WHOA there. No. This is an awful idea.
Let's be clear — copyright law in most of the world is awful.
Blame Disney. They kept lobbying repeatedly for copyright term extensions, which means, today, anything created during your lifetime probably won't be added to the public domain until after you're dead. This is an awful arrangement that renders even well meaning derivative work, like the very fan art we enjoy on this site
, illegal. I'd be very strongly supportive of a reduction in copyright length and strength for derivative works, and even for originals, too. @PUBLIQclopAccountant
, I agree with your sentiment that when something is released, it becomes a part of the world's culture, and no longer belongs 100% to the creator.
BUT. But but but.
For at least some
time after an artist releases something, they absolutely, 100% deserve control over its distribution. A creator is inherently linked to their art; the art literally could not exist without the creator(s)'s hands, and we absolutely
must respect that. Not only for the financial reasons laid out by others in this thread, but for moral reasons, too.
Attribution is a big one of these reasons, and there are a lot of reasons this is important. Most simply, if a creator wants to attach their name to the work, they allow people who enjoy that work to trace it back to them, granting them a larger audience or further acclaim. Similarly, if the art is making some kind of statement without anonymity, attribution allows that statement to be tied back to a real-life entity, who can be held responsible (positively or negatively) for that statement.
Another important reason that artists need to be able to control their work is association
. An artist, like any individual, has the right to choose who they associate with, and who they do not — due to the deep link between creator and artwork, if an artist can't control who uses their work, anyone may utilize their work to 'associate' with the artist without their consent.
Let me provide an example. Imagine you released a really cool picture of, Idunno, Celestia raising the sun. Imagine the KKK came along and decided to use your art in some white supremacist flyer. Two things happen here — first, the KKK is benefiting from your time, effort, training, skill, etc to promote a cause you (probably) don't agree with, and would not intentionally support. Secondly, anyone who sees your art will probably assume that you were OK with it being used in that way, and will associate you with the KKK. Don't you think it should be within your power to force the KKK to not use your work without permission?
Finally, I want to touch on derivative work. As I said above, derivative work is something I think we need to think carefully about, from a moral perspective. I wish the law was more accommodating to fans who want to extend someone else's creation out of a love for the work. But we can't say that all
derivative works are OK by default, for a variety of very obvious reasons.
Imagine you wrote a lengthy, novel-long fanfic and posted it for free to fimfiction. You put a lot of time and effort into it, and it's really well written; you get lots of praise from the fandom. Now imagine someone comes along, spends a couple of weeks de-ponifying it, and publishes it on Amazon. They sell a few dozen copies, making a few hundred bucks from your hard work. Is that fair, in any way? I think we'd all agree this is unfair. (I think we'd all agree that it would be unfair if they de-ponified it and posted it on a general fiction forum, too.)
Intellectual property is a really tricky issue, because you're balancing the interests of a creator (and of creators in general) against the rest of society, and trying to figure out how to encourage and respect creation while also allowing society at large to benefit in diverse ways from creative work.
Derpibooru intends to provide a large platform for hosting of all sorts of pony art. It has probably gained so much traction, in part, because artists know that they will respect the wishes of the artist as far as edits and non-public content goes. An excellent
way to drive away artists and get the site into legal trouble would be to say "we're not going to respect your copyright just because you don't like how we run this site".
So noooooo. Big no. Let Ponibooru crash and burn with this policy; we don't need to bring it here.