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Read before you post anything new on Steemit: The Basics of Copyright.

in photography •  8 months ago

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On the internet, downloading photography is an easy and old trick. You right-click and save. Bam, there you go, you just stole someone’s hard work. Yay, let’s post it on Steemit and earn a few cents. You probably have no idea that photography is automatically protected by Copyright and is seen as Intellectual Property. But no worries! Ruben to the rescue, in this guide I’ll explain copyright, infringement claims and how you can still use awesome photography you do not have to steal.

I rather don't want to be the 'guy' that's pointing fingers: hey what you're doing is damaging other (hard working) people. But since everything we post will be stuck in the blockchain, we cannot delete posts on Steemit.

So why this blogpost about this boring Copyright?

Basically, I see so many users on Steemit publishing beautiful photographs they did not take themselves. They probably have no idea they are stealing and are ‘this’ close to get into a Law-suit that will cost them hundreds if not thousands of dollars per claim. Let’s not get into that kind of trouble, shall we.

Furthermore, there are some personal principles I’d like to add to why it is important to post your own images.

  1. It is destroying the photography tag.
  2. You should not earn money from someone else’s hard work.
  3. Use your own power, doubled.

First, let’s get a cup of coffee and some biscuits. Or whatever you go hard-core on.

coffee.jpg
Great, now that you've settled. Let's make this roller coaster ride as much fun as possible.

What exactly is Copyright?

Copyright in photography means that a photograph is protected by law and is seen as Intellectual Property. The author (creator) of an image automatically holds the Copyright, as the image is his/her (Intellectual) Property. So, I am a photographer, every time when I push on a button I get copyright. Even if I choke on a peanut and die, the copyright will be 25 years intact after my death. Hooray, fuck you. No, I’ll write it down in my testament. So, this Copyright, what can I do with it as a photographer?

I’m glad I asked, let me explain.

With copyright I only, will have the exclusive right to all the images I have ever taken.
The most common rights you should know about (the ones **you do not own **if you’re not a photographer) that is considered to be one of the exclusive rights you’ll have as a photographer.

  • Reproduction of photography
  • Distributing copies of photography to the public (by sale, rental, lease, or lending)
  • Displaying photography

I can see you want a piece of that, sure, let’s invent licenses to cover all that.

Please fill in this form.

  1. How long would you like to publish the image?
  2. How big do you want the image to be published?
    (insert a “That’s what she said” applicable comment)
  3. Is it for commercial use?

There are tons of more options to choose from. But every option will decide on how much you will pay for a license. With a license you can show you have the right to publish it, the way you have discussed with the Copyright holder. O and by the way, even when there is no © visible on an image, it is automatically Copyrighted. As a matter of fact, -all- images on Google are copyrighted. Including a copyright notice such as ‘©’, the word ‘copyright,’ or ‘Copr.’ with a date and name of the copyright owner is no longer required for copyright protection.

Why should I get a license?

Once a rebel, always a rebel? Unless you’re living in China you’d be facing the wrath of Judges and Lawyers who represent the Law if you do not obtain a license. And by Law it is decided already that you will lose. Even if it’s 100 bucks or 10.000 bucks.

What can I do without a license?

All you can do is pray. Pray for that image you’ve been using to be a CC0 license. Creative Commons 0 that allows you to use the image freely for Personal and Commercial Use.

Ok, look, I’m not trying to scare you, and I’m not saying that -all- images online are made by professionals who made their profession with photography. All I’m trying to do here, is to make you aware of copyright and that it could fuck up your life once you get ‘caught’.

sorry.jpg

Dammnitt, I got caught!

Oke. Told you so. ~runs off~. No seriously, all you can do is explain you did not know about this copyright thing, and out of respect you should ask him/her to give you a chance to pay for a license and make up for it by adding the (mandatory) reference right away. Drop everything what you’re doing, unless it’s a Ming Vase. Ask what the normal price is for a license and pay for it. Taking the image down will not change the fact that you used it. If you got caught, it’s almost certain the ‘victim’ (the photographer, not you, you twad) made a screenshot or obtained some kind of proof that you have been using one of his/her images.

