Right-clicking Images from Websites, Pinterest and Google

The great artist and fellow blogger Lisa at Zeebra Design have posted this very important information about using other peoples pictures. It is well worth reading.

Zeebra Designs & Destinations

This past weekend some friends and I were discussing how some people use images from Pinterest, Facebook and Google Images.  I shared a copyright infringement story with them, and told how shocked I have been recently to find so many of my images ‘shared’ on Pinterest.  But I should be honored, right? Flattered that an award-winning photograph had been ‘pinned’ without my permission and uploaded, and basically been given to the world wide web to be used however they’d like!  I think that that person who pinned the above image agreed before adding the image that they owned or had permission to share it.

This past week WordPress put their spotlight on reblogging and also on Using Other People’s Images.   Both posts received a lot of interesting feedback, including a link to  DON’T STEAL MY STUFF, DUDE  – Laura at ‘Lolabees’ states her clear case and…

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23 thoughts on “Right-clicking Images from Websites, Pinterest and Google

  1. Thanks for sharing Bente.

    I don’t like reblogging an image per se, but I have occasionally recommended a Photographer’s web site or blog site by giving the link – which of course directly quotes the Artist’s name and site (not an actual single image).

    But I do admit that when I was writing articles for a Health Forum in my early days of Internet access, I used to illustrate my article with photos picked up off the internet ( many many years ago). I had no idea I might have been doing something illegal. I had no idea of copyrights. I genuinely just wanted to find a nice photo that illustrated my article. I think there are many people who unintentionally break copyrights in this way.

    I like to think that now, I am a little wiser and more prudent. I don’t like bloggers that do nothing else but upload other peoples images (full time) and give nothing of themselves in their website or blog – any person’s images. There are of course, photo-sharing sites that have artist’s permission and write a little introductory sentence or paragraph – that’s different.

    And I don’t mind if someone re-directs their viewers to my WordPress blog OR uploads a photo as part of an article, credits me, and THEN, writes a paragraph about why they liked my photo i.e. puts my photo in a context within their own article. Even so, I would prefer that they asked me first.

    But then I don’t make a living from Photography.

    If I made a living from Photography, I would horrified if someone ‘stole’ my images and/or made money out of my images without my permission.


    1. In the beginning I was very sceptical to reblogging, I got a feeling people were borrowing others content. No I don’t mind, I think. Personally I prefer to read and to see pictures people have made by themselves, but of course, a good reblog can also be interesting. Thanks for your long and interesting comment, Vicki.


  2. I saw this posted a few times yesterday. I think unless you ‘water mark’ your work, anything you put ont he web is free game. I am not saying this is right, but how are you going to stop the billions of users. The people who read this article are most likely the ethical folks, the people who will never see it are the ones pinning photos and using or re purposing them. For me, so I don’t live with so much stress, if I post it, it is public. I have a copyright statement. Hopefully people who see my stuff are the ethical ones…


    1. I agree, Nancy, we can’t stop billions of users, but I think a bit more awareness is ok, and thats what Z’s piece is offering. And a subject to discuss.


  3. Hi Bente
    I fully agree with what all the things who are writed here. Nobody can still slicing and say that it’s not knowing..Respect for the work of others but I fear that it will be worse. Once I gave permission to someone to use a picture and he sent that approval to a lot of friends around, even to a Russian ambasade.When I ever written that person back, he was naughty and said authorization obtained from the owner should be passed .to others. I have that person obligaded to remove the image or I would take further steps and would no hear from a refusion.


    1. It is so much trouble when people don’t respect your work and you want to do something about it. I hope you are not right about it getting worse, but that might be the case…


  4. Thank you, Bente, for addressing this on your website. I made my living as a photographer for many years and empathize with all those who do so these days. My own children grew up knowing that I fed them with money made from the sale of images and hearing frequent lessons about the importance of respecting copyright but the tide of avarice or greed or whatever you want to call it overwhelmed them. How did we get to this place??? We can blame society for sweeping us along toward life without principle. We can blame the internet for making theft so easy and impersonal and invisible. We can blame everybody (after all, everybody is doing it). In the end, the decision to infringe upon the rights of others is a personal choice that we must make for ourselves. Our culture seems to be a tidal wave sweeping us away from all sense of right and wrong, but I continue to hope that one just person can make a difference. I hope that all good parents will continue to diligently seek to inspire character and integrity in their children, and teach them to honor and respect other people. I believe that is the only effective antidote.


