The Art of Respect of Copyright

So, everywhere I go it seems, especially on social media systems like Facebook and Fetlife, I see folks breaking copyright. You know, being asshats. Ok, I know, I forgive you, the hot pic of that hot girl or hot guy was hot. Hot picture is hot, I understand.

However, when that pic is of me, by me, of a friend, by a friend… I’m hopping on your profile and commenting because you know what- you’re being an ass.

So, here are some Clue x 4s to help you on your journey towards being a good online human 🙂

Clue 1) Don’t be a fake. Do NOT try to pretend that is a photo of or by you. I have the negatives, or at least the raw photoshop documents. Plus, if you’re trying to say that is you, when you meet the person you are flirting with, and you don’t look like Kumi or Madison Young, everyone is in an odd spot.

Clue 2) Drop the artist a note. If you can, just drop an artist a note and say “hey man, love your work, can I put this up on my profile?” Nine times out of ten, they will say absolutely, as long as you link back to their website, giving credit where credit is due. Artists like to know their work is admired!

Clue 3) Give credit. You don’t have time/energy/whatever to email them? At least say “Photo by Lee Harrington, of Kumimonster” or “photo from RopeLover.com” or even “RopeLover.com makes some cool pics”. It could even be “I came across this pic in an old issue of Playboy- so hot!” Whatever. Folks now know (a) who made the pic (b) who the pic is of (c) where to find more work by that artist (d) that you are not an asshat stealing pictures from artists.

Clue 4) Be open to receiving info about credit. So, this could have the tag line read “I love this artwork, wish I knew who it was by”. This gives the reader the idea that it does not belong to you, and you are on a quest to not be a copyright infringing asshat. You may even find out, and in doing so, find more work from that artist who gave you such a hard-on. Everyone wins.

Clue 5) Think twice about posting that picture. Why are you posting it if its not yours? Does it inspire you? If so, say “I was so touched by this picture by Jim Duvall, I aspire to doing piercing work like this some day.” Does it inform your creative style? Then say “This painting by Susan Seddon Boulet speaks to my soul as a priestess and shaman.” If you’re just posting it because its pretty, say so and see 1-4. If you’re doing it to make you look cool or just fill up your profile- for gods sakes why? Think twice, upload once.

Clue 6) If someone asks you to give credit or take the pic down, do. No, really.

Now, things you can do as the friends of artists or helpful humans:

-Let folks know where art came from. Post replies and responses saying ‘I love this work too, its of Ouchy the Clown, he is a kick ass DJ.’ or ‘if you want to see more of that kind of stuff, the artist’s website is Circle23.com’

-Let the artists know their work is being used.

-Drop notes to the folks posting without permission explaining in loving terms that they may have unintentionally just been an asshat.

If you are an artist consider:

-doing the above

-offer that you would appreciate being credited or have the work taken down (I’ve offered an event trying to use my work a higher res version of a file if they could just credit me)

-ask to have work taken down

-let moderators of a group or site know its infringed art, and needs taken down.

-make their life uncomfortable. Have hundreds of folks write in or write their email, repeatedly, asking them to take it down until they take it down. With nice and varried titles, so they actually open said emails instead of deleting outright.

I personally am happy to have my art stolen if its credited, watermark intact is best. Why? Because it gets my name and URL out to other folks who may not have seen it otherwise. In the case of porn, this drives traffic and converts into dollars for directors and producers.

But, if you’re not crediting them, then they have just worked *very* hard to make you look cool. That’s not cool. That makes you a lazy asshat who steals the hard work of others.

Think twice, post with excellence. Take off the asshat and go take a shower already. We love you, stop being annoying. Artists and models worked very hard on that, and deserve to be shown some respect. If you like the piece that much, go buy an art print from the artist.

(this goes for writing, music, anything else. Post this around- but tell folks its by PassionAndSoul.com/Lee Harrington!)

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Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

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