I may be going to far here. But is this a clear ripoff?

Hartinez

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Just saw this drawing come up on the auction site. The “artist” is claiming it is his drawing, which it very well may be, but it is also clearly a rip off of a print made of one of @Eric Schrader bonsai done by Kelli Mcconel art. I’ve shared her page several times in the last weeks. I hate to bring this stuff up, but as a designer/artist who makes a living on there craft, false claims of originality with out due credit drives me nuts. That may not be exactly what’s happening here. But maybe?

help me out nuts, am I being ridiculous


here is the art in question.

6B02BBC2-1EB8-46B0-A2A0-622450AB73BF.jpeg
8353EE4C-B94C-484B-A49F-ECB3BFC96EA4.jpeg

And here is the original print by Kelli Mcconel being sold on bonsaify.com by @Eric Schrader of one of his trees.

E69840B3-7DC6-49C3-A703-A9AFA61B5DEF.jpeg

lastly. Here is Eric’s original tree.
 

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Hartinez

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Here is the original tree by Eric
I’m sure nothing can be done. It’s just annoying to me.
 

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caffeinated

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There's no way to know whether it's misappropriated or not. The best way to approach it might be to email the principal artists involved to let them know and ask if they're aware of it. They may know each other or have given their blessing, or they stole the image and you can shame away!
 

ShadyStump

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I'm saying yes, it's a blatant rip off.
Different style, but clearly the same tree. @caffeinated probably stated the best way to go about it. Remember to stay professional.
 

Potawatomi13

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Very similar however drawing in question seems to be perfected version of tree/not exactly same. Use of negative space/more aged natural tree IMO better tree w/better trunk exposure. May use original as model to design better tree. Is this plagiarism if seller made better picture:confused:🤨? Personally consider drawing unique/different/legitimate. Also excellent talent😌.
 

leatherback

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I don't know. The drawing is his own work right? I think it comes down to the question whether the design of bonsai is somehow owned by the artist. Using someones pictures is one thing, there are clear agreed upon rules for that. But if you post a picture of your tree online, and someone creates a drawing off it, is that OK? I do not know.
 

Hartinez

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There's no way to know whether it's misappropriated or not. The best way to approach it might be to email the principal artists involved to let them know and ask if they're aware of it. They may know each other or have given their blessing, or they stole the image and you can shame away!
I messaged the original bonsai artist. It’s def a drawing of his tree from an Instagram photo. It’s not my place to call the guy out. It does look like though the guy may be in copyright violation of Instagrams rules. Again not my place though. Interesting and muddy waters for sure and another example of how Bonsai as an art is such a gray area topic.
 

Hartinez

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Very similar however drawing in question seems to be perfected version of tree/not exactly same. Use of negative space/more aged natural tree IMO better tree w/better trunk exposure. May use original as model to design better tree. Is this plagiarism if seller made better picture:confused:🤨? Personally consider drawing unique/different/legitimate. Also excellent talent😌.
Yup, looks like the drawing is of the original tree not the print. Also, just to point out, the original print is a lithograph style print. The print was created by hand carving a block of wood to create a giant stamp and the prints are then created from that stamp. An amazing process and an absolute work of art. Just different then a hand drawing.
 

Hartinez

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I probably am being a bit ridiculous. It’s just interesting because I had been sharing this girls work on this site for the last week or so and it’s odd that of all of Eric’s trees to do a drawing of, he happened to do a drawing of the one tree that Eric had already done an artist collaboration of. Weird coincidence? Not sure.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I don't know. The drawing is his own work right? I think it comes down to the question whether the design of bonsai is somehow owned by the artist. Using someones pictures is one thing, there are clear agreed upon rules for that. But if you post a picture of your tree online, and someone creates a drawing off it, is that OK? I do not know.
Yes, that is OK.
Even copyright wise, if a drawing differs on at least five points from another, it's not considered a copy but a 'work inspired by'.

Just because one artist has put a whole lot of serious work into something, that doesn't mean other people aren't allowed to do something similar with the same "model". Otherwise we wouldn't be able to produce anything that looks like something that has been produced in the past - this battle has been fought in the courts many times and there are precedents everywhere. Registered models can have a portrait right in Europe that allows them to get a percentage for every time their face or body is used, but that's humans, not objects.

And then there's the right to parody.. Which is a whole new level of faded rules and grey areas - and it screws the original artist in every sense. I've used the right to parody to steal music from great artists and play it as my own, for money. Which was insane, because it was basically a free pass to use anything we liked as long as we told people it was a joke.

Is it nice? Absolutely not. Should the original be mentioned? Absolutely. Credits are due here.

