|Self-portrait, Lower Belvedere Palace, Vienna|
It's depressing for a visual artist such as myself, that there are now so many bloggers and Pinterest pinners and Facebook sharers (and splogs!) out there with really bad manners. Seems like every time I talk to a photographer they are complaining about blogs and Pinterest and the users of the world wide web's lack of respect for copyright and original content.
So in a concerted effort not to rant (too much), here is a post on simple policies on sharing content you can enact for your blog, to make it better, more relevant, and ultimately more interesting.
1. Use original content.
What is the purpose of your blog? Assuming you want people to read what you are publishing, think about why. The blogosphere is too full of compiler blogs that just re-post other articles or images or entire blog posts from elsewhere without any comment or editing. They are boring. They make their authors look boring. Obvious gimmicks trying to drum up traffic using other people's images or writing is boring. Please, don't be boring. Have something to say, put your own mark on what you are doing, reveal a new insight, say what you think! Original content will make your blog a valued resource and garner its own, unique following. Use your blog to express something of yourself. Otherwise, really, what's the point?
2. When you post your own images, mark them.
Whenever possible if you can add your name or blog address to your image prior to posting it, then it will be clear, wherever else it ends up, where it came from. This can take a little time to do nicely but it's worth it. I don't think it needs to be stamped across the front obscuring the images, but just noticeable enough. If you are concerned about not being given proper credit, insist on it, by marking your images.
3. State your sharing policy
A Creative Commons License makes it easy for you to state your policy on sharing and use of your work. If you are publishing under a Creative Commons License, as I generally am, (see my side bar) your readers will have access to a detailed policy on sharing your work.
If you want to retain full copyright, and not have anything pinned or shared or copied, there is a license for that, too, or you can simply say so. At the wonderful blog Art and Alfalfa, the copyright notice is posted directly under the header. I respect Gina's copyright and if I want to share her beautiful and original work with you I can ask her myself, or I can simply repeatedly link to her lovely site so you can go there and see it.
|I admit I was pretty flattered to see so much of my work from both my portfolio and my blog being shared at Pinterest. Note that all of my images are marked and that Pinterest does link back to me. so we're cool.|
4. Please, give credit where it's due!
I understand the enthusiastic sharing of beautiful images, but it's just bad manners not to respect a posted policy and in many cases it's also illegal.
Cite sources for images you are posting, and wherever possible the name of the designer, photographer, artist, etc. in the caption or elsewhere in the post. Do not just swipe images, or do screen captures, to illustrate your blog. Make some effort to give credit. Your readers might really want to know where those leopard print loafers came from, or who did that beautiful painting. The original creator of that image was nice enough to share it; don't be rude by not acknowledging their contribution.
Citing "via Pinterest" is not really giving credit, it's a cop-out that translates to "co-opted from someone else's research." If you did get an image from Pinterest (or Google or Bing or Wikipedia, etc) you should at least link back to it, or better yet, go to that image and click on it and it will take you to its original site. You won't have to drill down far to find its original source. Make the small effort to give credit and you appear knowledgeable, trustworthy, and connected.
|Before posting this image on Pinterest, I researched its origin using src-img|
This is a marvelous free bookmarklet: put it in your browser toolbar, and when you click on it, it will ask you which image you are looking for-click on the question marks (see above) and it will deliver a Google search of the image or ones similar to it to assist you in finding the original source of it. I have been able to track down the origin of an image in 10 seconds or less. Surely you can spare 10 seconds to find the author or source of an image. Don't you want to know where that wonderful image came from? The above image I traced back to Bruxelles Antiques, a wonderful site full of gorgeous, original images, well worth a visit.
5. There is no # 5. I just though 5 in the title sounded better than 4. The only no 5 that matters is Chanel No 5.