Aaron Valdez: Plagiarist

Once again, one of my best video art projects has been shamelessly plagiarized, this time by Aaron Valdez. Oddly enough, Aaron Valdez lives in the same city as I do, yet he claims he has never heard of the only other local video blog, my BlogTV project. It is not likely to be a coincidence that he produced a video artwork identical to my work within 30 days after my video was circulated widely around the web. Valdez has submitted his act of plagiarism to video exhibits and contests and uses it as an example of his best work.

It appears that Aaron Valdez took advantage of the technical problems that forced my BlogTV server off the air in July. Almost immediately after my video was no longer available on the web, he posted his own version, since the source that he plagiarized would not be available for comparison. But Valdez did not expect the resurrection of BlogTV, which provides incontrovertible proof that I was publishing videos using this technique at least 2 years before he stole my idea.

If there is any thing in the art world that will make you an instant pariah, it is plagiarism. I’ve been in the same position myself, I produced an artwork that I was convinced was totally original, and then someone pointed out it was almost identical to some other famous artwork. I was sure I had never seen that other artwork, but I could not eliminate the possibility that I had seen it before, so I withdrew my artwork and destroyed it, sacrificing a considerable amount of work on the piece. I could not condone even the possibility that I had committed plagiarism. That is how someone with a sense of honor would have handled the situation.

But it is obvious that Aaron Valdez is a shameless plagiarist and has no sense of honor. I contacted him and gave him the opportunity to respond, but he defended his act of plagiarism and believes he has done nothing wrong. Perhaps Aaron Valdez should consider his karma before he declares he has the right to profit from stealing the work of other artists and misrepresenting it as his own original idea.

2 thoughts on “Aaron Valdez: Plagiarist”

  1. The whole debate seems somewhat disingenuous, seeing as both of you construct your films entirely from found material. Why can we create art from MSNBC but not from each other?

  2. You raise an interesting point. Art is primarily about the expression of original ideas, the media and material used to express those ideas is secondary. Would Valdez have been able to exhibit his film in artist’s venues if he acknowledged he stole the concept from someone else?

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