Before I post my opinion, I’d love if you could read what my friend had posted at her Facebook and share the post at your account.
Basically, Donut Scarves just stole a design from a Japanese artist by the name Shinji Tsuchimochi (Instagram link here) and NEVER CREDIT him.
Okay, I understand. Originality is dead. Everyone copy each other, fine. BUT, there is a fine line between taking an artist’s materials for personal use and for business purposes.
Shinji’s artworks are posted on Behance where all of his artworks are protected by Creative Commons License, specifically the Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0). In other words, his artworks are not meant for commercialization at all.
Clearly, Donut Scarves violated this rule by commercializing Shinji’s work. It’s bad enough that they didn’t bother to give credit but making money, potentially thousands out of it?
If we turned in our essay for turn-it-in for plagiarism check in university, we can definitely use our EYES to see that the illustration is similar. This is the design that was being STOLEN from Shinji:
What is clever for Donut Scarves is that they Photoshop a sakura tree onto Shinji’s original design and zoomed in the original artwork to make it less obvious. Also, they blurred Shinij’s artwork so Donut’s looked like it was painted in water colour. If you click on each individual link and compared it side by side, the drawing is the exact same copy. Unfortunately, Donut Scarves heavily edited the original picture to make it look like their’s. What doesn’t change is the positioning of the temple, Tokyo Tower, people, birds, clouds and sky. I am not an artist myself but anyone can see the immediate resemblance on first glance! If Donut Scarves were to draw the exact same picture based on Shinji’s original artwork, it wouldn’t look the same. The strokes, the colour, the shapes, the whole canvas really. Since they claimed to have drawn this design in 1 month, I’d expect a totally different style of art.
Donut Scarves could have hire an artist or an illustrator and draw something that looks similar or gain inspiration from the pictures to have their own ‘picturesque Japan’. This is no brainer. But nope, they choosed to take another artist’ work, make profit out of it when they are not supposed to, and failing to give credits. Shinji took about 3 years to publish an artbook and donut scarves took literally a few clicks to steal people’s work.
Feel free to comment or share this post if you agree with me that the company had stolen artwork at their disposal.
On another note, Donut Scarves IG is notoriously known for blocking followers who talks the slightest negative about their product. There are users who had posted on their own IG page, criticizing the lack of quality of their scarves and tagged Donut Scarves onto the pictures, only to have found out that their username had been blocked. In addition, any negative comments on Donut Scarves IG will be deleted as soon as possible so they could continue to milk your money.
In the time where social media is so rampant, people are free to talk about anything, including criticizing a brand. There are people who give constructive criticism in hopes that the brand will be better. If Donut Scarves cannot take in constructive criticisms, then why do they continue to be arrogant? Your customers want the best for your brand and you silence them off. Know your mistakes and improve, not continue to make mistakes.
Update 1 (2017 May 2nd, 3:13pm GMT +8) Shinji posted at his own FB page in Japanese expressing his thanks to the person who informed him that his work was used for commercialization.
Translation: It seemed that my illustrations were used for commercial purposes without permission. It’s sad that the painting (illustration) is the one I drew by myself. I am thankful that someone had brought up this matter to me. Thank you.
Update 2 (2017 May 2nd, 7:02pm GMT +8) Donut Scarves issued a statement at around 5:30pm local time. You, the wiser reader, be the judge.
Update 3 (2017 May 2nd, 9:02pm GMT +8) I did mentioned above that Donut Scarves will delete negative comments, right? Here’s my proof of screenshots. If you have nothing to be afraid of, why hide the truth? The fourth picture is meant to show that the deleted comment was originally in between two other usernames. You be the judge. Click to view screenshots.
Update 4 (2017 May 4th, 8:30pm GMT +8) I still stand firm to what I had mentioned about Donut Scarves delete any negative comments. At the same announcement post, many of the negative comments were deleted in order to hide the truth. I screenshot the below pictures 2 days ago. The last picture is a screenshot that I took today, and is a proof that the user who had pointed out the truth on Donut Scarves copying designs was blocked by the company. Read all the comments below and compare to the announcement post here. You will definitely noticed all the deleted comments at their IG post.
It’s unfortunate that Donut Scarves will continue to do what they are “best”. This post is to spread awareness to you readers. Whether you would continue to support this brand (especially Malaysians because you want to support local businesses) or not is your own prerogative, your call. You decide. I am only a citizen and I can do this much to shed light about this matter. Thank you for helping me spread awareness by any means of communication if you did and God bless.