Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Good artists copy, great artists steal

Good artists copy, great artists steal. Pablo Picasso said that.

I wonder what he exactly meant by copying and stealing. How do we differentiate between what is being copied and what is being stolen.

In other words how to do draw a line between copying and stealing?

Green Pajamas
Thursday, July 08, 2004

What I think he meant was that it is easy to see where a good artist has got his/her influences from (copy) whereas a great artist will use new and unique influences in his/her work.  No one knows what these influences are unless the artist reveals them - this is a secret kind of copying - like stealing.

Chris Peacock
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Copying = Taking something that X else has done and making something that looks like it.  An observer says 'This is a copy of X.'  X still gets his credit.

Stealing = Taking something that X has done and making it your own.  An observer does not realise that you have taken from X, so X does not get his credit.

Ged Byrne
Thursday, July 08, 2004

"Copying = Taking something that X else has done and making something that looks like it.  An observer says 'This is a copy of X.'  X still gets his credit.

Stealing = Taking something that X has done and making it your own.  An observer does not realise that you have taken from X, so X does not get his credit."
That is the greatest definition of what Picasso meant I have ever seen!

MyNameIsSecret();
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I remember seeing an interview with Bobby Krieger from the Doors in which he admitted to stealing guitar riffs from older blues bands that he used to listen to.

He admitted that these weren't just similar riffs that he was "influenced by" but rather these were direct lifts off other people's works. He was even laughing about it in the interview!!!!!

Gen'xer
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I heard that quote in college, meant nothing to me.
Ged Byrne explanation opened my eyes.
hats off

moseswhitecotton
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Picasso also said, "to search means nothing in painting.  To find is the thing".  He was getting at the same idea with that.  As a person with a fine art degree, headed for a ph.d in art history eventually, i'd say he meant something more like this: copying another painting, or stealing the idea of the painting and creating something new with it.  Stealing the idea doesn't mean the composition for an artist -- that's copying.  You steal the feeling from the painting, and use it to create something else.

sir_flexalot
Thursday, July 08, 2004

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Newton

Genius does not exist in a vacuum.

Yoey
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Copying is when you make copies of software or music for your own personal or business use.

Stealing deals with real life goods such as cash, jewelry or cars. A hooligan stealing a purse from an old lady, a carjacking, or a bank robbery are all examples.

But copying music and software is not stealing because the owner you got it from is not deprived of the use of his software or music - he still has his copy.

Therefore it is incorrect to say stealing software and music is wrong because stealing software and music is technically not possible.

Hope this helps clear things up for you.

SK
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I think the crux of it is that no artist creates anything.  Everything he does is a progression of what was done before.

The difference is that a great artist is able to transform what he has received so significantly that it looks like he has produced something that did not exist before.  He hasn't, though, it was all just slight of hand.

"There is nothing new under the sun" - Proverbs 3:11

Ged Byrne
Thursday, July 08, 2004

A fine description. Thanks Ged Byrne.

Another description, I found it after I read yours:

"Picasso hardly meant that great artists steal popular designs whose original source is known to everyone. What Picasso did mean was that great artists rummage through the great junk heap of lost, bypassed, and forgotten ideas to find the rare jewels, and then incorporate such languishing gems into their own personal artistic legacy."

http://www.macobserver.com/columns/appletrader/99/august/990823.html

Green Pajamas
Thursday, July 08, 2004

I think great ideas exist in the ether and are free to anyone who is capable of tuning in to them. Ever had a dream where you stumble upon this fantastic weird idea, or when it's as if you're reading from a script. I often wondered where they came from, certainly not from any past experience.

robtwister
Thursday, July 08, 2004

Locke theorized that creativity, as most people think of it, doesn't even exist. The idea is that all new ideas are just old ideas jammed together in different ways.

For example, the idea of a Unicorn on its own seems creative, but if you've seen a horse and a rhino, you're really just merging characteristics of two things you didn't create.

Geoff
Thursday, July 08, 2004

robtwister

Sounds like you're on drugs...

Chris Peacock
Thursday, July 08, 2004

From www.dictionary.com... "Steal - v. To take (the property of another) without right or permission."

Hmmm...  Nothing about the author being "deprived of the use of his software or music".

Watch out for barracks lawyers...

ianal
Thursday, July 08, 2004

A famous art dealer travelled far to visit Picasso so he authenticate a painting he just purchased.

"It's a fake," Picasso said after taking one glance at it. Disappointed, the art dealer left.

Several months later, he acquired another Picasso and took it to him again so he could authenticate it.

"It's a fake," Picasso said again.

"But I saw you paint this not more than a year ago," replied the art dealer.

Picasso replied, "Yes, I often paint fakes."

Commentary can be found on Google:
http://www.google.com/search?q=picasso+%22i+often+paint+fakes%22

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, July 09, 2004

Google has already included this post in the search results.  That is amazing.

Ged Byrne
Friday, July 09, 2004

No wait, this post is just a copy of one of his previous posts, which is the one linked by Google.

I thought he'd come up with something new.

Ged Byrne
Friday, July 09, 2004

And it seems I've been telling that same Picasso story since 2002. Before I acquired the www. and the .com .

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, July 10, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home