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“How dare them?” is what bloggers say when someone steals their content.

Plagiarism is wrong. We all know it.

But, are honest bloggers inadvertently stealing and sharing copyrighted images?

Today’s Lesson

Before joining Pinterest, one of the issues I read about was: are images being uploaded to Pinterest illegally?

Questioning this is photographer and blogger, Elizabeth Halford, who wrote an article titled Will Pinterest Be Sued by Photographers Like Napster was Sued by Musicians? Both her post and the comments raise some interesting points.

ReadWriteWeb published How Pinterest Uses Your Content Without Violating Copyright Laws.

Although it appears Pinterest may be protected, the way I see it is the same may not apply to those who upload images.

Pinterest stresses the importance of linking to the original source of a photo, however when we “repin” a photo or content, unless we follow all of the links, we have no way of knowing if we’re breaking copyright law, nor do we know if the “original” photo is indeed the work of the person whose site it was found on, nor do we always know if the creator of the original image wants their image(s) shared. Add to that how different countries have different laws regarding copyright. Confusing, hey?

But it’s not just Pinterest we need to be concerned with, it’s also the images we upload to our blogs, Facebook, Google +, or any social networking site.

Copyright law may come into play.

As Mike Goad shared, in part, on his well researched site, Copy Right. Copy Sense.,

…As original, creative text flows from the pencil or pen, or as it is pounded into the paper with an old-fashioned typewriter, the copyright protection for those words begins.

For other types of work, the medium in which the work is fixed is different. Movies are fixed in the film, videos in the tape, paintings “in” the canvas and so on.

The key is that to be copyrightable a work must be in a form that can be copied.

Wikimedia includes publications on copyright, as well.

Although some items can not be copyrighted, many are indeed covered by copyright. Wikimedia includes a long list which includes:

  1. Photos of people – sometimes copyright applies
  2. Screenshots
  3. Architecture
  4. CD and book covers
  5. [Some] clothing
  6. Comics
  7. Logos
  8. [Some] maps
  9. Toys
  10. Videos

Wikimdeia also includes links to bad sources, as well as free sources.

For bloggers, or anyone who uploads photos online, it’s hard to know if we’re doing the right thing.

Some will assume just because a photo is not watermarked, it can be freely used. As Mike shares, that’s not the case.

Absence of copyright notice is no longer a reliable indicator of whether a work is protected.

In life, we often hear, “ignorance is bliss”.

With regard to copyright, it’s not.

There could be repercussions.

Today’s Assignment

Where do you get the images for your blog posts?

Do you worry about the copyright of these images?

Care to share?

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Other great links on copyright include:

Legal Pitfalls in Taking or Using Photographs of Copyright Material, Trademarks and People,
by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Legal Guide for Bloggers
at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

For the new blogger, receiving a comment can be a memorable experience. We feel validated. We’re excited our blog got found.

Unfortunately, some of those comments which make us so happy, can be spam.

In the past, spam comments were easy to spot. They were usually comments filled with links to pharmaceutical drugs or sexual topics, or comments which didn’t apply to our blog topic.

Over the years the spammers must have realized that technique wasn’t working so they’re now playing on our ego; leaving positive comments that look authentic, however the words they choose could apply to any blog or blogger; copied and pasted throughout the blogosphere.

Their hope is to build their sites by receiving more backlinks and rank higher with the search engines and as far as our blog is concerned, they’re only using it as a vehicle to benefit themselves.

Bloggers who treasure comments can have a hard time differentiating between what is a real comment and what’s not.

Today’s Lesson

Since this blog gets thousands of spam comments, I thought I’d share a wide sampling of spam comments which have landed and stayed in my spam folder. (Feel free to skim through the spam comments. :) )

The words are nice, but the sites they link to are spam.

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So there you have it, comments which look real. but are instead, spam.

Today’s Assignment

Are you seeing a difference in the types of spam comments you’re receiving?

Are you tempted to approve these “positive” comments?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

In the business world, we love receiving referrals. In the blogosphere, it’s no different.

With blogging you’ll often hear the words, “link love”, but the technical term is “referral”.

In fact, if you look at your statistics, you see a category under the same name. Click on the links and you’ll see who and how someone is linking to your blog. (These are also known as “inbound links”.)

Today’s Lesson

With traffic coming to our blogs from a variety of sources, referrals could have the biggest impact. After all, these are fellow bloggers announcing our blog, product or services are worth checking out.

These inbound links can bring us more traffic and increased sales.

Being listed in the blogroll of a fellow blogger is another way we get referrals.

Being tweeted or Facedbooked about, helps too.

Personally, I like linking to others in my posts, but let’s look at what a few other bloggers are doing.

Here’s a small sampling of bloggers who use a blogroll:

  1. Chase March of Silent Cacophony shows “Blogs to Check” in his sidebar.
  2. The Farmer’s Wife lists “People I Read”
  3. On Tammy’s Studio, you’ll find a category named “links”.
  4. Susan Deborah, over at Meanderings and Reflections, titled her blogroll: “Let us go then you and I…”

You’ll also see bloggers doing extensive (and time-consuming) list posts:

  1. Praveen of Geeks4Share wrote a post titled, “List of 60 High PR [page rank] Do Follow Blogs That Use CommentLuv

Other examples include:

  1. Gail at Grow Map, who uses Twitter to “tweet” or “retweet” the blog posts of others.
  2. Betsy at Passing Thru, includes the names of “Online All Stars” (bloggers) on her “Services” page and provides short write ups, as well.
  3. Wendi and Deb of Blue Sun Studio include links to fellow bloggers in their ezine (newsletter).

Although some bloggers feel if they link to others they’ll lose readership, I’ve found the reverse is true.

It’s all about karma and good things will come back to us tenfold.

How sweet is that?

Today’s Assignment

Do you fear linking to others will negatively affect your readership?

If not, what is your favorite way of promoting the work of fellow bloggers?

Care to share?

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P.S. This is the perfect opportunity for me to thank all of you who include me in your blogrolls, link to my posts and help to promote my blogs. I am truly humbled and honored to not only be mentioned, but to be your online friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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