Thursday, August 7, 2014

What I know: Copyright - what is your obligation?


©love-and-hisses.com

So I was watching GMA this evening (broadcast on 8/7/14) and saw the segment about the macaque selfie that was shared by David Slater. Apparently immediately the general public deemed this photo as 'public domain' since the monkey took the photo and since monkeys can not hold a copyright.   Well now 'the owner of the camera' is suing to claim that the copyright is his.

I want to say, I think the copyright is his.  Yes, he didn't technically pushed the button, but he took the camera out to the monkey, he set up the situation, he created the environment, the 'creation of the situation' was his doing. Just as I think zoos who set their elephants or dolphins to paint own those images, and just as I think Colehaus Cats owns the copyright for Quint's work.  Think of the monkey, the elephant, the dolphin or the cat like a camera, or a brush.. a tool to create the art.. you would never expect a camera to own a copyright.. but it did do all the work.

All of this got me thinking about copyright..I use Robyn's photo above because she is one of the most copyright infringed people I know.

I am sure that most of you that are reading this are bloggers. From time to time I'm sure you want to use a photo that you have not been able to take yourself. It seems like a no brainer to go to google.com and type in a description of the image you want to use and find one and use it, but doing so is copyright infringement. Those images are owned by someone, and most of those people are not willing to let you simply use their photos with out either compensation for the use, be that financial or a link back. I work for a stock image agency, and you would not believe the number of times our images are stolen and put up on websites. When we find them, and we have hired a company to do so, we send them a cease and desist letter and an invoice for ten times what the original feel would have been for the use. Most of the time that is $1000. Not being aware it was a copyrighted image is not a defense for the theft. We have been told many different reasons why we shouldn't be asking for $1000 from 'that image isn't worth it' (maybe not, but our time and the man power to find you is) to 'but we don't make any money from it' (doesn't matter. If you steal a car and stick it in a garage, you still stole it)

So what is a blogger to do if you can not take the photo yourself? There are places you can that will let you legally use their images, more often than not for a simple link back and proper attribution. Creative Commons is the term for people who allow you to use their images, you can find some at FlickrPhotoPin or Wylio.  I am sure there are many more and if you know of any, I'd love it if you shared them in the comments.

If you see an image you love, try tracking down the person who took it and ask if you might use it. More often than not people will be honored you asked and will let you for simply a link back. Sometimes they will want to sell you a license, and you will have to decide just how much you like the image. Sometimes they will say no... but since they took the image (or drew it, or created it, etc) that is their right. You would not take something from someone's home with out their permission, please, do not take it from their blog.

23 comments:

  1. Well put and so needed to be said. We haven't had pictures stolen that we know of....and hopefully haven't had any stolen. We have gotten to the point where we don't blog anything we didn't take ourselves....or without asking. Be nice, be fair and ask.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for outlining this so clearly for people. My background is in the publishing industry, and it's easy to forget how many people didn't get this drilled into them long ago. In a lot of cases, people don't mean to infringe, but they don't know any better, but their reactions when caught and embarrassed can be unpredictable.

    You asked for other sources of images. Another search source is here http://search.creativecommons.org/, but it includes the option to search Google images, and I don't trust that images tagged for reuse there are accurate and won't use that portion of the search. Additionally, try Morguefile.com, all-free-download.com (check individual image terms since many aren't for commercial use, and monetized blogs are commercial).

    Before you take someone else's image without there being any license for reuse, just think about how you would feel if your personal photos were reused without your permission on some stranger's web site. It's always better to ask!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So many people just don't get this, especially those who were born around the same time the internet was. My human is a photographer and graphic artist and she refuses to allow any photos on my blog that aren't creative commons. So this message needs to be said - over and over!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a good article. Hammy and I think we are the copyright owners on all the photos Rumblemum takes. I also think she needs to start paying us in tunas and chick-hens.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very good post and great explanation ! Many blogging furriends are regularly victims of pictures stealers, and most of them are not aware at all that it's not because it's on the Internet that it's free for use ! But it's very hard to defend your rights if you're not a company or a big well known blogger... Purrs

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is very good information. There are so many pictures on the internet that I wish I could use but some times trying to track down the picture's original owner isn't as straightforward. Let's say I see this image I like but there are actually several sites that have that picture. I get the permission from one of the sites but it turns out he isn't actually the original owner of the photo (but didn't tell me that). Can the original owner take action against me?

    I don't know if any of my photos have ever been "stolen".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want to, I would attribute it to where ever you found it. Chances are at that point it has been stolen so many times that they can't go after you. But realize that you might be upsetting the person who took it who wishes they could have credit.

      as to your question can they take action, yes. Will they, most likely not.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your reply. Probably best to just stick with my own photos. And maybe add bigger watermarks on them. :)

      Delete
    3. If you attribute the photo and don't claim it as your own, and aren't making money on it all by itself it probably is considered "fair use" and worst case an owner could ask you to take it down.

      Delete
    4. There is 'fair use' but you need to be sure what you are doing is actually fair use. there is actually a check list to help you determine if you can do it.. http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/files/2009/10/fairusechecklist.pdf

      Delete
    5. having spent more time going after copyright infringers at my work, 'fair use' has it's limitations and in most instances you are going to upset the owner of the image if you didn't ask and they are probably going to speak badly about you - something none of us want. I stand behind my original statement, get permission before using images that aren't yours.

      Delete
  8. This is very good information. When I started blogging, I didn't think about copyright at all. But I'm more aware now. I also see many bloggers use watermarks. I haven't used it but began to think maybe I should..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very well written posting and very timely too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The public can claim anything they want. Doesn't make it right.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for posting this information! People don't seem to understand what copyrights are and when they think they do, often that's not quite right. Or they think it doesn't apply - "It's just a small picture. There's no harm in that." WRONG!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for the information. I am fairly new to blogging ( less than 3 months) and I can't afford to be sued so I will be extra careful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wise indeed and very good info!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I deal with this one on a daily basis - have the U.S. copyright law bookmarked in my browser, even. It's shocking how many people think it's okay to steal. Just found another of mine on a website the other day. *sighh* This message needs to be repeated frequently - thanks so much for writing it!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We found out not so long ago that so many photos from our blog and every other blogger's site are on Google and not just if you put in the name of your web-site. They pop up all over the place. We don't know how many of them might have been used someplace else, but Mom knows that if she can't find a photo of ours (that she has posted) on our computer, she can usually find it on Google. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    ReplyDelete
  16. This be very infurmative and altho we know ignowance is no 'scuse, we wuz sure ignowant of these fings. Weez oonly wecently learned 'bout foto shoppin' and such and it seems peeps use fotos all da time dat not be there's. Weez had no idea, but had wunnewed as we be very purrticulaw 'bout how we be purrtwayed on da net. Fank you fur this pawsum awticle/posty.

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

    ReplyDelete

All spam will be fed to the kittens

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...