So the other day my friend Paula over at Eat, Watch, Run (and yes, I am calling her my friend because we are now Facebook friends purely because we read each other’s blogs and feel like we know each other), posted a link on Facebook of a post from another blog about photo stealing.
Here is the link to her post, but I will summarize for you. Basically the blogger was sued for using a photo that was not hers on her blog, even though she credited the photo and linked to the original source.
The internet really seems like a free-for-all these days, and I am totally guilty of using photos that are not mine on my blog. I truly thought that as long as you credited the source (or the official photographer if that was the case), it was fine, and you are all good. I am not sure why I thought this, but I think only because everybody else was doing it.
So be warned. That is not the case. If you are using another photographer’s photo and you do not actually have their permission, you can be sued. Even if you link to and credit the original source. So, lesson learned from me, I will now be careful.
But I was intrigued by this. And there is a little trick on Google images where you can check photos by the source of the URL to see if they have been put on another website.
Those two. I drew them. And they took me a while.
Most of the stuff I draw is really relevant to the story I am telling and would not be worth stealing, in my opinion. But those two photos in particular I thought might work with several other articles.
When I went into Google images, I discovered I was not wrong. I found them both used on a bunch of other blogs and websites (seriously, the treadmill one was on at least 10), with no credit to me.
Obviously I am not looking for any sort of financial compensation. I don’t even know how I would sue anyone, and I feel like that would just be a lot of drama. But it did bother me.
It bothered me because, out of all the blogs and websites that are using my images, only one even mentioned me. Blisstree. They did credit me (which I appreciated), however, they did not actually link to me.
But no one else even mentioned that they got those drawings from somewhere else. For other sites to just take them, not credit me, and pass it off as their own drawing, or even some random drawing that they found on the internet…that is annoying.
It’s not clipart. That took time for me to draw. I drew it to make what I was writing about more funny, and share it with you guys.
And of all the sites to take my drawing and post it as theirs with no credit, I am going to say the worst offender was Yahoo. That is a legit website. I can forgive naive bloggers, because I am one, but Yahoo? I think they should know the rules. I was really surprised when I saw that (and fine, a little bit flattered too).
I’m not popular like Hyperbole and a Half. People wouldn’t just see my drawings and recognize them as mine, and ideally I’d like them to actually read the story. This picture stealing hurts my livelihood (and my feelings). I would appreciate at least a link.
So how to counteract this? I could put a watermark on every drawing I do so that people would know I created it, but that would not only be annoying for me, I feel like it would take away from the drawing.
It clearly states on the bottom of my blog that if you copy my stuff I will unleash my hunger monster on you…
Which I think is a pretty scary threat, but apparently not.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this, except to warn you bloggers that a) if you use an official photographer’s photo without permission you could get sued, and b) your own pictures may be on other websites without crediting you as the source. So you may want to check that out.
And if you steal my pictures without linking to me I WILL unleash my hunger monster on you. No empty threats here. You better look out, Yahoo.