Also, friendly ask if he/she can show that he has the original file. This will be a RAW file, possible followed with similar images or series of the image you’ve been using.

How do you reference an image source?

How? Easy: “© [year of creation] – [name of copyright holder]”. This is mandatory(!) even when you pay for an license, unless discussed otherwise.

While referencing to the image source is easy, obtaining a license for using it might be a bit more work. Let’s make this an easy follow-guide.

Step 1. Google an image.
If the image does not have a clear CCO (Creative Commons 0 license), you might need to pay for it.
Step 2. Find out who is the author.
Couldn’t find the author? Do not use it.
Could you find the author? Contact him/her.
Step 3. Contacting the author.
Be patient. Or go to Shutterstock and buy a similar image.
Step 4. Make an offer the copyright holder can’t resist.

But Ruben, I am lazy, help me… please... Google is my only and best friend at finding images for me. I just want to steal and HODL.

Ha! GOOD! I am utterly pleased that you finally understand you have been stealing all this time. But I’ll forgive you. As many other photographers are forgiving you by not suing you. And trust me, your “I didn’t know” combined with your sad-face puppy eyes will not help in court. I didn’t know it was your wife I ‘danced’ all night long with yesterday either. Will you be less mad? Ok. Sorry, but at least I didn’t write ‘your daughter’. Anyway… how can I make this up to you?

Free Images BITCH, I want them, give them to me.

You don’t have to be so hostile... Geeezzz… are you out of biscuits or something? I’m just the messenger. But sure, there are plenty websites with photographers that offer great images for absolutely -free- including commercial use, which is great for postings on Steemit since you are making bank with your posts.

What you need to look for are images licensed under Creative Commons Public Domain. This means you can copy, modify, distribute, print them and eat the prints afterwards, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

However, some photos may require attribution. I still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.

  • Pexels.com (CCO licensed images)
  • Stocksnap.io
  • Unsplash.com
  • Foodiesfeed.com
  • Pixabay.com
  • And more... but try Google, your best friend.

If you are looking for higher quality images and don’t want to get through the hassle of contacting every photographer for every image you’d like to use. Just go straight to a Stock site.

Shutterstock or iStockphoto will do the trick for sure. If you’re making enough money, consider these as you’re also helping the dying professional photographer survive ;-).

Hopefully this boring subject was entertaining enough for you guys to take in.

Ruben Cress
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Thank you for this post. This made reach out to the site where I used one of their photo. I hope they answer back and give me permission to use it free of charge :)

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What image did you use? Can you link it?

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I usually go for a stock photo but seems referencing to that isn't enough unless it has a Creative Commons 0 license. I do link it as image source. That's okay right?

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If you're not sure if the photograph is licensed under the CC0 license, then it's better to either find that out before using it and contact the author, or simply do not use it. Naming/crediting the author is mandatory, even after purchasing a license for use.

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Better to use my own photos, all in all. Thanks for the explanation @rubencress.

I got here after following a trail of tit-for-tat flags which started when someone posted a stolen photo that they found on the net.

This is really a brilliant article, so well written. I love the humour. It was a fun read!

Anyway, I wish I had seen your article about copyright before as I would have included a link in a widely read blog that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about correct blogging practices. As the blog is a couple of weeks old, I couldn’t edit it. However I have put the link in a comment here:

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Thank you so much!

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I upvoted your blog but you didn’t get any credit due to the fact it is more than 7 days old, so I will vote your comment above.

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Thank you for taking your time reading and upvoting my blog post/comment about copyright infringement (also with the flagging part which should be resolved now). My VP is a bit low right now and my SP is not as high as yours, but this is a small token of my appreciation for your time spent :-). Even though I am also a rookie to Steemit, I try my best to contribute to the platform and get tutored by nice people. Wanna join the 'Teach Ruben how to behave on Steemit whenever I have time' party and throw me a DM on Discord/Steemit.chat?

