steal it) some of the reciprocal attention an artist might get if a place like Target uses their images.

    I think that taking little bits from all over the place is common in design of any kind, but that does seem extreme.
    I remember stuff like this coming up years ago: http://www.miketyndall.com/todd_goldman/

    Not sure what kind of IP protection there is on this kind of stuff, if anything.

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