Sunday Morning Coffee #20

If there is something more heavenly than Lilacs, I don’t know what it is!

Surprise late frosts have meant no blooms for the past two years on my many Lilac bushes (and one that I have to call a “tree” now because it is huge!)

Well, I guess they stored up all that beauty and fragrance because this Spring’s bloom was amazing. My largest, the “tree”, is right outside my office window and ¬†fills the room with that fabulous scent.

Garden Lesson Learned This Week:

Gophers love Siberian Bugloss (perennial Forget-Me-Nots). One day I had a full, lush plant filled with sky blue blossoms like this . . .

and the next morning. . . nothing.

I was able to dig up the crown of the plant and pot it for recovery, but no more little blue blossoms for this year.

Three days later, all the leaves of my David’s Phlox did the same disappearing act.

I don’t kill things, but I am sorely tempted.

So, we have a war going on, with me trying to make things unpleasant enough that my little pal will move out of the courtyard. MoleMax and cat litter clumps and black pepper and even mothballs – which nearly drove me out of the garden!

Sheer Heaven is back!!

Finally . . . things are back to normal. The machine is fixed, the first mill roll is converted, and I can once again supply this magical material to artists worldwide. It has been a very trying time, but all’s well that ends well. Maybe I can relax a little now? Nah.

Let’s talk about copyright infringement and what it really means.

Copyright Law is really about money (isn’t everything?)

The intention of the Copyright Law is to protect the income and reputation of professional artists. Professional artists means artists who sell their work.

So, really, when you get right down to it, 99% of the ballyhoo online about copyright is, well, just ballyhoo.

Yes, it is true that you have an automatic copyright to most things you create, even if you just picked up your first art tool yesterday. But unless you are willing to hire an attorney and take your “right” to court to present a case that your economic well being has been harmed (never mind your hurt feelings), you may as well not worry about it. You can (and should) put a Copyright notice on work you publish, and if somebody blatantly copies you, you can write them and tell them to stop. But going off on a half-cocked tirade is wasting your time and spreading a lot of negative energy all around your art – which is not good for it, or you.

I will demonstrate my point through three little stories:

#1 Silliness Based on Ego, Misperception, and Biting the Hand that Feeds You

There once was a widely known and rather bad tempered online “art” personality, whose endeavors were appreciated by a well known blogger, who picked up a sample illustration, and wrote a glowing little review of the woman’s site. This resulted in a public rant that lasted for weeks about how the blogger used her image without permission – blah blah blah.

In the first place, this would fall under Fair Use, which covers writing a review of an artwork. In the second place, the blogger caused a lot of people to visit this lady’s website, which I am sure, resulted in increased sales for her. Meanwhile, her rampage caused a lot of people to no longer visit her website – because nobody really wants to listen to a rant.

This is not copyright infringement. If it was, I wouldn’t do it – and I do it all the time. (No, I was not the blogger involved).

#2 Silliness Based on Misinformation and Inflated Self Image

There once was a blogger who drew little birds by sticking a “beak” (a letter V shape) on doodles of the letter O. It is a cute enough little thing. Oh… and she added a spiral.

But, evidently, someone copied this little birdie on their blog, and the first blogger has not shut-up about her “rights” to her birdies since.

Unbeknownst to her, she has no rights to chirp about.

Animals, birds, and certainly the letters of the alphabet, are iconic symbols and are part of the public domain. The Spiral appears abundantly in cave art. Copyright Law holds that most possible renditions of these shapes have already been done, and no original work is possible. Ergo, no copyright protection.

Now, if the animal, etc. is part of a whole original composition, that’s a different story, because the composition can be copyrighted, but these little birdies are just little abstract birdies.

Copyright infringement? Not.

#3 Serious, Criminal, Copyright Infringement

Ann Kullberg is a very well known colored pencil artist, who publishes a wonderful online magazine on the medium, calle CP (Colored Pencils).

If you are interested in working with colored pencils, you can’t do better than her magazine.

Well, someone out there decided it would be a good idea to put new covers on the issues she purchased, and republish the entire magazines as her own – with a new title.

This is serious copyright infringement which can be prosecuted. There is very obvious intent to defraud, and damage to the livelihood of Ann Kullberg.

We will talk more later about the real nature of copyright in our ever-changing digital lives, but these three examples should help illustrate that most of the hollering out there isn’t worth the energy.


Remember when I used to tease you with things that aren’t here yet? I haven’t done that in awhile, so here goes.

I have known for awhile that publishing is a big part of where Cre8it is going, and there will be a lot of variety in what happens in that arena.

One fun thing will be a series of workbooks ($15) which will be filled cover-to-cover with creative thinking and doing.

Most content will be new, and some will be “legacy” – inherited and revamped from my past ten years of writing for art sake.

I mourn the loss of truly creative publications. Most of the market in periodicals and books has gone in the direction of parroting one style. These workbooks will be new and fresh and fun.

I am hoping Volume 1 will be ready for release this month, and I am wondering what you think of this idea. Seems like nobody has time for creating unless something is stuck right in their face, and looks easy to do. That is the idea of Creativity Knocking.

Seize the Day . . .

This project really pleases me. What a wonderful, worldwide idea.

In short, on May 15, 2012, everyone is invited to take a photo that illustrates something about life as we know it. There are categories and ideas on the site. All photos will become a part of the website and some will be chosen for a book.

I am certainly going to participate and I recommend that you do too. (and please, no sniveling about rights to the photo you upload).

Art of the Week

Here are 144 cartoons related to books and their role in our lives – New Yorker cover style:

Blown Covers

And that’s all for this time . . . enjoy your Sunday.

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