Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Ethics Paper I did for School. And thought I would share.

  • Identify the facts surrounding the issue
  • Define the issues surrounding the issue
  • Identify the people/groups of people that are affected
  • Identify the options for each affected group
  • Describe the consequences of these options
  • How do your values and beliefs including your religious faith affect your view of the issue?
  • If confronted with this type of ethical situation/issue, what would you do?

I chose to talk about the ethics surrounding blogs, as I have a blogger, a Tumblr, a DeviantArt and I had to do a blog for class (Intro to DMA) last semester. I feel like I have personal connections to such an issue.

Blogs are like journals or diaries, that the whole world can see. It’s kind of exciting, really. People can write about everything, whatever, nothing. There is no limit, really, as what a blog can be. It can be a picture blog, a blog about restaurants, a blog that reviews movies, a ranting blog. Whatever. And with the easiness of copy and paste, save image as, and downloading stuff off the internet, it’s super easy to take other people’s “intellectual property” and post it as your own.

Now, when I did the blog for school last semester, our professor, Leeper, told us we needed to have a picture or a video or something, as well as writing what we think. He wanted us to keep it to story-telling and DMA- related stuff, at least kinda keep it related, but really, we could talk about anything. But I got use to taking pictures from DeviantArt and webcomics. And I did try to cite, and put where I got the pictures, at least. Sometimes I felt bad when I didn’t. So I tried to remember to cite. And now that I have my own personal blog, I don’t have as many pictures, unless they’re my pictures, or it says somewhere that they are free to use. Just cause I don’t want to accidentally take someone else’s work and pass it off as my own, or use it when they didn’t want it used.

I’d say this mostly affects the artist. Those putting their work out there, trying to get noticed, or just sharing their work with the world. I mean, artists put their music up on MySpace to get notice, but they don’t want you just taking it and adding it to your collection. How are they supposed to make a living if their wares keep getting taken without charge?

At least on Tumblr, you have the option to reblog. It shows who you reblogged it from, who they reblogged it from, and eventually you get back to the first person. And so, you can share what makes you happy without accidentally claiming it as something you made, or something you came up with. Some people put water-marks on their artwork that’s hard to remove without destroying the picture.

People still try to steal stuff, claim it as their own. Remove the watermark, touch it up. Change it just the teensy-est bit. I see it one DeviantArt, people will have journals where they’ve found their pictures around the interwebs, and they don’t know who to petition, how to get it removed, or they just want to spread the word, so people know who the rightful owner is. One person even had one of their original characters, that they created, and so belonged to that person, on a porn role-playing site. Which is just wrong. It doesn’t matter if the drawing looks just like what whoever took it thought their character always looked like. It’s wrong. It’s like slandering, really.

The consequences of it are hard to describe, often these people don’t ever get noticed. I mean, it’s a huge world outside, and with a world wide web with many people having Facebooks, Tumblrs, DeviantArt, Bloggers, Wordpresses, YouTubes it can be easy to just bury it. Not only that, some people have more than one account on each of these. I know of people on Tumblr who have hipster blogs, Disney blogs, and their personal blog. Even if they do get caught, it’s not like they get thrown out of the internets for all of eternity. At most they get blocked from a site or two, and maybe some hate mail. And that’s at most. At least they’ll get away with it, and have people telling them how creative they are.

Sometimes it is easy to want to take other’s stuff and try to pass it off as your own. I mean, it’s there. Surely it can’t be too hard to just take it, and put it back up somewhere else. But as someone who has spent hours on art projects, and making sure everything is as close to how I saw it in my head, if someone did that to me, I’d be super pissed. If someone took something I had stressed about, spent days on, thought about it while trying to fall asleep, I would just be both mad, and at the same time sad and disappointed. I mean, it’s mine. I worked on it. And you’re just going to copy  it, and say you did all that work? And so from the perspective of someone who has put time and effort into their work, I just couldn’t do it. I just can’t even justify that. I know everyone wants to feel special, and talented, but stealing other people’s work is not the way to do it. It only shows you are talented at taking what’s not yours.

I don’t mind people using my artwork, if they credit it. I don’t really mind at all. But not everyone feels like that, especially those who do want their work to be theirs. They don’t want you to take their work, period. It’s not a gift. It’s not a free for all. It might seem a bit selfish to some, that people won’t share their art, and their work, but with something where you have to invest so much of yourself, it’s completely understandable. It’s your piece of work. Not anyone else’s. And if I ever realize I “stole” or “claimed” someone’s work, I’d feel horrible.

Blogs, and artwork, and music, and videos are something that people make for themselves, or are something they do for a living. Not for anyone else. It’s theirs.

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