Not the title you were expecting, was it?
Copying seems to be quite a controversial topic in the maker community. There are many conflicting ideas out there about whether copying is acceptable, when it is acceptable, and where we can draw the line between inspiration and imitation. Over the years I have talked to countless artists who have had their work copied, and I myself have gone through the heartbreak of seeing my own hard work replicated or my photos being used on someone else's page. I have talked to beginners in the community who genuinely had no idea that pulling close inspiration to another maker’s work is frowned upon. I have also heard from those who strongly believe that direct copying is perfectly acceptable, because everything that is posted online is “fair game" (hint-this is not true!).
Earlier in the year, I gathered together several other makers I know and respect and we had an honest conversation about this topic in a group chat. We shared our stories, experience, perspectives, and the knowledge we had accumulated over time and offered each other advice and encouragement. As a result of that discussion, I feel that I have a fairly solid understanding of what most creatives view as acceptable behavior when pulling inspiration from someone else's work, and what actions will step on the original creator's toes.
My belief is that there ARE, in fact, some instances in which copying is okay! However, there is a proper way to go about this and there are definitely some unspoken rules about what you are allowed to do with something you have copied. Read on to learn more!