Copyright, Creative Commons, Free Culture and Clipart

27 Jul

It is not true that putting your images online automatically makes them free for all to copy and use. With recent stories of publishers lifting images from Twitpic and other platforms to use without the artist’s consent (or payment), the online world is rife with misunderstandings, thiefs and ARTISTS!

Belief in free culture, as expressed, for example, in the film ‘Steal this Film‘ could damage artists whose copyright is violated. Of course, in a nice world, people share good things with each other. But where is the line between promoting your new discovery amongst your friends and stealing intellectual property and crafted labour? Usually, it’s commercial exploitation.

Many argue that giving some work for free and having work copied can lead to a viral kind of popularity that in turn leads to increased recognition and revenue.

Some artists prefer a Creative Commons license, which operates on the principle that people can copy the work and share it, providing that the artist/author is always named alongside the work, and that the images are not exploited commercially. A fair agreement, of which you can find out more on the Creative Commons website. A Creative Commons license on your work would be the legal way of ensuring that others understand that you are happy for your work to be shared for personal enjoyment. Copyright is stricter in some countries than others, and ‘fair use’ of the work can be much tighter.

Whatever your choice, nothing seems saner than a simple bit of communication on your views. Here is a plain, clear message on artist Lisa Falzon’s Facebook page:

‘All these images are © Lisa Falzon. All rights reserved. Do not alter or repost anywhere without my express permission. This isn’t clipart.’

Lisa Falzon Facebook page

For more information check out these sites. The debate is open!

Designers and Artists Copyright Society, DACS, UK

Creative Commons licensing

Free Culture, book by Laurence Lessig


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