ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Copyright Education! Are you clueless about what images you can use freely on your blog?

My picture taken of one of the 83 old water fountains
 in Paris then  edited in PicMonkey
SORRY! If you came looking for my IWSG post, sorry, it posted a day early so I sent it back to draft. If you haven't read this important post, you may like to read it before you go...


Now unless you've had very pressing reasons not to have been around the blogosphere in the last days you couldn't have missed Roni Loren's post - Bloggers Beware You can get sued for using pics on your blog. 

Links to Roni's post abound, as do re-postings. It's been a wake up call to many bloggers who 'innocently' decorate their blogs with what they thought were free Google images. Alas, they are not free - everything on the Internet is owned by someone and they are cached, so chances are you will eventually be brought to task. Hopefully you won't be sued like Roni was, but at the very least you'll receive a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notice - Take it Down, or Else! One lawyer's blog states that you can be sued up to $150,000! *shiver*

I've received two DMCA notices, one from Google and one from an American firm hired by artists just for this purpose.  Both were for photos I'd had up for over a year and forgotten about. (Notices can be issued years after you put up an image).

I've now gone through all my blogs and deleted any image where I wasn't sure of the copyright. Another option is to save to Draft if you want to keep an image to refer to.

In my DMCA notice from Google,(this was for a badge I'd posted for a blogfest for someone else, so that's another area of concern - do we need to assure everyone that the blogfest badge is okay to use?), I was told that if it happened again, there'd be penalties. From now on, I'll be using my own photos. I have literally thousands from around the world so why risk it? Further to this: Awards. Where do the awarders get their images from? The awardee will be liable if it's illegal and found on their blog.

I trolled through nearly 400 comments on Roni's blog and was quite shocked. I followed up some of the comments from the photographers and found they were true. 

So this is what I've learned about Copyright Infringement regarding the use of, in this case, images, picture, photos, without permission.

In case you think this is boring and are about to move on, it seemed that the owners of these images many of us have been helping ourselves to are angry at us for stealing their bread and butter. Some are hiring firms to track their images down and issue infringement notices to illegal users. They, themselves, can do a simple Google search and find all the places on the net that their images have been used. You can use it too:
images.google.com
You drop the image in, and voila! (Well, that's what they said. I haven't been able to sort it out, but you're probably smarter than I am!)

HERE IS A SUMMARY OF WHAT I'VE LEARNED SO FAR:

  • Assume that an image is Copyright Protected until proven otherwise
  • The Copyright on virtually all photos belongs to someone - you must seek permission to use it/them 
  • If you don't know who owns the photo, don't use it
  • Just because something is published on the Internet, it doesn't mean it's Public Domain - that only refers to a work that is 70+ years old
  • In terms of law, ignorance is no excuse
  • Never use pictures from Google Search. (This is where Roni's troubles began). Google passes on responsibility for copyright to the website where it is used (I used to think that if I did a Google Free Image Search it was okay to use - I've since removed all these 'illegal' images)
  • If you get permission to use a picture, keep records, in case you still get sued (copyright changes hands)
  • All pictures are the intellectual property of the creator
  • Fair Use mainly refers to schools and other educational institutions, not the fact that you only stole 1 of 10 photos from a particular photographer
HERE IS WHAT RONI LEARNED ABOUT FAIR USE (re-posted with Roni's permission):

It DOESN'T MATTER...
  • if you link back to the source and list the photographer's name
  • if the picture is not full-sized (only thumbnail size is okay)
  • if you did it innocently
  • if your site is non-commercial and you made no money from the use of the photo
  • if you didn't claim the photo was yours
  • if you've added commentary in addition to having the pic in the post
  • if the picture is embedded and not saved on your server
  • if you have a disclaimer on your site.
  • if you immediately take down a pic if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down, but it doesn't absolve you.)
NONE OF THAT releases you from liability. You are violating copyright if you have not gotten express PERMISSION from the copyright holder OR are using pics that are public domain, creative commons, etc. 

SOLUTION

None of us wants an image-free blog, so what's the solution?

USE YOUR OWN IMAGES

In these days of digital photography,it's easy. At the very least use your camera phone (they're so great and always at the ready.) Take your own photos, then use free editing software to pretty them up, add text, shapes etc. 


