Plagiarism in Photography

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading some news about photos or articles related to photography being plagiarised.  It’s quite sad that people are running out of ideas and even sadder that it’s in the world of photography where ideas can be readily re-imagined or interpreted differently.

There are two cases I’ll be highlighting – Jasmine Star and Mark Solis.

Jasmine Star (United States)

Articles have mentioned that Jasmine Star and others were caught plagiarising blogs or quotes of other photographers.  In her apology letter, Jasmine mentioned that the pressure to produce daily content for her blog led her to sacrifice her ethics.  This sacrifice led to four blog posts that contained sources from other blogs but were never cited by her.

I remember my teachers kept on reminding me and my classmates never to plagiarise back when I was still studying.  My teachers always made it a point to cite our sources and so we did.

I don’t see anything wrong in copying content from another person especially if that person hit the target with his/her statements but how long does it take to simply put a link to an article that is online?  Back when I was still studying the Internet is not yet used by the general public so citation back then was so damn hard.  Nowadays, simply putting the link in your article or mentioning the website is as easy as clicking a button.

I follow several YouTubers and often these YouTubers follow a schedule as to when they need to post new content to their channels.  Some of them falter and are unable to post new content.  Instead of them copying other videos and uploading it as theirs they simply just inform their subscribers that they won’t be able to upload new videos for whatever reason it may be (e.g., issues with YouTube, problem with editing, not yet done with shoot, etc.).  That simple act of just informing people frees them from the stress of posting their material.

Her reason for doing what she did is really not an excuse and could have easily been avoided.  As I have already mentioned, things are easier nowadays and if she’s not able to post a blog a simple tweet to inform her followers would be sufficient to save her from the mess she put herself in.

Mark Solis (Philippines)

This one is much worse.  This one involves money.  Contest prize money!

A student of the University of the Philippines by the name of Mark Solis stole a picture from another photographer’s Flickr account and submitted it to a contest as his own.

He also reportedly stole other photos and submitted them to other contests.  Now the school is discussing if he should get kicked out of the government school.

Why is this worse?  Well, as mentioned, it’s because of the reason…MONEY.  The root of all evil!!!

This student won the contest using another person’s photo and now refuses to surrender the prize money citing poverty and he also asked the contest organisers to just give him the money.

The sad thing here is that it appears that the kid is not even poor.  The even sadder thing is this kid is studying political science which means he has hopes to become a politician someday.  Crap!

He is starting early in honing his skills as a politician – stealing, being corrupt, and lying.  The saddest part of this news is that the University of the Philippines is being funded by the taxes of the hard working people of the Philippines and this is the quality of students they produce?  I want my money back!

If I were the kid I’d just surrender the cash.  If I were the school, I won’t waste time discussing if he should be kicked out or not.  In my school, De La Salle University, plagiarism is automatic grounds for expulsion (at least when I was still studying).


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