I occasionally run across my graphics on the web, swiped without permission; sometimes even on products for sale. I have yet to take much action, let alone sue anybody, regarding any such nominally illegal use. Most of this is because the mission of my busyness is to maximize prophets, and maximizing profits is much less close to my heart. Plus, I don’t suspect that anyone else is making much money — either — on such efforts. If I should incidentally be a job creator, then so be it. I’m not actually much of a fan of intellectual property, particularly when the primary purpose of that work is the common good. Insisting on privatizing profit in working for the public good seems like a cumbersome barrier to transmitting work for the public good. This is part of my being the change I want to see in the world. If I should find myself working for more than poverty wages, expect a tsunami of free buttons, etc. Now, like righteousness, expect merely an ever-flowing stream. As soul proprietor, I take pride in being a terrible businessman in most any traditional sense.
I occasionally get requests to use my graphics for a web site or other purpose. I have had no objections yet to these requests, though I often ask for a link or some modest recognition of my work. I suspect for every one of these requests there is a thousand uses of my copyrighted work. My basic request is declared on my website: “If you are going to copy, copy right!” Or, as even more congruous with my mission: “All Writes Unreserved!” I find great compensation in seeing my work strewn throughout the web, whether used with permission or not. As the unattributed saying by my favorite author, anonymous, goes: plagiarism is the highest form of flattery.
Yesterday, I got a call from Sela Moser, who was active in the Occupy movement in Kentucky. She had made a sign (pictured) which reportedly went viral: “I don’t mind you being rich. I mind you BUYING MY government!” Actually, I’m not a big fan of being rich in a world with so many material needs, so I’ll definitely give her primary ownership of that sentiment. Of course, what struck a chord for me was the abomination anyone of buying a government intended by the people, for the people, and of the people. THANKS, Sela! She proffered some attachment to her intellectual ownership of this slogan, so I offered her 20 buttons with this slogan as recompense. She gracefully accepted.I searched my sales records and it looks like I have not sold any buttons with this design. So, while electronic memes in the virtual world may be become virulent, when incarnated into the real world, incurring a cost greater than a click, they travel much more slowly. May these first of a kind buttons in the real world stimulate productive thought, discussion, and action — even nowhere near the vicinity of a computer.
UPDATE — February 14, 2017
I had a quote in my peace/anti-war design collection, “War is not healthy for children and other living things” which I attributed to Lorraine Schneider. This quote was popularized in the 1960’s as part of an infamous sunflower graphic created by her [image not shown without permission]. My quote design was simply a solid color background. This illicited the following e-mail:
You sound like a righteous guy and your website is very entertaining. BUT you cannot use Lorraine Schneider’s work. She donated it to Another Mother for Peace and her design and words are trademarked… since the 1960’s. Please stop selling AMP trademarks. Want more info? Let us know, but you have take down everything on your website with our trademarks. Bill Donnelly, AMP Treasurer
So…I had a little fun with it. Here was my response:
After consulting my illegal department, I am delighted to obey your demands regarding the offending quote. As a long-time peace profiteer, the competitive environment surrounding peacemongers is legendary. Providentially, with the mission of my busyness as maximizing prophets, I am notoriously poor, concerning maximizing profits. You may be pleased to no that I have failed completely to transmit the aforementioned graven image on any of my products hawked to confederates. If you further judge that in virtual reality I have perpetrated some additional harm, please let me know how I may dis-harm you. I trust that your intellectual property rights will find more value residing solely in the rich environment of Beverly Hills, CA, as opposed to sojourning via the impecunious Toledo, OH. It has been a pleasure not doing business with you.
Dan Rutt, alias “Top Pun” (it’s just, my pun name)
Soul Proprietor & Another Fodder For Peace
TopPun.com — Maximizing Prophets