I was a great fan of Picnik until Google+ took it over and called it Creative Kit, joined at the hip with Picasa. Kept most of Picnik's bells and whistles but no frames available. I recently found PicMonkey which is pretty good, fun, easy to use, but restricted re font choice (Creative Kit much better here). I have fancier programs such as Corel Draw and Paint Shop Pro but they are too unwieldy if I just want a quick edit.


You can also offer your photos on Flickr and other photo-sharing sites for use by others.I'll do this if I ever find the time! 


Further to that, believe it or not people often have to prove the photo they've used is theirs. If your camera doesn't have time, date, place embedded on your photos, how do you prove you own it? It sounds crazy to me, but if you google 'eiffel tower' you'll see lots of practically identical photos taken by different people. Buildings don't change much.

CREATIVE COMMONS?

CC on Flickr - Search: http://www.creativecommons, or http://www.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Usually if you find an image you want in CC, you have to link to the source. Use CC with great caution as some of these images may be stolen and shared illegally anyway. Also rights change hands.

Check out: Joleene Naylor - flickr.com/photos/pandora_6666 and


kuriositas.2012

Remember, Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket etc are photo sharing sites - no guarantee of provenance of photos.

USE LOW-FEE PHOTO-SHARING SITES - costs start at $1.00 (Crucial for book covers etc)

www.shutterstock.com
www.istockphoto.com
www.dreamstime.com
www.fotolia.com
www.stockfresh.com

FREE PHOTO-SHARING SITES 

morguefile.com (no attribution needed)
wanelo
ciker.com
alanayers.com (My favourite - fantastic for romantic, suspense, scenes and general photos - only free if you're not making money out of the image and you attribute. For commercial use, you pay).

MICROSOFT OFFICE CLIP ART is still there too.I'd nearly forgotten they existed.


BOOK COVERS


Roni got a gazillion questions from book reviewers re the legality of using book covers. This was generally accepted as okay as what publisher would sue you for publicising their client's book? On the other hand, someone was probably paid to create the cover and may get snarky. Hmm.


YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

There was no definitive answer to this one. I'm not a great fan of putting up videos on my site as they slow it down too much. I was under the impression that if the youtube video could be embedded,it was okay to use. Sometimes there is a copyright notice on a video and you can't embed it. Do you have any info on this one?


PINTEREST/TUMBLR:


So...the furore created by Roni's predicament highlighted the danger of Pinterest and Tumblr, (luckily I've resisted their siren call), where images are pinned from anywhere and everywhere. There were suggestions to google this phrase: 'Why I tearfully deleted my Pinterest inspiration'. Pinterest's terms and conditions state that legal liability of pinning is 100% on you, the user. Plus you have to cover 'their' legals if someone sues them!


CHECK OUT THIS SITE - I'LL LET A LAWYER HAVE THE FINAL SAY TODAY:

There is a lawyer/indie author/legal guru called Ruth Carter who has an upcoming book - The Legal Side of Blogging. It's sure to be a bestseller when it's released. Meanwhile you can check out her tips on her blog. So much info! (The latest post is about her issuing a DMCA notice to Google for a blogspot user who'd stolen a photo from her site.)Ouch!

Rush on over here after you leave a comment, of course. I really want feedback on this post.


 carterlawaz.com/blog/

Created using a Kakadu photo of Australian Aboriginal Rock Art, edited in
 PicMonkey - no copyright on ideas, Ruth Carter. Or is there?

  • What do you think of this debate?
  • Do you have a favourite photo-sharing site?
  • Have you ever received a DMCA notice?
  • What photo editing programs do you like to use?






108 comments:

  1. Excellent post. I use my own images on my blog, Always have. The only exception are book reviews which are posted to my blog through Goodreads containing the book cover. There probably should be more done to educate people on what copyright means.

    Did you know copyright is one of your human rights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I didn't know that, but I can see that it should be. D

      Delete
  2. Denise this is a first class post. I use almost always my own images, but there are a couple way back that I may have copied. Will have to look. When I do my next post I will do a link to this for everyone to see. Diane

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    1. Yes and your images are awesome Diane, but there is beauty everywhere you look in your part of France. Great idea to link. D

      Delete
    2. Denise you have opened a whole can of worms here. Many of my followers have thanked me for your link and they are checking the blogs now. Thanks once again for the information. Diane

      Delete
  3. Thanks, Denise.Excellent and very comprehensive advice.

