Art is Theft

April 24, 2018 By

Art is TheftTheft defined.

The action or crime of stealing.

According to UK legislation, it’s more than that.

A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly.

Art defined.

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

What is brought to mind is the controversy over the person a short while ago taking people’s instagram images, changing them just enough to say they were derivative works of art and selling them for six figures without any renumeration to the original “artist.”

To me, that is theft, based on the definition from UK legislation. He dishonestly appropriated property (intellectual and creative) belonging to another with the intention of depriving the other of financial gain that he intended to make and not share.

“Dishonestly” is an appropriate word in my opinion because he took it without permission or acknowledgment from the other person. He did so because it was on a public platform. If it had been hanging on that person’s wall or in their portfolio sitting out at a cafe and he did the same, it would absolutely be considered theft. But because of the platform, he got away with it.

Pablo Picasso

That brings me to our quote of the day. Pablo Picasso said all art is theft. How can it be, Sir Pablo? Were you speaking in general about the idea that there is nothing new under the sun and all works are derivative in some form or fashion? Or were you, would you, advocate and agree with the behavior of said thief on Instagram?

Questions like these will continue to come more to the forefront as Instagram and Facebook and all other online platforms continue to change their terms of service to legalize their ability to use any artist’s expression of creative skill and imagination for their own benefit without remuneration. How will it impact your creativity and sharing?

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