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Audrey Hepburn

Monday, June 4, 2012

What Constitues 'Stealing' in the Youtube Beauty Community?

I was surprised to wake up this morning to quite a heated controversy. Did Pixiwoo 'steal' from Lisa Eldridge? Comments are flying, people are taking sides...after all, two of Youtube's finest beauty channels are being discussed here. It's not a typical catty battle between bedroom-based teens at each other's throats. There are valid professional claims and plagiarism concerns. Or are there?

First, here are the two videos that started the debate. Watch them with as unbiased an eye as possible and refrain from reading the comments, if you can.

Lisa Eldridge's video was posted first. A seemingly quite basic and flawless application of face makeup on problem skin:

Pixiwoo posted this video last week, dealing w/ the same subject:

Let me openly state that I am a HUGE fan of all of these ladies. Both channels contain a wealth of information, professionally represented, and featuring expert application tips. There is no doubt that Lisa, Sam, and Nic all have wonderful skills and that regardless of the number of years they have individually been in the industry-all are gifted. Lisa is my favorite makeup artist on the planet, but I'll admit that it is her passion for the past that has drawn me to her, rather than her fantastic skills as a makeup artist. She's a phenomenal artist, a master of technique, a soothing personality. These things are what initially made me a viewer, yes. But seeing her collection of vintage makeup, her love of history, and her videos dealing w/ authentic application of these products is what put her on a bit of a pedestal in my eyes. That said, I want to make it clear that I am not 'taking sides' in this particular matter because in all honesty, I'm not sure that there is really an issue.

When I first saw Pixiwoo's video on Saturday, I immediately thought of Lisa's. But not because I felt it was too similar or that it was a 'stolen vision'. I simply was interested to see how and what products Nic would use to accomplish the same task. I did not feel the film quality, direction, or background was 'stolen' either. Pixiwoo and Lisa have both been using white backgrounds for ages and it's one of the things that in my opinion, gives their videos a professional look. They are by no means the only gurus on Youtube making videos w/ great lighting and white backgrounds, but they are the most memorable due to their engaging personalities and consistent quality. Now if Lisa used a customized background featuring a boldly designed logo and then Pixiwoo started doing the same thing, I might feel differently. But when it comes to something as simple as black or white...nah.

As far as content goes, techniques and beauty philosophies are seemingly shared, at least in part, by most makeup artists. This does not stifle individuality or creativity but since the beauty industry has evolved over time, certain features of application success have become tried and true. Because of this, there will undoubtedly be similarities in most professional video tutorials, while still allowing for artistic differences from which we can take inspiration. Artists are also unabashedly inspired by other artists, and usually will give credit where it's due (Pixiwoo have done this on many ocassions, as has Lisa). If they don't give credit for something we see as similar, they have nothing for which to apologize. There is also such a thing as 'parallel thinking' in addition to standard technical proceess.

It was also pointed out since this controversy came out, that Pixiwoo did a 'No Makeup Makeup' look closely following Lisa's and that this too was 'stolen'. I've seen both videos and again, did not see the latter look as a 'copy' at all. MANY channels have done a look titled similarly and containing very similar techniques. They are not as renowned nor do they have the publicity; therefore they don't get the flack. Sad.

So now you know my feelings on it. But what then constitutes 'stealing', when it comes to Youtube tutorials? I'd be hard pressed to give answer. When I started making videos and gaining some views, I noticed that quite a few tutorials began to surface featuring a similar look to my filming style. I was bothered at first, but then decided that while I may have been one of the first 'vintage gals' on Youtube, I took my inspiration from a ton of other ladies over the years (both on Youtube and elsewhere) and would feel hurt if someone claimed I had stolen my video style or my content from any of them. It's so much easier just to admire, be inspired, and co-exist(giving credit where it's due and if we forget...hopefully being forgiven?).

Can't we all just get along?



angie.a said...

Honestly, there are just so many ways to film a video suitable for youtube. I feel anyone's claims that another has "stolen" their look or feel is pretty flimsy. I have watched you since you started, but have never noticed anyone else mimicking your style to the extent I would think they were purposefully trying to steal something. Actually, (no offense to anyone vidding on YT) everyone begins to look the same in the end (unintentional oxymoron, haha). In all actuality there are few things you can do to be different with the size and time constraints and subject matter at hand (and please spare me the cutesy catch phrases at the beginning. Lord. Some of those are getting ridiculous!) As far as plagiarism claims or such, makeup application? I don't think so. Again, only so many ways to accomplish the task. Maybe it's just been a really slow week and people felt the need to liven the place up! :)

Betty said...

I think this is a completely pointless and unnecessary "war" to have. Chances are people that are subscribed to one are also subscribed to the other and have probably requested this tutorial from both along with all the other beauty channels they are subscribed to. One way isn't the only way so now people have more than one tutorial to watch to see what may work for them. Get over folks. It's Youtube.

