copyright: the scary monster hiding under the bed ready to eat you

And, no, that’s not an euphemism.

I know I’m only catching the tail end of the copyright issue which has arisen in relation to posting images on blogs, but, redundant or not, I feel the need to pull my soapbox out.

Side note: No doubt this will come as a total shock to those who know me and think me the shy, retiring type.  My apologies for shattering the pedestal.

What’s stirred me from my usual lazyarseness has been the extreme reactions to the news bloggers may be in breach of copyright.  Some seem to have issued a ‘c’mon, I dare you to sue me, motherfuckers’ and others have offered a thousand apologies, not to mention their first-born, while rushing to delete every single picture they have posted over the last who-knows-how-many-years they’ve had a blog.

Bloody hell.

Look, I’m not a lawyer – as I’ve no doubt will be pointed out by all those who don’t agree with what I’ve written here – and am not providing any kind of legal advice on this matter.

This post is based on the experiences I’ve had dealing with copyright and intellectual property in my working life.  Yeah, experience doesn’t make me an expert.  I know that.  The damned soapbox is screaming at me though, and since I’ve got enough voices in my head…

Kris’ Copyright and Intellectual Property Reality Checklist 

1.  It exists.  Get over it.

2.  It’s very bloody important it exists.  Apparently.  Or maybe there’s another reason for all those pesky laws, policies, international agreements, etc, etc.

3.  Considering a lot of reading blogs are all about anti-piracy and plagiarism, the fact some people appear to have been unaware of this potential infringement is absolutely astounding to the point of ridiculousness (ie, you’re a clueless idiot).

4.  Unfortunately for you ignorance is not bliss.  Unless you’re living in the US and who the fuck knows how the legal system works over there.  Law and Order can only explain so much.

5.  So, yeah, it can be the scary monster which, despite you thinking it was hiding under the bed waiting to get you, is going to take you to court for a gazillion dollars for keeping it against its will.

6.  BUT it can also be the Beast who dresses up like a Regency hero, reads books with you and twirls you around a ballroom while a teapot sings.  I’ve heard this happens so it must be true.

7.  Just as you’ve got a responsibility for being a twat so to do the owners and administrators of the intellectual property.  A responsibility that is, not the being a twat thing.

8.  In other words, they’ve got to tell you when you’re being a dickhead before they paint a target on you.

9.  Unless of course you’re making big bucks associated with the infringement of copyright stuff.  If that’s the case, you’re totally screwed.  Good luck with that.

10.  Now for fuck’s sake go and put a disclaimer on your site saying your psychic powers are not fully developed yet so someone actually needs to tell you if you’re on your way to the Big House at which point you’ll politely thank them for putting you on the path of righteousness and delete your ways.

The end.

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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38 Responses to copyright: the scary monster hiding under the bed ready to eat you

  1. eyrereads says:

    I left a comment from my phone, but apparently it didn’t work. 😦

    Well said!

    My blog is currently without pictures. Why? I replaced my phone a few weeks ago, and when I linked my Google accounts to my phone, I unknowingly linked everything to my phone. All my pictures showed up in the phone gallery. Genius that I am, I didn’t realize that deleting the pics from the phone deleted them from everything. Oh, well. I still have tumblr.

    • Kris says:

      It worked, but because it came from your phone I had to approve you. I approve. You’re welcome.

      I think there should be an undo button that last for 24hrs and where you can select what you can undo. Someone should get on to that.

      Thanks, btw. I think this issue needs balance to promote understanding rather than fear.

  2. orannia says:

    *massive freak-out panic*

    I’ve been offline so have only caught a bit of this. Bottom line, I should just delete all the photos from my blog and write a disclaimer about…something?

    • Kris says:

      Do no delete your images! Write your disclaimer and, if the matter ever comes up, that’s when you should delete the image. BUT only that ONE image which is the issue. There is no need to delete the whole lot.

  3. Tam says:

    I’m going with number 10. How many blogs are there on the internet? A bazillion? A gazillion? ONE (at least one shouting about it) got sued for pictures, so everyone is in a panic. What you hear much more of, is blogs being contacted and asked to remove images. Much more reasonable. Now if you use that image on your book cover and make a million bucks, then yeah, you’ll be sued. But I’m not going to get my panties in a twist that I may be one of the .0000001% of blogs slapped with a law-suit off the bat.

