How to Avoid Art Theft by Being Better than Chris Brown
Let’s dive right into it. Chris Brown…yes, that Chris Brown: the singing dancing Rihanna-beater who shouldn’t even still have a career. Yeah. Him. He’s an art thief. A literal, intentional, unapologetic art thief.
He intentionally saved a photograph of , known as Cosplaynay (A New York based Cosplayer) in his Spider-Man cosplay, on which was taken and skillfully edited by photographer Jeffrey Smith George’s (jscosplayphotog on Instagram). The original post made by the photographer can be seen below, with a visible signature/watermark:
Brown saved this image, cropped out any identifying watermarks (words or symbols identifying the creator of a particular work), and then posted it to his Instagram account completely unaccredited. The cropped (and stolen) repost on Brown’s shown here, along with Cosplaynay thanking Brown while kindly requesting that Brown simply credit him and the photographer in the post.
When you repost someone’s artistic property without crediting them, that’s theft. Specifically, it’s art theft. He stole from cosplay photographer and a cosplayer, and when kindly asked to simply credit the people who’s artwork he found good enough to save, crop, and re-upload to show off to his millions of followers……he threw a goddamn hissy fit like the manchild he is.
Not only did he not simply oblige to a completely reasonable and justifiable request for extremely valuable (and ethically necessary) credit, he went on several rants, berating the artists he stole from for having less followers than him, and having the nerve to not be thankful that a multi-million dollar recording artist was gracious enough to intentionally fucking steal from them. As an artist himself, he of all people should respect other artists…but he beats people so I doubt he respects anyone. If someone were to sample any of his songs or use his likeness without his permission, you can be they’d be slapped with a “cease and a desist” at the very least, and a lawsuit at the very most. YouTube and Facebook won’t even let users upload videos with other peoples’ songs as background music if they exceed a certain time limit. The sound will be stripped entirely to prevent any form of copyright infringement or content theft. Brown understands what constitutes as content theft; he just doesn’t care. He’s a selfish moron who had the good fortune to amass a following and tons of cash despite being a shitty human being. No true artist would ever balk at crediting a fellow artist. No true artist would resort to calling another artist a “dweeb” and attempt to belittle them in an effort to avoid giving credit where it’s due. That’s bullshit, and brown is a shitty person for it.
Luckily, Cosplaynay isn’t letting Brown off that easy. No artist should be silent about content theft. Speaking as a cosplay artist myself, the more we speak up, the more awareness we raise.
If all this seems like small potatoes to you, allow me to explain exactly how and why that’s fucked up. Most artists are freelancers. That means they don’t have a concrete and secure job with a company. That means they work off of commission and selling their arts and services directly. In order for someone to commission/buy their work, it needs to been seen. The degree to which they are seen is called exposure. They get work via exposure. They build their brands via exposure. If you take their work and repost it without crediting them, they miss out on opportunities to be seen by potential customers. You’re taking money from their pockets, food from their mouths, followers from their fucking Instagram. Let’s not pretend Instagram followers don’t matter in this day and age when people are getting profitable sponsorships from major brands based on their content and number of followers. Simply put, art theft is a stolen opportunity that robs the artist(s) of everything they work and hope for. Once again, that’s fucked up. Chris “The Man-Baby Art Thief” Brown has over 41,000,000 followers on Instagram.
Imagine how much that kind of visibility could have helped the photographer and cosplayer promote their work? Think about the opportunities that level of exposure would have surely led to. Instead of just crediting the artists who’s work he reposted with a simple “@”, he robbed them and threw a temper tantrum when civilly asked to right his wrong.
He’s garbage, and they deserved better. How can you avoid this sort of monumental debacle? By crediting artwork. You like someone’s work and wanna show it off? Just credit them when you do. That’s all. That’s it. It’s so easy.
P.S. Upon doing a little research, upon doing a little research, I discovered that this isn’t Brown’s first time being caught in the act.
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