I noticed in various contributions, that many artists (''artists'' perhaps ?) are using large number of other's people works, taken from newspapers, magazines, books,etc. That could inflict the copyrights. In many cases, nobody will discuss it, and no legal matters will arise. Still, I think it is not artistic to use so many of non-original work/s in your own work. I don't want to point my finger to any particular person, but I am sure it is wrong way to make something ''new'' or ''original''and to call it your own work. It is fine to source inspiration from others, but it is just totally opposite to blatantly take others works and make ''collages'' or whatever one could call such works. I also noticed there is not so much of original works, seems it is just easier to ''cut and paste'' or cut out and stick, than to draw or make your own work with your own hands and brains.

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first of all, thanks nonlocal variable for your thoughts. i appreciate these posts going to the core of (mail) art. as you know from your past one key element in handling data is the definition of variables. the concept of copyright, like the concept of property, is a social concept of organizing people under a set of rules and conditions. if you reject such a "thing" you are not automatically out of the system, you just adjust - or re-adjust - your position inside of this system.

if you recycle a page of a newspaper out of a bin for a creative artistic collage and this page contains photography or text or graphic, you re-use creative results of other creatives / mostly owned by companies...

respect others is a tricky thing accourding to this view... lets switch to another concept to organize people: law and justice.

It is to determine the quantity of creativity that the exploiting author has superimposed on the quantity of creativity of the original author.
If I cut up a photo and take less than 50% of the area for my new collage, and combine this cut off area with other areas by other original authors, then the sum of my creative intervention is far greater than the quantified creativity of the original author. In German case law, there is the term "Schöpfungshöhe" for this. But even this quantitative analysis can only be an approximation. If I take the head of a well-known politician and stick it on the body of a pig, it can still constitute an insult. In this case, it remains to be questioned whether this happened in an ironic satirical context and whether it can be permitted as a proven expression of opinion by a cabaret artist.
There are certainly many other social concepts on offer to evaluate this creative process of creating a collage. I don't claim any sovereignty in the choice. Instead, I fall back on my own compass of ethical moral socialization and wonder if I could bear it if I were the original author myself.
As always, externalizing decision-making opens the door to manipulation and abuse. The mail art myth "no rules, no fees, no curator" is logically incompatible with "respect". We can observe enough of the creative handling of cognitive dissonance. The final decision always falls back on the decision-maker himself. The resolution of the dissonance lies in the communication, and this may begin with the question, "Why?"

I suppose it's the source material that counts. For example, I always base my postal art on postal materials (postage stamps, envelope fragments). Reproductions of works of art are quite another matter. I would never use reproductions of other people's paintings and drawings, it's immoral and close to bad taste (Unless you use a small piece of reproduction by cutting it off with scissors). If you use all or part of a postage stamp, you are not infringing on the artist's rights, because it is a thing, and a mass-produced thing at that. When you create a collage, you form such a new and unique context, you so transform things in the composition that this super-textual unity becomes your own work. 

There is text and super-text.

Duane, Sounds good with that sticker-phrase idea!

We can surely encourage people (''artists'' and artists) to do more of their own stuff.

Have you notice, so many people just thinks that mail art is something to decorate the envelope, well that is just the part of Postal Art. Main thing should be inside the envelope !

honest question and what should be inside of the envelope?

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” -a quote from Carl Sagan that makes me laugh because even if you are making a pie without any store bought ingredients, you still started with something made by someone else or something else.

"Nothing comes from nothing." is the other quote. Everything has some causative chain attached to it. 

Ah, I see we are talking about using the images create by others for a collage. Perfectly fine. Obviously, you earn more universe bucks from the intergalactic space lords and space ladies if you make the paper and ink and all other tools by yourself, but who has time and abilities to do all that?

Do I need to track down the photographer of the meat in the coupon section to give them credit for a collage featuring the meat image? Does every work of graphic art need to come with a sources/references page?

Also, "be the change you want to see in the world."

Lead by example. If others see the merits and benefits, then great. They will copy[?] your way of doing things.

i loooove carl sagan

It was not a topic about originality, but about copyright infringent. We don't know for certain, was there existing Gioconda (Mona Lisa) before the one Leonardo da Vinci made, but he is the author of the most famous one. We are in the certain period of time, which is regulated by laws and regulations. Otherwise, it would be brutal anarchy and terror and lawlessness of all sorts. I don't think it is a good way to encourage or inspire poeple with ''nothing is original'' Because, there were and there will be original works. It is easy to ''cut and paste'' only and to conform to the norm. I know, there is thin line between the artist and the copyright, and if one really care and have a pride, it will not be crossed.

 if you really cared and had pride you would do your art as you'd like and stop judging others for how they do their art.

hey ! what's wrong with you? Your comments are totally off the topic. Stop with your rude comments.  Who are you to put the words in other people 's mouth, to accuse me that I don't have a pride and that I am judging...and blah blah,,, so on. Stop bu____itting. You are not welcome to make rude comments and accusation.

Just so. 

But perhaps you're one of those "artists" and we're safe in dismissing your opinion. ;^)

As I see it, everything in this discussion revolves around the issue of copyright, in other words, around our respect/disrespect for who we are communicating with. It is one thing to see copyright only as a bourgeois prejudice, it is quite another to think of the author and his work as something living and personal. Am I prepared to insult another artist, however dead? I'm afraid I've insulted people in my life and now regret it very much. There are things I would like to change in the past. 

This is not a matter where we can postulate laws and impose them on others, our business is to make a rule for ourselves. I strive for a super-unity, created from details, fragments, elements. This creative super unity (super text) can use things created by someone else, but only as ingredients in cooking (as Mail Art News very accurately wrote above). That's my rule for myself.

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