Have you heard of Creative Commons? And did you know that posting a picture that you find on the internet without attributing is stealing? Let me explain.
When you draw or create a picture by hand, only one original copy can exist. This copy can be kept, sold or given to someone. However, on the computer, multiple perfect copies can be created. If it is your picture, you can share a copy, sell a copy or put a copy on the internet. If this happens, anyone can moderate this picture, make more copies, pretend its theirs or just use it without attributing it to you.
But first, what does attribute mean?
In our case, to ‘attribute’ media (images, music, videos etc) means to credit it to the owner, or to say (very simply), “This isn’t mine. It belongs to ______.” You should always do this when inserting pictures onto your blog that aren’t yours.
This is because it is a thing called copyright. When someone takes a picture or makes a video and puts it on the internet, unless they license it, it is their property. Attributing does make things better, however, this doesn’t mean that you are not violating the law.
Just because you find it on google doesn’t make it free…
However, there are some circumstances when you can use any picture. For example, in the U.S, there is a special Copyright Law called Fair Use. This means that anyone can use the picture for specific reasons. Such reasons include – to comment on, criticise, or parody a copyrighted work. They are not using it for themselves, moderating it or selling it as if it is theirs. Therefore, this is allowed.
Here are some straightforward tips for copywriting:
1. You make it, you own it.
2. Just attributing something doesn’t make it ok to use it
3. If you receive permission to use the media, use it! (This includes verbal or written consent.)
5. Just because a picture doesn’t have the ‘©’ symbol or a watermark doesn’t mean it isn’t copyrighted. Just assume EVERY image you see is copyrighted unless on a public domain images site, your own, or on the Creative Commons site.
6. Just because other people do it doesn’t make it ok. You wouldn’t steal someone’s purse, would you? Taking someone’s image off the internet is no different in terms of law. Just because your friend may do it doesn’t make it right.
7. If you want your images to be accessible to anyone, you can get a license at the global Creative Commons website.
For the Australian law on copyright for blogs, click here. Hope you have learnt a bit about Copyright. Let me know of any comments or questions you have.
Watch this video for more:
Olivia, writing on a whim…