Copyright and all that stuff


Most of the time, most of us want to do the right thing. If you are in this category then read on.

A funny thing happened on my way to the theatre… actually I wanted to find out the correct way to use part or all of a story from another blog. This led me to a fork in the road, as these things do. A Duck Duck Go search (or DDG in future, shorter than Google and safer) initially took me to several good articles by other bloggers on how to do it correctly.

Summarising in case you also have the same question in your head:

Rather than reposting an entire article of someone else’s, write your own brief synopsis of the article. Highlight some key points and why you found it valuable. Then cite and link back to the article.You can cite by saying the source ahead of the article or quote – something like, “According to the California DMV…” or you can link to the article by saying “Click here to read more about [then say some keywords about the topic].” Or if you want to cover all your bases, do both. You’re not trying to pass it off as your own original work, so you can be generous with your citations.

For example, we drew inspiration for this article from Adam McLane’s article, How to Repost a Blog Post with Style and Grace.

  1. If you want to quote some key passages that are super profound or that you couldn’t word any better yourself, try to limit the quote to around two paragraphs. If it’s more than that, you’re better off just paraphrasing the article or rewriting it in your own words.

  2. Make it obvious that you are directly quoting by using the blockquote feature on your blog, or indenting and italicizing the content, or both.

    The blockquote feature looks like this. – Tyree Nelson, Website Muscle

  3. If you must repost an entire article of someone else’s, get permission first. Don’t simply cite the source and link back to it. And definitely don’t just post it as though it’s your own.

Website Muscle: Do’s and Don’ts of Reposting

The whole thing is set using the Block Quote feature of your website and in the case above the author has also linked to another author used as inspiration for their article.

Creative Commons

All good, read this one and the linked one to Adam McLane’s page. He made mention of Creative Commons: returning to the fork in the road bit. So off I go again. DDG did the trick and took me to the Creative Commons website. I vaguely knew it existed but as a photographer who sells his work I didn’t think it was for me. It appears to be a large not-for-profit organisation with lots of useful stuff on the site.

I first read the Creative Commons Information flyer (link to pdf). All good so far.

Sites like Flickr, Wikipedia, You Tube, Vimeo and many others support Creative Commons licensing.

CC has it’s own search engine which will find images on any topic you can think of within the licensing category you seek… do you want to use it commercially or do you want to adapt it graphically are two examples of variables you can specify for the search. I think this is great and brings me to the pointy end for me.

Breach of Copyright

It upsets me to see so many “stolen” images used in an unbelievable number of ways…often by the group of people I mentioned right at the top of this article. I see marketing departments using images that have obvious watermarks across the image. I think this is an education thing. It’s the wee white lie, it never hurts anyone, to be sure. And it’s not just the general public doing the wrong thing. Early this year an award winning Melbourne photographer was caught out apparently using images, or more correctly elements from images, made by other photographers and assembled into highly regarded pieces of “composite art”. Problem was that the offending photographer was allegedly claiming the work to be all their own. Thousands of dollars of international prize money plus prestige associated with winning huge prizes was involved. It’s quite a saga.

I can’t remember the source but I vaguely remember a quote from the thread of this saga saying that a billion images are stolen from the internet every day. I’m not sure how they estimate that number and even though it sounds astronomical, even a million a day or a thousand a day is far too many.

So the punchline is: there are apparently 300 million images with Creative Commons licences available for free. Please don’t steal the work from other sites that are not freely licenced.

Two images, both taken by me…honestly! And like all images on this site: it is subject to Copyright.

Two images, both taken by me…honestly! And like all images on this site: it is subject to Copyright.

David Magahy