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Steemit chat or discord. My name is same on both

I like to look at the cars tag but everyday I see many posts where people do this just rip of other peoples work and not give any credit. Its at the point where I don't really bother much anymore. You are right about it destroying the photography tag. I just cant see how people can have a good conscience about making Steem from other peoples work.

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You can report images to Steemcleaners ;-)

Great post! I take most of my own photographs, especially for steemit! I also will use pixabay for websites, because they have a Creative Commons license for most of their images. Great resource.

Someone suggested you could do an image look up at TinEye. I thought that was interesting. I haven't tried it yet!

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Thanks for taking your time into reading this utterly boring subject! Hopefully I made it a bit less boring for you ;-). Yeah Tin-Eye is somewhat similar to Google Image Search. Unfortunately their database is not quite yet updated with the latest images, so Google Image Search is currently the way to go! (If you're using Chrome: right-click search image on Google)

Thanks for the tip on Pixabay (haven't heard of it yet) I'll be adding it to the list!

Great job, thanks for your post, I indeed think more people need to be aware of this, and as a graphic designer, I use other people works almost on a daily basis. Unsplash is my fav place tho :)

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Thanks @ngfx ! You could help spreading the word by Resteeming it. Yeah, websites like Unsplash are great for Graphic Designers.

Good writing Ruben! Looking forward to the next one

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Thanks Upheaver! Gave you a follow brother.

Great job dude, i'm sure this can help a lot of people. In general, way too many are unaware of how serious breaking copyright actually is, myself included. I'll definitely be more aware of this in the future :)

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Thanks for reading it before actually posting it Emil! Has been a big help. Hopefully I have covered the basics, but if you have any questions regarding lenses, copyright or something related to photography, i'm game!

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Haha, i will definetely come to you for that :) I'll wait and see how much payout i'll get over the next weeks, and then i'll see if i can buy something nice :)

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"The 24mm Claudell, the 24 Claudell.. from the top, the 24mm." And if that's not going to work out, the 35mm :-)

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So the 24mm you say? :P

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Yeah! Try it out with your current kit-lens.

Thanks for your post.
I just wrote something similar this morning... after seeing someone deliberately entering a contest with a picture that was not his/hers.
https://steemit.com/steemit/@viking-ventures/stolen-pictures-a-major-steemit-issue

I've generally seen Wikipedia images as being okay for use - they generally turn up in the licensed for "reuse" in the Google/Yahoo/Bing searches. What do you think about that?

 

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Thanks for tuning in. In my honest opinion, a lot of people are not aware that they are stealing. They see the photography tag is trending most of the time and automatically assume that when they use this tag on Steemit, they will earn some quick bucks. That is problem one, the simple mind of humanity.

The other problem is. A lot of people seem to not understand or know what copyright, intellectual property is, and that every thing on-line is 'free' to use. Music, Artwork, Logo's, Website, Texts, Photographs, etc.

Just because we are (professional) 'content creators', we know what our rights are. But if a teacher assumes we know everything that he is teaching, there would be nothing left to learn. Right?

So a solution is to teach, spread the knowledge and ease with the temper (wrath of the content creator).
About Google, YaHoo and Bing searches... I'm not really fond of their "re-use" policy. But I do like the reversal search function Google offers. Trackbacking is great to see where your images are being used on-line.

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Yes, so posts like ours can help in general - I hope.
I was just talking to someone on my post about what we can do about it - beyond just talking more and more about it. She was talking about steemcleaners, but that she had problems with them when she reported someone. (She was talking about the blatant copying of another blogger's posts.) That gives me less confidence in using this method.

Too bad about Google, etc, "reuse" thing, though I was still under the impression that most (if not all) of what is featured on Wikipedia is okay to use. Maybe I'm wrong though. I guess where there is still so much confusion even amongst those of us aware of the issues, it's hard to expect everyone else to do as well!

