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Creator’s Burden

This blog covers two primary topics: privacy and copyright.

As to the former, I’m comfortable engaging in a high level of discussion as I’ve spent most of the last ten years of my professional life working in the realm of personal and data privacy. I hold my own on the topic and have managed to build a reputation as something of an expert. We’ll address that at a future date.

With regard to the latter, I freely admit that I have jumped into the deep end of the pool without the benefit of floatation. I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert on copyright law or intellectual property. But I do possess a fair amount of native intelligence, life experience, and capacity for logical thought.

Besides, at my core I regard myself as a writer, a creative producer of words who harbors dreams of completing a novel and turning that story into a screenplay, is working on a television treatment, and dabbles in the occasional poetic endeavor with a hope of accumulating enough interesting verses to justify publishing a chapbook.

As I toil at the keyboard in my spare moments, the thought that my creative work may have value is, at times, a bit overwhelming. Not because I am burdened by a lack of self confidence (though I’ll cop to harboring such feelings), but because creating something of value comes with the responsibility of protecting the value of what you’ve created.

As an individual creator, the burden is even larger. I have no retained legal assets standing by to defend the ownership of my creations. It’s me versus the world. At some point, in order for me to benefit from the value of what I’ve created, I need to share my words and ideas. And when I do I need both a level of trust and comfort with the other parties involved, and a measure of protection for the documents I’m sharing.

It doesn’t help ease my psychic burden when I come across stories such as the one published by Eric Hart in a recent TheHill.com opinion. Hart’s experience is yet another reminder that there is no lack of people in the world who are willing to openly and shamelessly steal what another has – at a great personal expense – created.

Hart’s lead paragraph closes with a  statement that sums up the problem:

“For every talented professional in the spotlight, there are scores of talented professionals working behind the scenes, and it is paramount that we make sure their creativity and labor is afforded the protection it deserves.”

Hart’s essay was written as a plea to Congress to consider meaningful reforms that will help individuals and small business to be better able to protect their work. In the meantime, as an independent contractor and creator, it is up to me to be aware of the risks, protect my works in advance, and make informed decisions in order to profit from my efforts.

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