As some may know, my store belongs to the "Sixty Linden Weekends" sales group. It is not obligated for us to submit news every week, but truth being said, it's good practice trying to do so, because it keeps you on your feet, and chances you'll neglect your store, lower. However, coming up with new things every week, at times, is challenging. I wish that books and scripts hadn't such a long creation process: there's a lot of beta testing, reviewing, documenting and proof reading involved. I just can't come up with one of them new every week, as a rule (and some of my scripts are in "update for improvements" stage, which adds to my slow process.)
When it comes to creating furniture, I don't hide where my "sources of inspiration" come from. I like walking, and so I walk by many stores. I see things I like, and when I'm back home, if it coincides that I remember about them and Blender is open, I start sketching something like what I've seen. In the end, I most likely make something that has nothing to do with the piece I saw in RL. Other times, there are more resemblances. Other times, it's just something that came in my mind by no apparent reason, perhaps I saw it long ago and I don't remember, or who knows. Or something I happen to have at home. But the source of inspiration is there: the real world, constantly around.
Am I more or less original because of this? More or less exclusive? Honestly, I don't care. I care in modeling my own pieces, in being aware of any potential copyright/license issue, and in trying to make the final result, my own thing.
For example, I will not model a "Hello Kitty" to then sell it. My full permission kits include only textures I've made from scratch and my own photographs: I know they aren't great textures, but I am sure that I can distribute them with all the guarantees for people that come to my store. (I keep all the originals and all the stages of the creation process, which are also documented. In case of need, I can prove that my work is mine.) Sorry: I digress.
Nowadays, I want to make a chaise lounge, Victorian style: we have one at home with some modeling poses, but I want to do my own, and my own set of poses. Since I don't have any Victorian style furniture store at home, what do I do? I look for images in Google, to have a reference.
I know that my final model isn't going to be an "oh my god, this is a complete revolution within the Victorian style, totally new in its genre!" Most likely, people will look at it, and will be able to tell "ah yes, a Victorian chaise lounge." The part I can assure is, all the vertexes will be placed by me in Blender, using my current set of skills.
Will be my chaise more original than others? I highly doubt so.
I bring this up because at times, it seems that if you don't design something that doesn't exist yet in the real world or any virtual world, you're "copying from the first designer that made this completely original thing, never existing before."
I'm very concerned about stolen content, but I dislike when situations/conversations border the stupid line. (And for the record, I'm no fan of witch hunts nor of "vigilante" groups. They end up being used for drama and harassing legitimate creators. We have problems enough with stolen content as to rip our eyes off among ourselves. No, thanks.)
I happened to heard recently such a conversation. It was between someone that likes Anthonys Republic's work, and Anthonys himself. This person was very enthusiastic talking about how they loved his work, and truth being said, I know his work too, and I've always liked it. Bummer that some pieces required a lot of prims (now with mesh, things are a lot better in that respect), but it's good quality and detail. Some of my scripts have samples using his sculpts, and when people ask me about where to get them, I always send them to his store (normally, to the exact Marketplace page with that item).
Now, one thing is to acknowledge that his work is good (it is), and a different one, to say that his designs are "his" as in "never, ever, seen before, no inspiration taken from any existent source". That's what this person said, and what itched me. This person told him that it was a pity that so many other full perm creators weren't original and had copied "his designs".
I happen to know several of those designs: for instance, Katy Dirkle and McChris Flannagan have their own Victorian style chaise lounge. Have they copied them from Anthonys? Honestly, I don't think so. They're clearly their own models, and they're clearly inspired in the Victorian style... same as Anthonys' work.
Because, really, one doesn't expect that I'm buying that this real life piece, and this design from Anthonys, don't look alike at all, right?
I haven't had to spend much time to find that link: just type "victorian chaise lounge" in Google images.
I am not the one having an issue in Anthonys, or Katy, or any other creator, having their inspiration sources. They abide by the rules. I have an issue in people walking to the extreme path of assuming that there was ever only one Victorian style, and those were Anthonys' models. It shows illiteracy, being a fan-boy, or both, and it only helps to spreading rumors that start by "he copied... she copied...", and those, we know, they never end well.
So here I am, thinking about making my own chaise, and wondering if I'd be pointed as having copied some other SL creator's completely original Victorian designs :-|