Drawing a blank?


In the world of audio-video works, it can be difficult to show the substantial similarity between an author’s original work and somebody else’s knock-off. This is due to the large number of variable and design elements in such works, and the mostly lawful ability of someone to create an homage or ‘inspired-by’ sort of piece that apes a prior piece’s style.

Below is a link to a YTWWN reader’s original work, which lampoon’s the layperson’s lack of hockey knowledge, and includes creative and quirky hand-drawn animation adds. There is also a link to a Luminosity ad that had the author of the first video scratching his head. It is not yet known if little white spiky jagged animated streaks shot forward from his head as he did so. Is the second piece an homage to the first? A rip? To what extent is there a difference?



Last fall I was working at a design studio in Seattle called Digital Kitchen and was able to work on a personal project. For those who know me well, or even briefly, know that I am a diehard Canadian-born hockey fan (Canucks) living in the US. I decided to use this as the subject matter and wanted to get the opinions of some of my fellow American creatives on the sport of hockey, which they may or may not know anything about. I combined that with a simple cell animation style that I had yet to really experiment with.

The project turned out great and I had a lot of fun doing it. It wasn’t a style that I invented or even advanced in anyway, but rather a simplified version of some other really magnificent work.

Then last week I got a few emails and messages from design friends saying that they had seen a commercial on TV that looked exactly like my Hockey 101 video and if I had done it? I hadn’t, but still checked out the link I was being sent and sure enough it was an almost shot for shot remake with different content animations and people. It was the same simple white drawing overtop of footage as people answer questions or expressed thoughts and the imagry appeared. As opposed to my video where I hand drew each animation, theirs was a cheaper knockoff with looping animations that didn’t have the same effect. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or angry.

My animation had generated me no profit, nor was I interested in it doing so. I would have been thrilled to have been contacted by Lumosity or whoever was producing the content to create something similar to my previous video and be able to benefit that way. Instead someone basically cookie cut my concept, framing, execution, and animation without any reference to myself and generated a ton of views and is probably profiting from online and broadcast spots.

I may be wrong and just need to toughen up, but I would love to get a few more perspectives or some advice on how/if I should proceed in any way.



They thought this little monster wouldn’t notice

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Sometimes, an apparent theft will not only be an instance of copyright infringement, but also one of trademark infringement. If an artist uses a piece of art as a brand or logo, that is to mark their goods or services when marketing them to the public, it is possible for a thieving pirate to infringe said artist’s copyright and trademark rights by purloining the proprietary property. Could this have happened in the below case?



I have come to your blog via a friend.  I will try not to vent as I share my experience.  I created a flash based site so that my artwork would remain on my site.  Only recently did I create a portfolio with copyable jpgs, pngs, and the likes.  Here is my original logo I created for my site in 2006:  http://www.alisapiotrowski.com/LogoArtisticMonster-AlisaPiotrowski.png

Original Logo ArtisticMonster.com


Every so often I google my name, my art persona, and a few other choice keywords just to find my ranking.  Today I found this:


Stolen-Alisa Piotrowski's logo for Artistic Monster

They were too lazy to even change the font.

They have a week to take it down, or hire me for the logo design.  I am afraid to know what else of mine was stolen.


Thank you for having a blog where people can post and publicly humiliate those who steal.


Have a Heart.

AttorneyScott Commentary:

Today’s submission touches upon two interesting and inter-connected issues of law.

First, when an artist sets out to technnically reproduce a naturally-occurring phenomenon, such as a flower, an animal, or, as in this case, a bodily organ, the copyright protection for that depiction will be thin. The reasoning behind this is that there are only so many ways to realistically depict something like a skull or heart as it appears in nature, and if two artists set out to capture this appearance, they may do so in a substantially similar way.

Second, the submitter of the material for this post seems to take umbrage not at the theft of another artist’s work, but of the minimal creativity involved in ‘google-sourcing’ an image and then slightly tweaking it. As we have previously discussed, the creator of a derivative work obtains protection only for what she adds to the found work. What was added in the below case, and is it enough to qualify for copyright protection?



This is my 1st post here. It is what it is. I was just looking around, clicking links that go on endlessly, when I found a link off Threadless for Society 6. After browsing their site, I clicked another link to Design Milk. Here I found a “seemingly nice and sweet” art print titled “In My Heart” by Wesley Bird. Just because I’ve been looking at so many rips on the site, I googled human hearts and found the original.

Original image: 


Ripped image :


All he did was reflect it and tone it back. Anybody’s thoughts?


A Crooked Designer at Hook or By Crook?


One of the exclusive rights of a copyright holder is the right to create derivative works from the copyright holder’s copyrighted property. In other words, if you create something, you have the exclusive right to create new works that employ that work, subject to a few exceptions.  Below we have a report that Hook or by Crook has done gone and usurped Adam Jackson’s right to create derivative works, and has knocked off his work. The evidence, for your viewing pleasure, is below.



So I stumbled across this guy through a mutual friend on facebook and then noticed something slightly familiar about “his” work, I’ve been a huge fan of Adam Jackson for years so would know his work when I see it, this is why I was amazed to see UK based “illustrator” Spencer “Hook or by Crook” Douglas claiming that the t-shirts he sell’s via the HOCBC website are “original and unique”…. hmmm….. anyway, I thought “Well somebody is bound to find out soon enough…” Then a few weeks later via Instagram I saw some work by OG Able which looked familiar… jumped on facebook and as I thought a Hook or by Crook “original” was staring me in the face on the “fan” page… wow, this guy is a dick! So here we are, a blog to name and shame all the rip off people around the globe, just hit me up if you have any similar stories of people who deserve to be outed!

See the examples below, considering they look to have been traced, all the originals have way more detail and better penmanship with shading and/or color that puts the shitty HOBC stuff to shame!


If you want to see or  buy REAL ORIGINALS where I can only assume the quality of the garments and prints will beat the terrible Hook or by Crook stuff by a mile then check out the following links and support real artists creating real work.




ASOS try to get away with a blatant rip off



Sometimes, it’s pretty obvious that someone copied your design, even if they change it up a little, or “make it shittier”, as design duo Doublenaut put it in the case below, submitted by a YTWWN reader. In a case of such obvious inspiration–and bold Twitter tactics–what could ASOS muster up in defense? Of course, they could insist that their designers came up with the graphic all on their own, but they may also choose to meticulously point out all the differences in the two designs to try to prove that the two designs aren’t that alike after all. You know,  Doublenot’s wolf has an arrow in its mouth while ASOS’ weapon looks like a sword. Doublenot puts an eye above the wolf’s head, but ASOS crowns its wolf. The trouble for ASOS is that a “dissimilarity analysis” is improper. Courts will not accept a step-by-step dissection of dissimilar characteristics to prove that two designs aren’t identical.  So, what do you think? Is ASOS just out of luck on this one?


I was scrolling through my twitter feed last night, only to notice a retweet from one of my international friends about ASOS and a Toronto based duo called Doublenaut. Someone pointed it out to them that ASOS had basically stolen a design of theirs. I did actually have quite a bit of respect for ASOS until now. It makes you wonder, how many other designs have they stolen?


Link to Double Naut Store (Original):


Link to ASOS store (Rip-off):



The guys from Doublenaut have been in contact with the ASOS help desk and it looks like they were fobbed off.


Doublenaut have since been told that ASOS are looking into it.


I understand that it could be the work of one designer faker within ASOS who is stealing designs and trying to make themselves look good, but it really just makes the whole company look bad. If this is the case then the faker in question should be named, shamed and then fired. We will update this story with more details as the situation unfolds.

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