You do not determine my worth

I just read a post on another author's Facebook page.  Apparently someone has been stealing her blog posts and passing them off as his own for some time now.  Someone responded by saying that "on the bright side", this action should be viewed as a compliment.  I couldn't disagree more. 

For far too long, artists have been led to believe that having their work taken and used without their permission and without being paid is some sort of warped honor.  It isn’t.  Regardless of how simple you may think it is, a tremendous amount of hard work goes into creating something.  To do all that and then have the courage to put it out there, only to have it stolen and used for purposes other than what you intended isn’t just heartbreaking.  It’s a crime.  The copyright laws are in place for a reason and yet we seem to feel we’re not even worthy of standing up for ourselves.

If you value my work enough to use it, then pay me for it.  Oh, and I will determine the value thank you very much.  Just because you offer to pay me 1/3 of my fee doesn’t mean I should fall to the floor and thank you profusely.  If you can’t afford my rates, then don’t hire me.  After all, you don’t go into a car dealership and offer them “exposure” in exchange for that 25 thousand dollar SUV you’ve had your eye on.  Pretty simple concept.

If, for some reason that only you could possibly justify, you feel that you shouldn’t have to pay me then at the very least credit the source (a link to my website is a good start) so that I may possibly derive some freelance work out of it.  Visual arts, films, music, poetry, blog posts – all of it is protected by copyright and NO, it’s not OK if you use it without permission or licensing because “everyone else does it”. 

The YouTube video I posted below features Harlan Ellison and he uses some colorful language, so you’ve been warned.  Some may think he is overreacting, however I not only understand his point, I agree with it.  If we do not value what we bring to the proverbial table, two things will happen. 

  1.  We will cease to be invited to the table.
  2. Our work will never be valued by anyone, including ourselves.

For far too long, writers have been lead to believe that they should feel lucky that anyone is paying any mind to anything they have to say.  That we are fortunate anyone will even deign to hire us.  Until our attitudes change, nothing else will.