Last week I was alerted to the fact that a vendor on etsy was selling copies of my work (and the work of a number of other artists/craftpersons/vendors.) While it's fine to use the designs and ideas of others to create beautiful things for yourself, it is not okay to sell work based on the designs of others (unless one has written permission from the artist or copyright holder.) Needless to say, a lot of people (including me) were very upset. This started me thinking seriously about copyright.
I try to be careful and respectful when using images and text by others. So, the question which pressed me most was how to make sure my work was, in turn, treated with respect. I read a number of articles from this list here and this list here; it seems the bottom line is that all artists/writers/creators own the copyright to their work the moment that work is created. Whether others respect that work is another matter.
After some thought and research, I added a notice about copyright to the bottom of my sidebar; maybe it comes off as stern? (if you have any feedback or ideas about this, please let me know.) And anyhow, is a notice on my sidebar really going to make a difference?
Then there is the issue of Pinterest. That's a doozy when it comes to copyright infringement issues. To address this, Kal Barteski started a blog and movement called Link with Love. I highly recommend reading some of the links available on the site, especially this blog post here by Kal about Pinterest, and this other post here about why she deleted her account.
I'm afraid that, beyond this, I don't have any answers. I am grateful to friends with sharp eyes who spotted copies of my work, and while I have not deleted my Pinterest account yet, I will no longer actively be using it. Any thoughts? Ideas? I'd love to hear anything you have to say about this topic.