You might assume that being creative gives one free license to say and do whatever they want. It does to an extent, but here’s why ethics matters in creativity.
If I make what is supposed to be a legitimate claim about my creative work and it’s not true, I lose the trust of my audience. I could also face legal repercussions.
People know the difference between fiction and reality and we’re allowed a lot of creative freedom as artists. But outright lies or misleading information is not acceptable.
Fluff or puffery is also acceptable. Whether you like it or not, advertisers do it all the time. I could say I’m the best songwriter in the world. We all know that’s not true, even if I am pretty dang good.
The FCC and the FDA allow fluff. Statements that can’t be definitively proven or disproven such as, “We’re the Best,” and “Our Sauce Is Creamier,” are acceptable. But if you falsify a claim and suggest that a new medicine cures the common cold, you will be fined and required to post disclaimers. Just ask Listerine and Airborne.
If I claim I’m going to give you something for free and then charge you $50, that would be dishonest, unethical. If a grocery store prices a loaf of bread at $2.99 and then charges you $5.00 you might complain if you noticed. Right?
If a hosting plan claims a website gets more than 5000 visits in a month, but the more reliable service of Google Analytics claims the site gets less than 500 visits a month, the host’s claim is more than fluff, especially when the hosting company’s prices are based on those statistics. That would be unethical and concerning. Especially, if the problem has already been reported and nothing has changed. Right?
Once you’ve lost trust with your audience as a creator you are in danger of losing them forever and the word might get out. Your entire creative life could be ruined, your business could fail.
If you think ethics doesn’t matter in creativity, you’d better think again. – dse
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