Inktober Book Plagerism Accusations
@Shyam-Sailus Well, Inktober is just one of the inking challenges, and if other group of artists want to launch their own inking challenge, they should be allowed to, and why wait until November? October is coming up. Inktober has never claimed monopoly on this. Jeff Watts seems to be a very level-headed person and extremely experienced fine art artist, and most likely has no interest in this controversy. Just my guess though...
Just adding one more thing: the prompt from Watts' atelier has a very different flavor then Inktober, some artists might find it more suitable for them. Or maybe some will combine the two challenges and do ink drawing that work with both prompts. This will be very interesting!
Meh. I had to think about this for a while. Watts Atelier's strength isn't in inking. It's in the charcoal portraiture and figurative renderings in the old-school Russian realist style they're known for. It is indeed a great list that focuses on methods instead of word inspiration and feels really academic if you're looking for that, but at this point the whole thing seems kinda bandwagon-ish to me. It's hard to separate the angry anti-Inktober hashtags from the legit alternative-things-to-be-inspired-by lists.
I don't know why they wouldn't want to make commercial arrangements to pair with Inktober if they were going to do something specifically ink-based to promote their brand/school--they could have reached hundreds of thousands of potential new students. Seems like a missed opportunity. I think they'll just get lost in the literal sea of alternative prompt hashtags in October, personally. I'm sure it will appeal to their own current following and students looking for the flavor of instructional development rather than singular word prompts (if those people ever actually find it). I don't think they're purposefully creating something to spite Inktober--there are too many of those out there already. I'm just not sure it will do them any good to create an ink-based challenge in October though...
George Broussard last edited by
I don't think they're purposefully creating something to spite Inktober--there are too many of those out there already. I'm just not sure it will do them any good to create an ink-based challenge in October though...
I think they are clearly trying to capitalize on Inktober drama. They clearly understand and know what's going on and they chose to launch an ink even in October, with essentially the same rules and directions as Inktober. I mean, it is what it is...
Only reason it's noteworthy is it isn't some random person on the internet doing WitchTober or whatever else. Watts has a higher profile and should basically reject doing an ink even in October because of the optics alone! Unless of course they take the angle that they are against Jake and pro Alphonso and this is as much of an attack and condemnation as anything else.
So yeah...it is what it is, but it's clear as day.
@jimsz fair enough. But I think it's common courtesy to tag Inktober. Their challenge is clearly a variation of Inktober. it's only fair to acknowledge their source of inspiration otherwise they're committing a copyright/trademark (?) infringement.
jimsz last edited by
Trademark does not allow you to cash in on someones registered mark. By hashtagging Inktober the argument could be made that 1. Inktober is a generic name for common actvity which could void the trademark. Or 2. the " business" hashtagging Inktober could receive a C&D since they are seen as capitalizing or infringing on someone elses mark.
If you don't think that is factual start selling or pushing something on social media from which you will make a profit and use a media conglomerates hashtag (like Disney).
I received a rather blunt and forceful C&D letter years ago filled with all sorts of threats - not on a drawing but on my style of drawing with the demand I cease doing any work totally. Mind you at that point I had done 150+ different pieces for multiple publications and publishers and my work was published long before this other person/company picked up a pencil. They were casting a wide net to protect a brand.
People here are using emotion in these discussions and it has nothing to do with emotion. Jake (with legitimate right and reason) made the decision to go all in on Inktober and this end result is simply the end game of that. There will be blowback, there will be negative comments and there will be copycats (legally).
it's only fair to acknowledge their source of inspiration otherwise they're committing a copyright/trademark (?) infringement.
Because you added the "?" I thought I'd clarify this a bit based on my understanding.
Citing your source(s) is an academic standard to avoid a plagiarism accusation. Plagiarism isn't illegal whereas copyright infringement is. For more on this concept:
In the event of an actual copyright infringement citing your source provides no legal protection. The same is true for a trademark infringement. It's useful to get a handle on the difference between trademark and copyright (and just for fun -- patents)
So my understanding is that Watts Atelier is not doing anything legally wrong in creating this event, and promoting it in this way.
After reviewing the Inktober trademark info page:
I have to conclude that the choice by Watts Atelier not to include the #inktober hashtag is likely intentional and specifically designed not to infringe on Jake's Inktober trademark.
All that said, would it have been just a decent thing for Watts Atelier to do and get permission from Jake to officially use #inktober in their social media posts? Yeah, probably. But they don't have too.
@George-Broussard I don't know...... it is not clear. Saying Watts Atelier is capitalizing on the Inktober drama being "as clear as day" is similar to Alphonso Dunn's mob fan stating it is "as clear as day" that Jake undeniably and blatantly plagiarized. I think this is the same situation where it's better to give Watts the benefit of the doubt first since they have been a trustworthy business with integrity, just like Jake. Despite this whole controversy, the world is not out there to get Jake and not everything involving inking in October is about Inktober. So this brings to my next point:
@Nyrryl-Cadiz Jake only copyrighted the logo of Inktober. He did not copyright "ink art challenge in the month of October". So there is no copyright infringement. Jeff Watts participated in Inktober in 2019 and made tutorial videos for his students. So it's likely that he might have realized the Inktober prompts is not well suited for his atelier and teaching methodology and has been thinking about coming up with his own prompt that is better for his students for 2020. Is the timing awkward? Yes, but he shouldn't have to stop his plans just because the Inktober drama.
