Wednesday, June 3, 2020

May I borrow your creative works?

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I want to turn your attention away from Covid and away from the riots for a moment to get back on track. 

Like the posts containing “Covid-19”, “Corona”, “Rona”, and other names I have been calling it, I could be talking about racism until I am blue in the face, stand up and sing soprano all day long.  It is an uncomfortable subject to talk about, but there should be active as well.  I do not have all the answers, but one of the actions should be an understanding of another person’s race, gender, and culture.  Even to this day I never could understand the problems that others have with African Americans and women or even American Indians.  All three I identify with, although I do not know what tribe my grandfather’s mother comes from. All people want to do is to live the life given to them. It is the ones who cause the problems in the very beginning (slavery for Africans and restrictions for First Nations and women) are the ones who fail to understand that we are all humans and we all have needed to thrive within this country.  I am done with this conversation, for now, let’s move on.


Different types of creative works.  
Photos by
I am actually a pretty good soprano, reaching a C6 when I was a teen, for those of you who are musicians, for the rest of you, it is called a Mezzo-Soprano.  These days, I am just a soprano, or second soprano, inching closer and closer to a first alto.  Oh, I do not mind, as long as I have some ability to still sing soprano.  It is what I am comfortable at.  I blame allergies for this problem, as well as when you age, you lose some elasticity in your vocal cords.

In addition to being a content creator, a freelance writer and graphic designer, and singer, I am also a musician (almost classical trained), a dancer (ballet, jazz and contemporary, tap, and liturgical), and I know a little bit about computer coding.  All of these “hats” allow me to be creative and put my stamp on a piece of music, recording sessions, writings, choreographed works, and websites, if I put my mind to it. This brings me to a question that was asked on, This person wanted to know if it was “okay” to use someone’s created media in their product for a video that he was making on YouTube.   He did not say YouTube per se, but I assumed that he was hinting towards YouTube or even Vimeo. He also wanted to know if that person can sue him. My answer to that was this:

“Yes, you can be sued. They might be nice and send you a cease and desist letter, asking you to remove the music. you really needed to ask permission from the creator if using the music is okay or not.

I want to leave you with two examples. The first one is I am also a creator of music. I am not perfect at it, and I have not published any of it online. If I had published my latest, which is called, Corners of my Mind, and someone did not ask for permission to use the music, I would write a cease and desist letter because I feel that I could go further with this piece of music before it was perfect in my eyes. I have several reasons for not being satisfied with this piece of music. one of them is the keyboard I originally recorded it on is limited in the potential that this piece of music deserves. Most of the time, people share to let others know of their process and to find out that someone who is too lazy to create their own music is using a taking credit for that piece is disheartening to me. It takes time to create a piece of music. Yes, computers make the job easier, but the work is still there, as thoughts of music are coming from the head of composers into something tangible for the world to enjoy, not the for the vlogger to take credit for their own personal gain.

Likewise, when I first started blogging, I used someone’s photo, and I forgot to give that person credit. A couple of years later, another blogger asked for my permission to use the photo. I could have said yes, but instead, I explained the situation, then I quickly changed the photo to prevent others from asking to use it.

I am not saying that you are lazy, but you must give credit and/or ask for permission before using the creative works of others.”

Explanation of the answer.

We would all like to be talented in the art of creating that perfect piece of music, a piece of art that will drive millions to see it, or even a t-shirt that speaks volumes, but not everyone can do it.  Some people are not interested in learning how, and there are some people who feel like they do not have a creative bone in their body.  Some are too shy to do it.  It does not mean that you are lazy, and I do not see the problem of a person sharing their works.  The problem lies when a person who worked hard on a piece is not given the credit they deserve when someone takes a copy and puts it on their project. 

We have all done it, even me, and I got caught.  Not by the original photographer themselves, but by another person, who wanted to share it on their website or blog.  I felt embarrassed by the gesture.  I wanted to say yes, because I placed the perfect font on top of the photo, centered it just right, and it was gold to me.  When I saw it, it was the perfect photo, and I could have placed any of my photos under the font layer, which I should have.  As soon as I replied to the blogger, I quickly went to my blog and replaced it with one of my photos.   To be honest, I did not remember that I had done it.

