A most enjoyable blogger which I follow has just posted that someone has used one of his images and turned it into a drawing on their blog without letting him know or even acknowledging the source of the image (or ask for permission).
This is a risk we all run, those of us who post photos, and I guess our writing can also be plagiarised. In my first year at university we were given a lecture on plagiarism and its consequences. It is just not worth it to take another’s work and pass it off as your own. It’s dishonest. And to be public discredited can have devastating consequences on one’s future. Not to mention being suspended or asked to leave the university.
Last year, a colleague who is also a popular photo blogger had her photos taken without her permission. It was not the first time. This time it was a small town newspaper (!!) which published one of her images without asking for permission. They did such a shoddy job of concealing the fact that the photo was not their original – they only cropped part of the watermark off! Have you ever…? How idiotic is that?
Many of us bloggers have disclaimers on our blogs, copyright notices, Creative Commons licenses and watermarks on our photos. We even put the watermarks right in the middle of the photo, spoiling the image but ensuring that our right to that photo is ensured.
But it is not a guarantee that someone who is not honest will take it without permission.
The best defense in these cases is to become well known and have lots of followers – which Woolly and my colleague are – such that their images are recognisable and someone will tell them about it.
Just because something is on the web doesn’t mean it’s fair game. Someone took a lot of care to prepare, and pride to present something for the enjoyment of others. That should be respected.