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On the further subject of SteamedFail

So I don't know if anyone here had noticed this, but it was pointed out on a mailing list that the cover for "Steamed" bears a distinctly suspicious resemblance to a picture of Kristina from Abney Park. One has to wonder whether they got permission for that either, since Captain Robert usually points out on his blog when someone has asked them for help of this nature. I don't know what exactly the copyright legalities for this sort of thing is in the states (I know it has a tendency to end careers of manga artists in Japan, when such things get leaked), but I would consider it to be unprofessional at best.

The picture of Kristina from the Abney Park website

The cover of "Steamed" (courtesy of Amazon):

The hand with the goggles is particularly damning. I took a look at it in photoshop and cannot be certain whether it was actually traced or not. There's enough changes in position, particularly from the chest up, that I think it was merely copied.

A number of other bits of the clothing and accessories look suspiciously familiar, but I don't think any of those designs were directly ripped, but rather heavily based off extant pieces and photos. (The cuff on the figure's right hand for instance reminds me quite a bit of Aranwen's work.)


( 93 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, unlike some tracer artists I can think of (Mijn Schatje, for one), this one seems to be someone who actually did their work, if making heavy and perhaps lazy use of reference.
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
Most publishing houses employ their own artists, so quite possibly the artist who was assigned this cover art had no idea what steampunk was, and went a-googling...pity they didn't feel more original, when "designing" the cover...
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
It's lazy and it's rude. If you use a reference model, you should compensate or credit her.

It's so very obviously based on this image, that I don't know how in good conscious this artist can call herself one without acknowledging the muse.

Edited at 2010-01-30 11:03 pm (UTC)
Feb. 1st, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Actually crediting models on book covers etc is extremely rare in the industry, and has been for as long as I can remember.

It's actually a rather modern concept, and has not been heavily tested in the courts (that I am aware of) as to whether it is legally necessary, unless the model is a celebrity.

Now, in this case the model could claim celebrity status as a performer, and may claim trademark violation, if the outfit she was wearing on stage has a registered copyright on it (like clothing designers do).

How it would work out in the court and wether it's work the cost is another matter entirely.

(no subject) - aparosio - Feb. 3rd, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - unquietsoul5 - Feb. 3rd, 2010 01:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hahahah, that's not traced in the slightest- it's not even similar enough to be copyright infringing. The artist has obviously used the general pose and goggles as a starting point for inspiration and gone from there.
I'd be more insulted by the fact that it's not a particularly good piece of art- badly painted skintones and mis-shapen hands for starters. And they got paid for doing that *shakes head*
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Sadly, although it is a blatant rip-off of sourse material, only 20% needs to be changed to be considered "original" and not a copyright violation.
Needless to say, this is among the MANYMANYMANY reasons I won't be buying this book. Although I might get it from the library and read out loud for S&G's.

Edited at 2010-01-30 11:13 pm (UTC)
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
The 20% 'rule' is a fallacy. Copyright law is alot more complicated, depending on the country the copyright is being challenged in.
(no subject) - saraphina_marie - Jan. 30th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hirudo - Jan. 30th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - saraphina_marie - Jan. 30th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hirudo - Jan. 31st, 2010 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - hirudo - Jan. 31st, 2010 12:17 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - saraphina_marie - Jan. 31st, 2010 12:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arabella_grace - Jan. 31st, 2010 02:12 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - hannahsarah - Jan. 31st, 2010 06:38 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 31st, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
Yes it was. I can only imagine the author doing a massive face-palm by now, as I suspect that it's been pointed out to her in no uncertain terms of the circumstances of the prior infraction. It can't possible help if the market you're writing for suddenly turns en mass against you!
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(no subject) - spike20 - Jan. 31st, 2010 04:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - athenaprime - Feb. 1st, 2010 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)
The covers for Soulless and Clueless are also ganked from a website that sells steam clothes. If you google steam fashion you can find the original. The colors are different, but yeah. I was wondering about it when I found them.
Jan. 30th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Clockwork Couture? The difference being in those cases that the author had permission. donnaricci, the proprietor of CC has posted about the books before.
(no subject) - arwenelf28 - Feb. 1st, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - full_metal_ox - Feb. 1st, 2010 02:41 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - squirrelmadness - Jan. 31st, 2010 02:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Personally if I was the girl on the cover I'd drop the goggles and yank my hair out of the gear before I was scalped...and perhaps go see an orthopedic surgeon about that hand. The hand is kinda mesmerizing though..the more you stare the more it looks like a frog's foot...

