Responding to Piracy/Misuse

At one point or another, every digital content creator is going to find someone using or distributing their creations in a way that they don't approve. This is known as content misuse, unethical distribution, or "piracy." The question is: how should we respond as digital content creators?

Pixel Scrapper's Philosophy

First of all, we want to acknowledge that it never feels good to have something you've created used in a way you don't condone, and at Pixel Scrapper we certainly believe in sympathizing with each other and supporting each other as content creators in the face of misuse.

However, we dislike using the word "piracy" in relation to the misuse of digital files. Piracy is a serious accusation that involves theft and destruction of property. In the case of digital piracy, we all still have our files, so no real theft or absolute destruction has been perpetrated.

As a content creator in the 21st century we would strongly advise coming to terms with the idea that your creations will be used outside of the parameters you set. As far as we see it, our choices are simply these:

  1. We can keep your creations to ourselves.
  2. 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.
  3. We can share our creations and accept 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. We choose to think about all the good things that have come from sharing our content, rather than focusing on an incident of misuse.

A certain amount of misuse may be inevitable, but the good news is that if you focus on creating quality content, there are people out there who will respect you and your terms of use. It's simply not true that everyone will choose to misuse your creations.

At Pixel Scrapper we 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 no easy answer. But remember that a case of misuse does not take away all the other cases of generosity and fairness.

Responding to Misuse

When responding to cases of misuse, we've found that it is much more effective to send polite notices than it is to send threatening warnings. People generally respond promptly to polite notices, but often become defensive and lash out when sent threats or strongly-worded emails.

You can find template letters available here:

Whatever happens, we recommend trying to stay calm and positive, and ultimately moving on and focusing on creating and sharing with the people who support you and respect your terms of use.

Generally speaking, we do not recommend posting in the forums or elsewhere on the internet about a case of content misuse. Remember that any publicity is good publicity, especially on the internet. Any time we post links and make a big to-do about it, we are giving offenders and pirates a kind of victory. 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. If you feel that further action is needed, you can always use our contact form to get in touch with us here at Pixel Scrapper.