© Like most bloggers, I’ve sometimes posted photos or pictures taken from the Internet, usually those I found through Google Images. However, I’ve sometimes wondered uneasily whether I was breaking copyright to do so. Recently, I’ve been more careful about the images I use. It turns out that I was right to worry.
Last Friday, author Roni Loren wrote a post entitled “Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog — My Story”. The essential information is summed up by the title, but her story and the resulting comments, many of them from photographers, are well worth reading. In brief, Ms. Loren had assumed, as so many other bloggers have done, that it was fine to use photos she found on the Web — until she received a takedown request and a substantial bill for using a photographer’s copyrighted image without permission.
In her post, Ms. Loren is forthright about what happened without going into details. I applaud her for going public with her story once the legal issues had been resolved, and for doing so in a classy manner. She neither names nor blames the photographer, and takes full responsibility for her actions. Her goal in posting about the incident is to warn other bloggers, which is admirable.
After reading Ms. Loren’s story, I am changing my own posting policy. Henceforth, I will only post photographs, drawings, or videos from the following sources:
1. Images I created myself (which will bear my copyright information in the caption.)
2. Images available through a Creative Commons license (which will bear that information in the caption.)
3. Images I have received written or electronic permission to post (which will be indicated in the caption.)
4. Book covers. There seems to be widespread agreement that this constitutes publicity or advertising and that posting covers is not a violation of copyright, or rather that publishers and authors are highly unlikely to object to it.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, this is an issue I worried about and had begun to address even before reading Ms. Loren’s post. Over time, I plan to go back through my older posts. I will attempt to retroactively secure permission to use images I’ve already posted. Where that isn’t possible, I will try to replace them with images that fall into one of the categories above, or delete them altogether.
If you blog, or even if you share images on Facebook, Pinterest, or other sites, I urge you to read Ms. Loren’s post and acquaint yourself with the law regarding image copyright.