All creators get to decide what happens to our work. We can keep it secret, and not show it to anyone. We can keep it private, and limit access to private parties. Or we can make it public, by publishing it.
Once you’ve made a work public, it is public. So if you don’t want people sharing your work, please, please, keep it secret or private.
I’ve often wondered why “creators” (or corporations) get so upset when the public accesses their work, after they’ve made it public. If you can’t stand people looking at it without your permission, why not keep it locked up in a vault somewhere? No one’s forcing you to publish; why insist on doing so, and then claim to be victimized by your own audience?
The answer is that a work has little or no value unless it’s shared. The more people take it in, the more valuable it becomes. A work has no cultural value except what the audience gives it. In other words, A WORK’S VALUE COMES FROM THE AUDIENCE.
Sita Sings the Blues is tremendously valuable now, and its value increases every time someone watches it. Back when I finished the film in 2008, and hardly anyone knew about it, it wasn’t worth much. The very worst thing that can happen to a film is nobody sees it: that makes it worthless. Lots of people seeing the film make it valuable.
Artists make an enormous mistake when they believe a work’s value comes from themselves. Some of it comes from the artist. Most of it comes from the audience.
Most filmmakers get paid on the “front-end,” for their time (by investors, patrons, grants, etc.), and even with strict copyright and commercial distribution, make almost no royalties on the back-end. The audience isn’t paid for their time at all.
I contributed about 7,800 hours to making Sita. That’s a lot of time, and every hour I put into it makes the film more valuable. I conservatively estimate the audience has contributed at least 300,000 hours to Sita, probably a lot more. Every hour they put into it makes it more valuable too. They’ve put a lot more hours into it than I have, and I haven’t paid them a dime. Yet I enjoy attribution for the film, and all this value accrues to me! Sweet.
But if you still don’t believe that the value comes from the audience, and is instead inherent to the work itself, then by all means please keep your work safely locked away, and don’t publish it.