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Yes, this is quite an old news item, being dated back to December. However, it's only been a couple of days since I only saw something that made it more interesting.

Do artists copy? Certainly, I've seen it myself too. Is it cheating? It's a very fine line to draw:

From this copyright FAQ, I quote:
You can't copyright a pose. If you see a piece of art in which a character is in a very similar pose to one of your pictures, unfortunately the law does not offer protection against that kind of theft-- poses are not technically copyrightable. However... if a picture is a direct trace of another picture, where it is clear that the picture was copied or traced line-for-line from another piece of art, then it is a copyright violation, and the original artist is within his or her rights to ask that the copied picture be removed.

ANN reports that Inoue-sensei previously admitted to using NBA pictures as references. But where is the line drawn between 'referencing' and copyright-breaching 'copying' with regards to poses? Any reasonable artist can copy poses without tracing over the pictures, and one cannot copyright a pose, according to the link above. However, what would you call Inoue-sensei's work? The poses, and even some of the expressions are exactly the same. What's the definition of referencing in art and what tributes must be made to those whose work is used by others?

One problem is that, whilst one can acknowledge that referring to another piece of work in most other fields, comic artists from around the world are, to the best of my very limited knowledge, not obligated to do so (I mean, have you ever seen a manga/comic which has a bibliography at the end, even for information etc?). Given the previous scandal, I think manga (and other comic) publishing companies around the world should come to an agreement as to what kind of 'referencing' is allowed, and whether that needs to be acknowledged or not.
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BTW, the lionking site goes on to say that you shouldn't be using pirated versions of software like photoshop to produce your pictures either. Well, I'm really not surprised that hardly anyone buys a genuine copy - hardly anyone can afford it, least of all those who're producing art as a hobby. On amazon.com, Photoshop goes for just under $600, and Acrobat will set you back nearly a grand. That's in US $. It's not as if fan artists generally make a profit from their work (although it'd be honourable of those who make enough to buy at least some of the tools that help them produced the work), so if it's just a hobby, I don't see why it's an issue.
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Oh, and yeah...new layout again - I just didn't like the Tokyo Babylon one all that much (I'm still happiest with the one that's at my other journal!). Another CLAMP series yet again - Sohryuden because I couldn't find any other pics I wanted to and could use on short notice.