I hate copying. Say what you will about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, but I disagree.
Someone who copies your work is not going out of their way to flatter you. They just want to take your work and profit off it, in one way or the other. They want to kill-steal all your hard effort because they don’t have any morals or creativity.
It happens a lot in animation, and it absolutely disgusts me. For example, check out this nice animation of a sneaky ninja:
Six months ago, I was following this guy’s progress on the 11 Second Club animation forums and I was really impressed by how well it was turning out.
Then just earlier today, I saw someone post a demo-reel that looked like this:
(Update: the guy has since removed his video… but trust me – it was exactly the same, but badly done. Same color schemes, same character, same concept)
Did that opening shot look familiar to you? Does that make your stomach churn just a little bit? I tasted bile in my mouth when I saw it.
Now this is a demo-reel, meaning this person is planning to send this out to animation studios in an effort to get a job. It’s not some guy just messing around and recreating his favorite scene from Star Wars. Is there really any difference between this and someone applying for a job and stating on their resume that they invented the telephone, the iPod and fire? If it’s not your original idea, then you shouldn’t be using it to get yourself a job.
It gets worse. Check out this other “demo reel”, and fast-forward to the shot at 0:40 seconds.
You might find it hard to understand why this character suddenly runs on the spot – it just doesn’t make any sense, unless the ground is incredibly slippery or something… except there isn’t any indication of that at all.
However, it ends up making sense if you’ve seen this other shot. As you can see, there are a whole bunch of ball bearings on the ground in this shot, which would then make perfect sense for the character to slip and fall.
This thief has blindly copied a shot, frame by frame, without even trying to understand the concept. I think this is even worse, because it just goes to show how lazy the idea-thief is.
These two examples are of animation-theft, but really the problem goes far beyond just the animation industry. People copy stuff all the time in movies, music, and writing – and then profit off it.
Hell, Christopher Paolini copied the Star Wars movies, replaced the lightsabers with dragons, and then sold it off as the Eragon books to a new generation of kids that don’t know what a Jedi is. You honestly can’t argue that the two stories are virtually identical, beat for beat, character for character.
I know that you can’t find original ideas anymore because everything new is inspired by something that came before or based on the same archetypes etc… but in these examples, it’s really just the same thing with no real effort to even alter any details.
And it does hurt people. Imagine if someone came to your blog, copied and pasted entire blog posts, and then stuck it on their own blogs and passed it off as their own ideas and opinions? What if someone took your tweets, and put it up as their own – not a retweet, not a quotation, but their own “original” tweet? What if these people made money or got jobs because of this?
Anyway, here’s another link that explains how wrong it is to copy, except from a furniture design perspective. Yes, copying and idea-stealing exists in the furniture world too!
So please… don’t do it! And curb-stomp anyone you find doing it!