    I am guilty of occasionally using images from Google. I won't do this again unless from one of the free sites you mention.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting here Gaynor. Glad you took the advice. D

      Delete
  4. really makes me want to go through my blog and remove all photos i've used from google (way too many!!) ARGG!!
    But fair enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kerrin.Took me a long time! But I sleep easier now. D,

      Delete
  5. My dear Denise,
    I woke up tired this morning, but this post soon opened my eyes! WoW! I didn't see Roni's post so was unaware of half of this. I've been using Google search and Bing for a lot of my images. I had no idea of the implications. I rediscovered Microsoft Clip Art only recently, which I've been using for the Lovers' Cove Awards. I'm going to have to ask my Assistant to go through & remove suspect images. This is quite shocking indeed. Thank you for directing me to this post and for sharing. I hope you don't mind if I re-share this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all Andy. Great idea to share this. We all need to know more about it. D

      Delete
  6. Most of the pictures I use are mine, but I occasionally use a cartoon from Clip Art or another site that states the pictures are free to use. I will be spending my weekend checking my blog to see if I have anything that could possibly be illegal. Thanks so much for th info.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey, Denise,
    Thanks for doing such an informative post on this subject. I came across Roni's link on a romance loop this past week. I gotta tell you, I'm daunted by the work I have to do since I've given credit in terms of where I've got photos from, that's no protection. :( Sure it's much safer to use my own photos, but based on the subject I choose to talk about I'm not going to have a photo in all cases. I think I went bare with my last of second to last post because of this same issue. Thanks again. Many of us have soooooo much work to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell me about it Joy. But there really are some good free photo sites out there, but you still need to be careful with them. d

      Delete
  8. Wow..this post kind of scared me..enough so that in the very near future I think I will be going through my past posts to remove/replace some images!

    A few months ago I got a bit paranoid about the copyright issue and just made it my standard practice to put my own photos in my posts. I'm not photographer but the images do a fine enough job and it beats the risk of complications later on! I have so many former posts though where I have gotten images from google images. I've labeled the as "courtesy of google images", primarily because I was new to blogging and saw other blogs do that and I thought it was a good enough procedure. I guess I was wrong!

    Thanks for this post. Every blogger should read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is scary Jessica, but it is good that you're now using your own photos. Pass the word on if you will. As you say, all bloggers need to know about this. D

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  9. This is scary stuff! Thanks for all the information.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Heather. Pass it on.

      Delete
  10. Good stuff here, Denise. Thanks for the additional info!

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  11. I think I have to go over all my posts and remove all those images I used except the ones I own... Thanks for sharing this ;)

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  12. I used to think I was doing the right thing by linking the photo back to the source. Won't bother anymore, I'll just do my own pics too. Sorry to all that read my posts, 'cause my photography sucks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee. But watch out for your Pinterest page! And now that you're starting to draw, you're home and hosed! D

      Delete
  13. Thank you for this. I just heard about it through Ann Gallagher's blog. Yes, I haven't but out and about much lately. I had no idea, though I've mostly just used book covers when I'm talking about novels, etc. What about blogfests like Magpie Tales??? Where one image is shared and used as inspiration? I will be checking my blogs for illegal pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is where I received my first DMCA notice - through using a pic someone provided for a blogfest. Anyone (me included) who post pictures for prompts or provided badges for blogfests needs to be sure of the copyright.
      Unless otherwise stated, even if you plaster words all over the pic, you're still stealing an image. No easy way out. Now I just crop one of my pictures and add text and a frame etc. D

      Delete
  14. It's sad there isn't an easy way to find lots of free domain pics. But I always stick to my own. I just keep my camera with me at all times.

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  15. OMGosh this is awful. Thanks for the heads up Denise.

    ReplyDelete
  16. First off, thanks for visiting my blog today. I do appreciate it. (Anne gave terrific answers, didn't she?)

    As for the images, I hope all the pics on my blog are okay, but I may have to go back and check them out again, just to be sure. I use a lot of pics from morguefile, and some from Wikipedia. If you do a left click on the Wikipedia images, you can get more info as to the legal status of using them, and a left click on images found through Google can lead you back to the website where the image was first used. Then, if you want, you can contact that webmaster and seek permission. I've contacted many webmasters, and have gotten not only permission, but a "thank you" for asking.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This is helpful Susan. I've just discovered morgufile and it looks good. What I don't like about some of these 'free' photo sites, is that there are so many sponsored ads, you don't know where you are half the time and you may not be getting what you think you're getting. D

      Delete
  17. Ouch! I'm going to take pics down now, including one that's been a signature for my blog for awhile. If I ever see ripe cherries on a tree, I'll take a pic. Otherwise, that part of my blog will be gone. It's sad, but I do understand. I did pay for the covers of my books and wouldn't have dreamed of doing it otherwise.