It's one thing to be inspired-it's another thing to copy and just change a few things. Perhaps like others have said it's not damning enough to start a lawsuit over but if I were the artist I at least be ashamed of myself.
Jan. 31st, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
"It has been '0' days since this romance novel has had a workplace accident."

Might I suggest a snood to the lady? ;D
(no subject) - full_metal_ox - Jan. 31st, 2010 02:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 01:46 am (UTC)
It looks like the cover artist just painted over the picture. There's a full length image midway through the book trailer you can compare it with.

You can find the link to it on the steamfashion post that first started people noticing the situation: http://community.livejournal.com/steamfashion/2352175.html
And on the Brass Goggles post about it: http://brassgoggles.co.uk/blog/201001/recognize-any-thing#disqus_thread

I wonder what other new surprises will reveal themselves about the situation!
Jan. 31st, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Oh boy that was not the best thing to do,
With all the artist out there and such you think they would have been less lazy.

Good eyes pelianth ,

There where like 10 copies of this book at B&N today in my town. Wonder how well it will sell.
Jan. 31st, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
To be fair, I was not the first person to see the resemblance. Someone else saw the resemblance to a photo they'd seen first and while they didn't mention which photo, it was sort of instantly obvious.
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(no subject) - jaborwhalky - Jan. 31st, 2010 09:10 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - pelianth - Jan. 31st, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - nniuqnyliratmai - Jan. 31st, 2010 03:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Well, at this point, enough hubbub has been generated by this whole mess, that I'm sure Penguin, etc., will be taking a look at everything.

The thing is with this illustration, if you take each part of the picture separately, none of it can be considered to be an infringement. You can't copyright a pose. You can't copyright the shape of a corset. You can't copyright the shape of a gauntlet or the fact that certain garments and accessories were used. Well, you could copyright a shape if there were some feature on it that was distinctly unique, but for the most part, you can't copyright a standard shape. But, when you put all the pieces together, the resemblance becomes so striking that some credence needs to be given to plagarism.

What's been unfortunate about this whole thing, is the fact that, while I, personally, do not like cheesy romance novels, this author produced a work that has been highly compromised, resulting in serious discreditation of her work.
Jan. 31st, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
There's been a massive hoohah (is that a word?) over the promotions for this book, which also has a video ad that uses stolen art and images from a wide variety of sources.

The entire PR team working on this project should be sued and fired. I can only hope the author doesn't get too hurt out of it.
Jan. 31st, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
I think the word you were looking for was "hubbub."
(no subject) - sarcasm_hime - Feb. 1st, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
Eeep! That's embarrassing.
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Jan. 31st, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
On the other hand, it's generating buzz.

Personally, I don't see there being much of an issue. So a pose and some vague clothing styles were used as a reference. It's been done before and it'll continue to be done. There's not much point in getting one's back up about a likeness that can't be proven to BE a straight on tracing. Better to save all that energy on something fruitful.

I wouldn't blame the author, though. Once the book is out of their hands, they don't generally get to approve the cover image.
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(no subject) - aranel13 - Jan. 31st, 2010 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 31st, 2010 04:43 am (UTC)
Also, I doubt very much that we are the target audience. There aren't enough of us for one thing. Large book publishers have enough marketing-fu to know that this kind of book is going to be a turnoff to many people with even rudimentary knowledge of steampunk. (Think back to how it was received before we knew of the copyright issues.) No, this book is for a wider audience looking for gears, goggles and giggles.

