Christ says in Matthew 7:12, “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” We often refer to this as the Golden Rule—“do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Let’s consider both sides of this concept—giving proper credit to the creativity of others and protecting our digital creativity.
With the click of a few keys, it is very easy to copy and paste the perfect picture, quotation, or video into our own work. But just because it is easy does not make it right! Many times it is the creative work of another individual. Common Sense Media recommends the following steps when desiring to copy from the Internet:
- Check to see who owns it.
- Get permission to use it.
- Give credit to the creator.
- Buy it (if necessary).
- Use it responsibly.
What can you do to protect your own creative work? While some creative works warrant the use of the full copyright process and payment where all rights are reserved, there is an easier path for most people called the Creative Commons, where creative work such as a blog, a photo, or an original drawing can be licensed with some rights reserved and added to the repository where it can be distributed, copied, and edited under the restrictions of the license. There is one more level, public domain, where your creative work can be provided copyright-free to others who desire to use it. While the details of these three levels are beyond the scope of this article, you should be aware of these straightforward digital tools that are readily available.
We have the tremendous opportunity of reflecting Jesus Christ to those with whom we interact on the Internet. Let us encourage our children to demonstrate good digital stewardship that honors the Lord. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).