Blogging Ettiquette…is there is such a thing?

*Heres another post that will blast my popularity to shreds (if I ever had any to begin with).

A couple of years ago, I was requested to remove an image from my blog that I had placed in one of my posts. I had posted it innocently enough, unawares that in posting the image I was infringing any copyright issues. I could have argued with the complainant that in fact, the image was a still shot of a piece of a movie and that she had no way of proving that I hadn’t watched the same move, pointed my camera at the telly and taken the picture myself, at exactly that moment in the film….but then I would have been lying in addition to being a ‘thief’ (and that’s before I think about the copyright issues with the filmaker!). However, I apologised to the lady who bought that to my attention and I removed the image immediately.

Wherever possible nowadays, when using an image found online I do endeavour to track an image back to it’s original source and check out whether the image is copyright free or at the very least, to acredit the owner/administrator, because aside from flouting any copyright regulations there are other issues to consider too, like using someone else’s bandwidth.

It has to be said though that there are zillions of blatant copyright infringements going on in the blogosphere all the time.

It annoys me.

It may be because I used to work as a professional photographer myself that it irks me , or then again, perhaps it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end of copyright infringement too…or perhaps it’s a bit of both?

On four occassions in the last 6 months or so I have found my own E-Card images on blog’s where they shouldn’t have been and where permission was never requested for them to be used. In fact it was only 2 days ago that I accidentally came across the most recent infringement and despite my requests for the blogger to remove an image he lifted from my E-Card site he has thus far refused to do so. In fact he hasn’t even bothered to respond to my comments.

I endeavour to mark my e-cards with a ยฉ stamp and my name, and on both this blog and my E-Card site, Credo Christian E-Cards I make it clear that the images are not to be lifted by the light fingered. It seems however, that in cyberspace few rules apply. Partly because of the difficulty in enforcing the copyright of online images, and partly because for many people cyberspace is a veritable free for all!

Now, you may be thinking that I’m just a miser who should share what I have (I hesitate to call them gifts)ย  but I actually think I’m being fairly generous in creating the E-Cards in the first place. I still haven’t paid my camera off (there was supposed to be a little assitance from someone who I took photos for but that never came to anything) and I pay out of my own pocket to have the images hosted on a professional site so that people can send my E-Cards at no cost to themselves. So actually it does bother me that people want to take the view that they can use what they want, when they want, how they want, even if it isn’t theirs. I especially dislike that some bloggers have even attempted to pass my images off as their own. It’s sometimes makes me wonder if I should continue to offer the E-Card service at all, but then why should I deny decent, copyright respecting folk the opportunity to use something which they tell me they love to use and appreciate using?

As we’re on the subject of breaches of copyright and blogging ettitquette….this brings me on to something else that is very much something I feel strongly about and that is when the same thing happens with text.

Many a time I’ve read an article or post and thought WOW! that blogger is super gifted and insightful, only to find the text elsewhere online rightly accredited to its proper author. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve stopped reading because they lift their daily posts from other bloggers or other online resources without linking to the original source, but instead claim it as their own, albeit by their silence.

Well, as one would expect, I’m not the only one with an opinion on these things and funnily enough Jackie has just posted about something very similar but from the opposite end of the opinion spectrum. You might want to read Jackie’s post before you continue reading here.

Now I have a lot of respect for Jackie (we share a diocese so I have to say that -just kidding!) but I must disagree with the stance Jackie takes in the post in which she writes to those who feel as strongly as I do about online copyright infringement:

“Please avoid my blog if you don’t like my style & go somewhere else. As I say I only had 2 complaints out of 50,000 visits but if you don’t want to be copied & pasted let me know..no problem..my blogroll is too long anyway.”

Now I don’t mention this for bragging purposes but I’ve had over 100,000 visits it’s probably more actually as I’ve moved blogs a couple of times but we don’t need to get anal about it and only one complaint, but I took that one complaint very seriously. But then, one complaint is one complaint too many in my opinion.

I’m not speaking directly to Jackie in this next bit but on this subject I have to say that as far as I’m concerned it’s a pretty lazy blogger who without seeking the consent of a fellow blogger, cuts and pastes that bloggers whole post and then at the very end of it may (or may not) tell their readers that the post was written by another person.

I can speak form personal experience when I say that it’s really annoying to find your own post on someone elses blog, especially when your own post leads to a great discussion in their comment box that should be going on in your comment box!

Yup, that really bugs me.