    Does the photos that blogspot provides as backgrounds count? Does anyone know. The copyright is at the bottom of the site.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hey Zan. I'm pretty sure if you're careful with blog backgrounds you'd be fine. The ones I've used provide a HTML addres for you to post in your gadgets to provide a link back to the source. I don't use skins now so that's one less worry.

      If I take any cherry tree pics, Zan, I'll send them to you!

      D

      Delete
    2. I'd love your cherry pics if you ever come up with one. Your photography is amazing, Denise.

      Delete
    3. Denise,
      You'll have to stop by my blog and see what I cobbled together from leaves from my cherry tree and some store-bought cherries. I have taken several pics on different backgrounds. So far, so good. ; )

      Delete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Hey, sis. Glad you've jumped on the bandwagon also with this.

    I did use photos for the A to Z Challenge. Even before I read Roni's post the other day, I deleted all those posts. Everything else I use is my own stuff, but I will now tell my youngest daughter she had better stop putting photos from disney.com or some such address and her favorite kitten photos that aren't her own on Facebook!! She LOVES Disney, but she's got plenty of her own photos to use.

    As for Zan's question above... I would think there would be no problem with the background photos Blogspot AND WordPress have for our use. I'm just glad I've never put any questionable photos on my blog, except for those A to Z ones which have now ALL been deleted.

    Susan's comment above is also very helpful. I'm going to check out Wiki now just for curiosity's sake.

    Good thing that this problem is getting out there for all of us to benefit from! I wouldn't want to see ANY of us getting sued!!!

    (Sorry about the above deletion. Jen needed me and I forgot to read through what I'd written. One long sentence didn't make sense!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the good thing about sharing this - we can all add to it.
      I'm sure/hope that any blog backgrounds are fine as they usually say as long as you have a link to their blog.
      Thanks for coming back! Love to Jen too.

      (((hugs)))

      Delete
  20. Thanks for doing all the research! Can I mention this Friday in the Ninja News? I've removed a couple images from my sidebar, but I still need to take out some in older posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Alex, great if you would mention it in Ninja News. Pass the word. D

      Delete
  21. Hi,

    Yeah well, it's all too easy to save, copy/paste from wherever. See I don't get why anyone thinks images are for free use... Warning, Alan Ayers' images are only for non-commercial usage!!... Some images will at times appear almost identical because several people were snapping the same shot from slightly different angles, maybe even the same angle...

    There are enough web sites around where royalty free images can be bought on a membership basis or as one-off purchases. Even then not all are for commercial use: READ, READ AND READ AGAIN the usage license terms.

    There is a way to avoid image detection but I can't go into that in a public arena.

    best
    F

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by F. I did warn about paying for Alan's art if if was for commercial use, but in case anyone missed it, good to remind everyone!
      Thanks D

      Delete
  22. Gosh, it's enough to have NO photos on my blog at all!! How sad for Roni, and a good warning for us. Thanks for passing on this info to others. And I didn't even think about blog awards!! Yikes... I have to go delete images now...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've seen lots of people posting about Roni's post. I did some digging for images back in the A to Z Challenge and realized then that it was a risky area, so I copped out in the end and did a couple of drawings just for the Challenge posts.

    I mostly use my own photos and drawings, but the bit about badges is a worry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And your photos and drawings are lovely. Just not as quick as Google Images, eh? D

      Delete
  24. This is indeed a scary post. I hadn't heard of Roni's post. We must be so careful since it is indeed a WORLD-WIDE net. Brrr. Thanks, Denise, Roland

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, Denise,

    It was SOOOO good to see you today! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, I have read Roni's post. Scary.

    I will now go through my old posts and start deleting. Thankfully I use mostly my own images.

