Reblogging and Image Copyright – Part 2

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…

ToonadayI 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: 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This blog has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.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. 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.

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

30 thoughts on “Reblogging and Image Copyright – Part 2

  1. I think most of the time when someone reblogs they are intending it as a compliment, and are spreading awareness of your work. albeit clumsily. As an artist I had to examine my heart about posting my work. It was when reading a very well -respected, longtime professional artist that my mind was put at rest on the subject. To paraphrase him, his point was that we as artists are moving targets, forever growing. So on the one hand being copied is flattery, on the other hand it can’t touch us as long as we are moving forward.


    • Hi Melissa – I understand the compliment part of reblogging. What bothers me is the lazy part of it. When a blogger uses reblogged content to create an entire post, and it includes a nice big photo, I think that blogger is too lazy to do their own work.

      You are right though, that there is little point in being creative if the only person who sees it is our self!


  2. Thanks for the suggestion about wikimedia’s list of public domain images. I occasionally use pictures that I find online for various things, and I always feel uneasy about it but often there’s not much way to find out where they came from. The two times I was able to track someone down and ask permission to use their photo, they were delighted and asked only that I credit them, which I did. But I’d really rather just do it all legally from the beginning – I appreciate the idea!


  3. Hi Margie. I read both this and your earlier post with interest and am glad that WordPress did something about it. However, I am confused because when you log into WordPress and click on the tab “Read Blogs” not only is there a like button but there is a “reblog” button. I have never used it because I don’t really understand what it is for, but it sounds as though even WordPress encourage people to reblog. What do you think?


    • Hi Ronnie – Yes, WordPress encourages reblogging, and even gives you a handy little button to push so it is easy to do. This is quite different than merely linking to another blog. Reblogging copies fairly large portions of the blog (and photos) into your post with just a flick of your finger! Will this power be abused? Of course it will!


  4. I appreciate all the information you’ve shared about copyrights and images, and was unaware of some of the sites that you’ve referenced for image searches or information. I agree that “reblogging” is not my favorite idea of how to present information, especially when it simply captures large chunks of your original work. Thanks for these informative pieces that help define the terms of what constitutes original work versus public domain, and how different versions of copyright apply.


    • Welcome to my blog, Invisible Shadow. I don’t claim to be an expert on these matters, but I don’t think it hurts to remind people about others rights. It is always a good idea to be well informed about something before ignoring it!


  5. HI Margie,
    I was wondering if you had heard about the photo incident. It was a shame you didn’t hear from WordPress as well. As I mentioned last time, I feel reblogging goes a bit far, they allow too much of the post to be reblogged,


  6. Thank you so much for taking time to share the CC information and the sources for images. I agree, reblogging someone’s post and photo is lazy! I did not know WP made the reblogging this easy…


    • Hi Amy – I’m all for linking, and would even support reblogging if the photos were thumbnail size and only a small snippet of the words were used in context with the remainder of the bloggers thoughts.
      WP does make reblogging very easy. Time Thief, and several other bloggers do not like the reblogging feature: Thumbs Down on WordPress Reblogging


  7. I’m glad that that blog is no longer published. You did good by notifying WordPress about them. Thanks for all the helpful info and links.
    Thanks for the update too. 🙂


  8. I didn’t even notice the reblog button in the “read blogs” list before your first post on reblogging. I don’t like it at all.

    But I can think of useful reblogging, like reblogging a message or announcement from someone who wants it spread and shared! In my German speaking blog village, people occasionally post challenges and reblogging one of those challenges would be fair and useful. (A challenge like: take a picture of yourself, your cat or whatever and link it the post to my blog, I’ll then put together a gallery, collage, etc of the photos and link back to your blog.) This is a rather fun way to get to know other bloggers.

    If we could enable or disable reblogging just like we can enable or disable comments or “likes”. I’d be all right with it.

    BTW: Pretty font for the names in the comments section. 🙂


    • Hi Sanetes – I agree that there are good uses for reblogging, and you’ve just shown us a good one! There is not, however, a way to enable or disable reblogging at this time.

      While allows us to blog for free if we like, I have chosen to pay them the $30 per year in order to Customize my blog. This option has allowed me to easily change the font. Once I have grappled with (and won) the battle to learn CSS, I will be able to change other things on the theme I am using. $30 – well worth spending to support my blogging habit!


  9. Thanks Margie for this follow-up info. I especially appreciate the sources for photos. Often pics are extremely difficult to know who to credit. I try to link back to the site and give some sort of shout out…but it’s not always easy to discern where their photos originated.
    Of course, this isn’t so with your photos. Perhaps the reblogger thought they were helping you out…giving you more exposure? I hope so.. The entire concept of reblogging seems counter to personalized, customized content.


