One of the few perks of being a student is that a lot of materials we use or create fall under the educational purpose umbrella. Students can use licensed materials as long as they’re not for commercial purposes. But that privilege stops as soon as we start getting paid for our craft.
Not giving proper credit to an artist after using their work doesn’t not only raise legal issues but ethical ones as well. Ethical self-awareness is something that every creative person should cultivate since school before even entering the professional arena. As a designer, I’ve made it a habit of crediting assets I used for my work even when I was not required to do so. This action always sets a good precedent and speak about one’s character.
Shepard Fairy’s case is one of the many cautionary tales that really shed the light on the repercussions for infringing on others work. We must always try to hold ourselves accountable and every time we find ourselves facing the decision of using other people’s work without crediting them, we must put ourselves in their shoes and decide whether we can live with that type of injustice.