I also explained to the questioner on Quora that I am always nick picking about my latest piece of music called, “Corners of my Mind”.  I am always changing the speed of the music, the rhythm of the drum kit, and the instruments that would accompaniment the drum kit.  Most of it is slight deviations of the original song.  For the moment, on my Casio CTK 631 (made in 1998), I have a Rave for the drum kit (oh so 1990s), the tempo is between 78 and 84 BPM, and I created a piano 1, an organ 2 (which is as close to a Hammond B25 AKA church organ as I can get it), and a soft wave (I think, I am not looking at my keyboard at the moment).  I have had the song in a Trance rhythm, 105 BPM, a Piano 3 (created), saw synth, saw wave, you name it for instruments.  I have even changed notes and transposed it a couple of times.  I am due for a new keyboard, and my goal is a Yamaha Modx7, which is the latest Yamaha, with all the bells and whistles to make further changes to this song and to create plenty more with that came from.  I have played on the Yamaha Montage, which is a bit pricey for me. Apparently, Yamaha thought so too, so they created the Modx6,7, and 8 with the Montage powerhouse inside at a lower price point. And you thought all that I know about was social media, content, freelance writing, Disney, organization, decorating, and graphic design.  Give me a musical keyboard, a tutu, and some tap shoes, and you have seen nothing yet, LOL.  This was the reason I talked about Abby Lee Miller so bad back in 2012 if you have been reading this blog that long. (to this date, it has received over 2200 views)

OK, I got off track, time to pull it all together.

The point I am trying to make is If it takes that much thought into my little song, can you imagine how much I can mix it at a recording studio with all the bells and whistles that a recording studio can give.  It gives me chills when I know how much a recording engineer can do to a basic song to make it a hit.  It is things like these that make a composer tell a video maker to get their own music if all that person is going to do is make it into theme music for their little video.   I do not mind sharing my music, but since I spent all this time composing and having someone mix it for me, I better get the credit and it better get lots of air time.   This is the thought that goes through people’s minds like BeyoncĂ© and Katy Perry and companies like Disney, as that thought turns into music like “Single Ladies”, “Roar”, and “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2.

That is the reason I gave this person the answer he or she asked. 

I am talking about:

·         Photos

·         Graphic designs

·         Poetry works

·         Novels and e-books

·         Computer programs

·         Prototypes of products

And the list goes on and on.

“So, Patricia, I get it.  How do I solve the problem?”

First of all, do not beat yourself up for it.  Everyone makes mistakes, and with mistakes, there is a solution.  To prevent you from getting caught either by the creator of the media you want to use or by someone who thinks that you are the creator of the piece of media that they want to use going forward:

·         Ask Permission.  When you see a piece of media that you want to use, contact the creator of that piece.  As a writer, I put down my contact information on every piece of a blog post when I write for someone.  I used to do that with my own blogs, but Google got picky.

If you are a writer, you can do that too.  write a quick footnote like this:  Patricia is the writer and owner of My Ambiance Life, Home Prep, and P. Lynne Designs blog and website.  If you have any questions and/or want to reuse any of the material written in this post, please contact her at It is simple and to the point.  You do not have to write how you are the president of the Yacht club, you are the parents of 15 wonderful children, or that you own a plot of land in Shri Lanka. All of that information should be in your bio (or should it?).

·         Give Proper Credit:  When you contact the creator and they say it is okay to use that item, they will often times mention how they want to be credited.  I simply want to be credit as Patricia Logan-P. Lynne Designs or Patricia Logan-P. Lynne Designs’ The Writing Cove if it is a written piece.  If you are in the US, you should know the proper way to footnote something. Logan, Patricia, “May I borrow your creative works”, My Ambiance Life Blog.  The good news is a long time ago, you had to write the whole citation.  Now you can write a shorter version of it. The author, the name of the post sited, and the site.

·         When the creator says no or when you cannot contact them:  It is not you.  remember the example I gave the person on Quora.  The piece may not be shared because it is not ready.  It is in process or this maybe this person’s private piece.  You may wonder why share it in the first place?  There are many reasons why they have shared their works.  

·         Use royalty-free products.  For photos, I use Pixabay.  For music, I use Epidemic Sounds.  I do have a photographer friend who can help me with authentic photos and videos around town or I take them myself.  He is not free, and I would not have it any other way because he has a family to feed.

I want to stop right here with the last statement, a family to feed. The reason why most people do what they do is because of the passion, the dedication to the craft, and they have bills and a family to feed.  What a person does 9 times out of 10 will not amount to that of a millionaire unless the money they make either with their craft and skills, a 9-5 job, or both is to invest in something.  If half the things I have not learned how to do as a child or a young adult did not earn me a seat at the table to buy at least a tube of toothpaste, I found other ways of getting it.  That is what I call, earning multiple streams of income.  You cannot just sit and do nothing.

That statement I just mention is the statement that helps me sleep at night.  To know that if things are done properly, we would all win.  Asking the author for permission to use his/her materials and finding other ways to help yours when they say “no”, will allow you to make your passion and your job much, much easier, but hackers and scammers just. Do. Not. Get. It.  I hope you do.

I am done.  Be well. Stay safe.  I will talk to you later.  God bless you.

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