Hearing about Roni Loren’s legal issues with copyright infringement is a wake-up call. Like her, most of the blogs I’ve seen seem to post pictures found through Google without mention of the original source, though I have noticed some of the bigger websites use stock photos. Honestly, I’ve never even given the issue any thought. It’s easy to forget about that images on the internet have to come from someone’s camera when websites like Reddit and Tumblr, which basically repost to oblivion, exist. But like Loren, ignorance of the law won’t absolve me from anything should I happen to get sued. Now I feel silly for never even thinking about why certain blogs would choose to use stock photos when it’s way easier to do a quick search.
Since the purpose of my blog is to review and talk about books, it’s going to be difficult for me to find pictures of the books I mention without infringement. I could get around this by taking pictures of books myself, but since I’ve mostly been listening to audiobooks for my blog I don’t really have physical book covers at my disposal to photograph. The Creative Commons has very limited pictures of authors and book covers, so I will have to jump through a few hoops and be creative if I want my blog to have more than just text. Still, it’s better than posting someone else’s image and getting sued.
I definitely understand why resources like Creative Commons are important. It’s so easy to bemoan having to avoid using images that don’t explicitly give permission to use, but then you have to consider that actual people created the pictures in the first place. I don’t know for sure what I plan on doing after graduation, but I’ve always entertained the idea that I’ll be writing in some way–be it freelance, for a magazine or website, or even novels. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if anybody just copied words that I’ve written and pasted them willy-nilly onto their own site. They don’t even have to claim ownership of my work, just the act of posting without permission or accreditation is betrayal enough. Considering that artists live off their work, sharing without consent is like robbing them of potential income. Honestly, I’d sue over something like that.
Since I’m a pretty terrible photographer, I don’t really know if I’ll be able to contribute to Creative Commons in a meaningful way. I can definitely create a Flickr account to post pictures I’ve taken of books for others to use, though I don’t know for sure if anybody would really want to use them. As a blogger, I’m definitely going to utilize the Creative Commons because blogs need more than words to sustain themselves. I have seen bloggers put a CC license on their site to gain exposure, which I may look into further and consider for my own. Truthfully, I don’t really think I’d be willing to license any of my creative fictional work through Creative Commons because that’s something I can actually sell for profit (which I need to eat, thanks).