Integrity, the Arts, and the Internet
by Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
While thinking about my blog today-I began to think about integrity. When I looked up the word integrity, the following were listed; honest, truth, honor, reliability; Possession of firm principles, the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles. To be a person of integrity, it is important to be open and honest, always, even if the truth is not popular.
I wanted to write about integrity because recently I have been talking with other authors and artists about the work that they do and how with a few clicks on the computer keyboard, the work they have slaved over, poured their heart and soul into, have been used on sites around the web, without credit being given to the author of the work. Every artist knows, that the internet is an authors/artists dream to get their work out to the masses with a few clicks. However, it is very sad that others will post these items as their own.
For my research, I was given many links to review and saw that many use “fake” photos and profile information while on the internet, even site owners have been found out. I suppose that they are not internet savvy enough to know that since the “Catfish” scams have been widely shared, that all of their information can be looked up and seen. You can search the internet with a photo, a writing, a piece of art, and just about anything can be searched, even when it comes to websites and social media. We were shown how to search our own work and see if it had been used without our permission. I even found that the home/business address and name of the owner of a domain name and site, will come up. It doesn’t surprise me that people do this; though, it disappoints me. Hiding identities, plagiarizing for the purpose of having followers, members, etc. is truly appalling. Think about what will happen when people on the sites find out that they are plagiarizing the work of others or using peoples' personal information for whatever. Their integrity will then be in question and they will lose friends, business associates, members, followers, etc. It is really sad and extremely deceiving.
For all that work in the arts, we spend weeks, months, and sometimes years creating a piece of art, whether it be photography, paintings, books, blogs, etc. I know, like the others that we have all put a piece of our hearts into the work and for me, when I write, I delve deep into my being in order to give the best of myself in the writing. When I write a song, I pour a piece of my soul into the work and it is my desire that it will appeal and tap into the heart and soul of the listener. After lengthy conference calls with others, I will say, we were all enlightened by a computer programmer, as to how work has been plagiarized and how we can go about tracking down the offenders. There are complete sites, facebook and twitter accounts, which have been set up solely to get personal information about others and then used in illegal venues. You would be surprised at how your information is being used. I was pretty surprised at the lengths some will go to in order to obtain your personal information.
So, if you are one that tends to “cut and paste” writings, blogs, books, photos, pictures, sayings, etc. ALWAYS credit the author and or artist. Remember, no one can earn a living giving their work away and if their work is shared, then at the least they should get credit, don’t you think?
It only takes a few seconds to add that persons name and website to the writing…I mean, you’ve gone to the trouble to cut and paste the writing/picture…scroll down a little further and include the author/artist. Think about the person that has put a piece of themselves into the work. Think about how their gifts have touched you, obviously they’ve touched you in some way if you want to share it. So the next time you are moved by a writing or piece of art, and decide to share it, give credit to the original author/artist, they deserve it! Be a person of integrity!
Many Bright Blessings!
Saundra Berry, C.Ht.
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