Monday, August 29, 2011

Case Of The Yucks

So when something like this...



Is the inspiration for this...

Source: Grim Hollow Haunt


And leads to something like this being stolen from Grim and mass-produced and sold by Grandin Road...


It just feels really really amazingly wrong.



And just a reminder to all Haunters: If you got your idea for a prop from someone else, cite the source wherever you're posting your photos of it.



44 comments:

Anonymous said...

At first I thought "well that could be a coincidentally similar prop that guy made" . . . and then I looked at the rest of his pictures! Wow. The big outlets ripping off home haunters isn't too shocking, though.

crudedoodle.com said...

it's funny that stuff like this never goes UP in detail or style. It's always a cheap knockoff. wtf.

Terrormaster said...

I'm finding this happening more and more in the haunt community and it's quite disturbing. I shared this post over at Google+ with the following:

As an artist I understand some of us are influenced by others work. Some of us even duplicate them from time to time for the learning experience and to get a perspective. But when stuff like this happens it really sickens me. Unfortunately it seems to happen a lot in the haunt community and quite frankly I wish it would just stop.

It's ok to imitate others in the community. Often times we learn something new and a lot of times we can evolve a concept into something different. But PLEASE do NOT copy others work and try and play it off like it's your own original idea. Give credit where credit is due. Cite the source material, give the original artist credit. And by all means do NOT go selling your work if its a copy of someone else's work.

-Terrormaster

Rot said...

And I should add that Grim had credited my ghost as his source back when he blogged about his version of my Cloaked Ghost...just reminding that the final resting place of a haunter's photos (blog, personal site, forum album) should have a source material link if the idea came from elsewhere.

GoneferalinID said...

Who would pay $79 for that? The "originals" probably cost much less and look way better.

pensive said...

This issue hits home for me because I went to law school specifically for this reason, then got distracted by the need to make money. You can file a copyright for $35 with the US copyright office, but it really doesn't do you much good unless you spend the money to litigate when someone violates it. It is a terrible system.

I definitely come from the school that everything is influenced by something, but I must admit that when I go through my file of inspirational images I have not always jotted down where an image came from. This frustrates me, because I LOVE giving credit where credit is due and giving props to the artists who inspire me. It's a cognitive dissonance based flaw that I'm working on.

I love that you post things like this, Rot. You rock.

Mr. Chicken said...

I actually made a presentation last semester in college on how cool it is that one piece of art (Halloween props, in particular) can inspire and evolve in another haunt. However, that coolness is long gone when credit isn't given to the original artist, and trying to profit from another's creative vision is just wrong.

Joel said...

I'd be interested to see other examples of this sort of thing; I'm sure outlet props "inspired by" home-haunters' creations are more common than the average person would really bother thinking about. The Halloween decoration/prop industry has an advantage of a collective of creative individuals who may or may not have their creations legally protected, making them ripe for use as "inspiration."

For example, I know that Universal Studios Florida representatives attend haunt trade shows looking for new pieces for Halloween Horror Nights (their annual haunt event), which is a great way for prop and effects makers to get mass exposure for their products; although most haunted house-goers at HHN don't notice, those with their eye on the industry will likely recognize a certain prop in a house as not being a Universal original.

Sometimes though, I've seen things at the event that seemed explicitly "inspired by" others' work. Take this piece of artwork from a past Halloween Horror Nights year: http://malicepsychotik.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/hhn-15-1.jpg I don't have a photo handy, but these props were set up around the entrance to the park, and reminded me a lot of this costume from Gore-Galore: http://www.gore-galore.com/products/_Wraith_Full_thumb.gif In this particular case, it's my understanding that Universal and Gore-Galore do have a professional relationship, and I happen to know a Universal prop artist who is friends with one of the guys at Gore-Galore. I'm sure things are on the up-and-up, but this kind of cross-over, intentional or not, is surely rampant in an industry with such a dichotomy of DIY and corporate contingents.

On a related note, this guy from the Muppet Christmas Carol used to spook me pretty good:

http://images-mediawiki-sites.thefullwiki.org/11/2/5/7/31245631271749551.jpg

Jay's Shadow said...

