How to Spot Fake or Plagiarised Works

As a group host and a member of RedBubble there are time you come across a picture and wonder if they really did it. Just recently I came across a few of these pictures submitted to my group. I did some research and not one of them was his/her works. But they were still getting wonderful comments.

So this is a guide on how to spot fake or plagiarised works, it is mostly aimed at photography as this seems to be most prevalent on RB. It will also tell you how to inform other of the suspected fake without breaching RB rules.

1. Little or no description
Most artist are proud of their works, they like to tell you about how they took the shot, some even add the camera setting or a little story about the shot. A fake would not know this so have no details or just a link to their blog. There are of course some exception to this with some RBer that never put a description.

2. inconsistent quality of work
Most artists improve over time, they want to better their selves so you can see as they grow over time. A fakers work is taken from a number of sources so they tend to have inconsistent quality, 1 may be of high quality then the next is crap and this goes on. The exception to this may be when an artist has not been doing any works of late and they go back through their catalogue so they can stay active on RB. But they will in most cases say so.

3. Big budget shots
If they shot looks like it would have cost a fair bit to produce then a client would be paying for it. These types of shots will not be on RB, and if they are, they will not be for sale. Types of shots include multiple models, specialised equipment.

4. Too many locations
Unless you have an unlimited budget most artists only do a few locations and always add a few shots from those locations. If a RBer has a single shot from a lot of location then it’s a sure bet that they have grabbed these shots from the web.

5. No Response to comments
I have notice that those that put up fakes do not usually respond to comments, they really don’t want the spot light and want to remain hidden…

What Can You Do
Well it is not really nice to report every shot you think is fake. You can use a site like TinEye to search for the shot (see below on how) or even Google images if you knew where the shot was take (the title might help).

Once you know where it was take from you should use the Report Concern button and use the URL of the original shot you found on the web. This is the only way that the works / member will be removed from RB.

To let other members know that you think it’s a fake with actually accusing the member in question in public (a no, no on RB) is to ask how the shot was take, what camera was used, settings, lighting and such. You can also say how it looks very similar to such and such picture and provide a link so other members can see for them self.

Of course what you think may be a fake or plagiarised may actually be their own works on their own private site or on flickr as I also have a flickr account and many more RBer do so too.

What not to do
One of the things not to do is start a Journal, writing or forum post accusing someone of plagiarising works, do not directly accuse another member of this. Do not provide links to any member in a public post as this is against RBs rules and will get you in trouble as well. Be very general what you say without specific detail won’t get you in trouble.

How to use TinEye
There are 2 ways to use TinEye to check for simular images on the internet.

The 1st is to right click the thumbnail of the image in concern and then save that image to you computer. Now goto TinEye and upload that image for checking.

The 2nd is to copy the URL of the page with the image in question then go to TinEye paste the URL in and then click submit. It will come back with a page showing the images it got from the URL. Choose the one you want to check by clicking on it.
I hope this is helpful to you all…


Update: I have since found out that RedBubble has no problems with members purchasing work from photo stock sites and then claiming it as their own…

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