Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fair Use and All That


This post should not be considered an intellectual discussion of Copyright Infringement. It merely contains my thoughts on the matter. I actually have been down this research road before at least twice and had forgotten. So it's good to get this into some sort of clearing house post if only for my benefit. To quote Dr. Phil, sorta, never substitute my judgement for your own!

Oh, by the way, may I quote someone? Yes, I may.☺

Information is taken from the following sources: here, here regarding screen capture, and more on screen capture here. The last one is the most entertaining; however, there is valuable information in all. 

From what I can gather, the courts have not yet established a hard and fast rule concerning copyright infringement in this day and age of the www. Experts disagree between them about fair use. As my friend Donna said, "If they can't figure it out, how am I expected to?"

A humble blogger like me could decide to go ultra conservative in all things. I have recently deleted posts and replaced a photo. You may be interested to know that, in light of my recent study, I would probably allow it all to stand. This blog is not written for any monetary gain; I harmed no one in the process giving full credit. In the future, if I use a generic g00gle image, I will source it as such or try to make contact with the owner, unless it is in the public domain. Frankly, it's just easier to use my own photo. I have many permissions from authors to cartoonists to architects to you-name-it. It gets complicated after a while. It's not something that I want to invest so much time in for a nothing little blog like this. So this is fair warning — posts are probably going to be more dull than ever before. (Edited to Add: MY posts are probably going to be more dull than ever before.) 

I will definitely not post any professional photographers' work again, sourced or otherwise, neither here nor on Pinterest. That ship has sailed. And, as for Pinterest, in the future, I will only pin those photos that either have a "pin me" or an obvious graphic that lets people know that it is okay. What a pain. This is just my thing; refer back to the Dr. Phil quote. I am going to err on the side of caution. 

There is one exception to that: the only place where I will not err on the side of caution is with regard to my first amendment rights. I have a right to express my opinion; you have a right to express yours. Let's not allow anyone to mess with that privilege!

Quite frankly, I worry most about the professional bloggers who never source a thing. There are a number of them. They may be taking a risk because they are using their blogs for a monetary purpose (nothing wrong with that, folks, I am not making commentary about that). Apparently, the monetary aspect and fair use is where the wicket really gets sticky.

This is very interesting information for students and teachers giving reports or preparing papers *here.*

The Idiot's Guide of Blogging Rules and Etiquette

Oh, may I link to other sites? Yes, I may. ☺

Feel free to ask a question or express a concern. I love to do a little research, but remember, even The Experts haven't figured it out.
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42 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info Vee. I intend to study up on this and learn more!

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  2. I sent you and email. I recently got an email from the copyright office while trying to copyright my artwork. Government has to make everything so confusing.

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  3. The whole subject is a sticky wicket. One has to follow their heart, for sure. I have copyright information about my images noted on my blog. As a serious photographer, I don't want someone to profit from my work unless I am directly involved in the profit. I also don't want someone swiping my photos and pretending that the work is theirs. So I extend the same courtesy to others.

    There are many pro (and non-pro) photographers that post their work on Pinterest, and so I believe that it is quite OK to repin their work. Vintage images & free clip art are great sources for bloggers, whenever the needs arise. There are also many sources of free background images for bloggers. So we don't have to entirely rely upon our own images.

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  4. The way I have read it many times over, is that a persons blog written word is just as precious as art work & so therefore, it is copyrighted. It is pretty much a gray area., Just be on the safe side, always link back if you use another persons pictures, graphics, subject, ideas and on on. I personally do **try to remember to do all the above. Thanks Vee.

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    1. It's a little more tricky than that. A link back will not necessarily protect you. And, yes, all things on the www are considered copyrighted whether professionally copyrighted or not. Oh and "ideas" are another thing altogether because one idea sparks another. Ai yi yi!

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  5. Very serious subject! I do free clip art or my on photo's.

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  6. I hope no one comes to get me. :)
    My blog is totally non profit so I'm hoping that saves me if they come to get me.

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  7. If I can't think of a intelligent comment, do I have to go back to my natural shade of blonde? hahahaha!

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    1. AN intelligent comment. Better get some bleach fast! lol

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    2. Thanks for adding some levity today! LOL!

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  8. I have seen posts on this off and on since I began blogging almost 8 years ago! It can be confusing, especially when you see big bloggers who do make money with their sites and their photos are almost exclusively taken from other sources. It can lead to a false sense of security. The last thing I would want is for some big brou haha over a stupid photo though. You can bet I'll be using only my own or creative commons from now on. A pity since there are so many beautiful home dec photos that we love to share.

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  9. In the past, I have read horror stories of bloggers being sued for using photos. Like you, I use my own photos or just do without. Everything seems so complicated these days.

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  10. I tend to use my own photos or free clip art with the original link. I find it much easier and hassle-free to just use my stuff - you never know what could happen! Thanks for the info, Vee. Have a great day!