    • Hi Barb – I haven’t had to go looking for photos, but I can understand the difficulty of finding the original source. That is why it is a good idea for a photographer to add their name and copyright to the photo.
      This particular reblogger, was, I believe a scraper site, but I don’t know what they expected to gain from the activity. (They reblogged over 15 posts for December 19 alone, which suggests they were going for high quantity in a hurry.)


  10. This is a great discussion to have. Rather than just having a reblog button, it might be helpful to have a “request to reblog” button. Then the author could discuss the terms of what and how much could be reblogged. Great discussion.


  11. Thanks for the very useful information, Margie. Some bloggers put a copyright symbol and their name on their pictures, but I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know if it would even matter to the people who use others’ work without giving credit.


    • Hi CE – You are right that some people don’t care about copyright symbols – they just remove them if they really want to steal something. I think copyright symbols are just like the lock on the front door. It will keep all, but the thieves, honest.


  12. There’s a difference between reblogging and reposting. Reposting replicates the whole blog post and is completely wrong. Reblogging reposts only part of the post and certainly can be wrong but isn’t always. I’ve not yet used reblog as I like to post original content only, and if I ever did, I’d first ask the blogger if it’s okay for me to do so, but as (unfortunately and – as one can’t opt out – wrongly, in my opinion) provides a reblog button, there’s really no way around it, short of moving to a different blog host or self-hosting.

    There’s a post about reblogging and the problem with the same blog you mentioned (that someone else had a problem with) in this forum thread. And I’ve a blog of blogging help that includes info about copyrighted images, etc, you can read if you want, that’s linked to on my ‘whatever happened to’ page on my art blog.

    Personally, I don’t like the reblog button and I also don’t like sharing buttons, but they’re all over the internet. At least on WordPress, we can turn off the sharing buttons on a per-post basis.


    • Hi Val – Thanks for you information about reblogging. I sent another note to WordPress asking them to explain whether they thought there was a conflict of interest between reblogging and image copyright. They responded:

      “”Reblog” is just a tool that makes quoting and pointing more readers to a specific posts easier – it doesn’t do anything that someone couldn’t do manually before. If you think that a blog use “Reblogs” in a way that violates copyrights or terms of service, just let us know.”


  13. Margie, you always have interesting and relevant posts; I still remember your past fascinating and funny post about Freshly Pressed,which I intend to reference appropriately in a future blog. As for finding images, anyone can do a search for images in public domain or as a part of a Creative Commons license. Search terms = Image+creativecommons or image+public domain. I require my students to be responsible for using only legal images, music, videos, etc. in their projects and I follow the same guidelines. Your discomfort with reblogging is a POSITIVE reaction to a suspect practice – yes, you want your blog to “travel” but a link and short quote from anyone else will do the trick – to me, reblogging is the big “downside” to WordPress and something that should be discouraged, not encouraged. Rant over 🙂


    • Hi Composer – Thanks for the compliments, and thanks for the search term ideas. I’m sure a some people aren’t aware of how to limit their search parameters.
      Reblogging – it just isn’t going to go away no matter how hard I complain! Fortunately, we are notified when we are being reblogged, so if we want to take issue with it, we can.


  14. Margie…
    Thanks for directing me to your second post. To me, there is so much wrong about that “reblog” button…I just cannot begin to share my discomfort over it.

    I did notice that you have a few lines in your top side-bar about it. I like the way you stated “no copy or reblog…but linking is ok..” Since our last discussion, I have taken extra steps too. I have my copyright statement on a sidebar, and also at the end of each post. My photos have always been watermarked. But, I know some folks will not even see those. They’ll just hit the reblog button.

    If you don’t mind, could I put something like your “no reblog or copy, but linking is ok”…statement on my blog? I wouldn’t make it exactly the same.

    Thanks again for tackling this sensitive topic. You also do a great service by providing tips on where to find copyright-free photos, such as in the Creative Commons, etc. Have a great evening….


    • Hi Judy – Copy my notice as is or rewrite it as you see fit – there is nothing special about it!
      I don’t think reblogging is going to go away, but you will be notified if you are reblogged, so you can certainly go to the rebloggers page and ask them to remove some or all of it if you desire. If they don’t comply, and you think they have violated your copyright, then don’t hesitate to inform WordPress.


      • Thank you, Margie. I will re-word it. But I really like the idea of having it.
        It’s happened to me once…where my whole post + image was taken. I want to try to avoid it~ if at all possible! Thanks so much for all you’ve done for everyone. (and me!), by posting this information and discussion.


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