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World Famous Photographer Accuses Artist Of Ripping Off Her Work, Is Shocked By His Response – Bored Panda

They say that imitation is the biggest form of flattery there is, but there’s no excuse for outright ripping off someone’s work and then reaping the financial rewards that come with that. There’s a pretty thin line between inspiration and copying. And though the line can get a bit blurred in some cases, it’s usually pretty clear when someone oversteps the bounds of polite ‘inspiration’ for commercial gain.

Well-known photographer Jingna Zhang has stated on Twitter that artist Jeff Dieschburg ripped off her photograph to make his oil painting. The painting went on to win a cash prize, was exhibited at the Strassen Stroossen Culture Center in Luxembourg, and was even presented to Princess Stéphanie. The painting is almost identical to the photograph, and apparently, this isn’t the first time that Dieschburg has pulled something like this. Photographer Bekka Björke has also had her work plagiarized.

The authorities are trying to defuse the tense situation, and the internet is absolutely outraged at what has happened. Scroll down to learn more about what happened, dear Pandas, and be sure to share your thoughts about it all in the comments. Do we have any artists reading this who have had their work plagiarized by others before? Tell us what happened and how you responded.

Bored Panda reached out to photographer Zhang and she was kind enough to answer our questions about why some people plagiarize the work of others and why educating students about copyrights is important. “Oftentimes, plagiarism and unauthorized use of photos are done mainly by those who are very young, students who don’t know better, people who think they can get away with it, or people who misunderstand fair use/transformative use and think it’s within their right to use anything found on the internet,” Zhang told us.

More info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | ZhangJingna.com

Jingna Zhang is a world-famous photographer who creates stunning compositions. Recently, she had her work blatantly ripped off

Image credits: zemotion

The artist copied her photograph for his oil painting and then went on to reap the rewards

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Artist Jeff Dieschburg’s knock-off painting was featured in an exhibition, and he won a cash prize

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

The artist has a very peculiar understanding of where the line between inspiration and copying lies

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: artfinder

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

In fact, this isn’t the first time that Dieschburg has copied the work of other professionals with only minor alterations

Image credits: zemotion

Dieschburg even lawyered up

Image credits: zemotion

The artist is clearly getting commercial gain from what he did

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Zhang’s photo has been seen around the world and is easily recognizable

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

Image credits: zemotion

According to photographer Zhang, there are some things that can be done to ensure that fewer people rip off the work of professionals. It all starts with good education in schools and universities.

“To prevent this from happening, any schools with programs intersecting with intellectual property rights should implement copyright seminar days. If people are more exposed to the subject, it can help everyone be more informed and aware,” she told Bored Panda that raising awareness can help prevent similar situations in the future.

“Separately, people experienced in handling copyright infringement cases can also discuss such matters to help improve people’s understanding of the issues that artists face. These can be learning opportunities and reference points for both the public and for artists who undergo similar situations.”

The long and short of it is that Dieschburg’s painting is clearly derivative of Zhang’s work and she was not credited.

Photographer Zhang believes it’s perfectly fine that art students use her work for inspiration. However, she draws the line at her photos being plagiarized. Worse still, Dieschburg clearly has financial motives in mind. He won a 1.5k euro prize, has been raking in the glory, and has even put his painting up for sale for 6.5k euros.

Obviously, the situation’s pretty tense right now. Dieschburg has a very peculiar understanding of how copyright infringement works and tried to mansplain this to Zhang. Meanwhile, his lawyer believes that he’s being persecuted unfairly. The Luxembourgish municipality of Strassen is trying to solve the issue and defuse the tension.

“There are lots of legally free images and tools online people can use for references. Just because I or other creators share our work online, it doesn’t mean that our work is suddenly free for all to exploit,” Zhang explained on social media that just because creators share their work online doesn’t mean that they’re ripe for exploitation.

“To see someone praised, awarded, winning prize money, and shamelessly doing interviews while claiming credit despite copying so much of another person’s work… the audacity and utter disrespect. I don’t know how someone begins to think that this is ok and is something they can be proud of. I’m so speechless I can’t even begin to process what to do. Just insane,” she writes.

The work that Dieschburg copied is one of five covers that Zhang did for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam in November 2017. The photographer said that she has been overwhelmed by the support and offers of help she’s received from people all around the world in the wake of the plagiarism scandal. “Your warmth makes going through these dark days a little more possible, I wish I can visit Luxembourg and enjoy this beautiful country under better circumstances one day,” she wrote on Instagram.

Zhang, born in Beijing and raised in Singapore, currently works in New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. She was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2018, and her work has appeared on the covers and pages of Vogue China, Vogue Japan, Harper’s Bazaar China, and Elle Singapore, and elsewhere.

Here’s how some Twitter users reacted to the plagiarism of Zhang’s photo

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