Copyright Laws And Wanting to Show The World

I have a lot of projects to work on. I am unsure and unclear as to whether it is a good idea to post more artwork from them. I worry about copyrights and people perhaps wanting to steal my good work. There are a lot of people out there in internet land and there are those cliches and tales around about people ending up penniless for doing all the work and getting nothing for it. Maybe someone creates a famous picture that makes millions for some people, but not for the originator.

You hear all the time about lawsuits for things that were stolen and apprehended as someone’s own when really they were not theirs to begin with. Apple was in a long line of lawsuits against Samsung over phone designs and all sorts of things like this. From Microsoft suing over the design of a slide bar to any other sort of minor thing a person can conceive of to take credit for- whether their own or not. What if I come up with a good idea that everyone wants to claim and use as their own?

It gets confusing to be able to blog about certain things and to divulge certain parts of my life and also to try and hold in the reins and not let any secret out too soon. I get confused about what a person can really steal if I make it. In the USA, copyright is protected the minute a person makes something whether they file for it or not (at least something creative). Other countries require registration while still others don’t follow anyone else’s rules and everything is up for grabs. The internet is a place that something posted in one place has the potential to end up just about everywhere.

I heard in the past about writers who author a whole book on their blog. I’ve seen some of this myself from other comic book artists and creators where they will blog their whole book or have it freely available on their website. There are all sorts of people who create free e-books to get followers to sign up for email lists. There is so much free content out there online and so much of it that people will steal anyhow. It is nearly impossible to tell what is; and is not acceptable to post.

How safe am I for having this blog? Who really reads or looks at what I have to say? Exposure is something that an artist is supposedly supposed to work for, for free (Please NEVER do this). Everyone wants to be seen and known for their good work.

Does a blog prove someone’s good work or not? I have seen tons of blogs where people will just blatantly post other people’s work with barely a nod of credit. Some people other than artists will just post art from twenty different people and this makes for a great blog to follow, but at what cost? No artist can compete with the work of twenty people who probably never agreed to have their work posted in the first place.

You see graffiti artists who make a name for themselves by essentially making free art; for all to see, illegally. A graffiti artist is looked at as someone who is fighting for the small person, the person who has no voice in a domineering society that we all live in. A person can be held in high esteem by many and also held in notoriety, but either way, they will have made some sort of a name for themselves.

It is unclear where to stand on all of these issues. Much like the murky area of copyright laws to begin with. You are not supposed to use other people’s work at all, or it is by law, a copyright infringement or plagiarism. But you are allowed, last time I checked, to alter someone else’s work at least 80% and call it your own. You are allowed to paint the image of a politician in order to comment on society, but painting a star or someone unknown without permission is using someone’s image without their consent and is considered a violation of privacy or something like that.

I am confused. I want to post the best stuff I have made for everyone to see, but I also don’t want anyone to steal it, or claim it as their own. I do want people to talk about my work and to make a name for myself in that way, but I can’t have any say in how my work is shared on the internet. There is no control for that. There are no marketers in my life either and no agent nor is that really necessary anymore.

Artists have been for a long time fighting the battle of protecting their artwork and dealing with counterfeits and forgeries. There is no way to say for sure that the works in museums are the actual originals as there have been news stories about fraud artists who will go to the extreme of finding paint that was used centuries ago and canvas as well in order to paint an “original” work of art that could conceivably have been painted by someone like Van Gogh or Rembrandt. They get away with it too. So much that the experts don’t even know what is real or not.

I don’t know what to do. I just want to make stuff. I want to make money from my stuff. (Don’t get me started on the “starving artist” cliche). But I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I don’t want thousands of people seeing my work as someone else takes credit or makes money from it. In the oracle card and tarot card creators’ community, there are people who will buy a person’s deck and copy it and print out illegal copies in order to capitalize on the popularity of a creator. People make money on other people’s work here.

It is a fine line to walk when you like making things that can be consumed (and you want lots and lots of people to see your work) and you also don’t want to be taken advantage of. It is unclear what to do. Share your work with the millions of people on the internet and make a name for yourself while making yourself vulnerable, or hide your work away for historians to find it years after your death because NOBODY saw it in the first place. I could save up work and keep it until ready to be released, which is what I sort of have been doing already, but how do I keep up with the blog and keep it fresh for viewers?

I don’t know what to do. I am figuring it out as i go, as we all are, in a way. The internet has not been around for that long. I will figure it out as I go, but I do want to post more images of my work at some point.

Thanks for following,

Tim Edwin B.

4 thoughts on “Copyright Laws And Wanting to Show The World

  1. I sometimes worry about this too. Especially when my site is found by google image search. I don’t even put my name on my images, but don’t plan on starting. When I first posted images, I had a watermark. I don’t know what you will do, but I am trusting the Universe. I feel even if someone steals my image, I will be repaid somehow. I just do artwork to do artwork, and post to have images for my blog. I use my Blog as motivation to produce more. As you have noticed I try a new image for every post. Most my images are therefore quickly made. I’ve I had a long process detailed image I might watermark it. (If you can put a watermark over the images on your blog you might feel more safe, but I cannot help with the oracle cards being scanned.)

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    1. Thank you Peacenowflower. I have been at it for a while and usually when I see a watermark, I might think that it takes away from the image and can sort of impede upon the viewer in a way that is annoying. I have used a watermark in the past. I ended up not using one out of laziness and because I try to post unfinished work or work that is not polished all the way. (the tarot paintings I post are usually not 100% done and are photographed in a way that is not printable.) I will keep posting no matter, but I’m still unclear about the whole deal. Having someone copy work can sometimes end up being a positive thing because more people will see the work, but it can also be a real hassle if someone else takes credit and makes money from it. I like the idea that I read in a new age book that said something along the lines that as long as a person keeps making steady progress and keeps putting out positive work even though someone else steals work, they will be rewarded. The whole tortoise and the hare thing.

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  2. I can only really agree with peacenowflower. Watermarking will certainly deter.

    I have also seen notices on art blogs to simply give credit if using images. This may work to your benefit in that a properly credited image will increase exposure,

    As for the tarot cards, I’d recommend only posting a couple, and keeping the others close to your chest; especially if you plan on full commercial publication of the set. Again, the few you do publish might act to raise interest in the set.

    Hopefully someone more versed in the legal aspects will come along and advise, 🙂

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    1. Thank you Running Elk. That was my plan for the most part. There is a LOT of work that I do not post and have not felt the need to until recently when I was thinking how stressful it is to have good work to show and not being able to tell anyone. It seemed a bit dishonest, but I guess that sort of comes with the territory of hiding things of any sort. The world seems to be wanting more transparency in just about every way.

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