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  • Creative Cow AE Tutorial Copyright Infringement…

  • highfly900

    June 20, 2006 at 1:21 am

    Not sure if this is appropiate here or where to put it. I looked all over the site to see what copyright rules apply to tutorials on Creative Cow but could not find any specefic info.

    Anyway to the point… not sure how long ago I did this after effects tutorial, More Lighting and Shadows, (video of final comp is here) just like I do every AE tutorial when it comes out. Well I am also a big skier and one of the biggest ski video companies in the world, Matchstick Productions came out with their latest trailer and immediately something looked familiar.

    Anyway I’m not try to be a tattle-tail or anything but these guys have done a LOT of questionable business moves, such as forcing other companies out of business, using their influence to have sponsors pull their support from other companies, etc. These guys operate on a massive budget, yet they still can’t find any originality. I don’t know if this is an appropiate topic but I just have friends that they have hurt, and now they are taking advantage of Creative cow tutorials for profit(I’m pretty sure they even used the same floor textures as the tutorial!)

    just wondering if this is legal…

  • walter biscardi

    June 20, 2006 at 1:31 am

    Well, while it’s obvious they lifted the entire comp directly from your tutorial, that’s pretty much what is to be expected when you put something like a public tutorial out there. People learn how to do something and say “hey, I can use that in my next project.” I’ve seen that myself when I do a demonstration and I’ll see some of my exact effects and comps show up in people’s projects. That’s why I always demonstrate stuff I’ve done enough times that I’ve moved on to new effects and looks. 🙂

    the copyright infringement would probably only kick in if they tried to sell your tutorial as their own. They obviously liked what the tutorial did and just did the exact same look for their trailer.

    Walter Biscardi, Jr.

    Director, “The Rough Cut”

    Now Posting “Good Eats” in HD for the Food Network

    “I reject your reality and substitute my own!” – Adam Savage, Mythbusters

  • Andrew Kramer

    June 20, 2006 at 1:40 am

    Well I can’t speak for all the authors on creative cow, but my feeling when producing a tutorial is that I present the tutorial to the public and by publishing a follow-along tutorial I have a reasonable expectation that my idea(s) will be copied directly as well as indirectly.

    Now, is it un-original to use a tutorial without incorporating your own ideas and design? Sure, but is it illegal? I don’t think so.

    Would anyone care if one guy used this idea in a school dance video where the editor made $150? Probably not. However, that same usage expectation must extend itself to even Large Companies.

    These are only my thoughts, I understand some artists may have presented there ideas as a way to teach the techniques, and not as a free design session.

    Now if the tutorial includes copyrighted material such as images or video of talent for the purposes of demonstrating, those rights to use such elements may not be perpetual.

  • Ron Lindeboom

    June 20, 2006 at 1:52 am


    No, as both Walter and Andrew have pointed out, it’s quite expected that we’ll see our tutorials used — sadly, sometimes without much of a change made to them. The saddest cases are when nothing in them are changed.

    I remember when George Polevoy’s Flowing Text tutorial first came out, we saw major Hollywood movies come out with absolutely NO changes to his AEP file, they merely swapped out the words Creative Cow for say, Last Destination, or something like that. ;o)

    It’s just the way the AEP file circulates, as the old saying goes.

    But thanks for pointing it out.

    Best regards,

    Ron Lindeboom

  • highfly900

    June 20, 2006 at 2:08 am

    thanks for the reply! while there is definately no originality to just using the .aep file from a tutorial, i guess it is a compliment to the tutorial writers!

    anyway, any skiers or anyone interested in seeing some great “original” trailers for ski films coming out next fall, be sure to check these ones out!:

    Level 1 Productions: Long Story Short(lo-res)
    Level 1 Productions: Long Story Short(hi-res)

    Theory-3 Media: [photo]play (lo-res)
    Theory-3 Media: [photo]play (hi-res)

    looks like fun huh?

    Daniel Wood

  • thehardmenpath

    June 20, 2006 at 2:42 am

    These are definitely strange times for copyright issues. It’s even being discussed if food recipes can be registered or even patented.

    What I saw the other day was also a disgusting example. In a fifa world cup promo one AE7 preset was used with absolutely no tweaks, that graphic bed with with green squares. Usually when I see them, I see them somehow changed. But here someone got paid for pressing a button, and that kinda annoys me. Even the color fit the corporate logo, so nothing else to do was needed, logo in the front, preset in the back.

  • Mylenium

    June 20, 2006 at 5:28 am

    Well, it’s ashame, but there’s not much one can do. In a way whenever releasing stuff you are somewhat asking for people to do that. It’s not particularly respectful and I surely wouldn’t do business with a company that has used one of my presets and sold it to their clients as their own, but it happens all the time. In 3D circles it even happens that people use rendered imagery from others and use them for their own promotion or even more strangely sell models that others provide for free on Turbosquid for a big stack of Greenbacks. Unless you intend to settle on Mars or some other remote rock floating in space anytime soon, we all just have to live with it.


    [Pour Myl

  • Roland R. Kahlenberg

    June 20, 2006 at 12:12 pm

    In case anyone is interested, Bill O’Neil was the one who wrote that great tutorial.

    Roland Kahlenberg
    customizable animated backdrops with Adobe After Effects project files

  • sam moulton

    June 20, 2006 at 5:55 pm

    if i’m not mistaking, unless you actually file a copyright the little copyright symbol or note you put on something you do has no effect in court and it really does not have copyright protectiion. there is a line in the faq at the us copyright office that says:

    Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.

    on the other hand it also says:

    In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright. However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection. Even though registration is not a requirement for protection, the copyright law provides several inducements or advantages to encourage copyright owners to make registration.

    it’s all too fuzzy for my pea brain. you don’t have to file to get a copyright but you have to file to have legal protection. leave it to the lawyers to come up with something like that so you have to hire them to figure things out.

  • Alexander Gao

    June 20, 2006 at 11:17 pm

    And even more pathetic, I’ve e-mailed Bill before notifying of him of yet another who used the exact tutorial footage in their demo reel. I guess he could take it as a compliment that so many people feel the need to copy that exact tutorial…?

    Alexander Gao

    “When the revolution happens, I’ll be leading it.”

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