Picture That

I mentioned in my Sunday post that I am in the process of removing all images from my blog that are not my own.  Many of them are mine, but I do have a fair number that were found on the internet (mostly photobucket, Flickr and Wikipedia) or Word Clip Art.

At any rate, I have 400 posts to review, which is time consuming enough that I’m tempted to procrastinate. The only thing that keeps me from procrastinating? Paranoia Cautiousness.

Recently, a friend forwarded a blog post to me that opened my eyes to photo usage.  Roni Loren wrote about her own experience.  If you have a blog and use pictures found online, I encourage, no urge, you to check it out.

I was too late to catch the rays of sunlight on this picture…I hope I’m not too late to fix my picture-posting ways!

I am an honest person; I don’t download free music, I don’t claim all of my charitable donations on my tax return, I tell a cashier when I get too much change back, well, you get the idea.  I certainly don’t steal stuff.  After reading Roni’s blog post, I was bothered that I could have been stealing and didn’t even realize it.

Being sued would be even worse.  The chances of being sued are probably low.  Then again, I figured the IRS would never flag my small dollar tax return for review.  (Although the reason for review was because of pages missing, which wasn’t my fault.  Thanks a lot, e-File.)

While many things are unlikely, all things are possible.

Word Clip Art is licensed for personal use, but cannot be used on advertisements or for publications for monetary gain.  If (when?) I become a published author and I write about my book on my blog – would my blog then be considered as used for monetary gain?  It’s a gray area for me, so Clip Art is gone, too.

So, this is why I decided to use only my pictures.  I’m leaving many of my old posts pictureless, unless I happen to already have ones that will work.  I’m updating posts that have a photo credit on them, since the photos are no longer there.

Life is already complicated enough; that is why this blog must be simple 🙂

Did Roni’s post tell you anything you didn’t know?  Does it change how you think about online pictures


P.S. I’m having some computer issues, along with changing the email associated with this blog.  It might take a few days, but I plan to catch up on reading!


33 thoughts on “Picture That

  1. Carl D'Agostino August 1, 2012 / 6:57 AM

    I looked at it the other way. If someone stole my cartoons and published them chances are that I would never find out except on a once in a million shot that someone would catch it and let me know. A copyright lawyer would want a large retainer and a lawyer would not take it on contingency unless there was art least $5-$10 thousand to be made at a minimum. I think those clipart and photo stuff use would never amount to anything. I would never use a pic of a painting or print if the artist sold these commercially without permission which is usually granted with condition of citing the source. I don’t think they can get me for publishing a Van Gogh or the like. I am not sure if citing and giving credit without permission is unlawful. I have written a bazillion academic papers and footnotes and bibliography gave credit so I would think it is the same for commercial stuff. If it is of EBy or Amazon for sale it is in public domain and can be used. If it is personal art asking for permission is usually granted by the artist/photographer is always good policy. If no reply I would cite and use anyway. One key is the intent of your use and I make no money of my blog and do not publish cartoon with other people’s image in book for sale.

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 8:01 AM

      I wouldn’t have thought use as you describe would be a big deal either, Carl. However, there were lots of angry photographers who commented on Roni’s post. They were tired of people ‘stealing’ their work. I can kind of see their point, but in my own defense, I figured if the picture wasn’t marked, it was free to enjoy. Even after Roni removed the photo in question, she still faced a lawsuit which seems a bit extreme to me. At any rate, I don’t want to take a chance on ticking off the wrong photographer. It’s just not worth it. It will make it more difficult for me to get pictures into posts, but I’ll make my best effort.

      Thanks for adding to the post with your thoughtful comment, Carl.

  2. pattyabr August 1, 2012 / 7:51 AM

    thanks for the info. I post my own pictures I just want to learn how to put my post name on the pics.

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 7:57 AM

      Thanks for reading, Patty. Someone else told me about a website, http://www.picmonkey.com. It’s easy to use, and they have ‘text’ option where you can upload a picture and then add text to it. I’ve done it on a couple of my more recent pictures (not the one in this post because my computer barely let me get the text uploaded :))

      I want to get ‘real’ photo editing software, but haven’t had time to research which one is best for me. Until then, I think picmonkey is a nice tool.

      • pattyabr August 1, 2012 / 10:29 AM

        keep me posted on what you find. I just checked out a post on WordPress today on apps for IPhone photography too. Thanks 🙂

        • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 7:44 PM

          I will let you know what I find out, Patty. I’m looking for a user-friendly (and budget-friendly) option, since I’m an amateur with no money!

  3. braintomahawk August 1, 2012 / 7:53 AM

    Good advice, I will continue to be diligent. Her other articles are useful as well. Thanks for sharing!

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 8:08 AM

      Thanks for reading, Braintomahawk. I didn’t really think much about it because ‘everyone gets pictures off the internet.’ I think about it now 🙂

  4. nrhatch August 1, 2012 / 8:51 AM

    Thanks for the link. Roni’s post is a good reminder to be careful about using the work of others to promote your own.

    I do use images from Wikipedia and Avatarist.com . . . now I feel I should double check to make sure that use is legit.

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 7:42 PM

      I hope your pics are okay, Nancy. My risk tolerance level is obviously low 🙂

  5. Debbie August 1, 2012 / 10:46 AM

    Janna, you’ve done a good service here! Thanks for your info (and Roni’s true story) about copyright violation. As a Web Designer, I know that in my head; still, I’m guilty of it when I blog. Why? Laziness, I admit. Now I’ve got one more thing on my To-Do plate: go back through three years of my own blogs and do the same thing — rework them to remove all photos that I didn’t expressly take. Eye-yi-yi, what a prospect!

