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Good artists copy, great artists steal

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Good artists copy, great artists steal

Postby skynet » Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:06 am

Facebook contiues to do what they are very good at: Copying other people's ideas. Everyone does it but facebook was supposedly founded on stealing ideas. Now they continue the legacy so they seem to recently stand out a little more than the others. I guess this is the "new age" open philosophy of doing business.



So you have to be able to steal the good ideas and steal them as fast as you can so you can claim them as part of your own creation even if everyone knows the ideas were already there previously or in production somewhere else. If this is the way it is really going to be as this new standard is continually being set, then I think all ideas should be open and free to use. If you're going to copy or steal from everyone, then everyone should be free to copy and steal from you....just throw the idea up with a few adjustments, different name and there you go. It's "original" yet again. What's fair is fair, right? Maybe we should just put everything under a friendlier term such as Open Source.

Should we be getting used to this way of "creating" ideas while our extremely corrupt monetary system, economy and other systems continue to snowball out of control into a blissful stupefaction? The disregard for common sense and humanity seems to be in full swing within most big establishments: banks, corporations, education, government, etc... so maybe we'll have to all simultaneously evolve with it and every preconceived idea should be free to use when all is said and done. At least this is what seems to already be going on more and more as time goes by. One of these days people/companies wont be able to sue other people/companies because everyone will have already stolen from everyone else.

If you look around, what else are we also seeing? The big corporations or establishments are sucking up other smaller companies. It's a vicious cycle where ultimately we may not know the outcome. Is it OK for these larger companies to keep buying up other companies left and right. Who knows? But imagine a distant future where everything you need is supplied by one company and you also work for the company? It's a bizarre thought but not impossible. I'm not saying any of the currently existing companies will be like this, but if there is an extreme economic failure someone will probably step in and buy everything up. That's the way money works in certain hands.

Anyway, no one wants to see their ideas and creations showing up somewhere else. It's "human" to believe that you own all your ideas but is it natural? Philosophically it can get too complicated to argue. What or who created humans and everything in this world? I'm not speaking for any religion, but does "God" or the "creator" have a copyright or patent on everything that exists before we do? If a creator owns a creation wouldn't your creator own you and everything you create? Did a creator put a patent on DNA, atoms, molecules, the earth, the sun, black holes, radio waves, sounds waves and light waves? If you believe that there is no creator, does that mean no one can create or own anything, or is it all up for grabs?

BTW: I don't dislike facebook. I use it occasionally and it's pretty good for what it does, just like some other social web sites. It's an advanced communication device. I just can't get overly obsessed communicating with or through something that isn't real, but then you can ask, "What is real?"

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Great Social Networks Steal
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Re: Good artists copy, great artists steal

Postby Charles » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:57 pm

That's a great commentary you provided Skynet.

I wholeheartedly disagree with that philosophy as it applies to artists. I read the linked article and I see a difference between social networks lifting ideas from each other as opposed to artists literally copying and stealing like they tend to do in that area of the Internet.

I've heard that saying before and I'm surprised that more people in the creative community aren't taking genuine offense at it over the years.

If good artists copy and great artists steal, then the greatest of artists originate.

Only copiers and thieves believe that good artists copy and great artists steal. It's one thing to be creatively influenced. That's only natural. But to advocate copying and stealing as a measure of artistic greatness is not something I agree with at all.
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Re: Good artists copy, great artists steal

Postby Charles » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:38 pm

I posted a link to this topic on AN's homepage last night and in that time the views have started to accumulate.

For September 16, 2011
http://www.animationnation.com/

Do good artists copy? Do great artists steal?

Other sites and blogs are picking up on this and posting links to the topic as well. This is an excellent subject and a great commentary Skynet. Something that artists should be addressing and coming to terms from long ago. Picasso or Steve Jobs or whoever may have endorsed this kind of thinking, it still doesn't make it right. This will help in getting the word out that there's better ways to go besides giving honor to copying and stealing.
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Re: Good artists copy, great artists steal

Postby Davelyman » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:09 pm

My first year of college I was taking a fine arts class. Our instructor, Mr. Lum, would give us an assignment and after about a half hour of working on it, he would say "okay, its time to cheat and steal". We all had to get up and see what everyone else was doing for their assignment. It was inspiring to see what everyone elses take on the assignment was. And, as Mr Lum would say, it prevents us from reinventing the wheel. We would return to our own project and incorporate some of these techniques and ideas into our own projects. "Cheating and Stealing" lifted the quality of the art of the entire class. But what made it amazing is that the art didn't end up all looking the same, but rather everyone did their own take on it. Everyone made it their own.

One of the very first movies Walt Disney ever saw was Snow White. Later, as everyone knows, Walt would "steal" that story and make it his own. As he would many other stories.

So "cheating and stealing" is okay, only as long as you put your own spin on whatever it is you steal. Otherwise you only end up reinventing the wheel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ioBjbPliU

Led Zeppelin was great at stealing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjPAEPFaxoM
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Re: Good artists copy, great artists steal

Postby skynet » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:24 pm

I wasn't thinking about all the categories this topic covers while I was typing it up, but it does obviously cover all things. Actually all the ideas I mention here are not original to me. I didn't purposely take them from anything but I know they've been around forever. In fact on a particularly illusive state of mind I believe that everything has always existed. We just can't see it, hear it, smell it, touch it or taste it until it is brought into a physical space where we can experience it. Then for psychological and some other necessary reasons we claim that space as our personal property. Maybe in the future people will start putting copyright and patents on things they haven't thought of or created yet, as in something like Minority Report.

True creation is kind of mysterious to me though. There seems to be no way of knowing if you are creating something or just assembling one of the infinite possibilities that exist in a sub-consciousness field where space and time is not measurable or understood. Sounds like I'm getting "spiritual" but "science" can show us the same thing. It gets fuzzy when you merge into the quantum aspect but then there's also the fact that this world, the universe and beyond is so immense that there could possibly be an infinite number of other beings doing or that have done the same thing we are doing right now. No one can know, but does it matter? Not really. Why should we care what some being 200 light years from here is doing, at least not until we can travel that far in a brief period of time to tell them that they are stealing our ideas.

As Davelyman said, I also believe a larger part of it has to do with how you spin the ideas. There have been times where I've created new things while studying someone's stuff and then after a while I start to realize that my creation is nothing like the stuff I was getting ideas from. What I've noticed in my own work is that it ends up being harder for me to copy and easier to turn it into something more original. It may have a similar feel but it wont feel like where it came from. What I call it is inspiration because a little inspiration is sometimes all I need to ignite a spark that can explode into a whole new sphere of hot plasma.

Ultimately I think what we have to do, while we are these "human being" things that we call ourselves, is "do the right thing" or examine it ethically. We can't walk around stealing everything, no matter what it is, because we perceive that as a very wrong or immoral thing to do. I believe that whatever it is we do when we create, it is far more honorable, respectable and in the realm of genius when you create something that is "original" or at least not lifted directly from someone's work that you are familiar with. Plus, there is a lot more personal satisfaction when you know that you did your best at creating something that you can honestly say is all you.
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