One of my classes, Writing for Publication, has caused me to become a lot more paranoid. We've read about all sorts of things that journalists have to avoid - invasion of privacy, revealing a source's name when we've promised not to, messing up certain details, lying. But the scariest thing was the most recent one I've learned about: copyright law.
These days, as soon as you create something, whether it be a photo or story or some revolutionary discovery, it's pretty much automatically copyrighted to you, the creator. And so that means just about everything out there belongs to someone. When I put up something that isn't mine (in my case, it would probably be pictures), even if I say it wasn't mine, I could still get in trouble if I was ever brought to court for it. My teacher puts it like this: "I could steal your jacket and write on the tag that this jacket belongs to you, not me, but it's still stealing."
At first, it occurred to me as very odd, because then wouldn't that mean that there are a ton of people out there breaking the copyright law? They talk quite casually about downloading stuff on the Internet that wasn't supposed to be distributed on the Internet. And I've never really seen someone get in much trouble for taking something that isn't his/hers. I figure it must be because of just how hard it is to crack down on these things what with the Internet... It'd be nearly impossible to catch and punish everyone, and I think it'd be unfair to target some individuals and let the rest of us get off free, except for in some rare instances where big trouble was caused. Though I do wonder if someday there'd actually be a huge police force just for the Internet.
Anyways, I'd just been wondering if I ought to keep doing as I've done for quite a while now. I used to make graphics that had part of images drawn by other artists in them, and although I hadn't claimed to have made the original image, I hadn't asked for permission either... (In some cases it wouldn't have been possible to ask permission since some artists might've only been reachable on Pixiv or only spoke Japanese or had no contact information at all or I might not have even known who'd illustrated a particular picture. But still, maybe I could've taken more care in some instances to get permission to use works.) At the same time, it is a huge hassle to have to ask EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVERY SINGLE TIME when you want to just share a nice image that you saw. (I've also been wondering, wouldn't it be a good strategy for people who want their works to be known if they let people spread it around - as long as it says who made the original work? If it's too much hassle to use something, people might just lose interest and you would actually lose the opportunity for profit or at least recognition. But I don't know, it's probably more complicated than I think it is.)
I do realize I am babbling on and on, and I'd better stop (and go to bed, for that matter, so that I can actually get a decent night's sleep). I'd just like to ask...If everyone is doing it, does it make it okay? Or is it simply too late to stop an evil from spreading?