The “Fall” of Flickr Royalty

February 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Posted in Social Network Sites | 1 Comment
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Plagiarism on Social Network Sites

Rosie Hardy: Did She Cross The Line?I love Rosie Hardy. Every day, I check my contact list on Flickr to see if she’s uploaded a brilliant new picture because her work is truly breathtaking. This week, I was greeted with yet another wonderful piece by Rosie- but this one was accompanied by a sad story detailing her hiatus that she will be taking from Flickr. The reason?

The “Rosie Hardy Plagiarism” Blog

You can Google “Rosie Hardy plagiarism” if you want to read all the gory details, but to sum it up: Rosie copied/stole/was inspired by (depending on what side of the fence you sit on) other photographers’ work when creating a handful of her own. A Flickr member, known as Harry, called Rosie out on his blog over the past few days. He posted side-by-side comparisons of her work and the work of the original artists. With some, there is no argument- the photos are undeniably similar. Others, it’s hard to say. Could it have been coincidence? If not, where is the line drawn between creative inspiration and plagiarism on the Internet?

Plagiarism in the Age of the Internet

Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterfly, Snapfish… there are tons of photo-sharing websites on the Internet, and millions upon millions of members on each site. With all of these pictures on the Web, how can one keep track of them to make sure they’re not being used illegally? And what constitutes illegal?

Right around Valentine’s Day, I saw dozens of pictures posted on Flickr which featured heart shadows created by a ring. Did each of those people plagiarize each other? Or did they take inspiration from another’s photos? Or did they coincidentally discover that inserting a ring into the binding of a book causes a heart shadow on the same day?

How about all the people who have ever written something across their knuckles and snapped a shot? Copycats? Does it depend on what they write?

See where I’m going with this?

So where do we draw the line? And how do we monitor all of the information that’s out there? The Internet is a glorious thing, but it also opens the door to issues that never existed before. With so many people interconnected, can there ever be true originality ever again? Or has everything already been done and posted on the Web?

Whatcha think?

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