Ha! I saw that in a catalog I got and I just started laughing. Such a horrible copy.

It is obvious that it is a knock-off, but of course there is no credit given....

Marrow said...

Oh no. THAT is dreadful.

Shotgun_Mario said...

I as well save images left and right and then archive them in a folder labeled 'references'. If I want to go back and find an image that I don't remember where it came from, I try reverse-image searches.

If you go to google images, there's a little camera on the right side of the search bar, if you click on it, you can upload an image (or post a URL) and it will scan through google images looking for the same image or similar images and give links back to where the same/similar images are online.

Tineye was the first to do this, but google has the huge database already, so it works slightly better.

http://www.tineye.com/


hope this helps anyone!

joy said...

I am sorry. You are so talented, so creative. I hate to see anyone get taken advantage of.
joy

Anonymous said...

It is total BS. As a graphic designer it hits home way too close for me.

Unfortunately, the holiday has gotten so popular and designs are so redundant that anything original gets snatched upon, shortcutted, homogenized and ultimately half-assed for mass consumption as soon as it becomes known. I mean...there's only so many ways to do a ghost or a witch before at least a couple of them start resembling one another, but...but, as in this case it is so blatant and such a pathetic knockoff it becomes all the more infuriating.

pensive said...

Joel-

It happens in other areas as well. I purchased some items from an artist on Etsy and then the next season a major fashion house had something almost identical in their collection. People who pay attention to such thinks kept looking at me oddly, since I am a Honda sort of girl...

Knockoffs can go up the economic ladder as well as to the cheaper side.

Mantan Calaveras said...

That mass-produced prop looks really cheap. It shows none of the care instilled into the original works that it is derived from. For me, that's the most offensive thing about it.

I'm not a big believer in intellectual property rights, but it rubs me the wrong way to see these uncaring corporate types stealing from this open community of passionate artisans.

Especially knowing that corporations would be quick to sick their lawyers on anyone trying to profit from one of their IP's. it's so two-faced.

wicKED said...

I hate that happened Rot. They say imitation is the truest form of flattery, but making money from it cheapens it completely.

In accord with your recommendation, I would like to recognize your influence on my props, yard haunt, and even the way I celebrate Halloween over the last 4 years I have been following you. You are an inspiration to all Halloween enthusiast world wide.

(I even started blogging because of you)

Keep up the dark work!

Joel said...

Yeesh. Just saw it in the Grandin Road catalog. $79, indeed. Deplorable and downright uncool. :(

Rot said...

Mantan, not really sure where you're coming from saying that you're not a big believer in intellectual property rights.

GoneferalinID said...

Your 2007 haunt is what got me started and I'm doing my version of it this year. You'd better bet I'll reference you. I was actually thinking of making a small sign with your web address and the Haunt Forum address as well if anyone is interested in learning about it.
I wonder if companies like Grandin Road, Spirit, etc have to pay for licensing for things like Michael Meyer's masks, Jason props, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre related goods?

JHMDF said...

Well that sucks.

Adam said...

Wow rot... that reaper is AMAZING! Both are just incredible. I think you two should get together and seriously sue grandin road. Its not just a tip of the hat, its plainly and obviously STOLEN.

"Strublay" said...

As a college student who has had the idea that stealing ideas with out credit as the biggest sin since murder pounded in to her head, I am astonished. Not only was it stolen, it was badly recreated. Thats FUBAR man, FUBAR.

Joel said...

Goneferal, they definitely need licensing to use those characters' likenesses, and those film companies can be very specific about what's done with their characters! A few years back at Halloween Horror Nights here in Orlando, I was in a Friday the 13th-themed house, which featured multiple Jason actors. The house had to be laid out specifically so that no two Jasons could be seen simultaneously (kind of a no-brainer). Cast changes are usually a fun chance to startle waiting guests who don't expect twenty ghouls to file past them; but that year, all of us wore black hooded robes to conceal our costumes, and had to quickly pass the guests so they wouldn't catch a glimpse of Jason outside of his themed area. New Line Cinema was very specific about Jason's appearance, down to the color of his undershirt ( and we couldn't have skin showing that wasn't "scarred") as well as the appearance of Freddy Krueger and Leatherface, who also appeared at the event that year.