    1. Z adressing this, I following up, because I think a lot of bloggers needs more information and we all needs this discussion now and then. Thanks for your story, Dave. Interesting. I knew your father was a very good photographer, and that you are a very good photographer (I admire and enjoy), but I thought you were a teacher also. As you are. 🙂 And by the way I don’t think one person can make a difference agains this big wave, but we all could try to make a difference. And good teachers and parents needed.


  5. That’s interesting stuff, and I do try to be careful and respectful of the fact that images are personal property – though I have occasionally used images from public bodies such as the BBC, and acknowledged them. But I had no idea that ‘Pinterest’ was a problem area. My own use of it is as a personal recipe folder, so I clip ideas from the web, often blogs, for my own use, in much the way I used to cut out recipes from newspapers and stick them in a scrapbook. I try to keep the thing for my own use only. But clearly I need to check this out.


  6. I deleted my pinterest page. It was only drawing and painting from Great Masters, photo, and of course a photograph who did it. I never toughts to all I read here about Pinterest. I ask me and I ask it to everybody : Why do we post our photography, drawing or painting on the net ? To share I think. 😉 There’s allways somebody somewhere who will take a copy of our photography. I like so much all the photo I see on this blog and if I wanted to make a sketch or a painting from one I will ask for the rights to Bente. Sometimes I found beautiful photo on google search, how to know the owner of this ? Thanks to share this topics.


    1. I have not been so worried about Pinterest, if the pinned pictures or other kinds of work credits and links to the creator. But must admit I haven’t looked much at Pinterest, so I might maybe start worrying? I think if you sketch or paint from one of my pictures (or others) it would be a work of your own. As long as you are doing your own work, not just making an identical copy but adding your style, your way of seeing, you are not violating any copyright. Permission granted. 🙂


      1. According to US copyright law if you sketch or paint from an image that is not Public Domain (and offer it for sale or put it in a magazine etc) without permission from the creator you have violated the law. This was a recent discussion in one of my online art groups with questions being answered by several lawyers. The copyright expires 70 years after the creator’s death. Unfortunately the protection granted to individuals such as yourself is also extended to corporations that never die and therefore maintain copyright for as long as the corporation exists. What that means is that an artist cannot paint a picture of say John F Kennedy from an A.P. photo and offer it for sale. With the laws as they exist now Marcel Duchamp might not have created his “Mona Lisa”. That said, most people are completely ignorant of the law and do whatever they want.


  7. What’s really a shame about this (among other things) is that it’s often not hard at all to secure permission. I wrote a post about a world premiere piece by John Adams (a great contemporary composer, if you don’t know him, worth finding out about his work) and had no photographs of the concert. I saw some beautiful photographs and wrote the photographer, who in turn wrote to the Lincoln Center Press Office (little did I know, but he had been the official photographer for the premiere and also often does photography for cultural events for the New York Times). I figured there was no chance, given my tiny little blog, but within an hour I had permission, as well as the gorgeous photographs you see here: http://prufrocksdilemma.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/the-gospel-according-to-john-adams/. Not only that, but he wrote to thank me once he saw the post. Bente, your photographs are also beautiful, and any one of us should be honored to gain your permission to display one, properly credited, with full credit to you as photographer.


    1. If only everybody had that attitude. At the same time I like the idea of asking for permission, and getting it. That’s how it should be. Thanks for sharing, Susan, and for your comment.


  8. I’ve always been protective of my content, but it’s a game one plays; the game is getting eyes on your works, versus someone stealing it as their own.

    I put a creative commons signature on every photo I post, and I only post reduced quality (size and pixel) photos on the blog. People who want to see the full photo can go to SmugMug, where they are a bit better (but not perfectly) protected. Still, I want the photos on the blog to look good, so it would be very easy for someone to steal them.

    One way to make it difficult is to not link the image to the original file. They can screen-capture, but that is usually of lesser quality.

    On a personal front, I never use someone’s else photo. If I want to share something (rarely because, you know, my stuff is so much better), I link to the original source. Just the other day I came across a couple of posters I really liked. My first impulse was to copy the pictures and print them . . . but what I actually did was to buy the posters from the artist ($25/each). Same for music, movies, etc. If I think the price is too much, I don’t steal it . . . I just don’t buy it.

    But yes, the problem is that people “feel” as if the rules don’t apply to them. We can make any rules we want, but as long as people feel entitled to exclude themselves, it won’t matter much.


    1. Interesting to know how other people secure their work, or don’t. And I feel really good that there are somebody around who buy what they like, and not only take it. That’s the way, when we can afford it. Otherwise we use these blogs to see a lot of other peoples work, and get inspired. By the way, I don’t normally use other peoples photos either. 😉 hehe.


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