Moral Question of The Week – Using #Images/#Photographs With/Without Permission

Category: Weekly Columns

Collage of photographs

My #SocialMedia tutor – who started me on this path – is married to a photographer and, as such, has very strong opinions about the use of photographs. In this age of such mass dissemination of information and “sharing” of said info, do you believe you must pay and/or pay attribution for the use of an image on your blog/website? To be more specific, do you believe if your efforts are not blatantly commercial, is it okay to “lift” an image? Please comment below…

  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    It’s stealing and I’m guilty. Pray for me.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m guilty too @faryna:disqus. In my heart, I believe it’s “good” for the maker of the image if/when they at least get credit and THAT is where I’m failing the worst.

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  • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

    This may help you: Creating images for your blog the right way http://blog.sellfy.com/tips-tricks/blog-images

  • http://smallbusinesstalent.com/ Stephen Lahey

    Lifting multiple images also carries with it the risk of getting sued for thousands of dollars. There are a growing number of attorneys making good money this way. You might find this article (it’s not my website) interesting: http://www.contentfac.com/copyright-infringement-penalties-are-scary/. Helpful?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @stephenlahey:disqus – yes, there are risks of being sued but no one sues if there’s no money being made by “stealing” the image, right?

      • http://stanfaryna.wordpress.com Stan Faryna

        Lawsuits are mostly for those who can afford to throw money. You’ll remember how Revel Casino set me back many thousands of dollars (their valet damaged my Porsche) and it would have been a loss of many thousands more in legal fees if I have taken them to court and won!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          @faryna:disqus – look, speaking for myself, I am certainly not morally perfect. Where I fail – as I think I said in another comment – is I should AT LEAST put photo credit and find it. THAT is no big deal. My website is NOT a money-maker so going after me is a waste of money. I’ve YET to have ANYONE reach out and even ask me to take down an image that I “borrowed!”

  • http://www.fourguysandalady.wordpress.com Elly e Chris Filho

    I don’t know if I understood this right but I’m going to guess with my comment lol
    I Love photography with all my soul, I did many weddings, engagements, birthday parties etc… Now I only do it as a hobby. So I use my own photos on my blog and yes I’ve used and still do use other peoples photos and what I do is leave their website watermarks on the photo if there is no watermarks I try to add it at the end of the post. Say where I got it from. So when people use “MY” photos and “with out” asking or giving me the credits do I get mad? or consider it being stollen? Sometimes… I don’t know if it makes sense but it takes time and effort to go out there and get a good photograph__ and when credit is not given where credit is due it kinda does sucks.. but only when that person makes it sound like “THEY” took the picture. 🙂 I don’t know if you know what I’m trying to say hahahaha it sounds better out loud than reading it lol. But as a ” Photographer” I believe if you are sharing their work with their names on it all over the media It’s great advertisement for them the more their names gets around the more they become known that’s what I believe. { Sorry if my comment has nothing to do with what you where ASKING LOL }

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @ellyechrisfilho:disqus – you completely got my question and well-answered with your thoughts – thank you much!

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      Bloggers are cautious about whose photos and images they do or do not feel comfortable using. Photographers who would like bloggers to use their images should say so on their blog. Mention it on your about page and link to a page that explains what you want.

      Because many photographers are against others using their photos we don’t typically use photos without express permission.

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @GrowMap:disqus – there’s also the confusing “fair use” thing – which seems to allow some unpaid use of other’s work…

  • Shaun

    Hi Bruce,

    I have to declare a vested interest first as I’m a photographer.

    But that aside, there’s some really useful feedback here and you might want to also look up ‘Fair Use’ and how this relates to copyright law.

    Getty Images recently released a huge number images for use, even for commercial purposes. From what I’ve seen these are historical archive however,you might find this link useful if you’re after contemporary work: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/embed

    Hope that helps,
    Shaun

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @Shaun – I’ve been wanting photographers to weigh in. I own some “real” photography from well-known photographers like Robert Capa. I paid a big amount for “Omaha Beach” so I VALUE their work…

      • Shaun

        Hi Bruce,

        Robert Capa! Suprised there’s not been a film made about him or Lee Miller, both lead extraordinary lives. Re. Getty, I meant to add that terms & conditions should always be scrutinized but I’m sure you reailze that. Some people do get caught out by misunderstanding the phrase ‘Royalty Free’ but, as the Getty site that I mentioned says, ‘It’s easy, legal and free’. As long as we stay within the terms of use…

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I was at the WWII Museum in New Orleans this year and was so excited to see “my” Capa photograph on one of their displays. It’s one of his most well-known and perhaps one of the most well-know war photos ever (Omaha Beach)…

    • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

      Bloggers avoid Getty images and any image site they acquire because they are lawsuit happy.

