Foto DonoI've got my eye on you... ! Copyright is something that's always a stickler for artists. We want the world to see and embrace our efforts. Plus we are encouraged and overjoyed when some one else likes our work enough to emulate it. When the idea or the potential for profit comes into play is when things can get interesting.
Lately I've seen more than a few articles about out right theft of another artist's work. The one that got me in deep thought was an article posted by PentaPixel, Newspaper Editor Says Posting a Photo to Facebook Makes it Public Domain. Basically the article says the photographer was not happy with the newspaper's regards to the ownership of the photo. Which got me thinking about all my artwork I've posted on Facebook.
The photographer has a point in the article. That photo was theirs. The newspaper used it and sold copies of it without any permission. That was wrong. Facebook despite it's openness and it's social networking is not public domain. It's a private company traded on the stock market with share holders. We the people do not own it. We are allowed to use it for a price. (i.e. adverts, marketing, etc...)
At first I started to worry about the work I've done. Have I unintentionally given my art work to outright thief? Could someone with the computer skillz and low morals come in and rip me off?
Sure. But why would they? There needs to be a value to it that they can profit from. At this point in my career there doesn't seem to be any commercial value. (sigh) I've been an artist my whole life and I've had my ups and downs with success. If you look at it from a financial point of view you could call my art an expensive hobby.
Clyde Butcher once told me that he was lucky to have financial success as a photographer. He said that he would still be doing the same type of photography even without that success. Which I took to mean he'd still be waist deep in the water with gators and snakes. He'd probably wouldn't be doing it as often.
Harvey Pekar, author of "American Splendor", despite artistic success, still worked as a file clerk. He still slogged through life one day at time trying to keep a roof over his head. That's what most artist do.
I love my art, and so do most of you apparently. Yes I'd like to one day be free of the eternal day job. However, I don't see that day coming soon. I see myself working til the end on some crappy job that allows me to make art. Course if you're a unscrupulous bastard you won't care one whit about any of this. You'll do what the newspaper editor did and just do it.
I've been closing some of my post online with "Comment, Share, and Enjoy" meaning I want to share what I've made to everyone. Which is what I would like to see happen. So do I still worry about theft. Sure. I'll just have to make something worth stealing... :)