To simplify the concept of copyright into a few words is very simple: “I create it, therefore it is mine.”
Most of us are very familiar with the concept of ownership:
- If someone takes something from us without our consent, we consider it theft.
- If we want something that belongs to someone else, either we buy it or we will ask for permission to borrow it, take good care of it, and return it to the owner as agreed.
So why when it comes to copyright, do so many people disregard these basic rules?
Copyright infringements have increased along with internet growth. The internet brought us closer to endless resources, textually and visually. With so much data and material within reach, the lines of ownership become blurry. Adding to the problem, is the sense of anonymity users have, that in some cases translate to a lack of responsibility of how they act over the web.
More and more I see a shift of how people perceive “ownership”. What once was “I create it, therefore it is mine,” has become “I could copy it, therefore it is mine to use.” Well, not really.
As a designer I have been asked many times to integrate images or other artwork (provided by a client) into my designs. When I ask the origin of the material I often get the answer, “From Google or Bing image search.” My reply is always, “Sorry but I can’t use it, unless you purchase the license of usage.” Then, I have found myself with very disappointed and often angry clients who have a hard time understanding why they need to pay for something that they can just copy and paste to their own computer. After all, it was there for all to see.