Last Monday I found out that a photo from this blog was copied and used online by someone else. That in and of itself seems to go with the territory of putting yourself out there in blog land, hmm?
Oh yes, they tagged this blog alongside the photo on their blog. Giving me the hat tip so to speak.
But the bottom line is the person did not have permission to use the photo.
This started me to doing some research on this and led to me boning up on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. During the course of this research I realized that I was, myself, in violation with some images I had picked up here and there and posted. Blog posts look so much better with a photo attached and I didn't always have the right photo... nothing wrong with using google images and picking one right?
Um. No. The way it reads- unless you have the express permission of the website owner you cannot use the image. You can be sued too. Even if its an honest "I didn't realize it" mistake.
So last week, I painstakingly went through my blog and removed images in posts where I used images other than my own. On the very few that are left- I got permission from the website owner.
I signed up with DMCA and have begun the slow process of going through my photos and watermarking them. It takes time away from the things I would much rather be doing.
I began watermarking my photos about a year ago but admit to being hit or miss sometimes since then so I must go back post by post.
Of course, your photos are still your photos whether they are watermarked or not and are subject to copyright law regardless. The watermarking is another added layer of protection.
Yes, it's flattering to have others use your photos... but someone could choose to use your photo in a way that you didn't intend- perhaps to sell something or use it in a way that doesn't line up with your own personal value system. That is why I decided my rules on this had to be across the board and above board. One photo "borrowed" from here was used to promote something I do not personally endorse. At all. And I know I must not be the only one out there that feels this way- otherwise why would the DMCA have to be written at all?
I hope to take some of my very own photos to put up on posts that are photo-less as of right now but it will be a process.
Here's my bottom line:
Like my photo? Thanks! Want to use my photo? Please ask me and we'll go from there, don't just click, copy and borrow without permission. We all know that "borrowing without permission" is basically the same as "stealing and if I get caught I'll ask forgiveness and hope all will be well."