I think it smacks of a lack of experience in blogging and in blogging ettiquette and generally it’s not a good way to foster friendships in the blogosphere, unless you happen to be more concerned with your blog stats than in fostering friendships? But then that would be pretty sad wouldn’t it?

My own feeling is that if you feel strongly about a post of mine you can by all means link to it….you can even include a 3-5 lined excerpt of the post but please don’t take the whole post from my blog and copy and paste it on your own. And lets be honest here, what does it really say about a blogger who lifts the blog-work of other bloggers?

That they can’t wite a decent piece themselves?

How would that blogger feel if they wrote something of which they were proud and that very post was copied and pasted on another blog and no link or reference was given to them….how would that blogger feel if they came accross it accidentally only to find a party going on in the other bloggers com box, some of which expressed how well written the piece was….would the blogger really want someone else to take the credit for their writing, their thoughts?

It just needed sayin’.

That’s all.
* tongue firmly planted in very chubby cheek.

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21 Responses to Blogging Ettiquette…is there is such a thing?

  1. Rosemary says:

    I think this is important, Deb, and I’m glad to read about blogging etiquette and integrity since I’m a relative newcomer. In fact, right now I’m going to go back to the post I just published that includes a picture of Michelle Obama and see if I can find out if it’s copyrighted. In the case of your pictures, it should be very clear that ehy are copyrighted, as they should be. Good points.

  2. Esther says:

    Deb,

    I am sorry to read that your e-card pictures are being used w/o permission or credit, especially since you are very generous in providing us with those e-cards in the first place.

    This is a very good post and I may be linking to it.

    Mahalo!

  3. Valerie says:

    Good post, Deb. Blogging etiqutte is a very important issue, and you raise some very valid points. I still think you ought to charge a small fee for people to send one of your e-cards.

  4. Holly says:

    Maybe I am giving away my Gen Y status here, but I tend to think of the internet as a free-for-all. I loved Youtube back before it was a household name because people would post entire movies in one great chunk. People still do post copyrighted media, but it is broken down into 10 minute chunks to try to prevent just this. And as soon as it is discovered it will be taken down. Now you can’t even post a 30 second Daily Show clip before Viacom jumps on it. The best things on the internet start of as counter-culture and without the shackles of copyright laws and then the mainstream comes along and ruins it all. My ideal internet is one in which pretty much everything is public domain but respectful of originality and innovation.
    With that said, I don’t like that someone was lifting your stuff without giving credit to you. I have heard of people copying entire blogs and claiming content as their own. It strikes me as somewhat pathetic as if they are incapable of independent thought. To me it isn’t so much the theft that bothers me (to be honest I have a hard time thinking of something as theft if you are not depriving someone of something. If a store stocks 10 copies of a CD and I steal 1, they only have 9 left to sell. If I download a copy of a CD they can still sell as many as they want. I would never have bought it anyway, I would have taped it off the radio if needs be.) so much as it is the pathetic posing.

  5. Listening a bit! But iI ain’t got time for all those fancy postings..& if you’ve done the work for me..& I say UKOK..where’s the harm?

    My blog couldn’t function if I had to go all original ..although on occasion I’ve even wrote a piece myself..can you imagine..I’ll take more care re the cards..but where do you originally get them from so we can acknowledge the original source..I’m not mad at you..just fuming! NOT! God bless..

  6. UKOK that’s 50,000 in 10 months..

  7. ukok says:

    Rosemary, Esther and Valerie,

    When I *speak* out on ‘hot spot issues’ I’m not generally praised for doing so. I’ve lost regular visitors and been cut off peoples blogrolls for doing it in the past, so I really do appreciate your support. Thanks!

    Holly,

    I have done it myself, used other peoples stuff and not thought twice about it. But when you have it done yourself its a different matter altogether. Particularly with something that’s quite personal like blog posts and photographs that I’ve had to go out of my way to take, develop, add inspirational quotes or Scripture to and then pay to have them hosted for the benefit of people other than myself.

    Jackie,

    I take all the photographs for the e-cards I make. I was a professional photographer and still enjoy photography as a hobby. If you like I can give you details of where I took every single E-Card image and verify it by showing you a whole series of them with my family featured in them too!

    The victorian e-cards are photographs of actual victorian cards I have bought. (And since some of them are almost 80 years old the original copyright for them no longer applies).

    On your other point about blog visits, as i say, we have no need to be petty about stats. I get the impression they are more important for you than they are for me or I’d be adding up all the stats from my 2 other Ukok’s Place blogs to give you figure in the region of about 250,000 I think. (okay so I can be petty!)