    I’m a rebel that way though. 🙂 (Also lazy)

    • Kris says:

      Lazy rebel works for me. 😀

      The images used on book covers are a mine field in themselves. Layers of copyright.

      If you’re self-publishing and using stock photography, I’d be reading the fine print in detail before using images. Cover your arse, baby.

      • Tam says:

        Yes, definitely. I only create (the kid creates) covers for freebies so there is no income created, but I make a point of searching for public domain photos because I just don’t want to deal, or pay a fortune for a picture.

        • Kris says:

          That’ll work. 🙂

          Given the amount of publicity on the issue and the potential for curious artists to use their own Google fu, though, I’d also go back and add a disclaimer about the image on the page in which you include the publishing information. Cover your arse from all sides, baby.

          Not that you have that big of an arse…

          Shutting up now.

  4. Chris says:

    LOL! Like Tam, I’m lazy. 🙂 So I’ll leave my tumblr alone (might put up a disclaimer, though). Fortunately, other than book covers, I think 99.9% of the pictures on my blog are pictures I took. Dear Author had a post on this topic earlier today – it’s obviously US-centric and a bit less fun to read than your post. 😉

    • Kris says:

      I saw on Twitter that Jane of DA had written a post providing advice on copyright. I haven’t had an opportunity to read it as yet – will do later this afternoon.

      The national borders around copyright and intellectual property are muddy, particularly as a result of the internet. International agreements and laws do not necessarily override a country’s own copyright laws. If a country has one that is and if a country has actually kept their law relevant to the constant technological advances.

      As I said, it’s a mine field.

      A disclaimer is a good thing. A very-times-the-power-of-infinity good thing.

  5. kaetrin says:

    I put up a disclaimer about copyright on my blog recently. It basically says all posts are copyright to me and please ask for permission before posting and asking anyone who thinks anything on the blog breaches their copyright to contact me and that infringing material will be taken down promptly.

    Mainly I used book covers on my blog though. I only had 1 post ages ago which 2 photos and I deleted them because it was easier and I couldn’t find any free images I liked in the 10 minutes I spent on it. 🙂

    • orannia says:

      Are book covers OK? I pretty much took everything down yesterday apart from my own photos and those blogger awards that went around eons ago 🙂 But I miss my ‘Currently Reading’ gadget, and posting something would enliven very boring posts… 🙂

      • kaetrin says:

        I’m not a lawyer but I think book covers are okay as long as you use the full book cover (ie, not cropped). It’s certainly okay in Australia where use of that sort of thing for criticism, reviews, satire or parody is fine. I actually asked Angela James (editor for Carina Press) on Twitter about it and she thought book covers were fine too.

        Author photos may not be however – it depends who has the copyright to the picture.

        I hadn’t thought about the gadgets until now but I think they must be okay too – in their own way they are “reviews” because you are saying you have them, want them or are reading them. I can’t see that a publisher would have any trouble with that. I don’t think you are going to get sued for using book covers anyway. That’s my 2 cents. 🙂

        • orannia says:

          Thank you Kaetrin! Maybe instead of linking the cover back to GoodReads I should link it to the publisher, that way I am sort of helping? I suppose it comes under the disclaimer…OMG! When did this become so complicated?

          • Kris says:

            Re: book covers – Just provide a source/link for them and you will be fine. No need to put in into your disclaimer. It’s all PR for the book anyways.

            Gadgets like the GR ones are generated by them, therefore they would be responsible for any issue, not you.

            Stop worrying! 🙂

            • orannia says:

              Stop worrying? That’s like telling me to stop breathing 🙂 Especially ATM…it’s like my brain is set to extremem worry!

              Thank you for the advice though. I’ve added my disclaimer and put my Current Reading gadget back in. And I always try and provide a link for photos, but since I’m going to limit them to book covers I’ll either link to the publisher or GoodReads 🙂 Now I just need to find some suitable stock photos for the various book challenges and I’m away 🙂


              • Kris says:

                I’m the same with worrying. One of the things I’m trying to learn how to manage so it doesn’t overwhelm me every time. Practice, practice, practice. 🙂

                From reading your posts, I know you’ve always made a point of sourcing your photos where possible so I think you’ll be a-ok with your plan.

