One of the premier concerns amongst visual artists exposing their
creative work over the Internet is the fear of privacy and
unauthorized duplication and reuse.
In case you hadn't noticed, the barn door is already wide open.
Ask any commercially licensed screenprinter or visit any weekend
flea market worldwide. Unauthorized Image duplication and
reproduction is a multi-billion dollar business and in these quasi-
recessionary times, a growth industry.
For every high profile Napster or Kaaza style website, numerous
imitators are emerging on the Internet regularly in a cross section
of creative industries including publishing, video, software and
yes, visual arts. Thinly veiled as Peer-To-Peer (P2P) websites, they
trade compressed formatted data to "peers" without the direct
involvement of manufacturers, wholesalers or any middle level of
distribution. A code of ethics imposed on Napster by a Court of Law
has yet to be integrated into most of these enterprises, which
translates into a complete bypass of financial royalties and
compensation for the original creator.
These websites have raised a fresh debate over the issue of
copyright and intellectual property rights involving such questions
as who actually owns a new design or innovation and for how long a
The enhanced state of digital technology is likewise assisting
the process of simplified reproduction. Over the past few years,
significant advancements and improvements in digital scanners
(priced under $100), high resolution large scale printers and
plotters (new model pricing from under $3000 and used appreciably
less) and imaging software (Adobe Photoshop) make reproductions
often superior in quality to original work. A new breed of publisher
is emerging, technologically enabled to print orders on demand (when
paid in advance), in innumerable quantities and operating in gray
areas with or without an artist's participation or cooperation