Thursday, May 14, 2009

lessons in theft

as a member of the design community, i stay in touch with a number of designers all across the country. when one of my fellow designers is ripped off, i feel the need to tell the story.

my friend at burn creative found one of his illustrations in the portfolio for another so-called designer on it wasn't just "influenced by" or "derived from" his illustration -- it was his exact image placed on a new background. this other designer was claiming it as hers, and gave a false story of how she came up with the idea and the illustration. she was also getting a lot of great feedback on the piece, with everyone amazed at her talent at such a young age.

this girl is 16-year-old julie kapral (julieK on the site).

burn creative posted quickly in the comment section of the image page, letting everyone know that he was the real creator of the piece. julie posted back, at first saying that she did not steal the work, and then later stating that she found it in a book (hmmm... which is it?). soon, the image was taken off her portfolio on logopond.

after further investigation, burn creative found at least 2 images that were stolen from other artists -- one from designer lina khesina, another from orla keely. we are now convinced that all the images julie has claimed to be her own (a few which have sold as logos to unsuspecting customers) are actually ripped off from other designers.

from burn creative's blog post about the theft.

julie's portfolio has been deleted from, and her website has also been taken down. however, she still has a twitter name up @juliekapral.

situations like this really get to me as an artist and designer. there are a lot of people out there that don't think twice about stealing someone else's work and using it for their own purposes. it seems as though everyone thinks that things posted online are fair play. it makes us all very concerned about our work and our good name, since some designers who have created the original work have been accused of plagiarizing!

julie kapral seems to have taken it a step further. she has concocted stories about how she arrives at these brilliant pieces and taken the praise, apparently to great extents all over the internet. there were people talking about how she's so inspiring and that she's really going places, and she has played right into it. it's almost delusional.

in the end though, she was caught. as are all people who steal from others. and she will not dig herself out of this hole for a while.

to read more about burn creative's story, go to his blog here, or read about it on the HOW forums here.


Mursch said...

Stealing is bad enough but then making up stories about how they designed them is a whole new low.

jdwick said...

Some people really are just that delusional.

I post up most of my pics with a transparency of my name across the front. Have you come across any other deterrent ideas?