“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?

signature for blog post

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).

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    The internet has changed a lot since I did the research that you’ve linked to, unfortunately not necessarily for the better.

    So far as photos, I’d suggest the following:

    1. Take your own photos for use on your blog. Under international copyright laws, your photos are copyrighted as soon they are saved to disk. The greatest majority of the photos I use are my own, which makes sense as that is a large part of what my blog is about, sharing my photos.

    2. Use photos that have a creative commons license. These are photos whose creators allow use of their images with varying restriction ranging from attribution (give the artist credit for his work) to no commercial use and/or no modification of the image. I usually search flickr and then after the initial search do an “advanced search.”

    3. Use public domain photos. Most, but not all U.S. government photos are public domain automatically. A good source is Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, which is where I got the images for my Eyes of the Great Depression series.

    I don’t generally worry about the copyright of the images I use because, in most instances, I take care to ensure that the image meets what I’ve recommended above.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Spam. – Virus program kerfuffle. – Internet ethics.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike

      Thank you for elaborating further on copyright and where bloggers can get photos for their blogs. I like your idea of using our own images – that way we know we’re in compliance, plus our readers get to view our photography skills, as well.

    • johnaveryNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your mention about Prints and Photographs online catalog, i never came across this before you mentioned it.
      When i need a picture apart from the Google image search i reach flickr and find pictures that doesn’t have a watermark (being honest ) i never worried much about what type of copyright i have to go through..But this is definitely a light in the head for me.Thanks and cheers.
      Check out johnavery’s awesome post.Rajasthan Tour packageMy Profile

  2. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I understand the whole copyright issue can be “messy”. I use all of my original photos on my site–with the exception of a few that people who visit me have taken–and I ask their permission and link to them; my way of circumventing the entire issue for now:)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      That’s smart – to just use your own photos, or if you don’t, getting permission from the the person who owns the photo.

  3. Yours is the second mention of the Pinterest site I have read this evening and I also heard it mentioned on a local 5:00 PM evening news broadcast this evening. I checked out its website and decided it isn’t for me. (I’m too old for this!) As for images I have used on my blog, I have used my own photo that was taken by a dorm mate 50 years ago. Well, I did have a scanned image of my high school ID card on my site while I was posting diary entries from my 1960-1961 senior year in high school, but I wasn’t concerned about the copyright for that.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s what make your blog so authentic – those old photos which depict what you’re writing about.

      As for Pinterest, at first I didn’t know if I’d like it, but the more I use it, the more I like it. There are some beautiful photos on there plus lots of inspiration. I think I’m hooked. :)

  4. My IT person is diligent about my blog and the pictures that we use, but I have also come across some of my writing with no links on several blogs this past year.

    My work is copy written under the common license that is posted on my site and through my professional affiliations and organizations. I have a disclaimer on my Professional Services Blog.

    I actually had a nightmare one night that I had this great idea and I was so slow at getting it up and running that 15-20 people ran with the idea who were internet savvy and ruined it for those of us doing the foundational work….one of the amazing things is that I think it is not a nightmare…

    Another great post Barbara and good thinking about this and thank you MIKE Goad – I bet folks take your pictures all the time?
    Check out Patricia of Wise Ears’s awesome post.Wise Ears Needs Some HelpMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Patricia,

      That’s great your IT person is up on what’s acceptable and what’s not. Goes to show you’re blogging responsibly.

      Oh boy. That’s quite the dream you had. You must have had blogging on your mind prior to going to sleep. :)

  5. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Patricia – I really don’t know how often people take my pictures for their own use. I don’t check for that. I do know that I’ve had quite a few requests for permission to use of some of them, which I always grant.
    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Spam. – Virus program kerfuffle. – Internet ethics.My Profile

  6. I also have the same question about Pinterest when I made an account with them. Maybe, we should be responsible enough by putting the source of the photo that we upload in Pinterest to avoid trouble. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pricewise Events,

      What I’m trying to do is to click on the images I like on Pinterest and confirm it has a good link. If it doesn’t, or the link looks spammy, I don’t bother repinning the photo.

  7. i’m blogger and i don’t believe that ignorance is a bliss. Same as true with the saying ignorance of the law excuses no one. bloggers who plagiarize either photos or contents should be punished with the appropriate punishment.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Small Business,

      In a perfect world bloggers would be penalized if they stole content or photos, but unfortunately what happens on blogs is small compared to what’s happening with musicians and on film, thus that’s where the attention goes.

  8. CatwomanNo Gravatar says:

    You are totally right, it’s really a hard thing with these photo-sharing sites. But I think, if someone wants to copyright-protect their images, he/she shall burn a watermark or his/her logo on it with a copyright sign, that’s the best way.
    Check out Catwoman’s awesome post.fogpótlásMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catwoman,

      Yes. Watermarks send a good message, therefore if someone doesn’t want their photo copied or stolen, that’s probably the way to do it.

  9. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I’ve always used Wikipedia images and actually don’t go to Wikimedia, though sometimes think I should. On occasion I’ve gone to Google images and one or two I’ve used in sheer frustration – because I can’t find a similar shot – I admit it!

    But thanks so much for posting about this aspect for us … and it’s something I’ll need to think about in the future …

    Thanks Mike too for elaborating on your information .. good to know about – cheers Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      I know you’ve mentioned in the past you used images from Wikipedia. With what Mike said, I think you might have good luck with the links he provided in his comment.

      In the past when I used more images, sometimes I’d spend more time looking for a coordinating image than what I spent writing my post.

  10. Barbara,

    Copyright is definitely a tricky course – one of the reason I do not use images on my blog unless I created them myself.

    Sure wish I had better artistic skills!
    Check out David K Waltz’s awesome post.Working Capital Primer: How is it that this Capital Works?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      Fortunately there are some photo sharing sites which are reputable. It’s just a matter of reading the type of license the photographer has posted them under.

      That said, using our own work is always best.

  11. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I try to use my own pictures when I can, but sometimes when I do my quote of the week I find a picture of the person whose quote I use. A friend of mine is getting into blogging to promote a book she is writing, and she wants to use a lot of pictures. I have sent her a link to this post so she will have more information on how to obtain pictures.

    If I don’t have an appropriate picture for my post then I will use Google Images with the advance search feature and select the option for pictures available for reuse.
    Check out Linda’s awesome post.Nursery Rhyme Redo: This Old ManMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I like your idea of including a picture of the person whose quote you’re using. I think that gives it a more personal “feel”.

      Thank you for sharing this post with your friend. I wish her well on her blogging journey. I’ll bet the two of you will have a grand time trading blogging stories. :)

  12. These days I just buy my images at dreamstime.com – saves me time and worry!
    Check out Vered | blogger for hire’s awesome post.Painful Beauty? No ThanksMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I’m happy your brought up the fact you buy your images. That’s another great way to avoid the worries of copyright.

  13. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!
    Well how boring is my blog? No pictures??? Horrors. Did it once in three years. I’m out of my comfort zone with pictures. I’ve put up videos, but that’s really all. I know me. I would waste all kinds of time trying to find the “right” one. Somehow I carry on……….
    Hugs
    Suzen
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Live Life 365 with and by Mike Foster!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      Truth is, blogs don’t HAVE TO display photos, however some people think a photo or two adds pizazz. I think it’s a personal decision.

      When I first started blogging uploading photos what one of those things I just couldn’t grasp, so I didn’t use any and I don’t think this blog is any worse for the wear. :)

  14. Megan RaganNo Gravatar says:

    Great topic, Barbara. My father is an international journalism consultant and he has drilled into my head the importance of providing proper credit to a photo, a quote, a piece of art, or any phrase that is longer than 2 words which came out of another person’s mouth. I blog on a personal level and also for my clients to promote their business. On both levels I never use photos or other material that I have not taken or written myself, provided to me by a client, or purchased from an online image company (they can be incredibly inexpensive). In today’s world where picking up a newspaper is simply opening up your laptop, I think people will really start cracking down on the violation of “copy and paste” to blog sites and other social media outlets.
    P.S. I just found your site today as I was researching Blogging Spam. I love your design and think you are asking some great questions. Thanks!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Megan,

      It sounds like you not only learned from the best, but your father’s words stuck with you. He sounds like a very wise and smart man.

      I’m with you. Linking to or giving credit to the work of others is the proper thing to do. Granted, some people will ignore what’s right, but they’re the ones who have to look themselves in the mirror.

  15. Suraj NairNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been ignorant as what I thought was that if there is no watermark then the photo can be used without any issue. As Mike Goad mentioned above to use your own captured pic for your blogs would save you the blues.
    Check out Suraj Nair’s awesome post."Kebab Fest: Angaar" at Hotel United-21, MysoreMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suraj,

      You’re not alone. Many people believe a non-watermarked image is theirs for the taking. Sadly, many of the images which are stolen are ones other bloggers paid for, but fortunately, as Mike pointed out, there are sites where images can be downloaded for free.

  16. Hello Barbara,

    Interesting Topic, No doubt Pinterest is one of the most debatable issue which cannot be denied at any cost! Most of the Bloggers hates content duplication, basically duplicate content runes all the efforts, research and analysis of Blogger!

    Another aspect is copyright violation! Bloggers must be ensure regarding the image which they are going to post in their blog must be under Creative Commons Licensed!
    Check out Software Testing’s awesome post.Do’s and Dont’s of Personnel Selection in QA and Software TestingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Software Testing,

      That’s true. Content duplication is another issue which arises with plagiarism. I know Google looks down on it but I still see numerous posts with the exact same information.

  17. I don’t think that people are much worried about all these things. But I have already noticed that more and more sites and blogs block their content, so you can just copy it. And they are completely right about it!
    Check out Amanda@BuySellWordPress’s awesome post.Business WordPress ThemesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amanda,

      Sadly, you’re probably right, but I think we’re also seeing more bloggers who want to do the right thing.

      That’s a good point about blocking content or images. I know WordPress has plugins we can use which disable the right click options. Granted, if someone wants the content or image(s) bad enough they’ll find a way around it, but at least it’s a deterrent.

  18. Barbara, You have raised one of the critical issues. Infact every serious and honest blogger,photographer,publisher is affected by this. We get much frustrated when someone steals our content and represents it as if he is the creator of that. The only problem is that very few people are concerned about the copyright issues. No One actually keeps this problem into consideration unless they are poked by such situations of content/stuff theft. Napster is a good example of the sites which got hunted but in case of Pinterest, it’s little bit tough task to do due to their policies. I don’t think it will be solved easily!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Adrian,

      I wonder if the problem stems from the mentality of “if it’s on the internet, it’s free”? Most bloggers are aware of copyright issues, but if the general online population isn’t, anything we share online is up for grabs.

      I like the idea of watermarks or disabling the ability to right click on the content or an image. Although it may not stop all theft, it could prevent some.

  19. Kee G.No Gravatar says:

    Moderation should be implemented by them so that photographers would be able to choose to moderate the pictures that they share.
    Check out Kee G.’s awesome post.Blended Color of Social Networking Buttons For BloggerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kee,

      That’s a good point. If photographers are sharing their work online, it’s probably not best to post their best work unless they add a watermark.

  20. Gautham A SNo Gravatar says:

    I totally agree with Kee G, Moderation is very important for a Photographer, you should have the control over what to share and what not to.
    Check out Gautham A S’s awesome post.Google Chrome for Android 4.0 OutMy Profile

  21. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Gautham,

    I think even bloggers need to consider that, too. Moderate what we share online and don’t publish anything we don’t want stolen.

  22. zinaNo Gravatar says:

    i run a huge collection of wallpaper site.so do u think if someone find same wallpaper somewhere it would be illegal?
    Check out zina’s awesome post.BuildingsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zina,

      I think whenever we find images, whether it’s a photo or wallpaper, it’s in our best interest to read the terms and conditions of the site. Sometimes it clearly states their work cannot be shared.

  23. really interesting points raised in your blog…. i must admit i have never even considered the copyright issues associated with blogging, but between you and Mike ( the first reply) i think you have cleared a lot up :) thanks :) very useful info!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Martin,

      I’m happy to hear this post and the comments have cleaned up a lot of your concerns.

  24. Shameka HennagirNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with you Barbara, plagiarism is wrong but I am wondering that how to stop this kind of people who use to copy others content there are thousands of people worldwide do this practice.
    Check out Shameka Hennagir’s awesome post.Timber DoorsMy Profile

    • DavidNo Gravatar says:

      What I’ve found is that a lot of plagiarism is done with scripts – they just automatically lift your blog posts and put them on their site. If you put your name INSIDE you blog content, signing at the bottom, it can much reduce this. They can’t automatically lift it without getting your name too. Then they can’t take credit.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi David,

        That’s a great idea. I’ve also read it helps if we add internal links to older blog posts. Although they could possibly remove the links, it makes it a tad more difficult.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Shameka,

      I don’t have the answer of how plagiarism can be stopped, but if each of us makes a conscious effort not to use images which are copyrighted or plagiarize material we find online, we become part of the solution and not a part of the problem.

  25. Mark JohnsonNo Gravatar says:

    Plagiarism is always a crime and now most of the scam blogger are very interested to do this job.Even they hijacked my three posts and shared it another places.I know there are many tools for checking plagiarism.But I don’t know the best one and for that asking your help to find that.Have you enough time for responding my request?
    Thanks for your great post on plagiarism.
    Mark
    Check out Mark Johnson’s awesome post.online dating tipsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Mark,

      As for a tool to check if our content is plagiarized, I’ve tried Copyscape and it seemed to do a fairly good job. I hope that helps.

  26. Content scrapers are common in the internet. But I believe that this should be stopped because it’s stealing. It’s high time that plagiarism should be stopped and not encouraged online.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jian,

      Yes. Plagiarism is stealing. Although it probably won’t be stopped anytime soon, as bloggers we can watermark our photos and/or add copyright notices to our blogs in conspicuous spots.

  27. Matt SteffenNo Gravatar says:

    What Google needs to spend more time on is penalizing websites with significant duplicate content. We all write based on what we read, but plagiarizing is just plain unethical.
    -Matt
    New Jersey Marketing Company

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Matt,

      I often wonder about duplicate content. I see it so often but looking at it, it’s hard to tell who it really belongs to. Add to that, some sites promote having others copy their content, and the situation only gets worse.

      You’d think search engines wouldn’t want the same article in numerous spots on page one of the search results, but it happens a lot so maybe for some reason it’s beneficial to them.??

  28. MelissaNo Gravatar says:

    It’s a pity, of course, that there is a flourishing plagiarism all over the internet, but I think that it won’t be stopped. We can have some measures, but will they be effective?
    Check out Melissa’s awesome post.Inspirational JQuery Templates Css TemplatesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Melissa,

      I agree. It probably won’t be stopped, however I think if we’re publishing photos, a watermark will at least tell others where they can find us, if they so desire.

  29. Personally I always make a point of linking to the photographer’s profile or website. If you are at least making an effort, you should have little to worry about. I don’t think the users of pinterest are likely to get sued. For a lawsuit to be worthwhile, I think the person would have to be somehow profiting from the copyright infringement. If not, they are more likely to just avoid the court fees and request that you remove the photos in question.
    Check out Jeremy @ Modest Money’s awesome post.Watch Movies At Home To Avoid The GougingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy,

      Unfortunately, linking back to a photographer’s site isn’t always enough. I’ve landed on many photo sites and in their terms and conditions it specifically states their work cannot be shared without written permission from them.

      With Pinterest, they have a snippet of code a site owner can use to stop pinning, but I agree, most of those who use Pinterest aren’t downloading photos maliciously, but instead are downloading them to admire and share.

  30. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    This is a very tricky subject were the user to use a copyrighted image. To stay on the safe side I use Flickr’s creative commons license whenever I need an image.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ryan,

      That’s a safe way to do it – to use Flickr images which have a creative common license.

  31. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    I agree Mike. I use my own photos, or Flickr with an appropriate CC license via Advanced search. I set up a little HTML code for reuse that has a TD for the image and another with a link to the CC license (from the icon) and their name with a link to the original. I also linked the image itself back to the creator with their name in the Alt tag. That worked well and sets an example. I was thanked by a few image creators.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      That’s very thoughtful of you – to use the creator’s name in your Alt tags. I think it also helps if we leave a comment for the creator and thank them for their work. I know I don’t do that often enough, but your comment reminded me that I should. :)

  32. EleonoraEOFNo Gravatar says:

    Good points here, Barbara! And I see that all the commentators here agree with you. As Matt said, plagiarizing is really wrong and unethical, to say the least. But it is true that we all write our content based on what we read…or hear, of course.
    Plagiarizing should be simply discouraged whenever possible. I don’t think that any restrictive measures would give better results and bring to less plagiarism…it is simply a thing of moral and ethics.
    Check out EleonoraEOF’s awesome post.Hydroxycut Hardcore Pro Series Capsules Review by MuscleTechMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Eleonora,

      You’re right. It is a matter of morals and ethics, but unfortunately some people aren’t bothered by stealing the work of others. Sad!

  33. Beth ParkerNo Gravatar says:

    You raise some good points. I never thought about violating copyright by re-pinning something on Pinterest without checking the links. I think, for the most part, you are not going to have a problem if you link to where you found the photo because, if the website owner understands how Pinterest works, they will realize that they get links–and possibly traffic too–from the pictures that are shared there.
    Check out Beth Parker’s awesome post.143 Girl Rain BootsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Beth,

      I thought that too – that the site owner would like the links back to their site, however I had a conversation with an artist – photographer who although she has photos of her work on her website, she did not want them shared on Pinterest (and she specifically states that on her site). She has since added the Pinterest snippet of code which disallows pinning from her site.

  34. JaniceNo Gravatar says:

    Plagiarizing is really wrong and unethical. Even for contents, we write what we hear and see from other sources, and these places are also viewed by many other writers too.
    Check out Janice’s awesome post.Tattooed EyebrowsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Janice,

      I think the key is to put what we learn from other sites into our own words. It’s one thing to quote a sentence or two, but the majority of our posts should be our viewpoint, not that of another blog author.

  35. Lily RoseNo Gravatar says:

    Copyrights topic is really big these days, and I guess I should take more care about that than I currently do.

    However, I always use advanced search in Google Image search and use only the pictures that are allowed to be used.

    One question for those who do the same – where is the Advanced search option in the new Google Image Search appearance? I have to switch to old appearance each time I want to find something I need.
    Check out Lily Rose’s awesome post.Brain Supplements – Remember Better, Think Clearer, and Focus FasterMy Profile

    • DavidNo Gravatar says:

      The problem with Google Image Search is that someone may be using an image without credit. More often than not actually. You can’t tell unless they actually state their permissions.
      If you click the Gear in the top right, you can choose Advanced Search and select Permissions.
      Flickr allows a much more focused search though and the images are usually good quality to down-sample from.

      BTW – a little tip. If you use Windows, theres a free Powertoy called Image Resizer. It lets you downsize an image with a right click. You can certainly post a full-sized image and shrink it to fit, but it will be slow to load, fill up your storage, and bog your site. Other more advanced tools allow you to size it to specific dimensions but its worthwhile noting that downsizing to an even % of the original will give you best results.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you David for the great explanation.

        Not only did you answer Lily’s question perfectly, but you taught me things I didn’t know, either. :)

  36. JuliaNo Gravatar says:

    Plagiarism in a web environment is a very complex question. It’s very difficult to show from who is a content originally written. And if it is: does a text belong to the original writer, if the text isn’t the same, but it is recognizeable?
    Check out Julia’s awesome post.wisdom teeth painMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julia,

      You’re right. It is complex.

      I’d say if you’re in question as to who the content belongs to, you can check the date of the publication, and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, contact the site owner. (I’d start with the one you feel wrote the content originally.)

  37. henryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,thanks for claryfying things for me,everything about copyright issues can be so confusing and unclear. I use all of my original photos on my site, its quicker and less hassle and i get exactly what i want and how i want it

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Henry,

      That’s smart – to use your own photos. That way you know you’re safe and like you said, you get exactly what you want.

  38. Hi Barbara.

    I use my own pics or creative commons pics from Flickr. Sometimes it takes a while to find a good one though. I’m picky :)

    I don’t worry about copyright issues because of this. But you are right; in this case, ignorance is not bliss.
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.Lie or Lay? Grammar Confusion Laid to RestMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      I agree. Finding just the right photo on Flickr Creative Commons can be time consuming, but that’s a small price to pay for free pictures. All the more reason to use our own, or don’t use any at all.

  39. Meagan M. CherryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.

    I have been a victim of this problem. I have a picture, I post it on my FB. Few months later my friend told me that a “certain” blog used it. I email the blog and all I get is a sorry. Well that’s fine with me to use my pictures I only want is for them to ask permission to me. Thanks for posting this. I hope people will read this and have an Idea about copywrite.
    Check out Meagan M. Cherry’s awesome post.SEO ConsultantsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Meagan,

      I hadn’t heard of people having photos lifted off of Facebook, but I can see how it could happen. It’s unfortunate all you got was a “sorry”. Apparently whomever used it wasn’t aware of copyright, or just didn’t care.

  40. I try to provide links to the photographer. As a precaution I’ve added a note on my blog telling people I’ve taken photographs off the net and if they have ownership and wish me to knock them off, I will. Does that makes sense?
    Check out Corinne Rodrigues’s awesome post.(Not So) Elementary, my dear!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Corinne,

      Yes. That makes sense, however, it may not be enough. That said, I see how dozens of others are doing the same.

      As I mentioned in earlier replies, some photographers do not want their photos shared, however the information is often buried in their terms and conditions or terms of use.

      As Mike suggested (first comment), it actually best if we use our own images or the sources he listed. That way we know we’re ‘safe” and can’t be accused of stealing that which belongs to someone else.

  41. JeanNo Gravatar says:

    Most of the times, ignorance will lead to hazards but sometimes there’s a blessings in disguise or sometimes we call it a luck that ignorance may lead to a positive result.
    Check out Jean’s awesome post.Best stackable washer dryerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jean,

      That’s true. SOMETIMES ignorance has positive results, however we shouldn’t bank on it. :)

  42. The issue of plagiarism and copyright laws are really tough ones to face. But I think that as a blogger, everything in our sites should be originally and genuinely ours. If we ever decide to use someone else’s work, then it is not a bad thing to make some attributions like footnotes, endnotes, etc.
    Check out Pinay WAHM Blogger’s awesome post.Headache and WAHMMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pinary,

      Definitely. If we use images or quotes from others, it’s only right we give them proper attribution. After all, we’d expect the same from others.

  43. This is a very important post and something I have been wondering about for a while. What I would like to know is whether reposting a picture without people and a watermark is a violation of copyright. One example would be a nature shot.

    • Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

      All original works, with very few exceptions, are copyrighted as soon as they are created. This includes photographs of any type.

      When someone uses a copyrighted work, including photographs, without permission, they have “infringed” upon the rights of the owner, who has certain exclusive rights under U.S. law and international law and treaties. One of these exclusive rights is the exclusive right to make copies, hence the word copyright.

      “Infringement” of a copyright can also be a “violation” of copyright law.
      Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Five feet, two inches tall –or was he?My Profile

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you Mike for expanding on that.

        To add to what you said, I think it’s also important to note, just because a photo has a watermark, does not necessarily mean we can freely share it. We really need to read the fine print (terms and conditions of the website).

  44. I think this problem isn’t blog specific. It’s the internet in general. It’s so easy nowadays to just copy and paste a picture. I think best practice would be to either give credit to the original owner, or use your own content.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jessica,

      Yes. It is easy to copy and paste photos, however like you said, we need to give credit where credit is due.

  45. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    You can’t use someone else’s work without giving them credit; don’t see a problem as long as credit is applied.
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  46. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Michael,

    Yes. Giving credit to the artist or photographer is the right way to handle this, however as discussed in previous comments, some sites/photographers do not want their photos downloaded, period. I think it’s up to us to read the fine print.

    • Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

      Giving credit to the author, writer, artist, or photographer is meaningless. It doesn’t take away the infringement of the originator’s exclusive right copy his/her work. The only right way to do use other people’s work is to get their permission, unless they’ve placed it in the public domain or licensed it under creative commons.
      Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Five feet, two inches tall –or was he?My Profile

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you for elaborating further on this Mike,

        I think what a lot of people believe is as long as they post a credit back to the artist/photographer, that’s all they need to do. On one hand it sounds good; like the right thing to do, but like you said, if the “artist” hasn’t placed their work in the public domain or licensed it under creative commons, using the image(s) is wrong.

        Sadly, the more I use Pinterest and follow links back to what I believe is the original source, the more I see how this whole issue (of image copying) is getting out of control.

  47. YouBiharNo Gravatar says:

    My personal opinion is that as long as the credit is given then its OK but that’s just my own thinking. I went to the Pinterest site and realised that one has to request to get an account. I didn’t request one but if I did, how long will it take. Rightly said, I hate when I discover that someone has just coped your content on their own site and no matter what you do they don’t actually do anything about it.
    Check out YouBihar’s awesome post.1. Say anything in 1 word!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi YouBihar,

      Pinterest is pretty quick with getting responses out on their invites.

      That said, if you read the previous comments (especially the ones Mike Goad wrote), you’ll learn where the best places are to get “legal” images, and how just posting a credit is not enough.

  48. I think I might be guilty with this one..although I do not use pinterest, I often use images that I see over at Google for my blog posts, but I try to include the link as much as possible

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Andrea,

      One thing I’ve noticed about the Google images is how over on the right it says something like “this image may be copyrighted”. I usually click through to the article and try to find the original link. Oftentimes the image is not approved for sharing even though Google has included it in their image files.

  49. Actually, legal issues on uploaded photo’s copyright happen everywhere around the web.

  50. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Danica,

    True. It’s not just Pinterest, but all over online. It makes me wonder if the issue will ever be completely solved.