The other night, someone re-blogged this “doodle” from my tumblr account and brought it to my attention that the image was being used on the popular (well, in 2009 anyway) hockey blog Puck Daddy. After further investigation, it looked like the image was also popular on reddit AND instagram. None of the aforementioned sources linked back to my page.
Despite the fact that I had spent no more than 20 minutes creating this drawing solely for fun, I was quite peeved to find it being displayed without credit. I ranted about the situation on tumblr, twitter, and topped things off with a less-than-cordial e-mail to the editors of Puck Daddy.
I have since been credited on the Puck Daddy page (thanks, Greg!) but after all of the fuss, I feel like a link with my name on it is a moot point. I was so quick to make such a scene about this illustration, as if it were a prize-winning artistic masterpiece, when in reality, the routine of copy and paste is second nature to almost any blogger. Think of your backgrounds, that stock photo you used in your header, a font you pulled for a graphic one time–do you know who is responsible for creating those? Ask me the same questions, and my answer is simple: no clue. So then what gave me the right to be so instinctively self-righteous?
As the internet continues to expand and art becomes an increasingly digital medium, it only grows more and more difficult to maintain intellectual property. It poses the question: who holds greater responsibility? The original creator, or the copy and paster? It’s just as realistic to assume an artist can monitor the destination of every image as it is to assume one can effectively hunt down the original source of a pretty photo they find on their tumblr dashboard. The same applies for writing, music, graphics, and so forth.
Whatever side of the fence you stand on, it remains important for a creator to protect what is dearest to them (note: this doesn’t usually include a doodle you concocted in twenty minutes…) just as it’s vital that the blogger to make every effort to cite their sources, if only for the sake of their own credibility.
Go forth, blog, cite, and rock your own sick flow.