Updated on May 22nd, 12:58pm Central: I've been receiving reports of shady behavior from Buckley and other members of his forum. Besides immediate bans for those who talk about the connection between the designs, the ability to even talk about the comic itself has been hidden from the forums. Apparently not even members can access the sub forum dedicated to the comic and the ability to register for the site has been disabled or new members are being denied until farther notice. On top of that, the CAD article on Wikipedia has been completely removed.
A few tips I've received mentioned how upset fans wanted to create an article on the page to talk about the controversy. Buckley was editing their comments in attempts to completely remove the topic. Eventually, he just deleted the page.
I've also been receiving screencaps of his forum posts where he has denied the way the incident took place with the art student despite achieved pictures of his letter to the student. He says that he "does not recall" writing the letter in such a vulgar way and says that he sent the fan art to his lawyer to see if student could use it, not to sue him even though the letter states otherwise.
Needless to say, it seems that issues arising a more or less about the morality behind how the situation is being handled as fans show their stands on the gray area between what is considered basing a design and what is considered copying a design. Regardless of rather or not legal action can take place regarding copyright, fans are more upset over how Buckley is responding over this and his attitude towards his fanbase.
Original post: It is not uncommon to once in awhile discovered similarities among media forms. It is not uncommon for different songs over the years to sound familiar or for movies or games to share moments that resemble a previous piece of work, but is imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Where is the line drawn between borrowing a concept and theft?
Ctrl-Alt-Del is a fairly popular web comic that seems to have stumbled into some hot water. For the past few weeks, the web creator, Tim Buckley, had introduced a new female character named Abby. Abby seems to have become a bit of an antagonist to counter his protagonist’s (Ethan) antics. However, while the clever, punk girl seems to be liked among the fan base, it’s possible that Buckley could face a law suit due to his new character.
Recently, it was discovered that Abby’s character design seemed identical to a character created by 2D artist, Hector Moran, from 2007. His character whom he called “Punk Girl” is featured on his web site under his original project listing, complete with copyright law protection and even a store where you can purchase prints of his work. Strangely, both Abby and “Punk Girl” have the same color highlights in the same colored hair with outfits that almost perfectly match other than very few, minor alterations.
The CAD forums seem to split in two as controversy and conspiracies tore the community apart as fans debated on rather or not Abby’s design was stolen. Some former-fans mentioned a previous incident regarding Buckley’s reaction when his character Ethan was used by a student for a school project a few years ago. The student had given Buckley full recognition for the design and clearly stated that his drawing was fan art for an art class project. Buckley had mocked the student and threatened to sue him for use of Ethan’s image. Yet, ironical years later, Buckley could see the same accusation if Moran chooses to pursue copyright infringement.
Threads and posts on the CAD forums were quickly deleted as flame wars sprouted. Any user who remotely mentioned disliking for the stolen image was banned as mods tried to counter the attacks. Many were infuriated with the lack of credit given to Moran for his work after the previous incident regarding the art student’s fan art. What has the community even more pissed is the fact that proof of the “theft” was stated by Buckley himself not long ago.
A forum post by Buckley stated that when he was designing the character, he did research on the punk style in order to properly design the character. “That drawing is among many I looked at,” he had written, “and had the clothing that I felt matched the character I had in mind.”
He goes onto to explain that it’s not “uncommon for artists to look for references when drawing”, but yet the image seems to more of a copy than a drawing based on the original work. He states that he would have given credit to the original artist but only if the artist asks for it, which in itself is causing more controversy regarding the topic. There was no mentioning of the original artist ever being contacted for rights to use the character or that rights were purchased.
At the moment, there is no official comment by Moran, though he has been contacted by the fan base to inform him of the usage of the concept. This article will be updated as this story continues to unfold.