ShellHawk said...

Unreal. And suing is almost pointless, because they have way more money to spend on lawyers and can just wait until your money runs out. They can start by claiming that the Grim Reaper isn't intellectual property and go from there, which is why they can get away with it.

I too, have had a few things stolen, from my art down to a few of the things I do on my podcast. It sucks, no matter what it is, and it is very bad form.

Anonymous said...

Usually when companies steal they change something up - that prop is pretty dead on. Are you sure Grim didn't sell his design to them?

ShaoGhoul said...

The best thing we can do in this instance is to educate and keep slapping these breaches of morality in the spotlight.

As for the haunt community, there are quite a few props and original ideas which have become mainstream, and as such have helped to propel home haunting to new heights...PVC candles, FCGs, monster mud reapers, Pumpkinrot Scarecrows ( ;) ) different types of animations and such...haunters may put a new spin on them but they are never sold for profit, or claimed to be one's own.

In fact, I've come across an extraordinarily few number of home haunters who have tried to rip off other artists. The ripping off primarily occurs within the big-name companies such as Grandin Road, as seen here.

Like many, the cheapness of this reproduction is what irks me the most. $79, when you could make one for under $10? I too am often disappointed with the quality of Halloween products sold in mindless mass production, and that is one of the many reasons I turned to making my own props. What these companies do...it's just wrong. Taking advantage of this incredibly open community whose growth depends upon the sharing of ideas between haunters...and then claiming these ideas as their copy-righted own and pawning them off for way more than their worth...sick!!

Rot said...

That was the first thing I thought of. That the lantern was even in the same hand. So I shot Grim the link back when I first saw it and he acted surprised and said he was unaware of this product.

So I'm hoping he was being honest about it.

Dave Lowe said...

For what it's worth, you can't really blame Grandin Road for the design. They are just a distributor. Many of their same items can be found elsewhere such as Michaels,sometimes just packed differently.

The actual manufacturer of the prop should be found out.

"Strublay" said...

Boycott Anyone? I know that none of us would spend our money on objects from this company(because we can make them), but maybe we can influence our families and friends away from the company. I know it's a feeble response to a bad situation, but I think that might be the only recourse the haunt community has.

Marrow said...

Dave,

One of the first things I did when I read this was politely email Grandin Road. I said I was interested in buying the ghost, and wanted to know what company it was made by. Still no reply.

Ken said...

This just sucks. Amazingly wrong indeed. I just posted a link to this blog on Grandin Road's facebook page. I hope many of their customers see it and complain.

Johnny said...

Cheap looking. Doesn't look half as good as either the original or Grim's.

bean said...

Ken, I'll be interested to see if they let it stay on the page.

bean said...

Actually, I don't even see it there.

pensive said...

shotgun mario-

thanks so much for the google images tutorial! i had no idea, and backtracking through my wormholes is going to be much fun.

i LOVE LOVE LOVE that this discussion is so lively. makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside that so many people are incensed about this.

M.A. McCann said...

"Original" and "unique" are hazy words in this hauntin' world. While direct knock-offs are disgusting, similar themes are inevitable. None of us were the inventor of ghosts, goblins, witches, ghouls, devils, or demons, and many of us draw on a mostly finite, overlapping stack of inspirations to create. Acknowledging and crediting each other when and where credit is due is respectable and reinforces the camaraderie in our community, but we can only follow the credit so far back.

My point is that certain similarities are going to manifest themselves in a hundred different ways, because certain motifs are so entwined with Halloween. But motif alone is not grounds for finger-pointing and accusations of theft. Do I think that the manufacturers of disposable, factory-made plastic junk scour our photostreams and websites seeking to rip someone's design? Absolutely. But my fear is that the idea that haunters are ripping off other haunters, especially when a haunter tries to sell their props, will gain a little bit too much momentum. Guy X may have made a skeleton first, but Guy Y's skeleton isn't necessarily a rip-off even if Guy Y acknowledges the inspiration to do a skeleton came from Guy X. As Joel pointed out, anytime I see anything that resembles a cloaked ghost, whether it be Grim's, Rot's, or some tacky prop in a shop, I immediately think of The Ghost of Christmas Future.

