Since we live in an imperfect world, sometimes people come across our wonderful blog train contributions on pirated sites. Here's some thoughts on how to respond.
First of all, I dislike using the word “piracy” in relation to the misuse of digital files. Piracy is a serious accusation that involves theft and destruction. We all still have our files, so no real theft or absolute destruction has been perpetrated.
Still, it feels bad to have something you've created used in a way you don’t condone. However, as digital content creators in the 21st century I would strongly advise coming to terms with the idea that your creations will be used outside of your parameters. As far as I see it, our choices are simply these:
- We can keep our creations to ourselves.
- We can share our creations and spend lots of effort and worry trying to lock them down, which we will ultimately be unable to do.
- We can share our creations and allow that sometimes they will escape us.
While the third option is not ideal, remember that current technology can be used for good or bad. While digital distribution makes misuse very easy, it also makes this site and our community possible. Without it we would not be able to share with and encourage each other. I choose to think about all the good things that have come from sharing my content, rather than focusing on an incident of misuse.
Lastly, remember that any publicity is good publicity, especially on the internet. Any time we post links to pirate sites and make a big to-do about it, we are giving these bad sites a kind of victory. You know how we have a link drive here at Pixel Scrapper to help with our search results? We don't want to run a link drive for a site which none of us really like. If you really feel that a particular case of unethical distribution needs to be brought to someone’s attention, it's best to use email and inform the person directly. On the whole, though, I would recommend staying focused on the positive ways your items are being used, rather than being caught up in the negative.
This is not an easy issue, and there is not an easy answer. But remember that a case of misuse does not take away all the other cases of generosity and fairness.