You do not have to be a brain scientist to steal, which probably explains why there is so much theft going on. Particularly prominent in this silent and stealthy larceny is the thievery of digital creative works, be these movies, your written works, software, music or simply just images. Digital technology has made crime just so much easier. Those who make the effort, outlaying their time and money, to create and produce, will inevitably find themselves the victims of digital piracy. Crime is as simple as a left click and a copy command with a mouse!
Creative works are produced for both reward and pleasure, or both. Some people are dependent solely upon their creative works to earn a crust, and others simply enjoy that someone, somewhere, might derive pleasure from their work. Yet, the ease with which others may pillage and plagiarise makes originators so very sceptical about sharing their creative thinking in cyberspace. Sharing does not imply, nor give, a right to others to copy creative work. To copy is to steal.
Copyright will always be owned by the creator until such time that the artist or author signs that right away. It need not be claimed in or on original works, but no harm is done to do so. It simply reminds others of their obligation not to steal. Copyright should protect the creative worker from the marauding copycats and pirates who make their filthy lucre; but this lowlife is thriving, pirating digital material on the backs of creators. Clearly, the thin veil of copyright protection is less effective than we may fancy.
Social media has provided a huge platform for sharing the work of others. It establishes an enormously grey area right on the boundaries of plagiarism and theft. All too often one sees creative works, clearly not those of the sharer, being passed on from one network to another. It is an explosion of exposure! In fact, social media has created a platform for activity bordering on pillage and plagiarism with the ‘Share’ button. This may well be the price of presenting your works on the social media platform… people are expected to share your creative works for nothing but exposure in return.
Now herein lies the big anomaly. And it will get worse as the social media platforms expand in both numbers and size. People just cannot help but share your creative work, if it is good, and artists and authors may not share the benefits of such exposure. If anything, they will suffer, simply because there is a thin line between sharing and copyright infringement. Sharing seems to imply your work is a creative common. Who is going to spend money on your work, when they can bask in the glory of a free share? Social networking enthusiasts need to be ever conscious of giving, and honouring, credit where it is due to original authors and artists.