Hammerheart Records and Pestilence have both issued statements denouncing this album cover and it has been clear that they will not be using it, nor will they be using the artist ever again. I’m updating this so that it’s clear that this is NOT the final cover any longer as they will be finding an artist to make another cover. This is a real-life example how plagiarism can harm a band, a label, and the metal industry at large. Now the victims have to find a new artist, change their agreed upon schedule, and lose money and time because of a completely unprofessional act by an artist with no ethics. When people say things like “This is bullshit…this is just digital art…no harm is done by stealing artwork on google”, I hope people will forward them to this post to correct them. It hurts SO many to steal artwork. Thank you for the support.
Before I even write this post, I want to make it clear that it’s been communicated to me that since the band was made aware of this, they are trying to rectify it in some way. I’m not sure if they will get a new album cover or if they will just be communicating each of the individuals who were stolen from and working out a deal, but they are going to try to make it right.
That said, I feel it is my obligation to post this now because this same artist (Santiago Francisco Jaramillo aka Triple Seis Designs) has gotten in trouble before doing this example same thing. If memory serves me correctly, he stole an ENTIRE painting from a well-known fantasy artist and then claimed that he “found it on a free wallpaper site” and didn’t realize it was copyrighted, which is a terrible excuse.
I never posted about that case because by the time I was ready to add it to the blog, the band managed to work out a deal with THAT original artist as well. But now it’s clear that Jaramillo does not learn from his mistakes and he has a very bad habit of just googling images and using them in his art. He’s just a plagiarist at this point.
How long will it be before bands start realizing that hiring artists like this can get them in deep trouble? And even if it’s not an issue of legality, it just adds an unnecessary cloud over a new release as well as added stress trying to track down artists for compensation that wasn’t even in the original budget. Why not hire an ethical artist in the FIRST place so you don’t have to go through that? That is why I am finally adding this artist to the blog because I think it’s ridiculous that so many bands are having to cover his ass when he gets caught doing this.
On the issue of legality, because I see it brought up a lot. It is true that some countries have significantly looser copyright laws than some European or North American countries. In this case, I believe this artist is from South America somewhere. And if this artist was making artwork to only be used in his country of origin, he may have a case for his right to re-purpose this art without credit. But the fact is, this is an international release and it is the responsibility for the artist to be professional and make sure that they are creating ethical and legal artwork for a global market. You can’t just play the card of “Well it was legal in my country”…it just doesn’t work that way.
At the end of the day, this artist stole artwork from other artists and use them in his own commercial art that someone paid him for. He then gets websites praising him, publicity from metal blogs and fans for artwork he DID NOT DO. That is unethical and it is plagiarism.
There are plenty of artists out there that have no history with plagiarism. Please hire them!