It’s not just flattery, it’s a crime


Adam Turman's artwork, created for a breast cancer campaign

There's an oft-quoted expression that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

Well, local graphic artist Adam Turman would love it if you'd just lay off the flattery, thank you very much.

Turman just found out that a person claiming to be a graphic artist, using the name "Ben Hur," has been selling one of Turman's images on baseball caps and t-shirts. This morning I was able to check out the plagiarist's site myself, and saw Turman's "Second Base" image all over the home page. Here's how Turman explains it:

MPR News is Reader Funded

Before you keep reading, take a moment to donate to MPR News. Your financial support ensures that factual and trusted news and context remain accessible to all.

My partner on the Second Base Breast Cancer campaign, Brian Erba, is well connected in the online poster collecting scene, and randomly patrols for the image I made for the campaign. He came across Ben Hur's stuff, and immediately alerted me to it. I posted about it on FB, sent Zazzle (where he was selling merch) an email, sent Ben Hur an email to his site, sent my lawyer an email, and have been letting everyone know what's going on.

Luckily for Turman, he saw swift results. Hur's site is now down, and all the images have been taken off of his Facebook page and Zazzle. Turman says the best defense is swift communication to as many people as possible, letting them know what's a fake and what's an original.

I've had this happen multiple times before, and it's been my fans, clients, customers, friends, that have really helped to put a stop to this sort of thing. Plagiarizers should know that if they do what they do often enough, it's going to get back to them.

Turman says the worst part of this latest incident is that Ben Hur was stealing art that was used for a not-for-profit campaign.

Stealing work can be flattering to a point, but when that person stealing work uses it for personal gain, it's a totally different ball game (pun intended).