Since I am feeling a little grumpy due to my squirrel battles, I thought to pass on a tip or more precisely, an untip. It goes out to the bloggers that comment on using photos not owned by the blog author.
This has been going on as long as blogging has been popular. I am guilty as charged, because on rare occasion I post images I receive by email, so that my readers can enjoy what I find to be funny, beautiful or educational. Most of my images are my own work and not retouched. And those I can credit, receive the acknowledgement and thanks.
These emailed images frequently have no blog to link to and are not signed or copyrighted. Copyright law seems a bit foggy when it comes to blogging. The transient post may only last hours on the homepage. Yes, it lives on the blog and web for as long as it is on the host server, but I digress. That is not my main point.
Where this piracy is most prevalent is in the interior design blogs. Without using images from the web, magazines and books, most of these blogs would be without their main tools, photographs of beautifully designed spaces. Without the images use, blogging would almost be dead as a door nail. Some of these images I have seen scores of times, jumping from magazine to web, blog to blog.
Since I have been reading these blogs longer than garden blogs, I have seen the many sides to this issue. I have heard from magazine editors and photographers. Photographers ask for permission and credit. Editors ask to credit the shelter magazine who have paid for the photos.
Most of the time there is no problem since bloggers are an important means of promotion. And what I learned from podcast discussion on this subject, this has been to court. I do not know the outcome, but the argument was blogging is educational. As long as it has no monetary gain and remains just a source of information, the use of images originally found on the web did not pose monetary loss to the owner. Well, I would love to have the real answers on this from those in the know. Like the interiors crew, I have many images of landscaping I would love to critique.
I listen to a very popular interiors blog podcast. It is called The Skirted Round Table. I love this blog and the individual blog authors.
This is where I hear these issues of blogging etiquette and photo use debated. These woman designers interview top names in the industry. And I am talking the very best designers, architects, and shelter magazine editors in the country. These woman are very knowledgable and good interviewers. Between them, they also have varying opinions on this subject. But guess who has the more popular blog between them? The one that routinely uses photos from books and magazines.
Only in the last year or so, has this very large group of bloggers started crediting. Not all of them do it, but many more are stating an image source.
And for all the bloggers who take offense to other’s using borrowed photos, I wonder how many of them enhance their own images. Very many I am sure. With big name photo editors out there, that I will not name, it is a one step process to upload an image and use a an application that has a series of effects and filters all bundled into one great algorithm that is one stop shopping for the casual photographer. In goes the mediocre, out comes the fabulous.
The above image is not the shot taken. It is a Photoshop retouch using an action I created and called Foggy Day. Many steps went into making this action, but by creating the action, it is just like these online photo apps. I start the action and any photo I want instantly looks like a foggy day.
In fact, I created the action and image today just to make the point in my post. What you see is not what actually was. With some more needed work, I can make the fog image pretty darn good. But it served my purpose as an example.
This is the original, un-retouched image below, not one of any particular value or even good photography. My point is not whether the fog image is better or worse, it is not the original. A make-believe of sorts.
And many images that you see in magazines have similar effects applied. So is that the photographer’s real image or has it been worked on by masters of editing? I can easily see how this issue would get foggy in any court of law or public opinion.