Credit Where Credit Is Due: Artists' Edition

It’s widely accepted that people who create or find something, whether a painting, a computer, a car, a book, a scientific discovery, etc. should receive credit for it. Yet in the online world, this seems to only go so far for artists, specifically illustrators and animators.

The internet and social media sites are rife with people posting art without crediting the artists. Many try justifying this by stating that "people can look up the art themselves" or they’re giving the artists "exposure." None of these hold water, as it’s been proven that most people do not go out of their way to search the artists. Exposure doesn’t mean anything if people don’t know who the artist is, let alone care enough to find them. It also certainly doesn’t mean anything to the landlords whom artists must pay their rents to.

If a scientist published an academic paper online, and say, a college student plagiarized it and tried to pass it off as their own, I doubt many would oppose that student being punished and ridiculed for doing so. Yet if an artist protests a person for reposting their art without crediting them, that artist is labeled as "sensitive" or "greedy".

I find this double standard to tie into inherent laziness in internet users, but also a possible broader sense of people not seeing art, particularly illustration, as a legitimate profession. There are millions of artists all over the world who make a living off their art; the foundation of Hollywood is based on this (as well as nepotism and debatably cyclical abuse, but that’s another discussion) yet trying to enter an art industry can be met with mockery. Many people only see the final product, and not the hours and hours of work that go into artistry, whether it’s music, animation, painting, sculpting, or illustration. They assume it’s effortless and that artists only do it as a hobby, not for income.

Why do you think this societal stigma is so prevalent, especially in this era where digital media is so widespread and exposes more people to more artforms than ever before? What about art carries such certain connotations that separate it from other fields and professions? How do you think this could change?

  • I love this topic! Art is so easy to plagiarise without credit given the prevalence of social media and the ease of reposting or screenshotting the work of others. Art, to an extent, is also easier to copy and claim as your own when compared to a scientific discovery or mathematical theory. Not only can the work of the original artist be claimed, another artist can replicate the work, or create something similar - which is where it gets even more tricky. How do we know if they were inspired by the original work? Had they seen it before? It is impossible to know. – Cassidy 5 years ago

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