imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? that, or it’s the catalyst to full-blown copyright infringement wars/copycat-fights (heh. see what i did there?) on the real though, there’s a fine line between inspiration and downright copying – this has come to my attention a lot more of late, and it’s an especially whacksauce concept to think about when you take into account just how many ideas we know and love are not actually original ones.

APPLE was not the first to come up with the iWhatever — i came across this article on gizmodo, revealing the truth about apple. ISAAC ASIMOV published i, robot in 1950, and the book was the inspiration for the company iRobot. the iWhatever filtered all the way to apple, and the letter i hasn’t been the same since. no one knows (or cares) about this though, and apple will forever be credited with the iWhatever (bad luck for asimov). in the end though, any other company that uses the i prefix is coming off as unoriginal in apple’s giant, overarching shadow! crazy, right? no? a little?

i know, i know, i wasn’t all that interested in whether apple had taken the i prefix from some 50s author either – the fact of the matter is that apple did with the i prefix what no one else could do. so maybe they deserve some credit here.

photo from

photo from

but the whole copy vs inspire issue really came to light for me when i was trolling fashionista (what else would i do with my time at work?) and read this article about RIHANNA‘s you da one video. she’s pictured with a badass bowl haircut and different shadows on her body created by light projections (image above, duh). even though this is a pretty rad idea, it is all too similar to a shoot  by norweigian photographer, SOLVE SUNDSBO. too similar is somewhat an understatement here – the shots are almost identical. and yet, people still defend rihanna, saying she took “inspiration” and that sundsbo should be flattered. maybe if she had given him credit at all, i would feel differently, but mostly this just adds to my negative feelings towards rihanna. same thing goes for her S&M video – you can read about that controversy here.

it doesn’t stop there though – this kind of thing has been happening for forever. THE FUGEES hit ready or not took its very famous melody riff (you’ll recognize it when you hear it) from ENYA‘s boadicea– and gave absolutely no credit. however, this is super common in the music world. remixes, edits, covers and VIPs are everywhere. artists like GIRL TALK and NORWEGIAN RECYCLING have made entire careers and more money than i will see in my lifetime, off taking other people’s work and making it their own. and it’s perfectly acceptable. even though in most cases, credit is given where credit is due, sometimes the remix is more popular than the original. where does that leave the artist? iSad, i guess.

i mean, really though, it isn’t that hard to just give credit. as an english major (yes, i’m playing this card), i spent 4 years in university using other people’s ideas to back up my own ideas – arguably, “copying” if you want to think of it that way. but that’s why citations exist. taking someone’s idea without giving them credit is called plagiarism. we all learned about it in high school/uni, so why do we turn a blind eye when it comes to making money off of it?

it doesn’t stop at music either – – H&M has recently been accused of stealing artwork from atlanta street artist TORI LACONSAY. see the comparison on fashionista (where else), here. you have to admit they’re similar – but who knows, maybe the font is just popular – surely she can’t have claim over “you look nice today”…right?

photo from

photo from

it’s clear that this epidemic is not going to be cured any time soon…or probably ever. inspiration or copycat? where we do draw the line?


One thought on “copycats

  1. Pingback: twenty thirteen « l i t t l e c i t y

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