Today, a DD was awarded to a nice acrylic painting (below left) which was painted from my photo (below right) -
Just about the only thing I don't like about is the strong cyan tint, which seems to be more associated with the photo of the painting rather than then painting itself. Overall it's definitely one of the best derivative works I've yet to see based on my photos. I really enjoyed exploring how all the little details differed between the two.
did not ask for my permission, or inform me of using my photo. A DA gallery moderator just messaged to ask whether I would like the deviation removed, and the DD revoked. I think most artists who've had their work "stolen" would be outraged, but for me the answer was a very unambiguous no. This is a complicated issue, and I think that the vast majority of the readers will disagree with me at this point, so let me explain my position carefully.
The concept of intellectual property, the way it exists today, is not legitimate. If you have ever downloaded an MP3 file, a movie, or some software without paying, yet you are outraged at art theft when it happens to you or someone close, then you are a hypocrite. I actually think that should cover the majority of the readers of these words.Jonas Salk
, the inventor of the polio vaccine, is one of my personal heroes. He could have been a multimillionaire via the specter of copyright law, yet he chose to pass it up and effectively released it without any rights reserved. He saved an untold number of lives - both by inventing the vaccine, and by releasing it the way he did.
Some of you may be aware of the patent battles currently being fought in the smart phone arena between companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung. It's a waste of time and money. Software patents (like some of the ones Apple holds) are stupid in general. Imagine being able to patent the following actions -
1) Walk up to a door
2) Put your hand on the door knob
3) Turn the door knob
4) Open the door
..and then suing the fuck out of everyone who does that and doesn't pay royalties. Yes, some of the patents they hold are really THAT pathetic in terms of software engineering.
So, who does intellectual property favor? Not me or anyone I know. I don't have the resources to navigate the convoluted judicial system and pay ludicrous lawyer fees. I don't have time to copyright every little piece of junk I can think of. Big corporations have those resources. They have legal departments, and file tens of thousands of patents per year. Just another example of big business in bed with the government pursuing policies which favor both of them at the expense of small businesses, and private citizens.
What would be the outcome of me getting the DD removed as "stolen" work from DA? Would I be any richer, more famous, or derive ANY benefit at all from it? Nope.
The drawbacks for other deviants are clear - they would not get to enjoy a quality work of art. It would certainly be nice if the artist included a link to my deviation and thanked me for my work (which she did later, by the way), but let's get real here - my work is "stolen" all over the place on the Internet.
You can't stop it, you can't even meaningfully slow it down. The circulation of information happens at warp speed, and that's the main advantage of the world wide web. Trying to fight it is being a 20th century dinosaur, it's the paradigm of pathetic losers like RIAA who pick out citizens to be scapegoats where a single song download is valued at a year's worth of median salary. And guess what? The moronic government court system goes right along with it.
Should Paul McCartney be making tens of millions of dollars passively on royalties for a song he wrote 40 years ago? To think that this notion "promotes progress" in any sense of the word is nothing short of ludicrous. If you download his song "illegally", and get caught - a man with a gun sent by the government will come to your house and throw you in jail, ruin you financially, or kill you if you resist. This status quo is ridiculous.
Every time someone copies one of my photos, it does NOT make me poorer in any appreciable way. In fact, if I watermark, the sharing effect gives me more visitors and would end up being a clear net benefit to me as an artist trying to promote my work. That definitely changes my commercial possibilities, but not necessarily for the worse.
I think it's time to start a big discussion on phasing out the concept of intellectual property within the art community - especially for non-commercial purposes. It would lead to a flourishing of ideas, and more innovation and beautiful art - not less. Old tyrannical ideas of using force to punish for the act of sharing (or heck, even lying and pretending its your own work) should not be a part of the modern society. Just like lying is not a crime in the broader society, contempt or ridicule are sufficient societal pressures for people who use without attribution.
Does this mean you can "steal" my work? I can't stop you, and I probably won't even bother trying. However, so long as we live under the current stupid paradigm, if my work is used for commercial purposes then I may just sue you unless I get a fair cut