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  11. Very interesting info Vee!! I always check for free graphics when I am looking for something. I mostly use my own photos and not very often at that. More snow coming my way. I am going to bed and cover up my head too!

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  12. Sigh! Thanks for all your hard work here Vee, much to ponder over. I'm not as concerned with my blog as I am with Pinterest and repins there. If I mess around in google up comes every photo I ever put on my blog. What is that about? I feel very vulnerable there.

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  13. We use our own photos . Here in Canada there is a law that protects the rights of photographers and their photos as here it is seen as an art form and the rights to the photographs are ours as cameras we use incript our photos . I know that if we are to take photos of people privately and use them in photos for web or adds we have them sign a Model release form so it covers all . I know that if I find anyone using our photos with out our permission it is considered stealing as we have the originals to prove it ! I use free clip art or graphics if I use any . Good info though cause from what I have been hearing there is a lot of stolen photos from blogs and Pinterest . Thanks for sharing this . Have a good day !

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  14. I always use my own photos so don't worry about it.
    Seems to me that people would like it if you used their pictures.
    I know I do and don't care who uses them.

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  15. I had one experience with someone in Pennsylvania who lifted an ancestor history that I had on my history blog and put it on Ancestry.com under his own name. Now granted, these ancestor histories are documents that probably a lot of the same lines have a copy of, also. But to just steal it and add it under their name was going too far. I caught him at it and told him to take it off of his ancestry site. If he would have asked, I'd gladly have given him the history to do anything he wanted to do with it. He was a shotgun relation of four or five generations back. He got mad and privatized his Ancestor.com account which made me put that blog site onto a private setting which I never intended it to be.

    I know one thing though. This copyright stuff is a huge can or worms.

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  16. Vee- I had someone take their blog down yesterday because someone scared the crap out of them. She doesn't have a big blog and makes NO money off it and has pulled pictures from files she has had for years. I always make my pictures so that if click on them they take you to the source and, barring that, put source unknown if it is a photo I have had forever-bb -before blogging. It just gets crazy, doesn't it. There is one gal that blogs that uses everyone's pictures and someone left a comment that she was using their photo and would like credit for it. They got no response and the blog is still up and running daily. I also wrote and cautioned her but she doesn't care. lol I no longer follow her blog~

    Yep-good thing we can still SPEAK our minds! xo Diana

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  17. Some heavy thoughts here today, Vee, I now understand why I don't get many return visits,to my blog it must be because I use my own photos almost all the time,and they must be boring, I won't change that to become popular, and will not use my blog for monetary purposes, though I have no quams with those who do. I started my blog to meet and connect with other women who were of the same like mind! when I google I ask for free prints, and I have no desire to repost someones photos as mine, You might remember the time someone took my personal photos and posted them on their blog as their family, she and I had a friendly talk.
    If by chance I have infringed on someone's photos it has been totally by mistake, I am so thankful you have posted this today as I will make sure I don't. I am flattered when someone does post something from my blog and repost it with credit to me.
    Having said all this, I will search the links you have provided, I am sure they have a wealth of info.

    One of the things I value about you is that you area a"straight arrow", and I can always count on you to be so trustworthy! Thank you for this information.
    Hugs,
    Sue


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    1. I do remember that, Sue! It was a flagrant example of copyright infringement if ever there was one. I am not implying that my photos or anyone's personal photos are boring...I enjoy seeing photos. What I meant to say is that my eclectic blog that features a lot of variety may become very limited. I do not travel except in my imagination so all those features I used to do are a thing of the past. It was my favorite thing to do here.

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  18. Oy vey! (Or is that, Oy Vee?!) This is a sticky whicket. Took the words right outta my mouth. Does it mean I can sue?
    *lol*
    I dislke modern life sometimes.
    Shoot, I'd be flattered if anyone ever quoted me or liked my photos that wasn't in a disparaging way. ~:)

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  19. For once, I've read all of the comments. Great information and thoughts.

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  20. Vee, it happened to me! I posted someone else's photo (cooking pic) and they demanded $150,000 or that I remove the photo. I removed the photo and apologized and fortunately the person dropped the subject. Dangerous territory.

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  21. There is a lot to be mindful of when blogging and I think many have no idea about plagerism or the consequences of using another's photos. I was dumbfounded when a blog was pointed out to me that was using my content and photos. Filling out the legal forms and proving ownership to Google had the blog removed.
    Great discussions Vee.
    Judith

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  22. Thanks for bringing this topic up, Vee. It really is complicated. I use my own photos on my blog and if I pin something, always make sure it links back to the blog or website of the owner. However, you got me checking my repins on Pinterst and a lot of them had no source or were from blogs posting other people's work. I'm deleting every pin that isn't sourced, even if I love the image. That's just me and what I feel is the right thing to do. I'm amazed at how many successful blogs entirely use images of others. The upside of this is that in checking the sources of my pins, I've discovered some pretty amazing blogs!

