My post about photographs, photographers and copyright stirred up a few people, but I hadn’t realised that Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams had posted on precisely this topic, but (naturally) far more wittily, back in April of last year.
Take it away, Scott:
When you violate a copyright, you take something valuable from the copyright owner that he can’t get back. You take his right to control where his creation is viewed and how. It might be your opinion that the “free publicity” you provide outweighs the loss – and you might be right – but you’ve taken from the creator the right to make the publicity-versus-overexposure decision himself. That might not seem like a big deal to you, but it feels that way to the person who lost control of his art.
Let me give you an analogy. Let’s say your neighbor sneaks into your house while you are gone and borrows your underpants. After wearing your underpants all day, the neighbor launders them, folds them neatly, and returns them to your house in perfect condition, all while you are gone. He tells himself that he will say good things to people about your business – whatever business that is – so this arrangement is good publicity for you. The next time he sees you, he tells you about the underpants because he figures you’ll thank him for saying nice things about his business. He informs you that it’s a win-win scenario.
And (after some more exposition, all worth reading) he invites people to show up their daft rationalisations for stealing stuff (well, you know, violating copyright) in the comments. Which they duly do. Which he then spoofs to the heavens in his next post.
Worth reading in its entirety. Found via the Virtual Economics blog, which if you aren’t reading you should be. (It’s only a pity he’s working for DMGT, but, well, folks got to earn a living. Probably quite a good one, if this is his surplus output.)