I did recently discover that nearly all the online good photos of a small village where I used to live, were mine. :-D (So far, used legitimately, as far as I can tell.) The problem with trackbacking is that where I have literally 100s of images out there now, it's hard to check them all!

Thanks for the discussion. The more we talk about it, the more we make others aware.

@cha0s0000 So Wonderful.Thanks so much for your sharing.Hope to make friends with you!

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You're like magic. You suddenly appeared. Love it. But I don't believe in magic like this.

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magic is always surprising

I think it was better before you changed it to "danced". XD

I fear I'll accidentally use an image that someone lied about the license for.

I think I'll investigate membership stock sites. :-/

I don't really do the type of posts that need great photography currently. I certainly don't earn enough from most posts to pay too much for a photograph. Plus relying on someone else's work just seems...ehh... Mostly I just use images as place fillers currently. Something to click on to bring you into the post, or break up text.

The only case I can see for my particular needs currently in paying for individual photos would be if I found one that could inspire a story. Then I could see paying a bit.

But then again, I'm sure there are cheaper sites too that aren't just a buffet. So, I'll have to investigate.

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Hahah, maybe it was better yeah.. but you know the reason why I changed it haha.

If you think you have accidentally used an image that has been licensed then just swap it with one you are certain of it has a CC0 license (pexels.com). I tipped @emilclaudell about that as well.

What I would like to do, is to offer 'free' images to the Steemit community to use as long as I get 'enough' upvotes to do so. I have plenty of images but I think I have to create fresh content to cover new content on Steemit.

The best platform to look for content would be Shutterstock, I have some images on it that do pretty well. My best photograph has been downloaded almost 700 times.

What kind of images are you looking for?

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If you think you have accidentally used an image that has been licensed then just swap it with one you are certain of it has a CC0 license (pexels.com). I tipped @emilclaudell about that as well.

With the blockchain, unless I find out before 7 days, I'm fucked.

It's not like I would know if someone mislabeled an image as CC0, without extensive research.

What I would like to do, is to offer 'free' images to the Steemit community to use as long as I get 'enough' upvotes to do so.

How were you planning on doing it? Like thumbnails, and then upvotes to unlock? Maybe with tiers based on upvotes?

The best platform to look for content would be Shutterstock, I have some images on it that do pretty well. My best photograph has been downloaded almost 700 times.

Shutterstock is a pretty popular one. There are also ones that are like grab bags though. I'd prefer that for the majority of posts. I can't afford $10 for an image on a post that's likely to earn $2-10 total. I'm not on shutterstock yet though, so maybe they have cheaper images.

Not every post requires some beautiful image. Just something there.

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When it is labeled as CC0, it should be a CC0 license. Make a print screen of it and save it.

I'm not sure yet how to do it. First I would need a bigger 'following', and I would need to get in touch with my followers who would need images for their posts on Steemit. Maybe I will create a discord channel for those who would like to use my images. With a list of needed images I could search my database for already existing images and upload them in a post free to use for up-voters only. Since I am new to the platform, it would take a while to get noticed ;-).

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Another option is to sell images under single user licenses for crypto, until you get bigger. We all get paid in crypto, so it's a lot easier than converting.

There might also be stock image sites that take crypto, but I'm not sure if there are any.

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Great idea!

Very nicely written! Was a good read.
Maybe the point of the photographer could be next? (Like "what to do when your image gets used" type of deal)

Btw... how do you "do" a ming vase? :P

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Thanks Wolv! Yeah that would be an interesting topic as well! I'll dive into it.

Haha, crap.. it was 4 AM while I was finishing the article. I'd probably do anything around that time.

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You are welcome, well it most certainly would be a topic i'd read.

Haha ah well you got it done at least and it's a nice read

Great post. I've been on Steemit for a month now and have always wondered about using stock images/gifs etc that other people have made. I see a lot on Steemit and was worried about copyright issues so just steered clear of them. Glad to know that I was on the right train of thought. Thank you for clearing it up. You made the topic funny and easy to read :)