Avoiding Infringement Disputes
Starting a Pinterest account convinced me that I’d better learn more about copyright rules. Especially, when I couldn’t easily find the answer to the question: Is it permissible to use an image with a pin symbol found on the Web on my blog post?
The topic was not clearly addressed online as far as I could see. And studying the copyright issue in-depth revealed an endless supply of stories worthy of a reality TV show.
Theft, infringement, piracy, pilfering, or plagiarizing of someone else’s creative work is a practice that has been around for centuries.
From Romeo and Juliet to 1.5 million copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin pirated in the 1850s.
But pick any century and examples are plentiful.
Today, the Internet has amplified the problem and created a large club. For instance, in 2010, the copyright protection service estimated that 75,000 sites had infringed more than 100,000 times in a particular month.
Murky copyright laws have contributed to the problem. Some people infringe because of an honest mistake. But others do so with deliberate intent.
And many cases are outrageous.
▪ Bob Krist, an award-winning freelance photographer, has traveled the world for publications, such as National Geographic and the Smithsonian, and routinely has found his photographic paintings plastered over the Internet.
“Most sites just pilfer the photos and very few… ask for permission, and even fewer, like just about nobody, ask permission to use them and offer to pay for using them,” Krist reveals.
▪ Take the story of marketing consultant Linda Carlson, author of Advertising with Small Budgets for Big Results. While reading a weekly paper that published her Q & A column, she noticed an ad for a pamphlet. It was her material, an entire chapter from one of her books stolen and repackaged…word…for… word.
The publication refused to run more ads for the pamphlet killing sales, writes Carlson, who notes the incident, took place in the pre-Internet era.
Carlson’s Copyright Tip: “Another excellent way to track such piracy is with Google Alerts.
Set up an alert for something in your content that may be a little offbeat, and Google will report whenever it finds that say, reprinted on someone’s website.”
▪ Consider the account of a veteran educator Shelley Heisler owner of The Teaching Bank: “I was burned pretty badly by [a company I had an eight-year relationship with], and I was unable to sue because I didn’t have my units [teaching materials] registered. I wish I could go back in time and register so I could have sued and found justice in their violation of my work.”
▪ And there is my case: Back in 2008, I contacted an official and sent him 25 pages of a revised version of Finding Your Niche. He later began calling and wanted to see the entire book and encouraged me to complete what was a time-consuming long-delayed project.
He agreed to review the entire work and offer feedback. When the project was completed, I sent a gift certificate for the eBook from a large independent bookstore, but he called to say that he had spent hours with the download and customer service but could not download the title.
Horrified that he had wasted so much time, I immediately ordered a custom-bound copy, sent via FedEx, and followed up a week later with a phone call…Never heard from him again.
What he wanted was the manuscript.
My original work was registered with the copyright office, but what a nightmare. Since he was quoted in the book, I had to pull it offline and pay to revise and remove all references.
I could not risk someone else contacting him because of my book.
In retrospect, without adding more details about the person, I don’t know what I could have done differently. The Gentleman, in a reputable position, seemed above reproach.
The lesson here is that no one is above reproach and theft of creative property may come from some faceless person on the Web or from someone who you believe is trustworthy.
Do you know the answers?
1. When the copyright violator is a non-profit, accountability is lessened. T or F?
2. Images or creative content before 1921 is public domain material T or F
3. Federal and State government material is in the public domain Tor F?
4. “Out of print” is synonymous with “public domain” T or F
5. Which of the items a-g have been involved in copyright conflicts?
Circle the answers you believe are correct.
a. Unpublished manuscript
e. Unpublished diaries
f. Old newspaper photos
This is the strangest answer key I’ve ever posted,
but it illustrates how confusing the subject can be at times.
2. True and False, The content in question may be
restricted in some manner.
3. True or False. The documents may include photographs
or other literary work prepared by a subcontractor who holds the copyright.
4. Technically, a-b, d-g.
And the answer to the Pinterest stumper is yes and no…
Pinterest cannot grant rights outside their domain,
but if the copyright holder agrees then…
Independent Book Publishers Association
Summary: Do you know who’s using your content?
Tactics for finding out
February 2010, Linda Carlson.
Independent Book Publishers Association-Online
Summary: Has your copyright escaped notice? Six questions
you probably never thought to ask.
Independent Book Publishers Association-Online (ibpa)
Summary: Republishing Realities: Advice from the trenches.
The article Includes details about Image Cascade Press and their struggle, along with the legal owner of the rights, to stop the unauthorized publishing of a series of books penned by the copyright holder’s mother, now deceased, actress and military wife Jane Lambert.
Shelley Heisler’s Blog
Summary: The importance of protecting Intellectual Property
Summary: The site includes a montage of jaw-dropping
shots from around the world
Tuscan town ties to copyright landscapes
USA Today Article
Summary: Contests seek unfair intellectual property rights
Ironies About The Photo Biz
Summary: How dancing footprints triggered a lawsuit
Pinterest Heads Up
Be aware that a Pinterest symbol on any image found on a website does not automatically signify the owner wants his or her images pinned. It may mean they forgot to block or in some cases were unaware their images were showing as pinable.
7 Sites AIIP.org Experts Suggest
Summary: Pixabay, one of several sites referenced in an article listing
free stock photo sources.
Note, some of
the photographers request credit
in return for use of their images.
Summary: Royalty free and low-cost
Fine Art America.com
Summary: “Pinterest enables copyright theft on a Global Scale.”
Discussion of the downside of the Pinterest concept
and the love-and-hate attitude that many artists have about the platform.
Google Images Advanced
Choose options from search usage rights, including
“free to use” or share, even commercially.”
Note: Place keywords into the search box at
1. Go to the gear wheel, upper right corner of the results page,
and click 2. Advanced Search, 3. scroll down to Usage Rights.
Also, see Support Google.com/images usage rights
Summary: Using Google Images Can Cost You $8,000
Summary: Piracy police hijack ads
on copyright-infringing websites.
Nolo Q & A
Dear Rich blog.blogspot/2013
Summary: Can I use old newspaper articles and photos?
When Someone Steals Your Great Business Idea
Note: Noncopyright issues
Saving the newspaper industry one lawsuit at a time
Summary: Attributor’s anti-piracy trial begins/in February 2010
Summary: Prevent content theft
Summary: 5 Reasons Plagiarism Detection Difficult/2013
and businesses protest copyright proposals.
Summary: Popular copyright myths
Public domain sherpa.com
Wall Street Journal.com/201
Summary: How to use Pinterest without breaking the law.
Don’t get stuck Pinterest lawyers to warn.
Students Get $5000 Legal Demand for Using CC Image on a Blog: Pay attention to the terms of the license! Medium, Susie Kearley, October 26, 2022
View at Medium.com
Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free……Cory Doctorow
Summary: Boing Boing associate editor and
science fiction author discusses copyright conflicts
and tech issues facing creative industries and solo artists
in today’s world. Interesting Q & A.
Cory Doctorow: A New Deal for Copyright