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Copyright on the Internet

I thought I'd post some of my thoughts on copyright, reposting, AI, and the like, coming from the perspective of someone who experienced web 1.0 and the circumstances that led to the creation of the DMCA.

The internet, from the moment of it's inception, was a radical act of communism, a being created for the express purpose of the free interchange of information.

I understand, in it's totality, what it means to put something onto the internet, that once it is there, it is there Forever, and will be saved, reposted, edited, remixed, and potentially bought and sold either on it's own or as a part of a product. Copyright cannot protect you on the internet.

But as an artist, as a human living in the capitalist world, I require money to survive, to eat, to have a roof over my head. And here lies the conundrum that the free internet has thrown into our world.

My advice to creatives who want to share their work online, but who still need to make a dollar, is simple: Only post what you are willing to give away for free.

Ask yourself, Are you cool with:

Unless the answer to ALL of these is a YES, don't post it!

There are ways to reduce the chance that your work is used in ways that you are opposed, but on the internet, there are no guarantees. Your creation could even be used to hurt people, and that is just the risk you take when you throw it out into the sea.

Ways to reduce misuse: If you are selling a product:

The Importance of Real Life

As a creative, especially if you are trying to make money off your work, DO NOT post everything you make online! I've been posting and selling my work digitally for over a decade, but more than 90% of my sales happen offline!

I sell to friends and family, show my work at conventions, art fairs, and small galleries. I have pieces that have not and will never be shown online, products that will never make it to my online shop, and one-of-a-kind pieces that would simply not have the same impact through a screen.

Keeping a portion of my work offline increases the value of that work and creates a reason for people to come see it with their own eyes in the real world.

Be Careful Out There

I'm still salty about another creator who, over a decade ago, when I first started selling handmade products online, took my idea, lifted word-for-word text from my shop, and out-competed me in my own niche. Their product was half the size, 3x the price, 4x the wait time, and vastly inferior in both looks and function; they just had the suckers customer base.

I've seen creators have their work and ideas stolen by companies big and small, and sold on a multinational level, while they're left mostly unknown and struggling to pay rent. Some of them have even been told that they could not possibly be the creators of their own work, even if they have undeniable proof, simply because the specific work is so widely plagerized.

I've seen artists with shocklingly small followings have their work used to train AI to reproduce their specific style with very "impressive" results. Nobody is immune.

On My Own Work

If you've found my work, and you like it, and you want to share it, that's great! I put it out there so that you could enjoy it and I am glad. :)

If you want to use my art for icons or headers or as flair on your webpage or whatever, go ahead!

It's good manners to ask first, and I would greatly appreciate a link back or something, so others can find me easier.

Please do not use my work for profit or AI, thanks! You can generally assume anything I post is (CC BY-NC-SA).

Consider purchasing something from my Shop, or throw me a Tip if you like what I do!