    I read you finished a new novel, CONGRATS! I am sure Donna will be a tremendous help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to see you Michael. I've been deleting for awhile.Keep finding more.
      Yes Donna is a great CP. I have a deadline with this one. Still working on the query which is harder than writing the story! D

      Delete
  26. Thanks for this very important information, Denise. I'm gong to have to go through and delete a lot of photos from my blog. Sigh! But better safe than sorry.

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  27. I've never had a DMCA letter sent to me, but I have received two requests for use of my photos.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am working my way through my blogs after reading Roni's post. As you say, it is better safe than sorry. I deleted my Pinterest account. I do think there is a big campaign going on out there to find photographs, and get them removed from blogs. I did set up a blog with photographs for free commercial use, maybe I will start it again. Perhaps others might be interested in joining me and adding their own. Something for me to consider.

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  29. Thanks Denise, that is quite frightening as I've found lots of lovely images from pages I've 'liked' on Facebook. If they say they are a 'community page' do we still need permission to use their images? Naively I thought if it was in the public domain you could use it, i.e. shared on Facebook, obviously I was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'll find the photos doing the rounds on facebook are mostly contravening copyright laws. We've got away with it for now. Public Domain doesn't mean what we think - it's when rhe copyright has run out - 70+, often 100 years...D

      Delete
  30. Copyright laws are often at odds with the internet, because the internet is about sharing. How would anything go viral if it was never copied? Of course the internet is also at odds with writers and other creators making any kind of a living. I use shutterstock occasionally, and mostly my own photos, but I have the odd youtube link that I might just take down after reading this.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think writers are at times gullible as we get used to writing for no financial renumeration and getting our stories stolen, so maybe we thought it was okay to help ourselves to what looked like a free Google Image.D

      Delete
  31. That's why I only use my own images. As a professional photographer, I understand copyright laws.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm impressed that someone does actually understand copyright law. It gets very confusing as it's at times impossible to find the ownership of a photo on the net.Then it's wise not to use it. D

      Delete
  32. Wow! is all I can say. I head about Roni's troubles through a Yahoo Group I belong to. I don;t think anyone will come after lil' ol' me. But I'm thinking of taking down some images just to be safe.

    And moving forward, I'll start taking my own pics.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have taken down all my Pinterest boards except the one with bookcovers. And I use either my own or Creative Commons licensed photos on my blog. I do have some old, old, blog posts that I need to check. I plan to do that this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Replies
    1. Thanks Stephen. They are definitely after 'little ole me!' D

      Delete
  35. Hi Denise - one thing which you brought out that I hadn't thought of was the use of images on badges. You asked about my experience with Trestle Press. Briefly, I signed with Trestle Press this past January and they published a book for me. Several weeks later, someone on Twitter contacted me and asked if I was aware that Trestle was using art and photos without permission as book covers. This person began checking all of the book covers, and did a comprehensive blog post detailing the images and where they originated. At least 2 artists stated that Trestle had NOT asked permission. Trestle briefly posted an acknowledgement/apology (which was quickly taken down) and, to my knowledge, never publicly said another word about the matter. With a heavy heart, I joined about 20+ other authors in asking Trestle to pull my book and revert copyright back to me. Trestle did so, in my case, immediately, without further explanation or correspondence on their part. Trestle redesigned all of their covers, is still in business, and to my knowledge never suffered any repercussions. (Images included a photo from the movie Ghost Rider and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, BTW - pretty sure they didn't have permission.) Ignorance? Deliberate theft of material? Who knows. Just another cautionary tale - sometimes, you can't even trust a publisher.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Apparently their logo was also 'stolen'. Amazing that they got away with it, yet Roni had to pay up.
    The reasons I mentioned the blog badges is because that is what my first caution was about. Who would think of that?

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Obviously we'll need to check that our publishers are doing the right thing.

    Denise

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  37. Hi heard about this all over the place this week. IT IS SCARY STUFF. I have only been blogging for about 4 months and started using a few images a couple of months ago. I have deleted all images and two posts to be safe and plan to use my own from now on. Just one point I was wondering, if the post/image has been deleted does this sort the problem? Thanks for sharing all this info I would never knowingly want to use someone else's work without permission, it is all such a minefield.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Suzanne, once the image is deleted it is okay. Or you can just put your post into Draft. D

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Denise, that is reassuring. By the way I love your header photo, sunsets/sunrises are some of my fav photos.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Suzanne. And just snapped at a magic moment with my smart phone. D Not edited either. No need.

