At around 3AM (central, America) I was wailing on a very large and angry stinky Beaver for the second time with Carmine the Macbook sitting open next to me, playing raunchy teen comedies on Netflix for background noise. I hear the familiar “donk!” of Twhirl, my twitter program of choice, alerting me to some new tweets. I put down my 360 controller and take a look, needing a break from the boss battle anyway.
It’s an update from Neil Gaiman, and he’s linked to this blog entry of the artist Hidden Eloise. It’s about Paperchase and how they are selling items that have plagiarized her work. This picture specifically, image from The Telegraph. Hidden Eloise’s original art is on the left, Paperchase on the right.
Indulge me, please, as plagiarism is serious business to me.
Hidden Eloise did get in contact with Paperchase in November 2009 about the issue, and by December 2009 the company brushed her off with a simple “well, they are similar, but that’s about it” statement. She couldn’t afford to hire the legal power to really chase Paperchase, so it ended there, in a way. After she posted a blog entry on February 10 explaining the situation, her followers and commenters started spreading the story and it found it’s way to Mr. Gaiman’s twitter, and he put out one simple tweet himself. He has a little under 1.5 million followers, of which I am one, and he, like I, knows that plagiarism is No Good, whether it be the written word or visual art.
A few people complained to Paperchase on behalf of Hidden Eloise before the tweet, but after Mr. Gaiman’s tweet, hundreds, if not thousands, of people emailed the company and gave them a piece of their mind. Paperchase, having a PR firm that actually knows when it’s trouble, issued a public statement and denied having distributed knowingly plagiarized work, as the design was bought from an “reputable” art studio. Hidden Eloise issued her own public statement, and it looks like The Internet has done well for her. Media outlets and lawyers and other people who can help are on her side, and want Paperchase to admit that they were in the wrong.
How is this going to end? I can’t begin to imagine what the actual ending will be, but I do have a few choice ideals, the best of them being Hidden Eloise gets monetarily compensated for Paperchase’s lack of good judgment. Ex-Paperchase employees say the company plagiarizes more work than people know about.
I’ve seen some opinions floating around that Hidden Eloise is doing this for the attention, that the work isn’t all that similar, and she’s trying to boost her renown. Obviously, these people do not have eyes that work like normal eyes. As always, there will be Naysayers, and as always, I don’t care.
Twitter can be a powerful tool, literally starting campaigns over night. This is one of the reasons I like The Internet. I might update this story later on, we’ll see.