I guess what I'm really getting at is that noticing a blatant knock-off is much different than looking for stolen ideas, because we all know that if you're really looking for something, you're bound to find it.

Rot said...

This really isn't a matter of motif theft. No one is claiming that they own the rights to a Ghost, or a Witch, or a Scarecrow.

Though I think that there's also too quick a habit of haunters to distance themselves from the people they are emulating. I think if your haunt resembles another haunter's display, then that really needs to be noted when presenting your photos.

In the case of this Ghost prop, there is no doubt that the inspiration for the mass-produced version came from Grim Hollow's Ghost. Lantern and chain in the same skeletal hands. The hood in the same bulbous fashion. The Cloaked Ghost existed long before the yard haunt, but this particular version is clearly the inspiration for this mass-produced faceless Spectre prop.

So we're not talking about people taking ownership of something as generic as a ghost. We're talking about the instances of a blatant rip off. For example, if a one-armed Pumpkin-headed Sentinel creature appeared on the market, I'm sure I'd still hear from people "Well you didn't invent pumpkin-headed monsters!" And I didn't. But what I DID create was something original in a particular shape and design using a popular Halloween icon.

Here's another example. If someone modeled their Haunt using the techniques of Stolloween, I'd certainly expect a mention on their site as to the source material inspiration. I think too often in haunting that necessary little step gets conveniently omitted. And don't even get me started on the moral implications involved if a person who learned to build pumpkins the Stolloween way started selling his or her pumpkins. Is it legal? Absolutely. Is it right, absolutely not. In my eyes, at least.

But I'm pretty sure I'm in a vast minority on that issue.

NoahFentz said...

I googled "faceless reaper" and came up with alot of online catalogs selling this product. Can't tell you who was the first one to have it on the market though. I did notice by one vendor that it is manufactured by Party Destination.

When Rot first post the pics of the cloaked ghost it did remind me of the reaper from the movie "The Frighteners" The way it moved always creeped me out...

Rot said...

I need to be SUPER CLEAR about this.
My issue here isn't that a company is making a cloaked ghost. My Cloaked Ghost was made because I've always loved the Old School ghost with a cloak. My issue, and ONLY issue, is that this company clearly has based their design on a haunter's design - Grim's. Not mine.

The secondary discussion is all about the previously discussed point that if a prop you're making wouldn't have existed had you not seen it on someone else's site, then you need to credit the source.

To me, that's pretty basic stuff.

Marrow said...

Well then, you really ought to credit Edward Gorey on your new tinies page.

Just saying.

Rot said...

Change made.
Thanks, bro. : )

Heather said...

Total blatant rip off! Although, no one could replicate the hand made detail lovingly put into a homemade creature.
All this will do is make home haunters more secretive about their work whereas before most are helpful and happy to share their techniques.
Quite sad, it actually really shows what is wrong with the world today.
It's all about the almighty dollar over what is right. :(

NecroBones said...

Yep, I've had that discussion with other haunters before-- give credit where credit is due, and don't pass it off as 100% original when you know it's not.

But we will of course all be influenced by one another and great ideas will be copied and catch on.

I just don't know where the happy medium is.

Grim said...

Just catching up on this post, thanks for posting this. I can assure everyone that I didn't sell this idea to whoever is mass producing it, and wasn't aware of it until Rot sent me a message about it. In a way, it kind of irritates me that they are making money off of this ghost, but at the same time it makes me kind of proud that something I made has made it to the level that someone would want to steal it. Rot's Cloaked Ghost will always be one of my all-time favorite props, and was the inspiration for my ghosts.

I gave those ghosts away a couple of years ago by the way... and I am happy to say that they are still haunting, only in a different yard.