      Delete
  38. More great info on this topic. For the past year when I haven't used my own images I've used the ones provided by Zemanta. I haven't seen anybody mentioning them. I hope they know what they're doing.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. I haven't heard them mentioned in this discussion Arlee. I must have a look.

      Delete
  39. Thanks for reminding me about the blog awards! I heard about this and changed some of my older pics, but now I'm going back through and take out the awards.

    Thanks for all the links and great advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a wise move just in case. D

      Delete
  40. I mostly use my own photos, stockart I've purchased, or microsoft clipart. Wikipedia has lots of free domain photos, too. Nasa's photos are public domain.

    Great reminder though.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Excellent and informative post. I have been away from the computer for a couple of weeks and I did miss Roni's post. This should be an eye opener for all of us. I cannot say that I am surprised. I am a lawyer, but I have no knowledge whatsoever of the copyright infringement area. Despite that, I should have realized that photos belong to someone and that someone has every right to protect the rights to their property. You are absolutely correct that ignorance of the law is never an excuse. I suppose that despite my legal training and my common sense I just fell into a habit of using images. Rather than research the issue, I did what I presume many of us have done: I tried to find ways to justify the use of the photos to myself. How often have any of you said something to yourself while downloading an image, "Well I found it on google free image search so..." or "If they put it out there for everyone they must have known that others in this age of information era, would possibly use it on their blog." How about this one, " I am not using it for financial gain so I am sure the copyright laws do not really apply to me and my little ole blog, I mean I am barely even a blip in the great big blogosphere."

    Thanks Denise, this is good stuff to know. I don't know what picture editing sites I will use because I am not very savvy when it comes to photo shop or adobe . I also liked Piknic, but alas, no more. I know several bloggers who have attempted to persuade me that as long as you include a link to the original site or owner of the photo giving them proper credit that you would be covered. Again, I am guilty of not following up and researching the issue myself.

    This is quite a lot to take in. I have a plethora of images to sort through. I suppose the only area I have concerns about are the blogger awards. I don't even know how to track them back to the first blogger who presented the award.

    Pinterest-now that is really a blow. The entire site is about nothing but images. I can spend hours getting lost in picture land on Pinterest.

    My phone has an app called Clippish Pro. I assume other bloggers use this app because I often recognize photos from the app. It allows you to add your own text to the images they offer (supposedly for free). I better check on that as well. Thank you again for thoroughly covering this hot topic and giving us all the warning we should take very seriously.

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    1. I hadn't heard of Clippish Pro. I wonder if they have got permission? D

      Delete
  42. I've got a whole list of blog posts to edit, which I don't mind, because I want my blog to be squeaky clean. And I don't mind deleting my Pinterest account, if it comes to that. But I kinda like my tumblr! And then there's my knitting blog... So much work! I understand why it's necessary, but even if I edit two or three posts a day, it'll take me months to fix all this. Argh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Deniz, know how you feel, but it's better than paying lots of money for an image you've forgotten you have! D

      Delete
  43. darnit, I didn't think of blog awards. Am I going to have to delete my awards page now? Or at least, the images of the awards?

    I've already been through my blog and I'm pretty sure I don't have any infringements. I use all my own photography. I once found one of my photos on a Russian site. Sooooo annoying, because, yes, it IS theft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I've found plenty of my images on Google Images so they must just steal them from our Picasa and other Google sites. Then of course they're found everywhere.

      My Awards page is going and in future I won't be accepting any unless I know where the image comes from. Some my say this is an over-reaction and truthfully you may never get caught, but is it worth the risk? No. D

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  44. scary stuff!! 99.9% of the time we use our own photos but have occasionally used one which wasn't [from a free site]...
    must check Google Images.

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  45. With the cost of good digital cameras being less than £100 and plenty of really free "not-for-profit" clipart available as books of illustrations [most Dover Publications and Quinn "The Encyclopedia of Illustration" being two sources that readily come to mind], then to use the camera as a photocopier is only a few minutes work. Software such as Serif is a good way to alter the image for your own use [but check the usage restrictions in the front of the book first] and many cameras come with Photoshop Elements [or similar] on disc... very good and, as a Photoshop user myself, there aren't many bits missing from Elements that I use regularly in the full Photoshop!

