In the video The Last Story Quilt with Faith Ringgold, she talks quite a bit about copying artists work....to LEARN!!! Many artists talk about their experiences in art school and copying from master artists to LEARN! We learn many languages (the langage of math, the language of music, the language of art) and we study what has been done in the past. I tell my students that you can learn by copying, but that doesn't make it your own art. You copy to learn, then you invent from what you learn, or create something new and different, then you have made art.
I agree with the "craft" approach to multi-culturalism....it really does a disservice to the students and their education. However, I see this as being different from copying. One is just ignorance, the other leads to higher learning. I HOPE!!!