    If you have had a huge amount of visitors in such a limited amount of time blogging then I rejoice for you….but I also would implore you to perhaps consider that your reponsibility is even greater in this area as the way you blog will likely infuence a larger audience?

    I enjoy your blog. I am glad that others do too. This is merely a response to your post Jackie, it’s not personal. I don’t mean to cause you upset. I’m just offering a different perspective.

    God Bless you

  8. BJ Buracker says:

    Deb,

    Great article. Having really just gotten my blog moving with some momentum, I have become rather interested in the online copyright laws. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to find original sources, and email links can quickly be outdated/corrupted. I’ve emailed several sites for permission to use their images with no response. Quite frustrating.

    I think this is a great piece and really well written. I think if you were able to shorten it a bit, it would be the beginnings of a great “rules” post for any blog anywhere on the internet. I know I would love to steal, I mean properly cite this.

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your blogosphere!

    Blessings in Christ

  9. Cathy Keller says:

    Amazing!!! My dad always said, “Give credit where credit is due.” And he probably got this from someone else. But it is true. I try to ask permission or at least sight the reference. It should be common practice. Granted it’s easy to “cut and paste” but to claim it as your own…REALLY!!! Glad you posted this. God Bless!!! Cathy

  10. Mac McLernon says:

    Absolutely agree with you. BTW, just added you to my blogroll. Great blog… and fantastic pictures.

  11. maggieclitheroe says:

    I think you’ve phrased this very well. I only started blogging recently, and hadn’t a clue about how to find out whether I was allowed to take pictures off other people’s blogs, or off the internet elsewhere – that’s why I have a big fat cushion behind my blog, the only fleur de lys image I could get a photo of (at least one I knew was legal, as I took it myself!) and then when I tried to html it behind my blog I couldn’t get any whole fleur de lyses to be visible!!!!I do think that if people don’t have much to say themselves, then they should remain silent. (That’s why I don’t post too often). I love reading the blogs of those who have a lot to say, and say it well, but if I wanted to inform others of their work I’d just provide a link to it, there’s no need to have it on my blog! And now I shall honour you with a place on my blog roll too – if I can work out how to do it!!!!( unfortunately, it won’t increase your status in the “Jackie wars”, as the few who visit me seem to know you already!!)

  12. Matt Doyle says:

    These are important points. Thank you for raising them. Crediting each other’s articles helps to create a more effective network, and I’m always grateful for people using my material, and flattered even more when they provide a link to my site!

  13. Owen says:

    Truth is seldom popular my friend.

    As an artist who chooses to put his work on the web I’ve been stung a few times. The worst kind of sting, I will tell you, comes from the self justifying Christian who gets sullen, prissy or defencive in their transparent excuse making over taking without asking or crediting. For shame. They wouldn’t likely do the same in other areas of there life, at least I hope they wouldn’t and they shouldn’t do it in this realm either.

    It is interesting, especially among Catholic Christians, that they can convince themselves that there will be no accounting for these actions.

    Interestingly, yesterday I read an article about a university professor caught out in plagiarism for the improper and illegal usage in print media of two online articles about, no kidding now, plagiarism.

    And, in terms of my own (now rather limited) blog reading I am primarily interested in original content. Reviews with links to original articles are good. Copy and paste with and especially without credit is a lack of charity and mutual respect or more correctly the hight of a lack of charity and mutual respect is to tell people if they don’t like to go elsewhere.

    Finally, as it happens, this morning I posted — as in air mail posted — a little treat for you. A small print of an original work of my art. I asked myself permission and I got it and so whatever the length of time is for a little letter to cross the Atlantic is is the length of time before you receive it.

  14. Owen says:

    P.S. Pardon my atrocious spelling errors above. I was in a bit of a flap. At least I credit the source of my mistakes as myself ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. ukok says:

    BJ,

    thanks for the compliment. I am never so organised as to not run off at the keyboard and could never stay within the lines even as a child…which means that I have a tendency to ramble but fortunately my blog friends still somehow manage to pick their way through all of the uneccessary words to dig to the essence of what it is I’m trying to convey!

    Thanks for bearing with me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cathy,

    Your Dad was right. There are so many nay-sayers who shy away from culpability, sadly. Good on your Dad he sounds a wise man!

    Mac,

    Good to become more acquainted with your blog, I’m adding you to my blogroll too. Thanks for the compliment about my E-Cards.

