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!
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.*