Today’s Armchair BEA topic is “Ethics in Blogging.” What guidelines must we follow as bloggers–attribution, disclosure, honesty? Have you had an experience with plagiarism (victim or perpetrator?), and how did you deal with it? Do you have recommendations to new bloggers about how to ensure that credit is given to whom/where it’s due?
This is a topic that really hits home with me. I’m a photographer and digital artist in addition to being an author and blogger. I’ve been outspoken about plagiarism and “borrowing” content from others for a very long time. I have had numerous run ins with blogs and websites that think it is ok to take a photo or graphic that is online and put it on their own site. I’ve actually had to pursue some c&ds in this area. I had friends that wrote books about where to get content that actually recommended going to G image search and using images found there. They got a quick education and revised the book.
One problem is when bloggers think that as long as they credit the creator of the image it is OK to use. It is not. Everything, including your blog posts, is copyright protected from the moment it is created. *Protected* period. Unless there is a creative commons notice that the image can be used with credit, that is not the case. As bloggers and writers you should be extra careful, you should understand the rights of other people. Would you like it if your work showed up somewhere with “Sally wrote this”?
I wrote a book using my animal photos and text that I wrote and in the back of the book, like a good researcher does, I credited the sites that I used for reference. Apparently someone else has my text and photos somewhere because Amazon pulled the book as not being my content. I still don’t know where the “copy” of my work is.
It is hard enough dealing with plagiarism by people outside the reach of US laws, we as ethical bloggers need to ask for permission, not for forgiveness after being caught. If you didn’t create it, you can’t use it. You can include quotes of reasonable length, you can ask authors for excerpts. You can ask photographers for permission. Any less than that is unethical and will cause you to lose that precious commodity – trust. You will lose the trust of your readers and your followers. Once that is gone is is very hard to get back.
As you can tell this is a hot topic with me, and I can write about it forever, but will spare you and leave you with the points I’ve made and hope that you will think before you lift something from another site, or right click and save an image.
Leanne Yang says
I’m not a professional photographer or anything, but I still take pictures here and there that I post on a few places and social media. My hope is that no one will use it without my permission, but obviously, with all those vile people on the Internet, it’s kind of impossible. With images, I think, the least people could do would be to link back to the original place where they had “borrowed” it from.
Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know says
I think I’ve only used a photo once or twice on my blog that wasn’t my own and wasn’t a book cover for this exact reason. It’s just too hard to tell with photos where the source is–IMO. I just try to avoid it all together. Nice post!
Deborah Carney says