Imitation: Flattery or Violation?
However, sometimes in the stock world people will intentionally imitate an image down to the details. I guess the thought process is that by imitation you can create a productive portfolio. Is it the sincerest form of flattery? I question the value of this type of work.
I understand this is a free-market and there are no controls on imitations. I understand that sometimes with thousands of images in your portfolio that you might accidentally recreate someone's image by accident. I even understand when 20 photos of the same tourist attraction are sold at the same agency. Yet, somewhere there is a line. Isn't there?
As a freelance designer and former graphic artist in the print industry I know if I saw similar images, I'd simply choose the one that 'felt right.' Essentially, my choice was about aesthetics. Yet, I was never faced with choosing between essentially identical images. Micro stock has opened a door that never used to exist.
How do you as a contributor or buyer feel when you see almost identical images? Do you think there's value in the art of imitation? When is it a violation of copyright to have a similar image?
(Please don't feel singled out if I've used your image in this article. I'm simply demonstrating similarities and chose some images that I recalled as being similar.)