Saturday, July 28, 2012

Image Use

This image is public domain.
I know I just started it, but I'm not continuing with my Pin of the Week.  It seemed like so much fun and something that I would enjoy doing, but I recently became concerned.  I read a blog post from a writer who was sued for using a photographer's picture.  The photographer sent her a "do not use" notice, so she promptly took the picture down.  This was not good enough for that person and they sued her.  She may be a published writer, but many of us know, that unless you're a select few, Stephen King, Cassandra Clare, Charlaine Harris, etc., you're not making a lot of money.  She was being sued for much more than she had.  She was also just doing what most other bloggers seem to do.  Google search an image and plop in a blog post.  As long as you're not making money from the image, what's the harm, right?  Apparently, though some people (most, it seems) don't mind, there are those that do mind and they might sue.

This got me thinking about all the random pictures and images on my own blogs.  For Loni’s Eye, where I talk about books, movies, babies and life, most of the pictures on my blog seem safe.  There are book covers, movie posters and pictures either I or friends of mine have taken.  I’ve started to go through the blog, but for the most part, I think I'm okay.  (It’s going to take a little while though, since I started blogging in 2006.)  On Loni's Storm, where I talk about my writing, writing articles and other writing/author related subjects, it's a little different.  Many of the posts have no images, but many do, to make it look more interesting (it's one of the first things bloggers learn).  Now, after reading this and a few other similar articles, I'm going to go through the blog thoroughly and either use my own photos or use images from a free source.  I've read about using Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons, but I need to read more about them first.

From what I've read, it seems like getting sued is very rare.  On one blog I read, the blogger wrote about mixed messages.  This person ran a fashion blog.  They were at an event and someone actually told them to just take pictures of their site, even though on the site it says not to lift any images.  I don't think this category of blog could even exist if the bloggers didn't take the pictures off designers' and stores' websites.  It is much easier to critique something (positively or negatively) if there is an image to refer too.  The same sort of thing goes for other types of blogs too (I love/hate this travel destination, I love/hate this restaurant, I love/hate this book).  I think anything that’s an advertisement is okay because, you’re only spreading the word (whether positively or negatively).

You can use the Pinterest logo only
if it links back to their site.
Pinterest has copyright rules too.
Where does that leave sites like Pinterest and Tumblr?  They exist because of photos.  I’m not sure how Tumblr works since I’ve never used that site.  I do have a Pinterest account (which I’m a little addicted to.)  I’ve pinned over a thousand images.  They range from yummy food to fun geekdom.  I have places I want to see and things that make me think.  There’s humour and of course, there are books.  I hope I’m not infringing on anyone’s copyright.  For legal reasons, but also because I would hate to take someone’s work.  So I’m going to go through all my Pins.  All one thousand-plus of them.  It’s going to take a while.

I figure I’m okay if I repin from publishing houses like Random House or Harper Collins.  I also hope I’m okay if I repin from George Takei and Nina Garcia.  Then there are some other people, authors, bloggers, friends and randoms that I follow.  Those are the repins that I’m going to have to look at most closely in the future.  I will also only pin something from sites with “pin it” buttons or if it says that it’s okay to share.

That’s a lot of pictures to go through.  Two blogs and Pinterest.

If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, I’d like to know.


  1. It's all so very interesting to me. While the writer shouldn't have used the photo without permission, or at least not without photo credit, it's hard to believe that the photographer wasn't satisfied with the removal of the image from the blog. That smacks of a pettiness of mind that I don't really understand...

    I once had somebody lift entire passages and a few photographs (that I made) from my blog and copy them, wholesale, into this own website with no credit or links back to me or anything.

    In a digital age where everything is available to the public via the internet, intellectual copyright is a very interesting thing and will be changing radically in the next few years, I suspect.

    1. Giving credit is mandatory, but sometimes, while blogging, it's not always easy. How many pictures/images float around the internet and no one knows who the actual source is. All it takes is one person not to give proper credit.

      I also think the photographer was petty.

  2. Stressful times and petty people. If someone doesn't make money from another's work, gives credit where credit is due, and if damages cannot be proven, how does such a case get won?

    1. I don't know how a case like that is one if the credit is given. I don't think the author is allowed to talk about it. The idea of it just makes me want to be more careful.