Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 11, 2010
You know, there are times when you battle with ethical issues, and you’re either ready to give up on them or just move on. I don’t struggle with that issue often, but once I think about something that involves an ethical decision, I just have to work my way through it.
This time, the ethical thing concerns images that I’ve been putting into this blog. Truth be told, for me there were two issues out there. One, those images that you knew belonged to someone else, and two, those that you couldn’t confirm.
Of course, there’s been the debates and the discussions I’ve seen online. My friend Scott, who has a photography blog, got me into a discussion one day on the topic. My point to him is that I have papers filed with the government proving my copyright, that I can put a symbol on any of my work (I’ve got music and my first book copywritten), and that by adding that copyright symbol at the end of my stuff (and, these days, that copyright thing you see at the end of most of my posts), show that I own the copyright. However, with images, if there’s no watermark, or no copyright symbol on a website, or no attribution anywhere, that it becomes very difficult to figure out whether an image has a copyright or not. His belief is that one can always find it; mine is that at times it’s literally impossible.
Regardless, the issue is still out there. Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to do this for every image, because I sometimes get an image from Imagekind, which I’m an affiliate for, and of course there are times when you know someone put together a mashup of sorts that, if there’s a copyright that’s been violated, so be it, but there is a way to help get around this type of thing.
If you notice, today’s image and yesterday’s image has attribution. It turns out that you can get images from Flickr, a site I’d never gone to unless someone sent me a picture they wanted me to send and it was there, and find images you can use. Seems there’s this search function you can select that will find photos based on a description you put in and, most of the time, they allow you to use the image if you give them attribution and link back to their Flickr page with the image.
I’m not going to portray myself as any kind of genius for figuring this out, however. I got the information from Hubspot’s story titled How To Use Creative Commons To Add Images To Your Blog. There’s a video there, and I’m really glad because I wouldn’t have figured it out without that. And there’s one other thing. Something they tell you that you can do in the video is actually something you can only do if you have a Flickr account, which I won’t because I don’t have any photos that I’m ever going to pop up on any site like that. So, I have to do it the long way, write my code and add the image in a much different way. But no matter; at least I’ve found a place where, if I use those images, I know I’m in the clear.