He is making perfect sense out of a perfectly senseless, messed up life!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Illegal or Unethical? - with Update - 2010

I’m here writing this today because I used some images that are not  unlawful but now I’m realizing that even though this has no legal ramifications, it’s still considered unethical. The whole thing feels rather stupid as in a whole I would be making less than $50 - $60. I don’t want anyone pointing a finger and wondering. That’s not the image I’m wanting to project. I believe I have integrity at this time in my life, and I didn’t for a whole lot of years when I was much younger. And that’s sure worth more to me than that $50-$60! I think I’ve actually learned something in the time it’s taken to sort out this whole mess that I thought I might pass on to the somewhat artsy readers of this blog. I’m certain in this day and age that putting our artwork out there in the public eye creates some amount of risk that we need to be prepared for, if only in our hearts. I realized that I need to look further into copyright protecting my work (

I also realized that I’m sure the unethical does exist. I was immediately willing to rid myself and my shop of anything unethical but I’m sure there are others that are not this willing.

To explain further; what happened was that I used to do quite a bit of decoupage. I had come up with the idea for decoupaged coasters because my son brought me a pile of 4”X4” tile that were thrown out at his work and I already had the rest of the materials to make them. I’ve used magazine images for years upon years in decoupage. The first being an old $2.75 end table that I got at an auction. While I was in bed (or recliner) I cut out a pile of magazine photos, mostly to keep myself busy. So, I used these on that table and put it in my bathroom. When we decided to move to Florida I sold it in a garage sale. (photo in upper right corner) After that I went on to sell a couple more on E-Bay, along with making a few pieces with also mosaic tops.

During this time, I became quite concerned about using these images so my husband and I combed through copyright law and found that these pieces would only come under scrutiny if they were derivative work – “de•riv•a•tive (from http://www.dictionary.com/)


1. derived.

2. not original; secondary.


3. something derived.

4. Also called derived form. Grammar . a form that has undergone derivation from another, as atomic from atom.

5. Chemistry . a substance or compound obtained from, or regarded as derived from, another substance or compound.

6. Also called differential quotient; especially British , differential coefficient. Mathematics . the limit of the ratio of the increment of a function to the increment of a variable in it, as the latter tends to 0; the instantaneous change of one quantity with respect to another, as velocity, which is the instantaneous change of distance with respect to time. Compare first derivative, second derivative.

7. a financial contract whose value derives from the value of underlying stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, etc.

So, I breathed a sigh of relief and never thought about it again while continuing to use these images and adding to them when I saw something I liked in magazines here and there over the years. When I used them I covered most of the images up with the following image, never thinking much of the whole process. I like texture so most images I’ve only used to portray color and texture, even covering them with baubles, mosaic tile, rub-ons, stickers and similar items.

Yesterday someone saw an image on a coaster (a partial image) that they recognized and called me on it. I sited the copyright law (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.pdf) where we had found the information previously. This went into a heated discussion to where I ended up deleting the conversation. I knew that I was at least in the wrong in arguing, period, no matter what the situation was. That IS NOT sharing God’s love with people, what I consider to be a major part of my life’s mission.

I searched and searched, with the help of another Facebook friend for more information on this subject of copyright infringement. I prayed for wisdom. I was truly dumbfounded as I had no intentions of stealing anyone else’s artwork and had now been called a thief! I was distraught and could think of nothing else! I went on to a restless night in bed while this song kept going through my head. Every time I awoke it was there.  

I shared with my husband about the song going through my head and that I thought that God was telling me that I needed to stand up for what was right, even if it wasn’t illegal. And, when I got on the computer, I went through all of my coasters for sale in my Etsy.com shop, looking for magazine artwork and removed each of them. This will not happen again from me!

Added later in 2010

I thought this was finished but last night that song played in my head all night. It's a nice song and of course, I like the lyrics but it's definitely not my style of music to listen to every night all night. I realized that I must not be finished with this yet. When I got out of bed, I came to the place at the kitchen table where I spend alone time with the Lord nearly every morning before my husband gets up. I opened my Bible (and this is something that I rarely do) to scriptures that fit this writing to a tee. Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." and Matthew 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." and there are so many other scriptures that would fit with this whole scenario.

This is the way the Lord speaks to me many, many times and I guess it's because I've grown to have some discernment. I will hear that small voice or a song repeat over and over and over again until I am obedient.
For those of you who do not wish to watch or listen to the video above, here are the lyrics:

Let the Church Rise

Artist: Jonathan Stockstill
Album: Anthems of Praise

We are alive, filled with Your glorious light
Out of the dark into Your marvelous light
We are waiting with expectation
Spirit, raise us up with You

Let the church rise from the ashes
Let the church fall to her knees
Let us be light in the darkness

Let the church rise, let the church rise

Moving with power, bringing Your name to the earth
Singing Your praises, lifting up glorious songs
We are moving with His compassion
Spirit, raise us up with You

Let Your wind blow, let Your wind blow, let Your wind blow, revive us again Lord