1/25/2008

An interesting look at Internet plagiary (a look into my animation past)


I was browsing the net reading a friends blog and to their dismay saw their own work being stolen on the Internet or being posted without permission. That's when I decided to take a look down memory lane.

Back in 2004 I had enough stress to focus it into a recreational four month project that started as a whim and turned into a something less of a whim and more of a something? It started when I heard a strangely amusing song called Bunnies by Horse the Band. Next thing I know I'm making a kind of music video for it. The whole thing was completely spontaneous until the last half when I started story boarding it. When I finished I submitted it to a site called albinoblacksheep.com they liked it and posted it on their site. When I emailed it to the band they liked it as well and I got a free t-shirt and a CD and a pat on the back. That's about as far as it went. Here is the original piece.

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/pixelated.php

I noticed though that it showed up on Newgrounds, another animation site

http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/176907

I initially was pretty angry and left some remark as to what I thought of them doing. After that initial anger I realized I wasn't that upset and was just merely surprised that someone had spent the time to take it and re-post it and claim to be the creator. With a little more checking there were several other sites showing it and even a youtube version of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Twokr090WM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVWjdP1oL44

Whats interesting to me is all the mindless comments about how one band is better then some other band. The second one is actually authorized and owned by the label company and they have it posted on their site with a flash version of it as well.


http://www.plutorecords.com/media/video/bunnies/

You'll notice the sound and the singer is completely different. I was asked to change it from the original audio to a recorded track they were using for their new album. I personally liked the original audio and singer and the youtube view counts might agree with me.

So I didn't write this to talk about plagiarism actually, since I never wrote any copyright onto this work nor really intended to. What really freaks me out is every time I watch it its like seeing a familiar stranger. From the second I submitted it and it went onto some website I began to feel detached from it. As if someone beside myself had made it making it all the more mesmerizing and surreal. As I become less and less in control of its path through cyberspace its like an organism of its own just floating around. I'll read the comments of where it gets posted and I'll see things like "make some more!" or even the surprising "hey this isn't the original its at albinoblacksheep and Charlie Daugherty made it!".

I think also I can finally look back and write about it with some perspective without saying things like "isn't it cool?" or "why on earth did I make such an abomination".

The project started as my second or third test with the program Macromedia Flash (before adobe bought Macromedia) and it was during the end of my third year of high school. I remember that time of my life being like many normal teenagers: miserable, defiant of authority, full of pent up anger, and being dragged through things which you don't want to do but have to. I kind of feel like this video was like a chance for me to filter that energy into something productive and also in essence bottle that teenager into something that would last. Some of the intentional and unintentional inspirations for this were, Looney Tunes, Nintendo, Life in Hell, Rayman, and a childhood filled with watching VH1 and MTV music videos.

The chase or the running conflict is something that I found to be very interesting and seems to be quite popular in the internet animation world. As you animate a character struggling to get away it begins to reflect your own struggle to animate the character. It is for the most part, a mindless ride, but I like to think there are things that convey some sort of meaning. For example the rabbit in a suit standing in a factory that appears to be making chocolate bunnies out of live ones. It represents the corporation and the fear of corruption; that they are only interested in making a profit off of other people. The stairway and the giant carrot can represent our goals, dreams, or a search for truth. There are times when we are so close to reaching it but for some reason a reality, some realization, or something along the lines of fate pushes us back down. In all honesty, I don't think this is something that needs to be talked about too deeply but I find something new in it whenever I return back to it. It was definitely a time when I had a much darker view of the world.

Looking back on all this has made me realize that its time to get my hands dirty again and climb those proverbial stairs and take a bite out of that carrot. What my next project will be I can't really say yet but I've already started the planning. Hopefully I haven't been away from this stuff too long.

2 comments:

Emanuel said...

i would be way pissed off. a poem i wrote got reprinted by the alumni office without my permission. i was pissed, but too scared to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

Something as fluid as an animation posted on the internet is bound to have a life of it's own. Surprising though that other's claim credit when it would be so easy to see where it was originally posted and by whom. I love that its' reappearance in your line of sight inspires you to pursue the next adventure rather than dwelling on the injustice of the plagiarism. Can't wait to see what it will be. AMD