Are Snapchat Stealing a Lot of their Filters?

The Ringer
We've reported once on Snapchat stealing a filter from an artist's design and it being removed. The problem is that it hasn't turned out to be a one-time mistake. Snapchat's filter designers have been plagiarising artists' work for a lot longer than they'd like to admit. There have been multiple occasions where there have been reports on social media of art being stolen and it looks like it's turning out to be a problem.

The biggest issue that comes with this is the fact Snapchat aren't claiming that they actually took the art. Each time they've said it was a coincidence, even if they have removed the filter. The fact is that could be the case; the designer might have seen the original art before and didn't realise they were emulating it. But since so many of these plagiarised filters are actually face art, this is questionable. A lot of the pieces of art came with tutorials on how to copy them and are years old, but that didn't mean the artists wanted them copied in this way. If Snapchat is going to copy someone's face art, then they should request permission and they should at least credit the original artist somewhere. The sad thing is that most of these artists wouldn't have a leg to stand on if they took this to court as their art wasn't copyrighted. Body and makeup artists can't even copyright their work easily as it's not considered eligible for copyright in the same way as other art is.

Snapchat's artists are under a lot of pressure to get new filters designed and because of this they could be copying others. This doesn't excuse the lack of credit, but it does mean you understand how it could be done so easily. A makeup artist called Mykie is one of the artists whose art has been stolen this time. She posted a comparison on Instagram of an image of her crying colourful tears and a similar Snapchat filter. People told her that she was being silly, but she's since filed a report with Snapchat. When she posted the evidence, Snapchat removed the filter, but they had replied to her complaint and tweets saying that it would be up to a judge to decide if it was against copyright infringement.

This is a problem that isn't going to go away easily. Snapchat maybe need to cycle back through old filters more often if they need time to be able to come up with something new. The users probably wouldn't mind much if it meant they got something original. The other option is to actually ask artists if they can emulate their work if they credit them. The thing is Snapchat aren't going to stop doing this whilst they can't get in any actual trouble. Yes, some users will stop using the app because of this, but not enough of them.

There isn't really anything you can say or do to make a change apart from to keep pointing out the thievery. Hopefully, Snapchat will eventually acknowledge that they are doing so, but that's only going to happen if they keep pointing it out.

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