Jul 13, 2010

A little matter of ethics

Anyone who has read my blog at all over the past few years knows that I sometimes like to jazz up my posts with a picture every now and again. Add a little visual flair to some otherwise boring posts, if you will.

And there was a time that I had no problem just doing a quick Google Image search, downloading a jpeg file of my choice from wherever and then uploading it to my Blogger post. Nary a thought went into who actually owns these properties, if anyone.

But lately, I've been trying to be a better blogger. Well, "better" might be a stretch. How about more responsible?

There is a common image warehouse available on Wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons) that seems to be as close to an ethical place as any to snag images. On my post about Tomoe Gozen last week, I grabbed an image they had on the site that had fallen into the public domain a long time ago. That felt clean to me.

But what do you all do? What do you all think?

I'm too lazy to constantly snap my own photos that might go along well with my posts, so grabbing images off of the Internet is my go-to play in this arena. With that in mind, I have a few questions:
  1. Do you download images off the Internet to post on your blog?
  2. Do you use a common image warehouse or will any image do?
  3. Do you credit the image source?
  4. If so, do you research that source to make sure they were the ORIGINAL source?
  5. How often do you masturbate?  (Sorry...thought I could slip that one in)
  6. Even if I use something like Wikipedia Commons, is naming the image source necessary?
  7. What, ethically, are we bloggers required to do in a world in which nicking someone else's images is so damn easy?
Now I have never been contacted to remove an image from my blog, but it is something I have thought about.  The only change, besides trying to only get pictures from Wikipedia recently, that I have made to my image policy in the past was something that NYC Watchdog wrote about a long time ago.  I'd provide the link, but it really was a long time ago.  It had to do with Blogger's two ways of embedding pictures.  One was from a file on your computer and the other was from a link to someone else's site.  He wrote about how using the second option was wrong because you would be stealing someone else's bandwidth or something.  I'm not sure about the technical aspects of it, but it made sense to me at the time so I stopped doing it.  Frankly, I'm not even sure that Blogger has that option anymore.

My point of this whole schmeggegie, is that I'm trying to to the right thing here.  If not in the past, then at least going forward.  And I'd genuinely like to hear your opinion.  Especially about question #5.
___________________________________________________
Note: Remember to play the Badgerdaddy Trivia Challenge every day. That often?  You dirty birds!

20 comments:

RW said...

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it. Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.

Poppy said...

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it. Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.

(See, yah, wrong to steal.)

(RW's comment taken without permission, but only to make a point.)

(That up there is RW's comment, not Poppy's, but I agreed with it so much that I'm reiterating it! Yes! Reiterating1!!!!)

Water Logged Canine said...

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.

I just stole this stolen post and masturbated...THRICE!

Hoo-yah!

Mrs. Hall said...

I try to make the images relevant to the post itself. I do a google or bing search and find what I need.

And unless I really like the source, I don't mention where I got it. And I don't really number five unless Mr. Hall has been away for a while, at least two days.

We are but small, but mighty, blogs. No money is made here. No need to mention where we got the images, No harm, no foul.

RW said...

See? We still run this. Also, we still run this.

Slyde said...

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.


Honestly, i cant be bothered to take my own pictures or to become Columbo to try to track down where each image i use on my little blog comes from.

Raine said...

I try to use my own pics or I use very few pics. But my thoughts are if I find the pic on a big-ish site like wikipedia or my city's site I don't credit, but if it is a fellow blogger like myself I'll link back to them.

Mrs. Hall said...

wait, what is stealing bandwidth?

also:

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.

B.E. Earl said...

I like how this worked out! ;)

RW - Yeah, I think that's basically gonna be my new policy.

Poppy - Yeah, I think that's basically gonna be my new policy. :)

Doggie - Only thrice? Son, I am disappoint.

Holly - So you only reference the source if you actually like the source? Interesting...

RW - Yes you do.

Slyde - Well, it's fairly easy to see where you got the image from. Tracking down where it originally came from can be hard.

Raine - that's a good policy.

Holly - Blogger offers you a couple of ways of putting pics on your blog. One of them is uploading a pic from your pc. That's good. One of them is using the URL of the pic from someone else's site. That's bad. So if you see a pic you like, save it on your pc first and then upload it to Blogger. Otherwise you (and Blogger) are stealing someone's bandwidth. See?

Heff said...

Hell, I figure it's all "public domain", anyway.

But I DO upload from my PC rather than link the url.

i am the diva said...

1. - yes.
2. - pretty much any image.
3. - if i can plainly see that the image belongs to someone else, i.e. a watermark, or the blog says: "here's a photo i took of the neighbour's dog tangoing with the cat"
4. - no. i don't have time for that...
5. - depending on the time of the month anywhere from 3 - 9 times a week.
6. i don't know, i kinda think it only matters to the person who took or owns the picture. does the rest of the blogging world care?
7. i would love to source every image i "borrow" on my blog... i would love to use all my own photos... but sometimes that doesn't happen. If i can see who it belongs to without too much effort, i will credit it.

sybil law said...

Never link to somebody else's server. Give credit where you can. Always download into blogger from your hard drive. But I don't always mention where I got it. Spent too much time at 4chan to get beyond the "if you put it on the web, it's ours" thing, for right or wrong. But wrong to steal bandwidth. That's a high crime.


I like to use pictures that say ON them where they came from, so I don't have to give credit. However, if that's not possible, I don't really deal with it. If Dave Grohl wants to bitch to me, he can show up here naked and bitch to me himself.

B.E. Earl said...

Heff - good boy!

Diva - Well, you answered the only question that I really cared about anyway. ;)

Sybil - You'd like that, wouldn't you? :)

Faiqa said...

I don't use pictures. Because my writing is THAT good.

Heh.

But, if I did, I would follow the RW motto.

B.E. Earl said...

Faiqa - Ahem...maybe a picture or two now and then wouldn't hurt, ifyaknowwhatimean. :)

Kevin Spencer said...

I masturbate every...wait, you almost got me there.

Anyhoo, I'm surprised Blogger let you hijack an image from another site. I've had to add some rules in my .htaccess file in the past to stop people doing that to the images I have on my server.

These days I only add my own pics to my blog posts and don't really remember the last time I used a random image from the intertubes.

B.E. Earl said...

Kevin - I just checked and Blogger still lets you do it.

marty mankins said...

Let's see, in numerical order of questions you asked:

1. Yes, I do. About 30% of them. The other 70% are images I personally took or own.

2. I try to use sources like Flickr or Picasa, but some come from searching on images.google.com

3. I always do.

4. I try to find the original to use, but that doesn't always end up happening.

5. 3 times a week

6. I always like to give credit for any image I use, regardless where it comes from.

7. Some sites have ways of disabling URL linking or downloading of images. I would much rather have people use watermarks to protect their images.

B.E. Earl said...

Marty - Only the second respondent to answer #5. Well done!

Bruce said...

Nope, I steal from the internet when ever and where ever I can. I am an anarchist, and the net is a free for all.

As for question #5, about 5 times a day......they are so prodigious, if I don't drain the family jewels, they might explode.