Two teens from Philadelphia immortalized their favorite Vines in paperback form. Emily Beck and Adam Gasiewski published a book of poetry this week titled Milk and Vine, and filled it with lowercase type-ups of only the best Vine quotes. The duo used many of the Vines we know and love, and have had astonishing success in selling their book. On Tuesday, the book was at the top of the Amazon Best Sellers list, edging out a photographic account of Barack Obama’s presidency and the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. The book’s success was aided by a tweet from Gasiewski that went viral. Soon, hundreds of thousands of people began tweeting images of their own copies and the small indie project garnered a level of success that no one had expected.
Beck and Gasiewski modeled their book on another popular indie poetry book, Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur. The books both have edgy black covers with white, lowercase letters, and a hand-drawn image. On the inside, they both have small poems written in lowercase paired with more angst-filled and hand-drawn images. The poems in Kaur’s book, of course, are not Vines, but critically acclaimed poems that have garnered the book a prominent position in international literature.
The pair has come under fire for their book, based on a copyright dispute. This dispute has split Twitter apart, with celebrities like Christine Sydelko rallying against the book. Supporters have rallied behind the authors and tried to preserve the innocence of using Milk and Honey as inspiration for a parody. The book does not credit the original creators of the Vines whos quotes were taken. This infringes on the property of the owners of those vines. In simpler terms, the book lacks any form of originality, except perhaps the concept of it.
Beck and Gasiewski both have tweeted a response to the ‘haters,’ stating their intention was not to discredit or rip-off the Viners, but instead to “have fun creating something for our community”. Gasiewski even claimed to be redefining poetry through his book.
Critics of the book are asking, ‘Is it really this easy to be rich?’. Although the book is selling for less than $5, being the #1 bestseller and selling a lot of copies means that the low price turns into a huge profit. Since the owner’s profit from the book, it is not protected by fair use which turns this into a legal issue. Even if it wasn’t illegal, profiting off of the ideas and jokes of someone else simply is an ethical and moral violation of credibility.
don’t buy this book some asshole kid is profiting off of others quotes and ideas even the book format is stolen https://t.co/zsOW1l7tdm
— Christine Sydelko (@csydelko) November 11, 2017