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Infringement of Image Copyright on my blog

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:13 pm
by oldgeezer
I am a practising teacher who has recently started writing articles on a blog about the subject I teach. My blog is beginning to attract attention and teachers increasingly use it in their classrooms on interactive whiteboards as an aid to teaching and learning.

Although the number of 'hits' I receive is still small their number is growing each month.

I mostly use wikipedia, dot gov (USA) and dot edu images but from time to time I am a little bit naughty and slip in other images to which I have no right to use.

My blog is non commercial/ not for profit and I currently receive no remuneration for my efforts.

However, since my readership is growing all the time I can foresee a time when I would like to use my site to earn an income through affiliate marketing.

I have been approached by a couple of owners of copyright of certain images who have given me retrospective permission to use their images coz they like my website and what it stands for.

However I feel uneasy and have nagging doubts about my website because I do infringe copyright form time to time.

I have posted my E mail address and told my readers that I will immediately delete an image that violates their copyright, but so far I have not had to do this.

What problems am I storing up for myself for the future? Should I not bother with my blog any more?

It is sometimes very difficult to track down copyright of images I find on google.

Any advice gratefully received! ':?'

Posted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:55 pm
by AndyJ
You are right to consider the copyright aspect in case at some future time a copyright owner is not so understanding about your use of their work.
Although you may not be doing this for commercial gain, it doesn't affect your liability as far as infringement is concerned. Furthermore if other people are using your content for their teaching then it could be suggested that you are authorising their infringement contrary to section 16(2) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988
(2) Copyright in a work is infringed by a person who without the licence of the copyright owner does, or authorises another to do, any of the acts restricted by the copyright.
especially if you encourage your readers to re-use your work.
Unfortuntely, although certain educational uses of copyright material are permitted under the CDPA, this is only in connection with educational establishments recognised by the Department for Education, and not private ventures, however well intentioned.
Schools obtain a variety of licences in order to photocopy materials, copy music and films etc as explained on this website, copyright and schools but unfortunately none of the agencies involved can licence you to use images you find on the internet. Your best bet would be to try and find a picture library which specialises in the sort of images you require and licence their use that way. You can search a wide range of picture agencies on the BAPLA website, or if that doesn't turn up anything useful, try googling the subject + picture agency.

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:34 am
by oldgeezer
Hi Andy J,

Thank you for the detailed reply.

I think what I will do is go back to the beginning and evaluate my rights to use each image on every one of my blog posts.

If it's not a wikipedia image or a 'dot gov' image I will apply to the image owner for a copyright.

Is it OK to ask for retrospective permission or should I remove the offending articles from public display before approaching the image owner to ask for permission to use their image?

Fortunately most of my images are wikipedia/dot gov ones so the process might not be too time consuming.

However it sometimes appears difficult to track down the original image owner since many images have been plagiarised so many times on different blogs. I have probably ended up using some images from websites which have already plagiarised those images from the true image owner.

Some websites specify they are happy for me to use their images so long as my use is 'non commercial' or 'not for profit'.

Since my use of images is purely 'educational' is it ok for me to use these 'non commercial use' images for my website?

At some future date if my website traffic continues to grow I would hope to earn an income from my blog through affiliate marketing.

Would a 'non commercial' /'not for profit' use of images on my blog allow me to earn 'expenses' for the fruits of my labour through advertising affiliate marketing links?

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:14 pm
by AndyJ
I think that doing a full audit of the images on your blog makes good sense. Also I suggest you do remove any before asking permission, as you will be alerting the copyright owner and if he is disinclined to give permission, he may seek a fee for your past use.

Make sure when using Wikipedia and sites that you fully abide by their respective licences, as not all their content comes without strings, especially images which may have been sourced from third parties. The WikimediaCommons conditions are here and the Open Government Licence is here.

Non-commercial means different things to different people so it is probably best to check with copyright owners when you seek their permission. Here's what the Creative Commons website has to say on the subject: Creative Commons

Posted: Sun Oct 20, 2013 4:43 pm
by oldgeezer
Thank you most kindly for your advice