Are blog entries treated the same as Facebook posts from a legal standpoint?

If copyright is involved, the rules are the same for Facebook and blogs. In short, don’t infringe on someone else’s material; if someone infringes on yours, register a DMCA complaint.

Here’s some background information

Keep in mind that when you share something on Facebook (unless you copy it to your computer and re-paste it), you just have a “window” into the original picture or video on your timeline, not the actual picture or video. So copyright issues don’t really come up.

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Getting a logo or image for cheap

One of the participants in our last workshop suggested Fiverr.com as a place to get logos (and many other things, like translations and gifts) for cheap. For $5 in fact.

With any program like this, watch out for copyright violations. Although the Fiverr terms of service explicitly says that sellers cannot offer material belonging to others (images, logos, code), some sellers may violate the terms and bad things get through.

If you’re not sure about an image or logo you bought, use Google Images to check. Report any violations to Fiverr’s customer service department.

Who owns the content on my blog?

This question came up at session 3 of Websites 101, May 2013: Who owns the copyright to your blog postings, you or Blogger?

Both Blogger and WordPress say that you’re the owner of your content and will help you if you feel someone has violated your copyright. However, they reserve the right to use your content to publicize their own services.

Here is the relevant information from Google’s Blogger terms of service:

Your Content in our Services

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. [Italics added.]

But:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. [Italics added.]

In other words, Google itself may reuse your material but only to promote Blogger or one of its other services.

What If Someone Steals Your Posts?

If you think someone has infringed on your copyright by reprinting your blog posts without asking you for permission or crediting you, you can ask Google to take the infringing material down.

On WordPress, check Content Theft–What to Do for more information if you think a WordPress blogger has stolen your material.

If you’re very concerned that someone has infringed on your copyright, talk to an intellectual property lawyer such as Oscar Michelen, who has given very informative talks about copyright at Staten Island’s West Brighton Community Local Development Corporation.

Sites for artists and photographers trying to sell and protect their images

Here are three sites recommended at last night’s Websites 101 workshop:

Maggie Rose suggested Morguefiles.com as a source for free photos for comps and design projects. From the site: “The term ‘morgue file’ is popular in the newspaper business to describe the file that holds past issues flats. Although the term has been used by illustrators, comic book artist, designers and teachers as well. The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits.”

Steven Wakeman recommended Digimarc.com as a way to protect your images online. From the site: “Digimarc® for Images allows you to embed imperceptible, persistent digital watermarks into your images to communicate ownership and other information—wherever the images travel across the Internet.” If someone “borrows” your image, Digimarc catches it and sends you an email immediately. Protection for up to 2,000 images costs $99 a year.

He also suggested looking into SmugMug.com, which lets you set up a portfolio and sell images. The system has extensive image protection features as well, including a “right-click protect”–readers can’t right-click on images and copy them to their own computers.

Addendum:

Victor looked for more photo-friendly platforms after one of the members of the October 2013 class asked about free sites. Here is what he found:

http://www.photoshelter.com/

Joan mentioned this one. Oddly enough, the footer information on their home page is actually out of focus due to a shadow around the text. On purpose? A joke? I wonder… Free 14 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, SEO, between $10 and $50 per month.

http://www.bigblackbag.com/

Free 14 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, SEO, between $9 and $30 per month.

http://www.pixpa.com/

Free 15 day trial, e-commerce, responsive, social media tools, seo, no pricing info without sending info.

https://www.clickbooq.com/

Free 14 day trial, $29 per moth or $288 per year, all of the above but no e-commerce.

http://www.zenfolio.com/

Free trial (doesn’t say for how long), $30 per year for simple photo storage, $120 for pro package, which seems to include all of the above.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are quite a few packages available out there. It seems that there has been a large increase in the number of photographers since the dawn of the digital camera age.