From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Copyright incident

Blogs and Blogging... And What I Think About It...




Computer work "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest," Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:10. I've always considered that good advice and tried to follow it.

The photos and writing that I post here were created by my "doing with all my might." I rarely throw something onto the blog in 5 minutes. I work on the things I post for a good amount of time (usually too much time). I edit and polish my writing and photos to the best of my ability because I want the things that I post to the blog to be the best that I can do for that day.

Because I get pretty intense about trying to do a good job, I tend to be protective and possessive of the things I create. They represent a real investment of myself and so they are valuable to me.

I followed a link a couple of days ago and found a photo of mine that a woman had copied and posted to her blog. She had posted a link to my blog that made it clear where she got the photo, but I was irritated anyway.

I don't like to just stumble across something of mine on someone else's website. I want to know who is using my stuff and where and how it's being used.

That's why I have included a copyright notice on this blog for several months now. It states, "All Rights Reserved." It has been in clear view in two different places on the page, but apparently this woman overlooked it, didn't look for it, or ignored it.

Copyright issuesAs a result of my irritation about all this, I've made my copyright notices on the blog a little more prominent. I also wrote a blog entry about copyright and linked to it in my copyright notice.

I realize that anyone who really wants to plagarize will do so. Similarly, anyone who really wants to use a photo won't be easily prevented from doing so.

On the other hand, there are plenty of sources on the internet for photos that are in the public domain. Many people do share their photos under Creative Commons licensing with "Some Rights Reserved." Digital cameras can be bought for as little as $30. With so many alternatives, who needs to snitch?

I look for copyright notices and respect them. I expect to be treated with the same courtesy. When I stumble across my stuff on the site of someone who disregarded my copyright notice, I am certainly going to complain to them about it and I am certainly going to do all I can to make them take it down.

Rather than writing a cheerful ramble tonight, I have discussed this little incident to death and probably bored my readers and made them all wonder again just how nutty I really am. Piracy really does affect us all, you see. Well, onward and upward, my friends. Tomorrow's another day.

SleepyUpdate:
4/30/06 Feeling slightly less rabid, so I edited this to tone it down a little.

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4 comments:

KennethF said...

Hey Gene,
I noticed a change in your tone. I noticed the changes in your copyright statement, too. I'm glad that any of my previous comments did not have that effect on your most pleasant disposition, writings and all.
Yours Sincerely, KennethF

Genevieve said...

I realize that this post is a little out of character. I may eventually delete it, but I haven't decided to do so yet. I'm usually a pretty easy-going person, but I do get bent out of shape sometimes.

You know, back when I used to have a webpage about native trees, I sometimes found wonderful things on the web that I would have liked to put on my own website -- writings and poems about trees, beautiful photos, etc.

But I read about copyright law and I learned a bit about what was and wasn't legal to do, and I saw that I could not legally copy and re-publish a lot of that stuff I liked.

For example, there is some wonderful stuff about old trees in the Library of Congress website in some old nature magazines that are under copyright by Cornell University. I loved some of that stuff, but I didn't copy it to my website because it would have been illegal.

Although it was sad and even frustrating, I learned to accept that some material was not available to me to re-publish -- even under the principles of Fair Use. Instead, I put links on my website to some of the stuff I really liked.

I remember a photo from an Alaskan library that would have perfectly illustrated one of my pages. The copyright notice gave an address where inquiries could be sent. I inquired and I learned that they wanted $20 for the use of their photo -- so I chose not to use it. It was absolutely their right to control the use of it and to assess a fee if they wanted.

I have had several experiences over my internet years of just stumbling onto my stuff on someone else's website. I don't intend to just accept that as part of being on the internet. I abide by copyright law myself and I expect others to give me that courtesy as well. Otherwise, I get ... well, bent out of shape about it.

Phil said...

Reading about your incident inspired me to change the image on my main page. I used to hotlink to a webcam from mwhazecam.net, but I'm not sure if that was legal. I tried to contact them about it, but their cotact form isn't working (I get a little 404 error that says, "/cgi/FormMail.pl was not found on this server"). Anyway.. the squirrel pic is okay I guess. It's kind of depressing though. The squirrel wasn't harmed or anything, but I'm just wondering what sort of message a caged animal conveys? I might have to write a post about it.

Genevieve said...

I looked at your squirrel. It is an interesting photo and its colors go good with your background. I guess that is his tail curled over his head that has the long hair.

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.