Earlier today I got a message on Mybloglog account. Someone was contacting me through that social networking site requesting that I add them to one of the blogrolls that I run. I must say that’s not how people usually contact me when they want to be listed on one of the five blogrolls that I run. No, they usually either email me or leave a comment on the specific blogrolls information page.
I decided to visit this persons site and much to my surprise I not only saw posts that looked like they might have once been mine, but had been re-written to some degree, but also, the only photograph on the site was a photo that I’d taken of a car in the streets of Toronto that had been converted into a garden. It’s a very cool picture of a very cool car.
I couldn’t really prove that the person had copied and altered my posts, but I could prove that the blogger had taken my photograph so I decided to leave a message for the blogger on their garden car posts comment section telling them that the photo they were using was mine and that it’s normally considered proper etiquette to either ask a persons permission before using their photography or to at the very least link to the page that the photo was found on.
This person wrote back to me all indignant, stating that they’d found the photo on flicr – yes flicr, not “flickr”. LOL They also told me that if I had a problem I’d have to prove the photo was mine, asked for details about the photo and were it was posted and told me to contact their lawyers who’s email was “sales@” some affiliate related sales website that hasn’t even opened yet.
I wrote back to the person stating that well, yes, I store my photos on Flickr. I stated my account user name and gave them the links to three Flickr photo pages in my account where different angles of the car in question was published. I also gave them links to my website posts where I’d used the photos a year ago. All my photos on Flickr are listed with “All Rights Reserved” on them.
My whole point in contacting this blogger was just to inform them that it’s not nice to just take other peoples work. I know that some people don’t realize they are doing something wrong when they use things they’ve found on the internet. Others are fully aware that it’s wrong and do it anyway.
I realize that posting my photos on a public site of any kind puts them at risk of being stolen or used without permission. Still, I don’t agree with the practice.
Some people think that once somethings posted on a publically accessible site that it’s no longer covered under copyright laws. That’s not true. Anything you create – whether it’s a note on a piece of paper at home or a published article is your copyright as soon as it’s created. It’s your intellectual property.
Unfortunately, once a work is stolen or plagiarized the onus is on the person who originally created the work to prove that it’s there own.
The reason why I’m writing this post today is just to remind you that if you see a photo that you’d like to use on your site, you should make an attempt to contact the person who took the photo. If you can’t reach the person who’s photo you are using at least mention and or link to the site where you found the photo.