                You know what I kind of like about this issue is that it gives you the opportunity to be creative when it comes to images for book challenges, etc. Take your own photo, play around with photoshop, put something to paper and scan it. Opportunities can be fun.

                • orannia says:

                  One of the things I think I will be chatting to the unnamed expert about next week is how to slow down the worrying (’cause stopping seems impossible, so baby steps 🙂 and just…being. I’m always thinking about what I have to do next and it’s exhausting!

                  As for the creative bit…EEK!

                  • Kris says:

                    Worrying is one of my things too. I use a couple of tools to help with thought-stopping. Of course, it depends on at what level my ruminating, etc is at, but at the lower levels it does help. I’m sure it will for you too. It’s all about practice and one day at a time. xxx

  6. kaetrin says:

    With 2 photos. Not which. *sigh*

    • Kris says:

      Wow, a whole 10 minutes. Don’t go crazy on us now, Kaetrin. ;P

      If you are – or anyone else reading these comments cos I’m sure they are a gazillion of you – interested in protecting your actual posts and blog in terms of copyright, the best way to do this is to license it under Creative Commons. I would recommend doing this as a disclaimer may give you an out in terms of possible infringements of copyright, but it doesn’t necessarily offer you much protection with regard to the work etc you own.

      • kaetrin says:

        Thx for the advice Kris. I will look into it. On the one hand, I don’t actually expect my blog posts to be of sufficient interest to anyone to bother copying them but I thought it looked a bit sexy on the blog to have a “copyright” section. It made me chuckle to myself as much as my “comments policy”.

        Do you know if Creative Commons works the same in Australia as in the US?

        (I went to the Copyright Council of Australia’s website yesterday for shits and giggles and there was interesting information about “fair dealing” which is the Aus version of fair use – there were a number of helpful fact sheets actually. Hmm, wonder if they have one about creative commons….?

        • Kris says:

          Creative Commons is global and takes into consideration the possibilities of providing free access to information as opposed to restrictions and permissions.

          If you have a look at some of the government and organisation websites that are information focused, you will find more and more of them are utilising Creative Commons rather than Oz-centric copyright legislation.

  7. Kassa says:

    I put up a ton of copyrighted pictures. I know this to be a fact, but I have a disclaimer and if they want me to take it down, I’m happy to. If I get sued, well I’m not a fucking idiot and clearly I was in the wrong. They’re welcome to my 2 cents and dog gnawed-on shoes.

    Personally I think it’s just a typical news cycle because blogs exist on creating content and this new clusterfuck creates a bunch of content for blogs.

    <— clearly a very bitter bitch.

    • Kris says:

      Bitter?? No. Not at all.


      Also, are you implying that I posted on this topic because I couldn’t think of anything else to post about? While I resemble that entirely, how could I possible resist not taking the piss out of this issue. Particularly as, given my background, I can hardly deny that I’ve been posting pics with much carefree abandon.

      I was going to say ‘gay abandon’, but thought that might be pushing the envelope in terms of punniness.

      • Kassa says:

        I’m not actually suggesting that it’s not a worthwhile topic. I think very different opinions exist and should be expressed. It especially suits your sense of humor. I just think all the self castration some bloggers do is a bit overdone. That’s all.

        Some bloggers are genuine, others are not. It’s easy to see the difference I think.

        • Kris says:

          I didn’t think you were, hun. If you hadn’t thought it worthwhile, I know you wouldn’t have commented in the first place. 😉

          “I just think all the self castration some bloggers do is a bit overdone.”

          Agreed. As I said in the post, I’ve been bloody astonished by the amount of mileage the topic has had as well as the extreme reactions to it. Considering the fact that a plagiarism wankfest seems to occur on a weekly basis, why would you not consider such an issue in terms of what you do, especially on the internet? Maybe people think their blogs don’t count when it comes to copyright? Who knows. I lean more towards the idea of clueless idiots myself.

  8. kaetrin says:

    I made myself a creative commons license. It’s pretty. Thx Kris 🙂

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