Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Art, Lightsabers, and Intellectual Property

I recently decided to find an image to complete the logo for this blog and found myself considering intellectual property rights. While I was able to find plenty of royalty free images, nothing perfectly fit the bill, so I was stuck with the dilemma of finding a way to combine the aspects of my favorite pieces without stealing someones work. Long story short, I contacted a design company I have worked with in the past, gave them my likes and requirements, and they are designing something unique that will not violate intellectual property. Some of you may be thinking, What is the likelihood that someone would notice or even care that you copied their work? Even if it were never discovered, it still would not sit right with me.

Urban Outfitters recently came under fire for copying the ideas of an independent designer, and were met with mass protest by the social media community. From the articles and blogs I read in regards to the story, this is not the first time Urban Outfitters has been accused of such tactics. After looking at the images below, can we deduce anything other than UO copied the design? They have since pulled the neclaces from their site, and you can read more in the blog My Aim is True.

                                     Stevie Koerner's Design                  The Urban Outfitter Version

Then today I read an article regarding Lucasfilm, who has filed an injunction against Wicked Lasers for creating a Lightsaber-like laser, and I wondered where the line is drawn between direct copying and emulation. Wicked does not call their lasers "lightsabers" nor do they imply they are in any way like lightsabers. They certainly do call lightsabers to mind, but then as a Star Wars enthusiast, I could not help but make the connection.



I will be interested to see what comes of this, and if the courts will determine there is sufficient connectivity between the two to merit a lawsuit. I am not sure how I personally feel about it all, but will probably throw in my two cents in the future. Although I don't know why anyone would need such a thing, it is really damn cool! Now if it only came in purple...



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