When you do something fantastic, different, or out of the ordinary, no one wants to give you credit that you did it without questions. People will want to investigate and pick out things just as hard as they can to say that you have copyrighted content. I couldn't get over how Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Barack Obama 'HOPE' poster, got in trouble over his artwork. According to the News, he pleaded guilty for lying about the photo he used to create the image of Obama. Every artist is inspired by (or borrows something from) somebody else.


I don't understand how you can be sued for painting a picture of someone from a photo digitally or by hand as long as it's different. Obama did not seem to have a problem with it. So why is someone else having a problem with it? Obama's image belongs to no one else but him. A painting is a painting and a photo is a photo. Now, everybody wants to get technical and make it difficult for themselves and everyone else.

Like scientists, people just can't leave things alone. Do you remember when scientists analyzed the portrait of the Mona Lisa? She had mixed emotions on her face. According to CNN, the scientists wanted to unlock her smile.

They applied emotion recognition software that measures a person's mood by examining features such as the curve of the lips and the crinkles around the eyes. Why can't they just accept the painting of Mona Lisa as it is instead of questioning every little thing? Leonardo da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy (according to Wikipedia). That was so long ago and who can sue him? The painting was done by Leonardo's hands, but scientists don't want to accept it as a simple painting.


Copyright can get really complicated. Not long ago, I used music software for a song that I wrote. The music and loops were free to use. My song was blocked on a website because they detected copyrighted material. I was matched with another person that used the same music, but our songs were different. However, after I explained what I did to get the music, my song was put back on the site. The person that had the same music as I did probably used the same software. It's possible that computers can detect when something was first created by waves and sound (as well as by date, time, and artist name -- all of which are likely given).

People also need to learn the difference between actively stealing and simply being creative. Just because something sounds or looks similar, doesn't mean that it's stolen. For example, DC comics sued Fawcett Comics because Shazam was a lot like Superman. They sued for copyright infringement in 1941 (according to Wikipedia). The character was created in 1939 by artist C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker. Today, DC comics owns Shazam. To me, they're both mighty in power and don a cape -- but that's where the similarities end.


So, why did they sue? My point is, stealing is when you steal from someone and change nothing. Inspiration is when you can look at what someone else has done and turn it into something else. We can pile on the lawsuits until we're red, white, and blue in the face, but, at the end of the day, copyright cannot protect an idea, anyway.