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        @GrowMap:disqus – really? That’s sad…but they have nearly unlimited resources!

  • http://GrowMap.com Gail Gardner

    Technically, we should not use other’s images without permission. Usually if you do and they object they will request you to remove the image. No problem. But some – like Getty images – have been known to sue first and ask questions never. So if you are going to use images consider the source.

    Within the CommentLuv community, I have featured other blogger’s images with attribution and a link to their site. This benefits them and my readers. Often I specifically suggest going to read their content in the caption or the text of my post. I have never had a CommentLuv blogger take offense at my doing this.

    Outside that community there is a mix of opinions. I once featured an image to send people to a prominent blog on a page I knew would be my highest traffic page on my site. I tried to get permission, but did not get a response. When I did hear she was ‘furious’ (her words) and not only wanted that image taken down to make her happy I also unlinked every time I had ever recommended her. (Many times over many years.)

    That is the reaction of old-school folks who are ownership based. Many photographers feel this way, too. Now it is easier to make images with Canva.com so I don’t feature as many other images these days.

    I wrote a massive post once about places to get images and the legalities that also explains that “Royalty Free” does not mean free – it just means there are no recurring royalties. That post is at http://www.dirjournal.com/articles/free-blog-images/

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @GrowMap:disqus – great resource to share – thank you – about free resource sites. While I don’t really approve of my behavior of using without permission, I’ve NEVER gotten a request – maybe one – to remove an image. I would IN AN INSTANT. I wish all photographs had watermarks so that the attribution would be automatic (at the very least)!

  • http://www.nateyes.com Nature’s Eyes

    Hi Bruce
    As others who have commented, I too am a photographer. I used to keep my watermark/copyright small as not to distract from my published images. But then, people seemed more willing to take them, crop off the attribute line and republish at will. Now I put my logo in a much more pronounced way on each image I publish on my blog.

    It is wrong to take and use someone else’s work without at least attribution. It’s not your work; it’s not your friends. It’s what the photographer did. Even if no money is involved, it’s immoral to take credit where no credit is due.

    I’ve had friends forward PPT presentations with photos and say “hey, these remind me of you!” No kidding!! Often, they have images I sold through a stock house. And, they were not paid to be in the presentation; they were pirated. It doesn’t make me happy to see these works shared; it makes me sad that people think these are great. If you want some of my work, check out my web site, share that link or, better yet, buy my eBooks or an individual print. But, please don’t circulate bad copies of “stolen” images.

    Most photographer (me included) can’t and won’t take legal action to protect our copyrights. It’s just too expensive. I just hope people will realize that taking and using our work is no different than walking into a store and walking out with a cool t-shirt without paying…just because you like it.

    Thanks
    Ann-Rhea

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      You @natureseyes:disqus are not JUST a photographer, Ann-Rhea, you are an AWESOME photographer. I never play with a watermark – but I wish they were on more photographs. When I want an image I want to work/move quickly so finding whose photograph it is isn’t practical time-wise though I fully acknowledge that it IS the right thing to do!

  • KawarthaLakes Mums

    Commercial or not, work is potential earnings for the original owner unless it is public domain. Frequently guest bloggers will send us a jpg to go with a piece, and when we ask them where they found it, the reply is” I don’t know, I just googled it.”
    We do not use images unless they belong to the person submitting the photo, or them are public domain, or covered under “Fair use” – used for the purpose of promoting or providing commentary with a link to the original work.
    Pixabay offers many public domain images, as does Wikimedia.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @kawarthalakesmums:disqus – can you please explain the parameters of “Fair use?”

      • KawarthaLakes Mums

        There are four factors in Fair use:

        The four factors judges consider in fair use are:

        – the purpose and character of your use

        – the nature of the copyrighted work

        – the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and

        – the effect of the use upon the potential market.

        – See more at: http://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/fair-use/four-factors/#sthash.6erYpc6Q.dpuf

        For example, if you use an image to promote a brand, product or organization. This would be acceptable Fair Use.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          TY for that @kawarthalakesmums:disqus – then my “use” seems more than “fair!”