Protect yourself and respect the rights of other artists. — Roni Loren

Spend hours on your blog? Do you use simple, compound or complex sentence structure? Check your facts twice? Streamline the pace by eliminating some โ€œthatโ€ and โ€œtheโ€ repetitions? And get sued because you grabbed a picture off the internet.

A simple graphic explaining the differences be...
A simple graphic explaining the differences between plagiarism and copyright issues (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

โ€œHow using Google Images can cost you $8,000โ€ is a post that Kari DePhillips just re-posted (originally published 7/2013) about the situation her agency fell into being sued for photo copyright infringement:

โ€œWe were under the mistaken impression that before anyone could be sued, the offender had to ignore a request to take down the copyrighted image. Because the lawsuit came without any kind of warning, and because this was the first time we’d ever been accused of such a thing, we were hoping that replacing the image and sincerely apologizing to Mr. Leech and his client would remedy the situation. We were wrong.โ€

Just saying โ€œI’m sorry,โ€ is not good enough to lawyers.

โ€œBlogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blogโ€ is a not-so-paranoid recounting of the events that caused blogger Roni Loren to wipe her photographic slate clean:

โ€œTumblr posts went away. Fiction Groupie disappeared. I deleted most of my Pinterest boards. The ‘Boyfriend of the Wee’k has changed format. And all my previous posts from the past three years — all 700 of them — now have new photos on them.โ€

Just because another blog post used it is also not a defense.

And then there is the case at Webcopyplus:

โ€œOur web copywriters were under the impression that images on the Web without any copyright notices were ‘public domain’ and therefore free to use. Naive? Yes. A notion limited to our copywriting firm? Definitely not. It likely has to do with the fact that works no longer need a copyright notice to have copyright protection (you can read about the Berne Convention Implementation Act, which the US adopted in 1988).โ€

Three cautionary tales that you should consider.

Check out these blogs for not just the story behind the story, but for practical advice provided on how to avoid photo copyright infringement pitfalls.

You haven’t gotten any letters from an attorney have you?