Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Copyright Laws and Images on the Internet

Recently, the book blogging world started to talk about plagiarizing. You all know what happened, but it got me thinking about something else: using online images.

You know when you have a post and it looks so plain and boring, so you go on Google and put an image there to spice it up. I always thought that was okay. I wasn't pretending the image was mine, and I wasn't reselling it or anything. 

Because of all the talk about plagiarizing, I decided to do some research on the topic. There I learned stuff that impacts a lot of bloggers. I'm going to post some of it because it's really relevant to bloggers. Some people may have already known all this stuff, but others may learn something. 

The copyright laws I found were those of the US (which will be relevant for most readers). I'm Canadian and from what I could find, the rules have the same general idea. If anything I say about any law is wrong, please feel free to email me and let me know. 

Basically, everything anyone creates is copyrighted. You don't have to get some special permit or anything, you have the right to your own work. 

That means that when you're searching Google for the perfect image, you're violating the copyright law unless the image is available for free public use (and it expressly says so). Linking back or giving credit doesn't stop you from being in trouble. If the creator if the image sees the image you took, they are justified to send you a cease and desist letter, as well as sue you for copyright infringement. 

However, you're allowed to use some stuff. We're bloggers and we use images of books all the time. That goes under something called "fair use" so since we're using the image of the book cover as a means of educating others and critiquing the work, we're allowed to use it. 

Images used to make a blog look pretty though do not fall under this category. Just remember to either research where the image is coming from and how it can be used appropriately, or find a free and legal source for images. 

For more, way better explained information visit Social Media Examiner, Saving for Someday, and Daily Blog Tips. I totally admit this post is inspired by them. 

What I've done to "solve" this issue is joined a pretty good site, http://www.sxc.hu/ which lets you find photos. Most of them are free to use but make sure you read the image rules. 

My question to you all is, did you know about the rules? Do you have any tips on making sure you follow the rules? Is there anything you think I should know (cause at this moment I don't know too much)? Any sites you use for free images? Anything you want to discuss?

1 comment:

  1. This is SUCH a fabulous post. So many people don't understand this, and I think in blogging, we often walk a blurry line. Unless people read stuff like this, they just don't know... but ignorance doesn't mean it's not gonna get them in trouble. Seriously, thanks for sharing :)


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