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Welcome to my blog. Here, you will find information about my novels, life in Japan, as well as author interviews, discussions on writing, and more. Feel free to browse and if you enjoy a post, please comment. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where Did All The Pictures Go?

If you are looking at the archives, perhaps re-reading a favorite post of yours (most likely you’re not :( ), you’ll notice many photos are gone. I went through both versions of Resonant Blue, Tumblr and Blogger, and removed every picture that wasn’t mine or given to me by an author for blogging/interview purposes.
Copyright infringement and fair use is one of the biggest and longest-running battles on the Net. The basic rule is: if the photo doesn’t belong to you, you can’t post it. Which means that 99% of what’s on Tumblr and Pinterest is illegal. Almost everyone is breaking the law. It is so difficult to enforce this law. Most people feel they won’t actually get sued by the original owner of the photo, so they feel free to take what they need from Google, Flickr, and other places. Having pictures in your posts make a stronger reading impact, as well as placing your blog higher in search engine results. Search algorithms give higher priority to posts with pictures than without.
Sometimes, pictures are necessary. Gardening, cooking, and almost any how-to blog practically require pictures. And what about the cool cosplayers showing off their hard work and fandom? They need to showcase their stuff. People are visual, and like looking at stuff; the whole “1000 words” thing.
What are Netizens to do? I don’t know if this topic will ever be solved. I feel that some types of photos should automatically be public domain/fair use. Logos, movie posters, book covers, CD and DVD covers, and business advertisements I think should be fair game. Any blogger should be free to use the Starbucks logo any time they want, as long it isn’t being morphed and Photoshopped to be made into a different product. Photos of celebrities and public figures should be fair also. But that is where the situation can get tricky. A picture of Obama released by Getty Images should be okay, but a Obama picture taken by someone’s camera phone while the president is in a parade shouldn’t. That picture belongs to the owner. This topic has a lot of gray area of what belongs to whom.
Maybe technology can make things easier. Maybe an app, or even a built-in feature in phones and cameras can make an automatic copyright notice for every picture taken. For example, every time you set up a new laptop or smartphone you have to enter your name and all sorts of information. Perhaps a line that says “Property of___” can be something to fill out. Then every photo taken with that digital camera or smartphone will automatically be tagged with that copyright line. When it is posted online or shared electronically, that mark will be with it. But as soon as that technology is made, I’m sure someone will invent a way to strip it. It will be a never ending battle.
As a professional author, I need to be more responsible about what I post. Instead of using photos willy-nilly like I use to, I’ll post only selected photos. I will have to learn my way around Wikipedia and Creative Commons. Until then, the blog will look a bit more bland. But don’t worry, it will have all the great content that nobody is commenting on. :)
Thanks for reading.

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