Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cleaning up my act

I read a scary and important post at Roni Loren's blog today that nearly made me throw up in fright.

You can be sued for using pics on your blog.

Pics you don't own, pics you don't have permission to use, pics that are still in copyright.

In a nutshell, unless you took the photos yourself, or you have paid a fee and have permission to use them, you can't use them.

As an author, I am a creator too. I should darn well know better than to use someone else's stuff without permission.

When I make a trailer, I buy the pictures from a stock image site and I know I have permission to use them because I paid for it. The trailer doesn't directly make money, but it's using someone else's artistic endeavours to promote my books and further my career.

I used music in the trailer that was already in the trailer-creator's media bank of copyright-free music.

When I made business cards, I used their stock cartoon image they already had of a ferret, and used their fonts that were already in their system.

And yet, I didn't do this with the blog. I got lazy. I got careless. I might not have been aware of breaching copyright but I should have been. Sure, I often credited where I'd nicked the picture from, but that isn't the same as getting permission.

Luckily for me, I didn't get sued.

I am so sorry this happened to Roni, but I'm glad she was able to share her experiences with others so that knuckleheads like me - educated people who should know better - don't hash things up.

For now, I have taken all the previous articles off the blog and will be re-posting them over time, either with photos I have taken, photos I've paid for, or no photos at all.


Heather said...

I knew this could happen but I had no idea it had happened to one of our friends! I've been much more careful about using images since I first heard about this possibility about a year ago. It's good that the awareness is spreading.

Ebony McKenna. said...

Hi Heather,
yep, I feel terrible for Roni because this is one of those things where a blogger might not even realise they're doing the wrong thing.

I've taken this on as a huge warning. I'm counting my lucky stars I haven't been sued and have made a resolution to be a more responsible blogger (and writer) from now on.