Ethics and Morals in the Artistic Community

So just exactly where are our ethics and morals these days? Here are three recent examples of questionable practices that no one seems to bat an eye at in our animation community:

1. Richard Williams’ Thief and the Cobbler released on the internet for free (www.cartoonbrew.com)
2. Copying and trading bootlegged TV episodes on the internet (www.fpsmagazine.com under Buried Anime Treasure).
3. Playboy ‘art’ posted on the Hollywood Animation Archive Blog (www.animationarchive.org)

The ‘justification’ for releasing an illegal copy of a feature length film is that it is for non-profit. Since when does the copyright law allow people to release other people’s work for free on the internet just because it is not for profit? Not only is it illegal but it’s also unethical. Here we have Williams who has worked on this for over 20 years and someone just takes it, makes it his own (so to speak), cuts it together and releases a version of it for free. I wonder how Dick feels about this? Having had my work/products pirated and bootleged I would hazard a guess that it doesn’t make him very happy. Did he give permission for this to be released? There seems to be no indication of this…

Then there is the justification of copying and trading other people’s work for your own benefit (for trade – which, as far as I’m concerned is the same as for money). The justification for continuing such an illegal action was “the copyright police never came a-knocking”. Here it is obvious that the person intended to do what he knew was wrong, but because he didn’t get caught it made it right. Oh brother!

The thing that surprised me the most about both of these incidents is that the criminals (and they are criminals if they are bootlegging things they have no business giving away) revealed their identities with impunity.

Lastly, where do we draw the line between pornography and art? It’s sad how many immoral and unethical things are committed under the name of Art. That’s because Art has no meaning anymore. Art has been so defined that anything can fall under its umbrella. Art is now a synonym for the word ‘everything’. That, of course, is nonsense. Of course if you disapprove you are automatically labeled a prude and simply dismissed – as if that makes any kind of rational argument valid. Ad hominems, last I looked, were still a logical fallacy.

Please don’t encourage bootlegging of any sort. The art is devalued. It hurts all of us. It hurts the buyer, the seller and the original maker of the material. Please don’t desensitize our youth and encourage perversion of any sort… the human body is beautiful, but it isn’t meant to be degraded.