I have been asked a lot about how I protect my work from being copied online. This is what I usually answer.
Yes, this is Internet and people steal all the time. Sometimes it is harmless, people finding my pictures fascinating and use them on private sites or whatever, other times it is a little more serious and I find stories and pictures printed and used in very different context. When I find it copied and used professionally I take action to stop it or make them pay fines.
People don’t have to steel. My work is available if you contact me. The big problem is that it is not common knowledge that things you find on Internet are protected by copyright. I think the most common attitude among people, is that everything online is free and can be copied and used for anything. Fighting this attitude is almost hopeless. The copyright issue is a huge subject and the debate will continue for a long time. Look at the film and music industry.
But this is a site for my reflections so here is mine on the subject.
I am a content creator. I have always been and will always be. I paint, I photograph, I draw, do 3d work, animations, films, sculptures and I write. To me it is all about telling stories and I am the source of my own stories. I will continue to create stories for as long as I am able to. I believe that the people who creates are just a small fraction of the people on earth, then there is a small fraction of people who copy and steal, and then the wast majority of people consume. They click, they share, they read, comment, discuss, interact and their appetite for more stories has no limits. I do this for them!
Two months ago I chose to share my pictures, artwork and stories on the biggest ungoverned space on earth – Internet – The biggest anarchy experiment in history. There are no real laws online and what you put in there is there for eternity. In the second I launch a website and start posting, it is out there. In this huge chaos. Yes, there is a risk of people copying – there will always be. The greater your work the more it is copied, so in a way it is also a compliment. “Nobody steal or copy your work? How sad would not that be?”
Yes, I could stamp my pictures with watermarks, lock my site from copy functions, put harsh notes and big yellow warnings but I don’t want that. I want my audience to enjoy the pictures and stories undisturbed. The downside is an occasional lawsuit, some angry mails and frustrating moments. But the upside! In two months almost 1 million people have pressed “like” on my pictures on instagram. I have answered over 8000 comments and my website is visited by over 300.000 people in the last 4 weeks.
At first it is a little scary to press, “publish” and make your deep thoughts and personal images available to the entire world, but then you start getting feedback. A lot of feedback! You meet thousands of people sharing interest in the same things, thousands of people are touched by my stories and I meet other creators just like me. – And they are all over the world. We live in an amazing time!
Lets fight only the few people who benefit from your work without permission, lets forget about the others and lets continue to create stories for the huge audience who enjoys, shares and interact with digital content.
(The image is manipulated; the batfish I have met have no idea about copyright)