Film director Jim Jarmusch has a pretty bold quote on the idea of "originality" when it comes to creating art: "Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows."
He continues, "Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it."
It's hard to argue that there is a truly "original" work of art, but that doesn't necessarily mean that art is "bad."
For example, none of Shakespeare's plays, save for The Tempest featured an original plot: all of them were lifted from other literary traditions and sources. What Billy Shakes did with the OG material, however, like adding in iambic pentameter and a bunch of scatological jokes.
But where things start to get complicated is when said art is sold for profit, and when artists accuse major production companies of stealing their work.
This is what Andrew Martin of, who uploads TikToks under the username @monstercaesarstudios said that he saw one of his designs for sale at Disney World.
Here's what went down according to Andrew: he uploaded one of his designs on Thingiverse, which is a 3D-printing design platform where folks upload their model schematics for others to enjoy and even make for themselves on their own 3D printers.
He did this way back in 2018, and Andrew's alleging now that Disney is using the character model in its Enchanted Tiki Room section in its parks.
"It did look a lot like mine because it is mine. Disney is taking credit for my work and selling it in their parks without my permission, consent, or even giving artist credit," he says in the clip.
In the video, he shows his design and the one featured in Disney Parks, and many commenters remarked that they appeared to be identical.
"This is insane, I really hope they compensate you for your work!" one TikToker wrote.
Another said, "Sounds like a lawsuit."
Other TikTok users tagged @Disney and @DisneyParks in their comments, urging the media conglomerate to "make it right."
Others mentioned that Disney has had a track record of doing this with Star Wars fan-inspired artwork.
While Thingiverse features a slew of free-to-use, unlicensed designs, there are tons of models that do come with licenses. Andrew's design was one that was created under a Creative Commons License, meaning he could create models based off of Disney's intellectual properties as long as he didn't sell them for profit.
Andrew suspects that a freelancer who was hired to design the merchandise probably saw his model on the 3D-printing model website and just copied it: "So the most likely thing is the thief was some lazy waste of skin, talentless hack, that got himself or herself an easy payday by stealing my work and passing it off as their own."
There were some people who said that Andrew doesn't really have a reason to be upset, since his design was inspired by Disney, while others thought that his artwork was different enough to constitute as an original piece of art.
What do you think?