“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.“
What is the legality of using such services?
The third question that this discussion brings to my mind is; What is the legality of using such services? The legal issue I am going to be covering is copyright; if you are not sure what copyright is read my article “Copyright and the Alternatives Part One, Copyright”, for now here is a definition from copyright.gov:
“§ 102 . Subject matter of copyright: In general28
(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:
(1) literary works;
(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
(7) sound recordings; and
(8) architectural works.”
All the artistic methods I have mentioned in my previous articles are covered in this definition, meaning that any site which uses media without ownership of the copyright would be doing so illegally, plain and simple. On the other hand if the author uses an alternative to copyright such as creative commons, or a free art license you would have to check the specific terms of the license to tell if the media is being used legally. I am not going to go into too much detail, because I have covered them previously in “Copyright and the Alternatives”.
Due to these complications it can be difficult to tell if the site is distributing the media in a legal capacity or not. It would seem the only solution is to do your research about the owners of the individual site(s), and the licenseing method used by the author of said media.
How does using these services affect the creator?
The second question that this discussion brings to my mind is; How does using these services affect the creator? First and foremost you must consider the enormous amount of time and effort artists put into conceptualizing, refining, and polishing any of their creations. Put yourself in their shoes and think how you would feel if you put the same amount of effort into creating something, and having someone take it without first asking your permission, or giving you credit for it?
Secondly consider not only the money, but more importantly the exposure and recognition of their work that they will lose because of your actions. Exposure is a critical part of any artists career, because if nobody sees or knows about their work how will they receive the recognition they deserve for their work. Without this recognition no one will purchase their work, and they will be unable to support themselves financially. They will in turn be unable to continue providing you with their art be it painting, book, or film.
In conclusion I just implore you to think about these points before using whatever unsavory online service you may use.
“He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.“
What is the morality of using these services?
The first question that this discussion brings to my mind is; What is the morality of using these services? The simple answer is there is no morality in using said services. Some may argue that I am exaggerating by bringing up such philosophical ideas saying; “What does morality have to do with accessing online content?”. In my mind it has everything to do with it. If you take the time to consider what you are doing; taking something from someone without paying or asking permission; you realize it is akin to stealing from the creator. You must also consider that the end result you as the audience sees seems polished, and well thought out, but it started out very rough like a piece of unhewn lumber. After a tremendous amount of time and effort refining, and polishing their creation ( their child if you will) it looks like what you expect to see.
How would you feel if you put your heart and soul into creating something, and having someone take it without first asking your permission? I believe it is immoral to use these sites unless the creator gives you express permission to access their content free of charge.
“Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?“
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.“
In todays technologically oriented world it is easy to watch television shows, movies, read comic books, novels, listen to music, and even view artwork all online. This can be accomplished using services such as Netflix, Amazon, Spotify or DeviantArt, which all make the process quick and painless. The only downside to this convenience being that you have to pay to enjoy these luxuries, as is true for most things in life. Albeit you can find a variety of free alternatives to these services, many of which are reputable companies offering comparable if not identical services, and there is nothing wrong with such sites. There are just as many places that offer the same services, the only exception being that they are outside of the purview given the audience by the creators.
Those are the sites I want to focus on, being a creative person myself they interest and worry me at the same time, because they also affect my lively hood. That being said this discussion brings to my mind a few questions that most people do not think to ask when using these services. Questions such as: What is the morality of using these services? How does using these services affect the creator? What is the legality of using such services? How does using these services affect the industry in question? So take some time and think about your answers to these questions before I post the second part of the article next week.