Why I may never blog again

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?

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About Brian Fulmer

Brian is the owner of Crossroads Property Management Inc. (www.crossroadsproperty.com) He writes six blogs and has written two books. He also works with various missions around the world. His first love is Guatemala.
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4 Responses to Why I may never blog again

  1. I’m not sure about the exact details of the issue of copyright, but I have been finding images on Google for a few months now (I blog weekly or thereabout). Whenever I find an image that isn’t from a free stock photo, I make sure that the final line of my post contains the location where I received the image and a link back to the source. So far, I have not received any trouble. This is just my experience.
    –JW

  2. aeternitate says:

    As I understood it, the injured party needs to send a cease and desist letter first and you should remove the picture. As long as you remove the picture, you should be fine.

    If they are asking for $650 dollars, they must think they have damages–meaning they think you made money off the picture. If you didn’t make any money, they really shouldn’t have a case.

    Let us know what happens.

    • I settled with them for $300. That picture was on a commercial website so it was different than a blog. I researched and talked with a lawyer. Google “Getty scam”. It is amazing what they are doing to people. Thanks for the input!

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