Is it legal and allowed to produce a piece of work based on what other did? Fortunately, yes.
 

Gr8tfuldad

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My wife is an artist that used paper mache medium to make masks. She was selling them on Etsy. Chinese company took her designs and mass manufactured them. People suck sometimes.
 

amcoffeegirl

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If he is selling prints of his original art work then he is allowed to do that. If he is selling prints of someone else’s original art then he would be in violation. If he used someone else’s art to make his own then there could be issues???
Did you message the admins of the auction?
What was their response?
Does bonsaifly know?
 

Hartinez

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If he is selling prints of his original art work then he is allowed to do that. If he is selling prints of someone else’s original art then he would be in violation. If he used someone else’s art to make his own then there could be issues???
Did you message the admins of the auction?
What was their response?
Does bonsaifly know?
I did let Eric Schrader of Bonsaify know. I did not contact the auction admin. I figured I would leave that up to Eric if he wanted. Since he is also selling prints of the same tree, it affects his business not mine. As everyone said, and as I kind of figured, I don’t think much could be done. It just surprised me and irked me a bit.
 

keri-wms

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This is interesting to me as I’ve done drawings of bonsai from books / mags over the years, and always thought it would be illegal to sell them (in the UK anyway). Half the time I can’t remember who to credit the tree to anyway!
 

ShadyStump

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I don't know. The drawing is his own work right? I think it comes down to the question whether the design of bonsai is somehow owned by the artist. Using someones pictures is one thing, there are clear agreed upon rules for that. But if you post a picture of your tree online, and someone creates a drawing off it, is that OK? I do not know.
This is a good point. It would be quite similar to the concept of reproducing someone's garden in your own landscaping. It's not able to be copyrighted because there will always be certain natural effects- differences in weather, individual plants growing slightly differently, etc- that the maker can't account for.

I suppose in the OP case, it's more a rip off in the sense of one artist trying to capitalize on the success of another by creating a similar work for the same market in stead of a truly original concept. He could have chosen any of a thousand trees and done just fine, but he intentionally chose this exact tree because another's work related to it was already in demand.
 

Bonsai Nut

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This is interesting to me as I’ve done drawings of bonsai from books over the years, and always thought it would be illegal to sell them (in the UK anyway).
It depends. It is definitely not black and white - you may or may not be in violation.

Case I: The image in the book is of a bonsai in a public garden that is seen and photographed by many people. Your drawing, though similar, is not an exact perfect replica of the bonsai in the photo. Probably not in violation if you tried to sell your work.

Case II: The image in the book is of a tree in a private exhibition. Photos in the exhibition were otherwise expressly prohibited. The image appeared in a unique book and no other images similar to that one exist elsewhere. The image was created using a paid professional, or otherwise making use of proprietary skills, equipment, or processes. Your drawing is a very close likeness of the image in the book. You would probably be in violation if you tried to sell your image.

It also depends on the country. Some countries embrace intellectual property protections, others (notably China) do not. So move to China and you can draw all you want... of anything :)
 

ShadyStump

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Makes me think of a situation here where we have tourist attraction bridge. There's one particular spot to stand take a photo that gets the best angle on the whole ridge. Someone copyrighted their picture once, and then spread the rumor that no one else is ever allowed to publicize or sell their pictures taken from that spot any more. Virtually impossible to enforce because of the nature of the terrain and the nature of photography. A copyrighted photo really only means that you can't use that exact photo without permission, but taking your own that's virtually identical is legally fine.
 

Bonsai Nut

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keri-wms

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It depends. It is definitely not black and white - you may or may not be in violation.

Case I: The image in the book is of a bonsai in a public garden that is seen and photographed by many people. Your drawing, though similar, is not an exact perfect replica of the bonsai in the photo. Probably not in violation if you tried to sell your work.

Case II: The image in the book is of a tree in a private exhibition. Photos in the exhibition were otherwise expressly prohibited. The image appeared in a unique book and no other images similar to that one exist elsewhere. The image was created using a paid professional, or otherwise making use of proprietary skills, equipment, or processes. Your drawing is a very close likeness of the image in the book. You would probably be in violation if you tried to sell your image.

It also depends on the country. Some countries embrace intellectual property protections, others (notably China) do not. So move to China and you can draw all you want... of anything :)
I pretty much use my imagination for tree drawings these days to play it safe - pondered online prints etc but as soon as an image is out there is gets ripped off.

As for China I have personal dealings with a UK business getting a Chinese company to manufacture their product - next thing they start selling it themselves. Fairly standard practice/risk!
 

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