I’m not going to pretend I have never violated someones copyright. If I was to follow the strictest terms of the law, then I should include the author and source document of each Quotation I use. I should not have photographed my Daffy Duck shirt and blogged about it. I’m also a bit unclear as to whether the graphics I bought from The Print Shop can be used on my blog or not…
I am, however, a bit touchy about the issue of other bloggers using my Photographs without permission. In a previous post, When Does Reblogging Violate Copyright?, I mentioned that one of my posts had been reblogged. I complained to WordPress about two things:
1. The reblog contained one of my photos, used without my permission.
2. The site that reblogged my post seemed to consist entirely of reblogged posts, without a single word of original content.
I haven’t received a reply from WordPress about my complaint, but when I checked the offending blog today, I saw that WordPress had dealt with the issue by removing the blog:
hello100blog.wordpress.com is no longer available.
This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
A WordPress Happiness Engineer, Erica V., (who was on the receiving end of my complaint), also wrote some suggestions in The Daily Post for finding photos that are in the Public Domain – A Picture’s Worth.
Of course, I still don’t have an answer as to whether WordPress thinks Reblogging violates image copyright…
Hopefully everyone understands that it is a big NO-NO to copy photographs and images without permission. Of course, the consequences of doing this are probably about NIL unless someone discovers it and complains… Nonetheless, there are a number of image sources on the internet that don’t violate copyright. In addition to the ones Erica mentions, here are a few others to consider:
1. Wikimedia has an impressive list of Public Domain Image Resources.
2. Microsoft Office has an Image database that lets you search for and download Clip Art, Photos, Sounds and Animations.
3. YouTube is a popular source for interesting video, but embedding a YouTube video in your blog is not something you should do without taking a few precautions. The people who upload material to YouTube are expected to abide by the information presented on the Copyright Education page. Not all of them follow those rules, however. YouTube cannot, of course, review every video that is uploaded, so they depend on subsequent viewers to alert them to Copyright Violations.
Before a blogger embeds a YouTube video in their blog, they should also assess whether it violates copyright or not. HubPages presents a comprehensive Copyright Infringement discussion.
Stanford University Libraries discusses Copyright and Fair Use. It is very readable, and includes the fact that Copyright has expired for all works published in the United States before 1923. Gowlings discusses the similarities and differences between Canadian and American Copyright.
I know it all sounds quite complicated, and I know that now and then most bloggers are in violation of something. But that shouldn’t stop any of us from trying to do the right thing, not the easy thing…