    When publishing your own images to the web and count them as of value, do two things... firstly watermark both visibly and in the Exif information... there is free software on line to do this! Some cameras allow copyright information to be added to the picture's Exif file each time you take a picture... all my Pentax cameras do this... including the 79€ Optio camera I bought at LeClerc!

    The visible watermark should be placed where it doesn't affect the look of the image, or what you were trying to show, but would make it difficult to re-crop for use! Additionally, if you use software that creates a "transparent" glassy signature/image, that is the best method as it is too difficult to clone out... and "healing" brushes don't like them either!

    Secondly, use image manipulation software to reduce the size and quality of the image to where it would not be of commercial use... never go above 72dpi and 15cms width. This makes a picture that is reasonable on-screen but if then used at 300 dpi for printing would be to small to see detail on!

    Yes, the above steps take a few minutes or so to do, but they secure YOUR image from all but the most desperate! Also, unless you are trying to make a living from pictures, you only need to do the visible stuff on what you think might be truly commercial!

    My brother makes a reasonable living from photography... and keeps the grey cells ticking as well! A lot of his pictures are available as Creative Commons pictures on his flickr site, but he has had images used without acknowledgement. A simple email or comment has usually solved this!

    He has, however, been approached by American "no-win no-fee" law companies to issue DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices and sue on his behalf. Naturally he has declined... mainly because they always want a "donation" towards processing in advance!!

    The DMCA, a US law of 1998, is NOT universally supported or accepted... so people using your images outside of the US are not going to be able to be prosecuted. In Europe the Copyright Directive [EUCD] covers almost [note the word almost] all of the same fields...
    Some other countries have similar acts.

    And...

    Overseeing all these laws is the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty[WIPO Copyright Treaty]... of 197 possible countries.... only 96 have signed and of those only 69 have put anything down in law !! Very few eastern block countries, an awful lot of African nations and even such countries as New Zealand and Taiwan have not even signed and, unless every nation brings out a law, the act is totally un-enforceable... pity!

    A final thought to everyone out there.... if you aren't trying to make money from your images, why not be altruistic and let others use them non-commercially.... they may not have your skills or equipment!

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  46. Thank you so much for your reply. It is hugely helpful. I, too , thought the DMCA was only enforceable in the US yet they have issued notices elsewhere.

    Thank you for your editing instructions. A watermark is a good thing and easily done.

    Sharing our images is what it's all about.

    Denise

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    1. Denise, I think the issuing of notices by American lawyers is done as an "ambulance chasing" money getter.... many 'claims' will fall by the wayside... but at 150,000USD... they only need to score a few times... money grabbing b'strds!!

      Delete
    2. Tim makes a good point. Litigious action has become a big business and some lawyers specialize in it. It doesn't matter how small or innocent an act may be, if that kind of legal firm wants to pursue they will irregardless of who they are suing.

      The company behind the purple dinosaur Barney has a legal department that will routinely send out letters to costume shops and others extorting legal fees to avoid a lawsuit. Many pay up out of fear, but those who have fought it see the actions quietly disappear. The company I used to work for actually took the issue to court and won--made big news with it and it was good publicity for our company.

      The legal industry routinely conducts a terror campaign against small business and individuals who don't have the resources to properly fight such actions.


      Lee
      Wrote By Rote

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    3. I find this despicable. Thanks for sharing. D

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  47. Thanks for doing a comprehensive round up of this scary issue. I already deleted all the pictures from my posts that aren't mine, but I hadn't considered the awards. The blogfests thing seems a shame as I want to promote it and use the image - but at least in that case the person who created it should be easier to track, and ask. Another thing that occurred to me is avatars in your follower widget where they might use an image that isn't their face - what if they never had permission to use it? Would it matter to someone who wanted to sue you, if you tell them technically it wasn't you who placed it on your blog? Yikes...

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    1. You opened another can of worms. I think the avatars would be okay. I made one myself once and I had to create it. I hope everyone else does the same. I shouldn't think it'd be our responsibility, but I was hit with the blogfest 'illegal' image. Yikes alright! D

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  48. Thanks a lot Denise.

    I must say I do not use photographs on my blog often. And when I use photographs I use my own ones.
    As I blog about books I use book covers and to be honest very often covers are sent directly by authors and publishers. I must say I do not feel guilty in this case.

    But there is another question. What happens when I go to Google images search a picture and then just take a photograph of the screen and then upload it to my blog?

