Stealing in the Digital Age

Last Saturday, I tore a comic strip out of the newspaper. It was the 6/16/12 issue of Zits. In it, 16-year old Jeremy is headed out the door on the first day of his first job. His mom, a scrapbooker, wants to snap a picture of this big occasion, but he isn't interested. It's pretty funny because it's so familiar. My hope was to include a copy of the comic strip here and write about the struggles we scrapbookers sometimes face with less than cooperative subjects.

As you can see, I do not have a picture of the comic strip here. It would have been easy. I could have scanned the newspaper. I could have gone to the website and done a right click copy. Actually, I did both of those things. But before I put either one on my blog, I did something else. I asked permission.

You see, I am not a thief. I don't want anyone stealing my artwork and using it without my permission, so I don't steal other people's artwork either. I used the "Contact Us" box on the Zits webpage to ask if it was ok for me to scan the newspaper and post the comic on my blog. Two days later, I got a nice reply back asking for more information. I answered all their questions (I'm a small blogger, it's a personal blog, I'm not being paid or offering payment, etc). Their answer: We're sorry, but no.

It's disappointing. But perfectly reasonable.

Sadly, stealing is so easy in the the digital age. While some of it is malicious, there is also a lot of ignorance about what is ok and what is not. It breaks my heart when I see a cool project on Pinterest and there is no link to the original source. Or when someone posts a blatant scraplift without mentioning the original designer.  Or when someone 'credits' an image on their blog by saying it's "from Pinterest" or "from Google."  Please, if you are not a thief, then don't steal images or rob artists of their proper credit. (If you are a thief, then knock it off.)

With art, as with everything, it's always a good idea to do unto others as you'd have done unto you.


  1. I totally agree!!! But bummer they wouldn't let you use the comic! :(

  2. I had a similar gripe last week on FaceBook ... people saving a picture, then reposting - instead of 'sharing,' which credits where they got it. I took a funny picture of something I saw and posted it. A few minutes later, one of my friends reposted it without 'sharing.' I made a comment saying something like "glad you liked the picture I took." Then, one of THEIR friends commented that they loved the picture, and were planning to repost as well! Meanwhile, I saw ANOTHER friend had reposted it also! It was getting out of hand - QUICK! I commented to the first one, then on my original picture, that if you were going to use the picture to SHARE it, and give credit to ME, since I was the one to take the picture in the first place - that it wasn't just one of those funny e-cards that people pass around on e-mail all the time. I only had a couple of negative comments, I think most people got the hint! How annoying though! :)

  3. I agree with asking permission. It is hard to blog and not just automatically grab something funny or an inspirational layout/craft project to share. I ask permission also.

    That comic sounds funny and oh so true.

  4. I think it's awesome - and right - that you asked permission. And too bad they didn't grant it, especially for use on a personal blog. Thanks for spreading this word around. I see so many blatant examples of this every day. Usually accidental, I'm sure. But it's always best to credit (and link) the original and to ask permission is even better. :)


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