The Internet is a vast and wonderful place. Creation happens here. Ideas, stories, cartoons, movies, images; they all get an audience that they might not otherwise get. The Internet has truly ushered in a democratization of creativity. If you put in a little bit of effort, you can find an audience for you work.
There is, of course, a flip-side to this.
I wrote a story, a few years ago, called “The Song and Dance Man”. I submitted it to Ichor Falls and Kris Straub published it and has the right to do so (Because I implicitly gave him the right to do so by submitting my story for publication on his site). And people liked it. Yay! The author is happy, the reader is happy, everyone involved is happy.
Then I start seeing my story appearing on other sites. Sites that, for the most part, don’t credit me. Believe it or not, I actually spent a fair amount of time working on it. I came up with the idea. I wrote it out. I edited it. I edited again.
But people, who generally seem to enjoy it and appreciate it and like it as a story, copy and paste it with complete disregard for the fact they’re stealing.
If you copied my story and pasted it in some forum or some creepypasta database without my permission then you stole it. It’s that simple. There is no wiggle-room there. You stole it.
What’s more disturbing is you did it out of an affection for what you stole. I would think that you want to give back to the creator, the artist, the writer. I would think that you want to credit that person, that you’d want to tell them that you enjoy their work.
But you don’t and you didn’t. Because that would be a little extra work to figure out who made the thing you love. It would be a little more work to make a link to their site or their blog or to the place where you found the story. It’s so much easier to hit ctrl–C and ctrl-V and then walk away, secure in the knowledge that you shared something that you enjoy and completely fucked over the person who made it.
I have not made a lot of money from my writing, so it’s not like you’re stealing food from my table. But I would like some goddamn credit. I wrote The Song and Dance Man. I worked at it. I made it. I shared it. And now it’s everywhere where I did not ask it to be. All that I have ever asked is that you credit it, you share who made it on top of sharing it.
But you couldn’t even do that much.
My name is Dylan Charles and I wrote “The Song and Dance Man.”