I'm really happy Watts came up with this prompt because it pairs so well with Inktober. My challenge with random word generator is that no only I have to be creative with the subject to draw, I have to decide on the style and technique. Now, Watts gives me ideas about how to narrow down the boundaries of this process, and my mental bandwidth for creativity is not exceeded.
We need to get out of this mindset of scarcity and not behave like Dunn. Dunn thought of Jake's book as a threat, while the reality is artsy people tend to buy many books of the same topic. Similarly, Watts' prompt for October is not a competition or threat towards Inktober. At least he didn't come up with a cheap spin-off of the name "Inktober" or any month ending with "er". "Ink with Watts" is very catchy and I like it!
@pixel-dsp You literally posted just after I did so you might have missed this link:
I confess that I thought Jake only trademarked the Inktober logotype too. But that does not appear to be the case. It reads like he trademarked the word "Inktober" and the logotype.
Not trying to nit-pick your post (which bring up a bunch of important points!) but when discussing copyright vs trademark the distinction is important.
Right, the name Inktober is trademarked, so actually Watts not using it in his post is the legal thing to do.
"Watts Atelier's strength isn't in inking. It's in the charcoal portraiture and figurative renderings in the old-school Russian realist style they're known for."
Probably for some people they are best known for charcoal portraiture but to me it is the very first atelier that got me interested in inking.
I watched live streams with Jeff Watts inking with his incredible ability long before I was ever interested in Inktober. They have also great online lessons on inking. I think it is definitly one of their strengths.
I'm happy to know I was wrong about a lot of things. Thanks to everyone for pointing it all out. I appreciate it.
jimsz last edited by jimsz
you can see Jakes trademark record here
The interesting thing I noticed was the filing date - days after Inktober ended. Jake encouraged people to make use of his logo, etc. knowing he was trademarking it. for those not familiar, when you file a trademark it is a 12-24 month process with an opposition period. Since this affects mostly individuals, they wouldnt have a legal department to go through the publication and raise any opposition. I think Jake being granted the trademark was proper I also think there could have been opposition raised that with Jake's encouragement the mark was encouraged to be used and publicized for years and could be considered generic ant trademarkable. however, I certainly have zero legal background other than filing some trademark papers.
A follow up to my own post (via @jimsz link)
It says on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website that Jake filed for a "Standard Character Mark". And what is that you ask? (because I sure did!)
The Standard Character Mark (also known as a word mark) is used to register words, letters, numbers or any combination thereof. However it does not lay claim to any particular font style, size, color or design element. In other words, a single word mark protects the phrase regardless of how the words are displayed.
So yeah, the word "Inktober" has been trademarked. I note that there isn't anything about the logotype. It's possible that Jake is protecting that via copyright. Or that the logotype is protected under the umbrella of the "Inktober" trademark.
@jimsz I keep hearing people say that - that he encouraged people to use his logo, but did he really? :o I'm not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely asking. I cannot personally recall a single instance of Jake saying "please go ahead and put this logo everywhere!" Encouraging people to participate in the event, use the prompts and even the hashtag so their posts can gain attention is not exactly the same as encouraging people to take the name and logo to sell their products. Did he actually ever, word for word, encourage people to do that? Or did people just assume he did because he promoted Inktober and made prompt lists?
ajillustrates last edited by ajillustrates
@NessIllustration My memory is hazy on this one. When the trademark huff happened, I felt like the controversy was overblown because unless you didn't title work you were actively attempting to monetize "Inktober" or use the logo, you had nothing to worry about. However, when I first did Inktober in 2018, I did download the logomark, thinking I would draw that into the sketchbook I was using. The thing is I can't remember if the logo was on an official Inktober webpage where Jake was telling people, "Hey, download and use this!"
So, without the smoking gun of a publicly accessible and promoted branding page, the only example I can think of for people to claim Jake encouraged the use of Inktober mark on products would be an old YouTube video where he shared examples of artbooks that others had sent to him of their Inktober drawings. I'm going to track that video down, because it's really driving me crazy trying to remember what was shown and said.
ajillustrates last edited by
@ajillustrates I couldn't find the video anywhere. Does anyone else no what I'm talking about, or did I just dream it up?
TessaW last edited by TessaW
@ajillustrates I remember a video where he was showing off people's physical Inktober projects, like books and stuff. There was a cool one that was a big drawing, and it was on a long accordion fold out I think. Can't remember if they had the logo on them or not.
jimsz last edited by jimsz
@NessIllustration I don't remember the exact words but he did not discourage it . Also, it is not the logo design that is trademarked but the word.
Jules last edited by
I want to say a quick thank you to Jake for all of his amazing classes here on SVS and all of the awesome videos on his YouTube channel. They really have gotten me through some low confidence moments and they have improved my skills immensely! I love Inktober and I’m so grateful that he started it! This will be my third year and I am a junior in high school. I loved his robotics and Machinery class and his creative environment design class. I don’t think I’ve ever improved as much in my drawing skills as I did when I took his How to Draw Everything class and his Drawing Animals class. Jake is a genuine person who wants to help artists, and it makes me sad that this has happened. I am very excited for Inktober this year and I hope that all can get sorted out.
Thank you so much for all you’ve done Jake! Hang in there!