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    1. I would say you're contravening the copyright laws. If you check you'll see the image is owned by someone so you would need to get permission. Most Google Images are not copyright free, just the opposite. D

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  49. thanks for that Denise - eye opening :-)

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  50. Such a great post... it's put everyone into a cleaning frenzy of their blogs... probably for the best:)

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  51. A lot of good info, Denise. Seems like I have some work to do on both my blogs.Hmm.

    While I agree with the copyright part-- I hate that in the States, some people make a living out of suing others for stupid reasons. Copyright protection is good-- I've myself sent DMCA to folks who plagiarized my writing, but to sue some one for 150,000 usd for a photo or two is plain dishonest.

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    1. Many people thought Roni should have not paid that fine, but she said she had no choice. You can be unlucky. D

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    2. Denise, thanks for help spreading the word. :) And just as clarification, I'm not sure where the 150,000 number came from but apparently urban legends are forming. That was not the number. I haven't released any details about money because I'm under a confidentiality agreement. But it definitely was not anywhere close to that much. If it were, I'd be under my desk rocking back and forth in the fetal position. >.< And I would've pursued it in court and fought instead of settling if it had been that large of an amount. Anyway, just wanted to share that. People SHOULD be concerned and should be getting their blogs cleaned up, but I don't want misinformation about exorbitant amounts of money to scare people more than necessary.

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  52. Wow; have I missed a lot. I am glad you re-inforced Roni's post here for me to see. I follow her, but it has been a long time since I read her posts. Shame on me.

    I want to thank Tim and Lee for the responses I read. They were helpful to me.

    No, I haven't received and notices, but most of my pictures are off novel purchasing sites, author blog/web sites, or from a Print Shop collection of CD's. My cell phone can take pictures, but I don't have a data plan, so most of those stay on the camera. (Yep, son Bug is really unhappy there) I'm thinking I'm glad I don't post many pictures to enhance my posts. Still, this is disturbing.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I've been seeing lots of disclaimers on blog headers, and now I have an explanation.

    This world is so sue happy its a wonder anyone can step out their front door without being accused of some crime.

    .........dhole

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    1. Yeah, we're thinking if we put our image policy up top we mightn't get investigated, lol! Tim had great info didn't he? D

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  53. Thank you so much for this comprehensive discussion. Yes, I'm going back to old images I used years ago and removing them! Love your analysis, thanks.

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  54. A very good reminder and a great post! I'm definitely bookmarking this.:)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  55. Hi, dear sis. Read your comment on my review of the crime thriller Dead Ringer. It really was a great read (just ignore the one character's bad language as one does in real life HA).

    You are really racking up the comments here. This is definitely a volatile subject. So glad we didn't get zapped. Now as Stephen Tremp just posted more bloggers will use their own photographs. I like the personal touch; I like to see pictures of the new baby, and trips to FIJI (I am SO envious, and still hoping you and hubby will one day get to East Coast USA and drop in!!).

    Yes, life doesn't get any easier, as I said in my post. I hope I didn't sound too down. Don't wanna do that, although a few "older" bloggers have mentioned to me privately that we usually write as if nothing is amiss in our lives. I think we can be honest without being overbearing. With blogging, I think it's important to have a cheery blog site, which you do, and which I do also. Nice colors. And of course your lovely newest profile pic adds to it. I love dropping by and seeing you as you "really are."

    Many hugs from me and Jen. Hope you're having a great week!

    (p.s. I finally managed to get this comment form on my blogger blog, with the reply under each comment. But do you think people return to read the author's replies? Have you ever gotten feedback on this?)

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    1. Personally, I return to read replies when there is a discussion or there is an exchange of information going on. Or if I've asked a question of the author.
      Otherwise, it just depends on the time I have available... this is an important subject, so for the present, I am keeping it open on my browser... judging by some of the comments, so are others.

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  56. I don't think many return to read replies. Discus is better as it let's you know that you have a reply. But the main purpose is to add more to the conversion for others to read.
    Great to hear from you.
    Denise

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  57. Thank you for bringing this subject up - enjoyed browsing your blog, thanks

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  58. Thank you so much for this information. I do sometimes use google images. Even though I usually mentioned the source, I could still get sued.. so I am taking those downs, thanks to you!

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  59. A very helpful post but please, using Aboriginal rock art as if it's free to use is a major cultural infringement irrespective of the legalities.

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