I read that somewhere recently about the United States.
I think it is probably true.
Everyone is so aware, so possessive of their rights. Right to privacy, right to love who you want, right to life, right to die, right to marry, right to divorce.
We are also greedy and vindictive and jealous and possessive and full of ourselves. Affluence fosters this stuff.
Copyright and the right to copy.
I used an artist's sketch the other day without permission, he protested that I neither spelled his name right when linking to his site and crediting him for the work, he likewise protested I didn't ask for permission to use his work. Similarly, a famous Portuguese artist did the same with me a couple of years ago. I apologized, removed the art work, removed the link and will never ever acknowledge their existence ever again. I was using their work because I admired it, I wanted to use the work not only to illustrate my non-commercial, not for profit post of the day, but I wanted to introduce the artist's work to my readers. I thought I was doing them a favor, not realizing perhaps some people do not want to be associated with this blog - and they never will be again.
I have contacted well known artists for permission to use their work, and some have almost eagerly agreed to do so, while a couple of others were less than polite in refusing me - in fact rather puffy and condescending about it. Artists are special people... sometimes very odd... very moody... very jealous... I digress.
So. Is it a sin to use other people's stuff?
Oh. My. Goodness! Isn't everything a sin though? Our rights are violated all of the time! In a day when people no longer understand the meaning of sin or hell, theologians and ethicist debate the number of sins dancing on a pixel. I know about intellectual property rights and the air space for sale above St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. But still...
Anyway, a friend sent me the following from moral theologian, Germain Grisez:
What about the morality of this copyright infringement? Except when a property owner’s consent can be reasonably presumed, using his or her property in any way that goes beyond his or her expressed, limited permission is using it contrary to his or her will; and using anything contrary to its owner’s will is the same kind of act, morally speaking, as taking something from an owner contrary to his or her will. Provided the owner’s will in the matter is reasonable—which is to be presumed unless the contrary is established—the using is unfair and constitutes theft. Thus, copying, using, or transferring commercially marketed software in violation of the terms of the license generally should be considered theft. Moreover, such theft generally is a grave matter, because people do not consider most comparable infringements insignificant.What do you think? I think Andy Warhol could be in hell for copying trademarks and calling it art - but surely not for the decadent lifestyle he promoted.
I think maybe I should stop using the internet... It's got to be a sin - voyeurism, idle curiosity, envy, avarice, stealing... on and on. Yeah. So. I'm going to the basement to scourge myself bloody. (Actually, I'll be painting.)
BTW, I have seen my art used for pamphlet covers, illustrations in books, without permission, albeit it usually crediting me for the work - sometimes not. I'm fine with that.
Photo source: http://justtrademarks.org/tag/internet-copyright-infringement