Credit Where Credit is Due

Recently, I received a comment to this blog chastising me for failing to give credit for a piece of artwork that appears here. I would have responded directly, but the commenter apparently wished to appear anonymously.

So I’ll respond here. I think the commenter brings up a troubling issue – one that’s concerned me throughout my life.

As a young musician, it made sense to me that composers “borrowed” freely from each others’ work, and acknowledged it in titles such as “Variations on a theme by Mozart.” On the other hand, it bothered me that people thought they could own a theme. These combinations of tones already existed in Nature after all.

As a writer, plagiarism is an issue that inevitably comes up. Do ideas belong to the writer? Or are we concerned only with expressions of those ideas? How much of an expression can be “borrowed,” and how exactly? In tracing down the source of ideas, it becomes very difficult to find who discovered it first – who wrote it first.

And so now we come to artwork. Certainly the photographer does not own the sunrise. Perhaps the expression of this particular sunrise?

In a 360 performance review I scored 100% on giving-credit-where-credit-is-due. At least you can see I’m sensitive in this arena.

Before I state my policy regarding posting artwork, I want to get in a quick lick about patents. I do not understand how living material can be patented. I know this was strictly out-of-bounds for a long time. I don’t see how a gene belongs to a corporation.

Ok, how I do art online is this: when it’s clear who the original artist is and they have made any attempt to copyright or otherwise protect or charge for their material, I do not post it. I’m not using artwork to sell products or services, or make money. I do greatly appreciate each piece and how it contributes to bringing forward an idea Nature asked me to convey.

I think I’ll be more rigorous in applying this rule going forward. Sometimes I’m flying around online looking for the right thing and I may fail to do due diligence.

By the way, I try to use my own photographs whenever I can. I’m happy to see my work appear elsewhere – I like knowing people found a value in it – a use for it.

Finally, I want to state clearly that everything I do online is guided and approved by Spirit.

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