With the Internet having so much content these days, almost anything is available, and much of it for free.   Many people put content out there for free, and they don’t mind as they’re quite happy to share whatever with whoever, forever.
They do it with that intent in mind. And fair enough if it’s their property and that’s what they want to do. People can use that free content for whatever legal purpose they desire.
But, other people create content for which they get paid. This is a part of their living, their income, to put food on the table and beer in the refrigerator.
It may be a written piece for a news outlet or opinion column.  It may be an image they captured or created.
Whatever it is, this person has been paid by an organization for allowing that organization to put that content on their website.
The problem is, people are taking this content and using it as if it was free.
So, is it legally free ?
Should other people copy that content and use it for whatever purpose they desire ?
Is this theft ?
Or do many people not realise they are taking someone’s property without permission ?
Your thoughts ………….



About cartoonmick

Mick has enjoyed creating cartoons and humorous illustrations since 1996, and his creations have appeared in newspapers, magazines, various manuals and the Internet. Please have a look around Mick’s samples in the 4 sections here and email him for a quote at cartoons@iinet.net.au

Posted on August 17, 2012, in Cartoon, illustration, humour, humor, caricature, political, art, Australia, Perth, cartoonist, Illustrator. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I think many honestly don’t know when they’re taking content they shouldn’t be. The internet is so wide open, the lines can be blurred. Then there are those who don’t see it as “stealing,” because they don’t see certain arts, like writing, or art, as work or work product.

  2. It’s copyright infringement, but the internet is so vast that the concept becomes more meaningless every day.
    If someone takes something that’s yours without paying for it, or attributing it, how are you even supposed to know that it happened? How much time can you reasonably devote to looking for the proverbial needle in haystack, when you don’t even know that the needle exists?
    And if you do find out, and the person lives in a different legal jurisdiction to you, there’s practically nothing you can do about it, unless you’re very, very savvy and/or very, very wealthy.

    • Thanks for your thoughts.
      You’re spot on in saying “how do we know the needle exists?”
      Copyright is a toothless tiger these days, unless the infringement has received widespread publicity, and there is spare money to pursue the offenders.

  3. I think in this day and age, if we want to keep a piece of writing, a song or an image in the ‘paid’ category, we must be very open about it and state expressly that ‘this piece’ belongs to its author and can only be used with consent on the terms fixed by the author.

    There are plenty of creative commons/sites where images, text and songs are offered for free without having to take those that are not. However, on some sites, it’s not always clear what is free and what isn’t, so for clarity’s sake, and to avoid entrapping people who are simply reblogging or looking around the internet for work that is free, best to mention copyright and terms of use expressly. In any case, and a link back to the original site should always be incorporated, even for creative commons.

    Doing that won’t fully protect someone who posts their work on the internet, but it will keep away those who don’t seek deliberately seek to break the law, which is the vast majority of users. The others can be pursued properly.

    • Thanks for dropping by Sophie.

      Yeah, I think a neon sign could be handy in stating the situation with a site’s content.
      But, how do you pursue someone when you don’t know they’ve used your creations?
      And even if you do find out, is it worth the time, effort, and expense to chase them?
      Maybe I should just become a window cleaner.

  4. The majority of people don’t realise that using an image from the internet is, in most cases, copyright infringement, or that even something like a photo posted to Facebook is subject to copyright. When you can click on the “share” button, or right click and copy/paste so easily, the majority of people assume that it’s legal to do so. “If it wasn’t legal, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Right?”

    I tend to agree with Sophie that the best thing to do is note the copyright restrictions, if only to educate people that there is a better way.

    • Yes, I think we’re all agreeing to agree here.
      As creators, we’re not going to stop it from happening.
      So each will just have to be aware of it, and take any precautions we see fit.

  5. I think that one should assume that anything that gets uploaded to the Internet may be plagiarized or ‘stolen’ at some stage. Having said that, I think most people who breach copyright are simply unaware of copyright issues and will take an image (for example), assuming it was on the internet and ‘there was nothing saying copyright, so I figured it was OK”. Other people may be unaware of copyright altogether!
    The best bet in my book is to make it obvious it is copyright, then hope that most people will respect and acknowledge their sources.

    • Most people are honest, but when temptation is there, and no one is watching,,,, well…….. “Just this one, I’m sure no one will mind”………….

      Thanks for your thoughts.


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