You know, every now and then I'm browsing Twitter and I see a post from an independent artist who drew something, and a big brand with similar art and they say it's stolen. Sometimes it's very similar and there is a strange amount of similarities. Sometimes you are able to look at both pieces of art and say that they are different enough that both artists seemed inspired independently to make similar art.
These conversations often cause me to think back to a time where I feel like my art was stolen, or at the very least ripped off or parodied.
About 5 years ago I was trying to become a regular YouTuber. I was writing, directing, acting in, editing, and producing one sketch every week. I was gathering equipment, and getting pretty proficient at making the process quick. Most of my videos were terrible, but there was one that I was actually pretty proud of. It was around the time that hashtags became a thing on Facebook, so I decided to make a video about how annoying it would be if people hashtagged things in real life. The sketch was called #HashTag. It was getting a lot of hits. More than most of my videos that were more rushed, and less scripted. About 5 months later a sketch appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon featuring Justin Timberlake called #Hashtag.
I really thought the similarity of the idea was uncanny. I'll admit the Jimmy Fallon sketch was funnier, and had more of a punchline than mine, but they have real writers for that show, and I was just an amateur. My friend managed to convince me that it was just a coincidence, but I could never shake the feeling that my sketch was stolen, and pushed to a bigger audience. I couldn't decide whether it was an honor that my idea was good enough to be on television, or if I should be mad that I was stolen from. I'm still not sure. I still kind of wonder what might have happened if I had made a stink about it.