As anime fans know all too well, unfortunately, the nature of fan art on the Internet is tenuous at best. With various social media channels, it's easier than ever for someone to pass of another's original creation of their own. This has been especially prominent with merchandise sales, which sees all kinds of art across multiple mediums being adapted into apparel and the like for sales.
One particularly prominent case arose when a new release in a collaboration between pop artist Billie Eilish and Los Angeles fashion brand Siberia Hills appeared to have allegedly featured art similar to a famous fan artist on Twitter.
With the above tweet announcing the collaboration, fans of the Love Live! franchise were quick to not only point out that the character featured in the art was the popular Nozomi Tojo, but also seemed to closely resemble fan art from the popular artist Makoto Kurokawa. You can see the portrait in question below:
東條希ちゃん pic.twitter.com/IneTC0Cfrb— 黒河真琴 (@m_qurokawa) August 15, 2018
Seeing the resemblance between the two works, fans were quick to angrily point out the similarities between the two. There were allegations that the art was stolen with fans shedding light on other controversies from the Siberia Hills brand in the past:
Also wanted to add that this “brand” Siberia Hills are bootleg merch creators who steal copywritten materials and sell them at exorbitant prices which is illegal under both US and Japanese copyright laws. Billie please dont support these kinds of practices. pic.twitter.com/HBKcemRS6l— 💜💖Noire💙💜 (@NoiresDusk) August 8, 2019
I sure as fuck hope the original artist is properly compensated for this theft, and it swept under the rug with a “oopsie sorry we removed it from the store uwu” https://t.co/A3riElI3Fs— 🌸tenleid but sfw🌸 @ anirevo (@yyyazy) August 8, 2019
so youre just going to steal artwork, slap it on a hoodie, and then put a price tag on it???? https://t.co/pUe6knUAWW— roo🗡 (@JIRAlYAH) August 8, 2019
They've done this multiple times 😛https://t.co/4wePTl6ZJ6— fredocini (@fredocini) August 8, 2019
i'm just looking at the billie eilish x siberia hills hoodie with the stolen art of nozomi and wondering what else of theirs is stolen too pic.twitter.com/E2b8ejKf6B— ｒｅｋｋａ 🌻 (@rekka236) August 8, 2019
Neither Eilish nor Siberia Hills have issued an official comment as of this writing, but the merchandise in question has been removed from Eilish's storefront.
Love Live! School Idol Project is a joint project between ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's magazine, music label Lantis, and animation Studio Sunrise. The story follows Honoka Kosaka, a girl who is attending a school that is about to be closed down due to a lack of new applicants. Discovering that school idol groups are very popular, Honoka decides to start a group with friends from school. Soon they enter in the cross-country idol competition, Love Live.