Giving credit where it’s due…

Some of you may have noticed at the end of my last blog post, I gave credit to a man I have never met for the photo of the delectable looking peanut butter and jelly sandwich I used as the cover photo for the post.

I told you who took the picture, where I found it and I told you I edited it.

Because I don’t want to be sued. (I’m a 20 year old college student, a lawsuit is not in the budget right now)

Now, if you’re anything like me, you love the internet. You pride yourself on the things you can find in the deepest, darkest depths of the World Wide Web.

Seriously, it’s like everything anyone ever does is published and immortalized in some form or manner on the internet. I love it. I’ll never miss anything.

But there are people like me who love the internet, who are unlike me in the sense that they deem everything they can dig up out of the deepest, darkest depths of the World Wide Web as free for their own personal use with no limits at all.

Cue Pocahontas singing, “You think you own whatever land you land on…”

And sure, there are some things out there on the internet that are entirely free for use in any way with no added stipulations. But, more often than not, things are copyrighted. And using them without abiding by the restrictions set by the owner, is copyright infringement.

The internet has seriously complicated things in terms of copyright law.

So, there’s something called Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Basically, DRM is an approach to copyright protection for all things digital and an aim to prevent unauthorized use and distribution of digital media.

DRM is such a good thing for this age of internet access. Especially for professionals who are sharing and selling their content on the internet.

DRM ensures everyone has rights (rights they choose and specify) to the things they carefully produce.

Take photographers, for example. This article puts it best when it says the “ease of online access makes ‘stealing’ photographs more common.”

Photographers face their photographs being illegally downloaded and used every day.
How would you feel if someone came into your house, took your finger-painting artwork off the refrigerator, and then displayed it in the window of their business as an advertisement without giving you any credit?

I know I wouldn’t be happy.

So while many believe that the internet is for sharing and everything should be shared for free, I disagree.

If someone didn’t create something through their own effort, then they shouldn’t be able to take credit for it.

So, I’m going to help you all out, using last week’s blog’s photo credit as an example. This is how to make sure you’re using created content within the parameters the creator has set, and how to make sure you’re not in danger of a lawsuit.

1. I found the photo I wanted (via Flickr)

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2. I clicked on information

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3. I scrolled to find the license information. In this case, it was “Some rights reserved.”

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4. Clicking on the “license” section lead me to the Creative Commons website where I learned what the symbols mean and if I could use the photo.

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So, if you’re creating something you intend to publish or share, make sure you’re abiding by the licensing rules on any photo or content you intend to use.

Just because you can find it through Google doesn’t mean it’s all yours for the taking.

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