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 7:48 PM

      I’m glad you found it useful, Debbie. I’ve also used pics I’ve found out of laziness. (Some of them were out of necessity…I’m thinking of one that I used of a pine tree with snow on it. It doesn’t snow here, so I guess that post will be text only now :()

  6. pattisj August 1, 2012 / 2:14 PM

    I tried to be careful when selecting photos early on, but now I rely on my camera.

    • jannatwrites August 1, 2012 / 7:52 PM

      That’s the way to do it, Patti. It’s fun to take pictures, anyway (if hubby would stop the car once in a while :))

      • pattisj August 1, 2012 / 9:19 PM

        I know what you mean. I get a lot more pictures when I go by myself. 🙂

        • jannatwrites August 2, 2012 / 12:14 AM

          Glad it’s not just me!

    • jannatwrites August 2, 2012 / 1:12 AM

      Thanks for sharing the info, Widdershins. I’ve bookmarked the pages so I’ll have them just in case. It still makes me a bit nervous because both sites have disclaimers that essentially state it’s up the user to verify the copyright status and requirements of an image. I’ll have to look into it closer, for sure!

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2012 / 9:51 PM

      I don’t want to spread fear, Ewuradwoa, but we should be aware and cautious. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  7. Tessa August 2, 2012 / 3:12 PM

    Wow Janna, you just reminded me why I do not use photos I find on the web even when they state free for personal use. A blog is certainly something that can change from personal to professional if you start promoting your book. I even changed my gravatar a few months ago when I started this particular blog since I was using one of those free for personal use pics and it concerned me. This one is one a friend took for me and sent to me. The only post of mine with a picture on it is one that was used as a picture prompt on Trifecta. Have no idea where that one came from. Hopefully it won’t cause an incident. Thanks for the heads up. You always figure it won’t happen, but now we see that it can. Sorry Roni is being sued over it.

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2012 / 10:00 PM

      I think the Trifecta pictures are okay, Tessa. I’ll be glad when the whole picture swap thing is over for me. One less thing to worry about!

  8. GodGirl August 3, 2012 / 4:43 AM

    This is an eye-opener. So even if you credit the photo, i.e. if you list the source/website in the caption, it’s still a risk? I usually just use what’s in ‘Google Images’ but hadn’t considered the risks til now.
    Thanks for this,

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2012 / 10:02 PM

      I don’t know the chances of encountering a lawsuit, but I’d rather play it safe. I had used Google Images as well. I’m glad the information was useful for you, Ali.

      • GodGirl August 7, 2012 / 4:58 AM

        Yeah, something to think about. Thanks Janna.

  9. Sandra August 3, 2012 / 9:45 PM

    Janna, I only have a handful of pictures from the earliest days of blogging that are not mine, and I still want to go back and replace them at some point. Soon after I started blogging, I decided to only use my own pics, even if it meant I had to draw them with Microsoft Paint. I use Picasa’s watermark function to label ALL of my pictures. It’s a hassle, but one I am willing to do, since they do belong to me. You’ve made a wise choice, and you will feel like your entire blog truly belongs to you. =)

    • jannatwrites August 5, 2012 / 10:06 PM

      I’m glad you only have a few pictures that aren’t yours, Sandra. I always liked the watermark idea but didn’t have the software to do it. Only recently, I heard about Picmonkey and have started adding it to new pictures I post. (No way will I be able to go back and do this for the 500+ pictures that are already out there!)

  10. cuhome August 7, 2012 / 12:51 PM

    Thanks for sharing this with us! Great information….

    • jannatwrites August 8, 2012 / 12:59 AM

      I just felt the need to spread the word on this one because there were some surprises for me in that post. Thanks for reading, Janet 🙂

  11. Val August 10, 2012 / 7:12 AM

    I think it’s always a good idea to use your own images in your blog posts. Not only to avoid copyright abuse but to make your blog fully your own. That said, there are ways to post images without having a problem with copyright. One is to use Creative Commons images and correct attribution with them. (There is a CC search engine, too) Also, there is a post I found a few days ago, by Kristen Lamb who has set up a group specifically for people to use donated copyright-free images. Here’s her post about it: http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/wana-commons-beautiful-blog-images-without-the-worry/

    And – if there’s anything you like in my Arty Old Bird blog – you can use one or more of my images from the posts (but only the posts) from there! 🙂 If you scroll down to the footer in my blog there’s a link to my page about how to use my images. It’s pretty simple, mostly I want a link back.

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2012 / 6:00 PM

      I like the idea of having my blog be “my” blog – pics included.

      That being said, if I really need a picture that I am not able to get myself, it’s good to have safe options. Thanks for the link to Kristen’s post. I’ll be sure to check that out. I also appreciate your kind offer to use your posted artwork. A link back is a reasonable- and expected- request. Of course, I would seek permission any prior to use 🙂

  12. Val August 10, 2012 / 7:17 AM

    NB: For anyone who’s interested: the images that appear in Google image search are not there for the taking, they appear there because they have been put somewhere with public access and Google’s bots have crawled the person’s site and grabbed the images to put in their search engine. So, for instance, if someone were to put a photo of their child on a public facebook page or a genealogy site or Flickr, or even in a blog that’s open to the public, then it’ll eventually appear in Google search. The thing to consider is if you’d like a stranger putting your own images – of your children, yourself, your family, anything really – on their own site. And often not on a site that has the sort of content you’d like to associate yourself with.

    • jannatwrites August 10, 2012 / 6:03 PM

      You’ve got an excellent point here, Val. I don’t put pictures of my kids on my blog for that reason. (Or if I do use them, I make sure their faces aren’t visible – like in the recent picture where I added sombreros.) There are risks to the internet and caution is always a best practice. Thanks so much for your thoughtful input 🙂

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