Since folks have made money from their creations there has been a need to regulate how it is used. Things are a little different online as it's much, much easier to copy and paste it to a million other sites. Often this is fun, healthy and desirable in the cases of advertising, jokes or the useful bits. I know that businesses, academia and other folks use it for much more but that's not exactly what I wanted to talk about so just nod and think about it for yourself. The issue I'm addressing is when it's not okay for someone to acquire, steal or modify something you made.
There are bloggers, AP reporters, website developers, etc. etc. etc. trying to make a buck off the internet (and Adsense). What recourse do they have if someone swoops along and carries off some of their best ideas? Well, there's cease and desist letters, lawyers, attempted lawsuits, and other "serious business". Cracked.com had an article recently about coming up with creative methods of dealing with theft. Sites put their logos on their pictures and in their videos but my 13 year old nephew can remove them with MS Paint or a YouTube extraction program. New techniques and technology for ensuring the proper recognition for work done have a predictable half-life as bloggers, hackers, and everyday people like you and me seek to take them and put them somewhere else or claim authorship.
What to do: new laws, new morals, new punishments?
The internet is as close to a free market as the world will ever know. You can take your pick of any type of fetish porn, visit the websites of your choice, participate and contribute where you want, be a part of something greater than yourself, and most of the time you will be an anonymous presence. This all can contribute to bring out the best and worst in "normal" internet users. Barriers are dropped and our true personalities emerge and those we choose to adopt for trolling or other bizarre behavior.
*Cue predictable comments below*
So far I've told you nothing new and discussed nothing that hasn't mulled over, outright debated and a constant, enduring feature of the internet. What I add to the whole process is simply what is or will become common opinion. It's inevitable.
You've seen the ads warning little high-school girls not to post things they wouldn't want the world to know. Every day someone gets fired for a blog entry or their MySpace/Facebook. It is readily apparent to many of us and the rest will learn the hard way...
Nothing is sacred on the internet.
It is inevitable that someone will steal your ideas. It is inevitable that the lowliest blog about scrapbooking is open to spamming, trolling or replication somewhere else. Those who do it for money and are worried about copyright issues/intellectual property rights will have to continue the arms race against those looking to steal from them.
For the rest of us it becomes an issue of personal responisibility. Everyone has an idea of their morals even if it is that they have none. That is all that will ever successfully control their behavior.
The final solution rests on the inherent goodness or evil of the individual and I know evil is a strong word to use but clarity requires a removal of grey areas. It may be a little objectionist but sometimes that has to be because otherwise I would have just spent my time saying there's an issue but would muck it up by trying to please everyone and no one.
No one can control the internet.
And we shouldn't try.
We should only try to control ourselves and the rest will follow naturally.
Sorry i coudlnt help myself