    MaggieClitheroe,

    Thanks for your comment. Sorry you are experiencing difficulties with your fleur de lys background though! (perhaps Alexa could help you out, she’s incredible with a string of html!)

    I’ve added your blog to my blogroll here and look forward to sharing this blogging journey with you henceforth. I’ve really apopreciated your input so far with the comments you have made here.

    Matt,

    I’m glad you stopped by. I recall visiting your blog fleetingly at least a year ago, but there are just so many Catholic blogs nowadays that it’s easy to forget where one has visited! It was good to have the chance to visit again. Thanks too for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

    Owen,

    You hit the nail on the head about the prissyness and self justifaction that is expressed by those who blatantly pilfer the work of other people online. I’m so sorry that you have been stung too. It’s so disheartening isn’t it? I’m not even an artist, I haven’t invested hours and a wealth of talent and creative expression in these photographs or words of mine…but boy oh boy does it rile me!

    Now what was that you also wrote?

    Something in the post for me?!!!!! A piece of art for me!!!

    WOW and gosh and all that jazz!

    I can hardly wait, but wait I will.

    LOVE you (in a completely platonic and sisterly way)

    God Bless you all

  16. BJ Buracker says:

    Deb,

    “Bearing with you” is not even close to right phrase. I think this post was excellent and necessary. Plus, it was, as most of your posts, an enjoyable read. It was certainly was not a bear to read.

    What I meant was that if the ideas you present here were broken down into 5-6 bullet points, then it should be assimilated as part of every blogger’s rules or policies. In other words, it’s that good!

    Thanks again!

    BJ

  17. AutumnRose says:

    Good post, which I agree totally with the spirit of.

    I always try give credit where credit is due, unless it’s a random Google picture which is unspecified, or smilies ๐Ÿ˜‰ I post a lot of my own photos, and I wouldn’t want them to be posted elsewhere uncredited…but I have made mistakes, and tried to rectify them where I can.

    As far as lifting other posts…never! I don’t want anyone else writing my blog, thank you, I can do it all by myself and well enough without help! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s MY blog!!!

    But I do short quotes if I read something really great I want to comment on myself too, and I ALWAYS link ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the Easter crad btw, I was very touched, so expect a little something in return soon…

    ttfn xxx

  18. John says:

    Hi Deb, excellent post … right on the money. Blogging, by its nature is a personal thing lending itself to vagaries and variations of all sorts, but at the point a blogger begins to include other’s material (whether text, images, or ideas) it would seem to me incumbent upon the blogger to, at the very least, acknowledge the author/site.

    I recall once that I stumbled across the site of a Jamaican painter and emailed him to ask permission to use an image of one of his works in a post. He did give me permission but didn’t send the email until several months after I’d asked! I never used the image . . . its time had passed.

  19. Jean says:

    I am sorry about the situation which makes it necessary for you to write this post, Deb. You have such a beautiful gift and are so generous in sharing it with us that I hate to see others take advantage of you.

    Thanks for writing about this, Deb!

    God bless you!

  20. ukok says:

    BJ,

    Thanks for the clarification! It’s certainly very encouraging to me that you thought I managed to hit on some important points.

    Thank You!

    AR,

    So glad you got the Easter Card already. I know that it is terribly early, but I thought it best to send at least some of the Easter Cards out so that I didn’t forget to do so nearer the time a I think I’m going away for a bit sometime then.

    It can be difficult to always give credit for images. In my archives there ar loads of images that I used without permission. As time allows I’m trying to get rid of them. I haven’t uploaded them since I’ve been with wordpress, but of course, when I imported all my posts from my Blogger ‘Ukoks Place’ they came too….it’s a bit daunting going through 1600 posts to find those with images in them though! There aren’t enough hours in the day. Wherever possible,I try to only use my own images now ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with you too about not wanting another persons posts on one’s blog, it baffles me why any one would want to do that.
    ๐Ÿ™‚

    John,

    if your Jamaican Painter is anything like me then he lives in his own little time warp! I do try to be on the ball and respond to emails when I first get them. I even leave them highlighted so tht I know I have to get back to people, but still sometimes I forget to reply to emails for a couple of weeks and in fact, I once forgot to respond to a family members email for about 3 months!!!

    It’s shameful that I’m such an airhead, and I’m not even a genuine blonde!

    Jean,

    It heartens me that you enjoy the E-Cards. I only want people to enjoy them in their proper context, and not as they choose to because there are times when I may choose to sell or publish privately.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this!

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