Do Unto Others

After an extremely frustrating exchange with a woman who claims to be a professional wedding photographer, I have to get this out.

If we, as creative professionals, can not keep our mitts off of other people’s work, how can we ever expect the average person to stop stealing our stuff?

Blog posts, photos, cartoons, pretty much anything a person makes is copyrighted the moment they create it. You can’t copy and paste someone’s work, be it words, photos, or drawings, without permission. It doesn’t matter if you put their name on it, that’s just saying who you stole it from. It doesn’t matter if you say “no copyright infringement intended,” that’s just saying you didn’t want them upset you stole from them. It doesn’t matter if it is for “education,” you can’t republish entire works.

It really isn’t a difficult concept. You should have learned it by kindergarten. DON’T SNATCH!!!!

Even beyond asking for for permission, there are GREAT ways to share work and still respect the creator of that work. In fact, most of them take LESS EFFORT THAN STEALING does. Sharing buttons are first. Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, whatever it is. If the author of the work has a sharing button on the site USE it. That posts the link to the original and lets your friends find it with a single click. And for goodness sake, if you use Pinterest, don’t strip the link back to the original – that’s still stealing (and more work than leaving the link where it belongs). On social media sites like FaceBook, hit the SHARE button instead of copying and pasting. It takes less effort AND it is the legal way to share an original work. Note that if the cute cartoon you want to share from page “xyz” has text on it that says something like “© page abc” you should find the original page and share from there because page “xyz” already stole it once. The authors of the works use these sites to show off their work. They want it to be seen, usually to be shared…they just don’t want it stolen.

It truly isn’t difficult folks. Do unto others as you’d want done unto you.

~Liz

Copyright Resources
Bloggers Beware: Debunking Nine Copyright Myths of the Online World – Updated
It’s Still Theft, Even if You Credit the Author
Copyright on the Web
What to do When Someone Steals Your Photos Online

What Do Creative Commons Licenses Mean
Finding Copyright Notices on Flickr

US Copyright Office
UK Copyright Office
Copyright Office of Canada

Copyscape – Find Who has Stolen Your Work

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