MegaMaster Musings

Art Swiping
August 2, 2002

Let’s turn back the wheel of time. The year is 1995; The Mega Man Home Page had just gone public. There weren’t that many websites to be found around that time; the WWW was still in its infancy. Yet even back then, I discovered artwork from MMHP turning up on other sites. It was typically a cycle—one site would take and use a piece of artwork without stating its source, then another site maintainer would come along, see the artwork and consider it “free to use” because there was no text stating otherwise, and borrow it off that site. And so on down the line. This is a problem that I’m sure has haunted lots of webmasters. Strangely, the presense of more and more “professional” websites hasn’t curbed this any; such sites are evidently just as prone to take artwork without paying for it (or even asking!) as anyone else.

At the time, the favored art to swipe was, ironically, one of the various original series logos. I suppose it’s not surprising, since I based the general design of the logos off the games (although my colors were significantly off). So once one site took one, it was probably hard to tell that the logo hadn’t come from a game somewhere.

That is, however, one part of the trend that has changed. The current fad seems to be to swipe the SD logo from the main page. The inspiration for this little bit of artwork actually came from my childhood (my family at one point owned a dog, a cat, and a bird). These days, I can’t even count the number of places I’ve seen it. Of course, most websites edit the image before they post it, thoughtfully stripping out the copyright notice, artist name, and logo first. Heaven forbid anyone acknowledge their source, much less check the using contents page that couldn’t be more obvious if I hit someone over the head with it.

When you start seeing sites like IGN participate in this behavior, you know something is wrong.

Still, I’ll keep plugging away at it, although if you’re ever wondering why there isn’t more artwork on MMHP, it’s because it just takes way too long for me to produce it, since I insist on drawing everything by hand so that MMHP’s art will be unique, not copied (at least as far as my end is involved). But we’ll see. In the meantime, if you’ve found some nifty artwork on some random website that you’re considering using, you might want to check to see if it came off MMHP first. ;)

- The MegaMaster