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The double standard

An interesting couple of weeks for opinions on creative copying over at Daring Fireball. First, regarding the Simplebits/LogoMaid logo debacle, John says:

It’s not a blatant pixel-for-pixel copy, but clearly it’s a shameless knock-off. They took his logo and added a fake mustache, as it were.

Evaluating that visually:

LogoMaid’s icon is a ripoff of the SimpleBits icon

And today, concerning the charge that Apple’s “Hello” Oscars commercial is a rip-off of a sequence in a 1995 film by artist Christian Marclay, he says:

I don’t consider this a rip-off … Using the same basic idea is not the same thing as copying an original piece of work.

And breaking that down visually:

But Apple’s “Hello” commercial is not a ripoff of Marclay’s “Telephones”

So, uh… yeah. Using the idea of four curly braces in an icon? Rip-off. Using the idea of a dozen clips of film stars answering telephones with a variety of salutations? Not.

I like John Gruber and Daring Fireball —I’m a member, fer chrissakes— but this takes “Apple apologist” a bit far.

While I’m at it…

I recognize the irony of all this talk of copying, when this site’s logo is a shameless appropriation (not even a knock-off, an edit) of a Dave Brasgalla icon. I’ve mentioned that before, but then again I’m not trying to turn a profit on this joint, nor was Dave trying to turn a profit on the World of Aqua icon that was its source.

We’ve all had our work lifted before; sometimes blatantly, sometimes not. Sometimes for others’ profit, sometimes because they’re learning the ropes. I just found Gruber’s double standard amusing: one for guys he likes who are the victims of copying at the hands of companies he doesn’t like, and another for companies he likes who are the perpetrators against guys he doesn’t necessarily know or like.