Um, that last part is copywrought. ;)
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
...Lest it become the title of the next thrilling steampunk bodice-ripper?
(no subject) - satellite6 - Feb. 6th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
It's inspiration. :P Not similar enough to be a problem.
Jan. 31st, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
I disagree.

Inspiration would be: "Goggles make a fine prop. lets use that!"

It is not: "We shall pose the figure in the same position, with the same lighting, holding the goggles the same way right down to the exact position of the buckles and the straps."

*That* is called copying. A fine way to learn perspective, IF you're paying attention, but it does not belong in a professional work.
Jan. 31st, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
Shut the frak up already
I already posted this response to the post that made it onto facebook I will also copy it here.

I happen to like the author's books & this continued crap is getting old. Frankly, this little bitty sub culture made up primarily of people who will probably move on to the next trendy thing in a few years is really starting to piss me off. I hate nasty, arrogant behavior and since all of this started I have had to read comments insinuating that the author was just trying to pander to the community, which is ridiculous. Unless you personally know her & her interests you have no idea what she is into. Reality check time. The number of people who would actually identify themselves as steampunk is so infinitesimally small in comparison to the general populace it's not worth pandering to. Now it's oh my god! some artist may have based their drawing on a picture of someone from Abney Park! Come on! Really! It is not an exact copy, if it was you'd have a point, but it's not. I personally have been into all things Victorian since I was a little child lusting after the kids Victorian style furniture they used to give away on the price is right. How many of you little brats can say the same? So shut the frak up and move on with your lives. This continued nit picking is extremely obnoxious. Oh, and someone here called the author's books cheesy, have you ever bothered to read one of her books? They actually tend to be humorous not what I'd call cheesy.
Jan. 31st, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Re: Shut the frak up already
I understand that this is something you feel strongly about but attacking all of us is not going to help your arguments. I think a lot of people are riled up about the image theft of the promotional materials. So yes the way the book it presented is going to be scrutinized it is only natural after that. No one likes having their work take without their permission.

Taking shots at the author when she said she didn't know about the pictures isn't going to fix things but neither is calling a bunch of people you have never met fad chasers and brats
Re: Shut the frak up already - missysedai - Jan. 31st, 2010 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - queen_aleta - Jan. 31st, 2010 05:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - pelianth - Jan. 31st, 2010 06:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - pelianth - Jan. 31st, 2010 06:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - queen_aleta - Jan. 31st, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - donnaricci - Jan. 31st, 2010 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - missysedai - Jan. 31st, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - veniceparrish - Jan. 31st, 2010 08:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - sola - Feb. 1st, 2010 12:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - full_metal_ox - Feb. 1st, 2010 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Shut the frak up already - full_metal_ox - Feb. 1st, 2010 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
You can clearly see the goggles are spot on traced...

Jan. 31st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
That was brilliant, superimposing the pictures like that! The goggles really are the damning feature of that whole thing.
(no subject) - missysedai - Jan. 31st, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jaborwhalky - Feb. 1st, 2010 12:24 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 3rd, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
Re: katie macalister supported finding steampunk images online
Yeah, to drum up interest in her new book and the genre itself, since it's so far out of her usual paranormal/Regency-era/Anglophile-in-England romance comfort zones. The idea could, in theory, have boosted visits and ad revenues for all sites the images might have been found on, as well as potentially led to increased interest and purchases in steam literature, music, fashion, and art- bringing increased revenue to talented independent artists of all kinds.

However, because of the time factor, she held a different contest for fans to win ARCs. Because that was her goal, to give away books to readers- not to encourage readers to find nice steampunk images or what-have-you to eventually be illegally used and put into a book trailer.
( 93 comments — Leave a comment )

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