A greedy few ruin everything for everyone

This is a story about two different social media posts that demonstrate the same problem: that the greed and/or stupidity of a few people on the internet can ruin things for everyone else.

First up, there’s Film Stories Junior. To the best of my knowledge it’s unique: it not only caters for under-15s, but it commissions and pays under-15s to write for them. It’s produced on a shoestring budget by very good people.

Here’s editor Simon Brew, a man who is usually one of the most even-tempered people on social media.

To the absolute shitheads who are pirating copies of Film Stories Junior magazine: stop and think for a minute.

I’ve sunk my savings into this magazine, trying to pay under 15s for writing about film work, showing them that their brains and words have real value.

It is so hand to mouth. I stay awake pondering ways to bring more interest and industry support to it. I’ve put everything on the line for these magazines. And you just steal them.

You steal a kids’ film magazine, and threaten the future of it.

You threaten me being able to print more of their work. You threaten them earning for their work.

You’re stealing a magazine that’s written by kids.

Meanwhile on Facebook, Cris Shapan – as in Cris Shapan, maker of incredibly funny fakes – has found that the content he shares for free online is being stolen and sold for profit.

I have discovered that there are MANY examples of my work being sold on eBay by people who have no connection to me whatsoever. They have simply taken it from the net, printed it, and put it up for sale, often in the $30-$50 range.

Shapan’s initial and entirely justifiable reaction was to decide not to post any more of his work online.

I can’t see the logic in allowing others to make a buck off of my work while I’m eating crackers for dinner. Thanks, and sorry…really, really sorry. I have some really great fans.

After a lot of supportive posts from those fans he’s decided to leave the existing content up for the time being – “the damage has already been done” – but he’s really wary of posting anything new. Why give your work away for free so that others can profit from it?