So, What’s The Line Between Copied and Inspired?

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Illustration By
Abdurrahman Rabbani
Adhelia Sani Pramita

“What’s mine is yours” isn’t flattering much when it comes to plagiarism. Unfortunately, till today plagiarism still become a hot issue, especially in creative industry. Far from kiss and make up, the ‘war’ between artist and ‘fraught’ artist don’t end just yet. Furthermore, there are some debates about what’s the line between ‘copied’ and ‘inspired’.

In December 2018, fashion industry jolted by the Supreme X Samsung collaboration in China. It’s not because it’s the coolest collaboration ever, it’s because the collaboration actually doesn’t involve Supreme. When Supreme USA confirms the collaboration is a false, it seems the only Supreme left was Supreme Italia or known as the ‘fake’ Supreme. For many years the battle between Supreme USA vs Supreme Italia has taken a lot attention from creative industry. It all started in 2015 when a brand registered in Italia has similarity with Supreme USA since the name itself was Supreme Italia.

The Italian brand use the same red box with Futura Heavy Oblique font as Supreme USA logo, only bigger. Furthermore, Supreme Italia has produced massive apparel items to be sold in various store in Italia. Just right now, Supreme Italia has opened flag store in 70 country. The saddest part is, the brand Supreme Italia is legal since it’s been registered. From these issues, the term ‘legal fake’ began to be known.

Then, back in 2016 a young artist called Tuesday Bassen has abandoned her silence and speaks up about how Zara, as we know one of the biggest retail company shamelessly took her artwork and commercializes it without even giving a slight appreciation. Through her Instagram (@Tuesdaybassen) she’s fighting for her work after her charges failed and Tuesday considered as an unknown artist that wasn’t giving any influence to others. Another case, when several make-up portfolios by Vlada Haggerty (@vladamua) have been used in Kylie Cosmetics campaign without credits to the artist. Although both issues have been settled, it is still left linger its question about copied and inspired.

Picasso once said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. It’s provoking if you read it all once without getting intimate and seeking the truth of it. However, it turns out what Picasso really means by ‘stealing’ is taking something as inspiration/reference and making it your own by transforming it with your ‘original’ creativity into something fresh. It has been proved by some of Picasso’s works that incorporate other ideas with his own imagination and turning into a brand-new masterpiece. In other situation, copying has a same line with imitation, which is ‘borrowing’ exactly the work of others and has no intention to highlight or recognizing the source. Sometimes, it comes with beneficial intention. Not only Picasso, there are several figures who’s fond with this belief. Say, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, even Steve Jobs. In the end, the line between copied and inspired is how well you’re using your creativity in owning other ideas into your original work. Don’t you agree?

The line between copied and inspired is how well you’re using your creativity in owning other ideas into your original work.