I began this “blogging thing” about a year ago not knowing one thing about it. I wrote a couple things and copied them to my Facebook page. Along the way, I thought I’d dress them up a little and attach a picture. No problem, I said. Go to Google images, find a picture, save it, copy it, post it to my site. Nothing stopped me. There was no copyright info on the pictures. I wasn’t selling it or making money. If it wasn’t legal, I shouldn’t be able to do it – at least not that easily. People do it all the time to Facebook. What’s the difference in posting it to a blog?
I expanded my blogs because of a diverse interest. I began to learn more and post more. I found interest from readers in news articles and photos. My readership grew and I began to wonder about copyright issues. All of this was so easy and almost encouraged. I had been sued by Getty for a free stock photo that my web developer posted fifteen years ago and it made me nervous.
I tried reading copyright laws but realized that I would need to go to law school to understand them. I then began reading posts on copyright that were written in plain English. I then became scared. What had I done? I couldn’t even go back and remove what I did because once you post on the internet, it is there forever (somewhere) whether I remove it or not.
What started as a fun way to express myself and write about subjects that I enjoy may turn out to be a litigation nightmare. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? I don’t know. Getty tried with all their legal power to wrangle $650 out of me for a tiny picture on my website.
At this point, I am tempted to close down all of my blogs and hope that no one tracks me down. Am I living in fear? If you are reading this and understand this legal nightmare and have any advice, please let me know.
I don’t shoplift or break into banks to steal. But my banker is also not giving me a key to the bank, the security code and the combination to the safe. There are safeguards along the way and clear warnings about what will happen if you hand a teller a note. On any news site or photo site, it is clearly posted and encouraged – post to FB, Twitter, etc. What is the difference between following the re-post in that way vs posting to a blog? I tried to do it the right way on Flickr and they even have a one click to post to WordPress.
Any advice? Should I move to Guatemala before I’m caught? Am I making a big deal out of this?