Thursday, September 27, 2012

Copyright Infringement...

Some people still don't understand that if you have a photo YOU took, YOU own the copyright to that photo and NOBODY has the right to use that photo for any purpose without YOUR permission.  The social sites you post photos to may have the right to use them for their own purposes as we all agree to when we sign up for said social networks.  But OTHER USERS of those sites do NOT have the right to your photos.

Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest and other similar sites have made it difficult to keep that message out there.  And the general public is largely ignorant about copyright issues, not having to be concerned with it.  But anyone who has been selling artwork or goods online for even 2 months, should know by now that you don't lift someone else's photos to use them for your own purpose unless you have their permission.  There are some very minor gray areas having to do with fair use that even lawyers can't figure out what is or isn't infringement.

But there is NO doubt that if you post a personal photo of yourself on your facebook or blog or flickr, NOBODY has the right to lift that photo to then use for their own nefarious purposes.  They do not have the right to use photos of your product for anything other than promoting YOUR item with credit to you and a link going back to said item.

There are people trying to spread misinformation to justify their own behaviors.  Posting articles that cloud the issue even more by stating basically that with all the technology we have it's pointless to fight infringement anymore.  That if you post your photos anywhere online, whether personal or business related, you should EXPECT people to "share" them.  Hmmmmm.  This coming from someone who has been selling online for years but doesn't think twice about stealing personal photos.

I don't expect my sister, a teacher, or my brother-in-law, a forester, to know anything about copyrights.  People tell me all the time "Oh, look at this bracelet.  You could make that!"  Even giving me brochures and catalogs from home party jewelry businesses so I can make the items shown in the brochure.  They just aren't educated about copyright any more than I am about being a teacher or a forester.  So I understand that.

But we as sellers online, have a responsibility to educate ourselves, and to a certain degree, educate others who don't know.  To protect our work and also to protect others' works.  There are enough gray areas in this issue without people who should know better, trying to make it cloudier simply to justify their own malicious behaviors.

Technology definitely makes it harder for those of us who care about this issue to keep the message out there, but I will not stop.  I will never embrace the idea that if you put your photo out there, it is mine to do with as I please.

This is an interesting read, if you can get through it.  It mostly serves to stir up my initial apprehensions about using Pinterest.   And why I don't have thousands of pins or 50 boards like many enthusiastic pinners do.

I'm very torn about pinning.  Something to think about.  We can embrace Pinterest as a promotional tool and still pin thoughtfully, ensuring that links to the artist/artisan's work travels with the image being pinned and never take artists' works for our own personal use, whatever that may be.  But especially not with bad intentions.  And for goodness sake, never pin another seller's work to a DIY board!!  Pin thoughtfully...

and come back HERE to carry on with our discussion

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