I’m really not presenting a long discourse on copyright law. I was just amused that the “Right” issue I addressed in my first post arises so often in my life. What I am going to do here is share a blog post I was turned on to by Jan Morrill, comment a bit, and share some other links I found helpful as I studied the issue a little more deeply. (Is this way too much like grade school: “My report is on…” Oh, well. Onward.)

The original post recounts a personal experience of author/blogger Roni Loren concerning her own unintentional copyright infringement which, in her case, involved photo usage on her blog. I think it took courage and humility for her to lay this all out and accept responsibility for it, but the information I gathered about how to avoid the situation was the real prize in the piece. I gleaned a few links I thought I’d share in case you don’t have the time to comb through the nearly 400 comments yourself. Before we get to that, however, a little business–

Disclaimer: I’m no lawyer nor in any way an expert on copyright issues. This post is not to be construed in any way as legal advice. It simply presents some tools that may be useful in staying on the right side of copyright, particularly in the usage of photos on blogs.

Meghan Ward shares some pertinent information on her Writerland blog, including a nice guide to the Creative Commons logos and codes, and info on stock photography available for purchase.

Try out some of these sites for free photos. Just make sure you pay close attention to usage restrictions and attribution requirements. They aren’t all the same, and this is where a lot of the confusion about copyright comes from. Some of these sites have images for sale as well, so be aware of which are really free (and royalty-free does not mean free).

While I won’t get into a big discussion about copyright, the following links may be useful to increase general knowledge of the subject. This applies to all creative endeavor, not just photography, so it is important stuff to understand for writers, artists, and musicians as well.

Unfortunately, the discussion on Roni’s blog included some nastiness and unnecessary recriminations so she had to shut it down.  I didn’t get a chance to comment, and perhaps I wouldn’t have anyway, but I did comment on Jan’s blog and I thought I would share that here. “Incidentally, I don’t think it’s copyright that confuses, but the exceptions and different types of rights. We all get that you don’t claim another’s work, but I think there’s a difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement, and the usage area can get murky, especially on the internet. There is also a difference between understanding the principles involved and having the knowledge necessary to apply those principles.” My intent with this post was to present resources that may impart a little of that knowledge.

As I mentioned, I’m not an expert. Any further information, tips, and warnings would be most welcome, and it doesn’t have to be limited to photo usage. (Does anyone else think it’s hilarious that I’m so nervous about the issue now I’m afraid to attach any form of image to this post?)

  1. Jan Morrill says:

    Excellent information, Keli. Thanks for the links you shared. I’m anxious to look at all of them, as I, too, am nervous anymore about attaching other peoples’ images on my blog. It’s such a gray area. The good thing is, it will give me even more opportunity to test my creativity with spontaneous photography. 🙂

  2. Great post, Keli! Thanks for sharing these resources. One can only take so many photos that are blog-worthy when one is not a pro photog, so it’s a struggle for bloggers (mostly me! 😉 ) to have some nice graphic for a post without stepping into the murky copyright legalities.

    To help bloggers avoid Roni’s experience in the future, author Kristen Lamb has started a new Flickr group called wanacommons for blogging writers to share their photos with one another. There are over 1000 images uploaded there already and the group is open, so if you have a Flickr account you can join the group and use images and share any of your own.

    • keliwright says:

      I know what you mean about photography. The visual arts gene kinda skipped this girl! Thanks for the heads-up on the Wana group. Sounds interesting! I know several photog/writers who managed to double up on those artsy genes, so I’m guessing that will be a fun resource to check out.

    • Jan Morrill says:

      Thanks for the information on Kristen’s wanacommons, Kristin!

  3. […] others’ works. Rather than dwell in that fear, Keli Wright researched and posted the article, “Keli Wright on Copyright” on her blog, Keli Wright’s Open-Faced Sandwich. Keli lists several useful links for […]

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  6. […] of you may have heard of the “Roni Loren incident.”  I wrote something about it myself here.  So did Kristen, but she went further.  With a desire to support bloggers in the quest for […]

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