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  23. Yeah, it can be really tricky, can't it. Only occasionally do I use other than my own photos. For some reason, I think I can use a photo from one of the major newspapers as long as I link to that newspaper. Of course that could be wrong, but I figure it's out there in the newspaper, so why would they care. Other than that, I like to use my own photos. And I always resize my photos before posting them, because if someone likes one of them, they're not likely to steal it to sell (pretty presumptious on my part, I realize) when it wouldn't print out well anyway. All this digital stuff gets so complicated.

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  24. Thank you Vee, for sharing this information with us. I have been trying to use our own photos for quite a while, which also means I need to get busy and take more photos!

    So much to think about.

    Deanna

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  25. I am impressed with your research. Thank you so much for being willing to share it with the rest of us. I feel better having seen your perspective. You're right about it being safest to use your own photos! I guess being "small potatoes" is helpful in this case. :) (And I'm not referring to your missing spuds.)

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  26. There's a lot to think about here. Thanks for the info. I mostly use my own photos, but there have been a very few times where I used something like a Max.ine cartoon for fun, because I'd seen so many others do it and thought it must be okay. I am now going to go delete a few posts to be on the safe side! Pooh on those who swipe others photos and pass them off as their own!

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  27. I just thought of something...maybe I should know this, but I don't...what about those who post photos of rooms from a place like BH&G. I'm thinking of one of our favorite blogger's "Which room is your favorite" posts. Maybe they're getting permission and I don't know it. But, this really wrong, right? (Tell me you know what I mean.)

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  28. Oh brother, I should just shut up and go to bed. I meant to say "but, this really IS wrong, right?"

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    1. Possibly, but how would we really know? It would be nice if bloggers explained that the photos were used by permission, but it's not a requirement. Now you've brought up another sticky wicket for me. Ackkk...will it never end? One would think that the sharing and linking would provide lots of traffic and that it would be acceptable. I am adding this link for anyone's perusal:

      http://www.contentfac.com/copyright-infringement-penalties-are-scary/

      The writer thinks that greedy lawyers are mostly to blame. Hmmm...who'd ever think that?

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  29. So Vee - is something going on or did something happen? I use photos from Pinterest and the Internet a lot - is that wrong?

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    1. Read some of these articles, Chatty. I dare not advise. Oh, and try reading that last one from my response above.

      If you ever want to use one of my photos, I'll give you permission. ☺

      Oh, I was able to get blanket permission from one of my favorite cartoonists. I just emailed him on his contact page and he wrote me back with the permission and I keep it in a file on my email sidebar for future reference. Also true for any permissions I receive.

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    2. And for all the Maxine lovers out there...this page may prove helpful:

      http://www.hallmark.com/online/maxine/about/

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  30. Oh my goodness - I had no idea about all this "stuff". So far I've only ever used my own pictures so I think I'm O.K. I would probably be flattered if anyone out there ever used mine but maybe I shouldn't be so naive?????
    Pretty sure my very wee blog wouldn't be noticed - lol!! Thanks for all your research Vee!

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  31. Thanks very much, Vee, for doing the thinking and research on this, and for the link. I'll save this post and the "idiot's guide" ;-) for future reference. What you and commenters have shared makes me more than glad I haven't posted many photos of my family to the world.

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  32. I am sufficiently scared that I will only use my own photos in my blog from now on. I've almost always used my own photos, anyway, but I certainly don't want to any reason to be sued. From my readings it doesn't even matter if you don't make a penny from your blog -- a person can still be sued for using another person's photo without permission. It certainly will make blogging more complicated for some that used all kinds of "google images" photos without permission in their blogs --they are taking a big risk and --ignorance is not a defense in this case.

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    1. Read these selections and see if you feel the same way. They might change your mind. No one, of course, would like to pay for a lawyer, but a good lawyer should easily represent a person who innocently uses a g00gle image.

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    2. I do feel the same Vee. Ignorance is not a defense from what I read. The BlogHer article blogger was sued even though she used the photo she found innocently. Even if a person does not have a blog that makes money they can still be sued I heard that blogger was sued for 6 figures, and it is happening more frequently these days!! That is so scary! I just won't take a chance any longer-- just not worth it. I will use only my own photos from now on.

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    3. I don't think we are reading the same articles. Do you have another that you could point me to? You are certainly correct that it is not worth it to take the risk in this litigious society. I know that photographers, artists, cartoonists, and crafters must protect their work; however, all of those of us who use Pinterest take a risk. How can such a site exist in light of these very strict rules? It's a conundrum all around. Thanks for your feedback!

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Thank you for commenting! If you ask a question, I will answer it here in case anyone else was wondering. Reply boxes are provided so that you may feel free to interject a thought on any comment. I do love good conversation!