Information wants to be free...
The meme in today's Web driven world is that information wants to be free. From state secrets to the hottest music or newest movie, the concept that everything should be free has somehow entered our collective mindset.
The middle school kids I work with tell me to go on YouTube to play music because you can get every song and "its free". They have no concept of how the artists are paid and seem to have no direct way to compensate the artist for their work.
If their parents complain about getting a bill from iTunes, they have plenty of easy work arounds for listening to the music they want via school supplied laptops and YouTube.
Google images provides an easy way for them to find illustrations for their reports. The school teaches them to source their information and to find reliable sources but does little to educate the students about copyrights pertaining to images.
Google images doesn't help even because it doesn't display copyright information with the images. Surely Google could innovate a system in which copyright information is attached to each image and could travel along with the image no matter where it ends up. But Google derives its value on the backs of others. The writers, photographers and artists that create the original works are used to sell advertising that Google pockets.
Google cares not if the work it points its users too is original or stolen. Google makes its money either way.
A bill to strengthen copyright protection is working its way through Congress but will ultimately fail due to its overreaching goals but the fact that Congress is concerned about copyrights raises awareness.
The Stop Online Piracy Act is intended to target "rogue" Web sites, but critics say it'll knock the stuffing out of legitimate sites as well.
Congress knows that one of the USA greatest assets is its creative and innovative thinkers. If the output of creativity is not strongly protected then there is little incentive to produce new and exciting thoughts, ideas, product and images.
For more information on the topic of protecting creative rights check out the new book from Robert Levine entitled "Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back".
Milestone note! - This is my 400th online image. Editorial image approved in lightening fast fashion by the reviews: