I want to send thanks to Jennifer Eaton for her latest post Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics On Your Blog. She referred me to the site of a woman who WAS sued because she used a copyrighted photo on her blog. It apparently doesn’t matter if you credit the photo, whether you don’t use it full-sized, whether you are not selling the picture, or even if you put a disclaimer that says you do not have the rights to the photo. If it is a copyrighted image we should not be using it in any way shape or form without compensating the person who took the photo, unless it was posted in The Public Domain and the photographer is not expecting compensation.
There are certain places where you might find photos that are in the Public Domain. The site Creative Commons is not a search engine but offers ‘convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations’. They don’t give any guarantees that the images that have been posted on their site are okay to use, but suggest contacting the copyright holder directly to confirm whether it’s okay to use it. There also other sites like Wikimedia Commons that hosts images under the Public Domain, if you want to look for pictures to use in your blog.
The whole issue is very troubling because it also involves many social media sites such as Pinterest, where there is often images posted that are copyrighted and ‘re-pinning’ them could put you in trouble with whoever owns the rights to it. As a result, I think I will be removing all images I may have ‘borrowed’ to illustrate my blog posts and I am reconsidering my use of Pinterest, as much as I love the site.
I am, by no means, an expert in copyright law, but as a writer I respect the fact that photographers need to be compensated for their images because it is their livelihood. I wouldn’t want anyone taking my written work and posting it without my permission, either. As for the pictures of my cards and any other photos I’ve taken and posted here, it doesn’t matter to me. I am throwing them out there for the public to use, if they want to, or simply enjoy. If they are inspired by them, great!
I just thought I’d pass along this information so you can check things out for yourself and think twice before posting someone else’s images on your sites. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Have a great weekend. 🙂