I was going to start off by saying: I must sound like a broken record. But truth be told, I haven’t written about this for some time.
I think this is something worth mentioning every now and then. Whether you are new to creating things on the web, or have being so since you were a kid.
Things don’t change.
Asking Permission & Giving Credit Where it’s Due
It’s one of my personal conducts whenever I’m putting something creative together online. (Just like this website!)
When creating a new website, I don’t simply do a Google search and snag the first pretty images I see. I don’t view the source code of someone else’s site to make my own. (I probably did a bit of that when I was first learning CSS (back in 1999!), but it would be for specific elements – and then I would alter it as much as possible.)
You see, I have a deep respect for those who have come before me and may be more talented in their fields. As someone who’s practiced and studied a for years creative fields, it’s clear that a beautiful art piece doesn’t come as easily as a fart.
Even though the website is not around anymore, I still display a link to Online Fanarts Protection. This website was created by a union of Japanese fan artists who were sick and tired of their pieces being chopped up and used on others’ websites.
I stand by them.
“But Everyone Else Does It”
I don’t know where people get the idea that it’s okay to copy an entire website’s HTML code… Or that it’s okay to decorate your site with images you believe were “made by Google”.
Maybe they didn’t have the same education as me, or assumed it was okay because “everyone else does it”. I’ve never been able to get a straight answer out of anyone. And when I try to explain the problem, I get looked like I’m a lunatic.
People and their talents matter.
Why is Copyright Important?
Copyright is a big scary legal word people like to throw around and use to complain when their content is taken down from YouTube.
There is more to copyright protection than avoiding getting in trouble in the law. Original creators get a say on how their work (artwork, literature, HTML code, font, or otherwise) is used. That’s just how it works.
And rightfully so! If it took you years to hone your skill, and someone takes it away in a few seconds and doesn’t acknowledge you, wouldn’t you be mad?
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of learning to do it yourself, or getting permission*, you’re doing these two harmful things:
- You are undermining your own talent.
- You are basically giving a “f*** you” to anyone with talent.
*I mean actually asking the artist; Send them an email or PM on whatever social network they happen to be on. Putting “image credit Google” in your credit section is not the same act as asking permission. (Yes, people really try to get away with this. 🤷♀️)
Communicate with the other human being.
Reasons Why You Should Do It
- It helps other people find those resources easier.
- It makes the original creator feel good about what they did. 🥰
When you think about it this way, why would you not want to make life easier for other people?
And yes, 99% of people who I’ve asked for permission have said yes as long as my resulting piece of work was non-commercial. 🙂 All I had to do was ask nicely.
So next time you’re on the path of a new website, YouTube Channel, or some other online presentation, do this: Make sure you’re giving thanks to any resource-creator you may have taken something from. It doesn’t matter if it’s for fun or profit. Just be nice to that talented person. Say please and thank you.
It’s not about avoiding breaking the law, and not about not ticking off an elite webmaster 😜. It’s about respecting that person’s talent, and your capabilities.
Si vis amari, ama.Seneca