Katie Brown said...

I agree with you. It's a non-issue. Get along! :D

lovebeinagirl75 said...

I feel with the amount of make up videos out there now, that there is bound to be similar videos, for similar looks, techniques, products etc. There just is no way to avoid it. It's going to happen.

Rockin said...

I honestly don't believe Pixiwoo 'stole' from Lisa. As you say, they have been using a plain white background for ages, in fact I believe the walls are white where Pixiwoo film. Also, many do videos about 'no makeup makeup' and ways to cover skin imperfections, and much of the technique used to achieve this is going to be very similar on all such videos, not just theirs.

When a new film comes out, many youtube 'gurus' do videos on trying to achieve the makeup looks from the film, or a music video. It doesn't mean they are copying each other.

If, however, one does a totally unique look (such as some of those really imaginative ones done by goldiestarling) then yes, someone copying them is indeed stealing.

The Chic Guide said...

I couldn't agree more. There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from another artist you admire, unless it's outright copy no law has been broken and no feelings should be hurt. I would find it flattering if someone was so inspired by my work. There is too much of a need for authentication nowadays, we all take inspiration from different places, things and people in order to create something new and I see no problem with that as long as the author, artist or individual is credited then there should be no problem surely?

DaniL said...

I had no idea there was any controversy...I was under the impression that the majority of both LE and PW videos were made in response to viewer demand. Plus there are only so many ways to conceal acne...so therefore it's understandable that the videos would contain very similar content. Much ado about nothing, IMO.

Emma Litton said...

I agree with you. I don't think it's a big deal.I thought both videos seemed to have their own style and take on things. By the way just wanted to say I've loved your blog and youtube channel for so long. I recently moved to Nashville and wondered do you ever do classes? I wish there was a bit bigger vintage community here in Nashville to offer more things like classes and such.


jewlover2 said...

Em, thanks so much! I do work shops locally sometimes and will be advertising them here and on facebook so keep an eye out! I also do styling for special ocassions, by appointment. :)

Brittany_Va-VoomVintage said...

You are so wise! I couldn't agree more. I recently started doing you tube tutorials too and make it a point to not watch other videos on the subject before filming so that I don't become "too inspired" by others. In the beauty world there are so many products and techniques that are widely used because they work well. As a blogger, I frequently see posts that are just like a previous blogger's post but I think it's fun to see someone else's version of an idea and ho they put their own spin on it. Thanks for posting the Lisa Eldridge video. I have never seen her before. She is amazing!! x
Brittany Va-Voom Vintage

AmandaLane said...

I completely agree with you, and what I think is the most saddening thing is that this "war" is mostly between the fans. I did read Lisa's tweets/facebook updates about her being upset by this "stealing" but I think it's gotten out of hand. I love both channels and I think they have very similar practices and approaches to makeup as professionals. And is it fair or realistic to say that once a product has been featured on one channel no one else can use it? I consider it a testament to the quality of the product to be praised by multiple professionals. Overall I think this is a result of bad timing. If the latter video had been posted a few weeks later I doubt that this debate would have taken place.

Glamour Daze said...

Not really ' stealing' is it? At most it's a case of 'competing' against each other. The first makeup artist I took note of was Panacea81 - she was the first really big beauty guru on Youtube. But lets face it - its all a bit commercial now with all these girls. Lisa, Pixiwoo and Pancea81 etc. I still am personally drawn to the amateur videos and of course especially those dealing with the makeup eras of the 1920s to the 1960s. My current favorite is Hollywood Noir Makeup. She epitomizes glamour.

Ren said...

This happens all the time with makeup and cooking tutorials. You should have seen the sparks fly when Laura Vitale and the lady from joyofcooking.com made the same thing within a couple days of each other. Sheeeesh. Nevermind that you can open ANY baking cookbook to find the same recipe - are people going to wail and gnash their teeth over that too? There are finite ways of doing things. The LE tutorial has been up for ages. The PW is new. Each were working to the skin type of the girls sitting for the video. It wasn't a carbon copy at all, IMO.

hattie said...

I think every makeup channel gets requests from their users and at times there will be a lot of the same requests on most of the channels as many people watch more than one channel and put their identical requests on more than one channel.
that means it could just be, that people are requesting the same thing on different channels. If the make up artists react to the requests, the viewers shouldn't complain!

Anonymous said...

Can you explain to me what the gurus get from a YT a/c? Do they receive financial gain from advertising? From x amount of subscribers? Video views? Pixiwoo have 3 a/cs that I know of plus Twitter and Facebook plugging their YT channels. Pixi2woo plugs each video constantly. I watched the video - I must like it too? Why?

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