9.02.2011

the tale of two bloggers.


This post is a little more buttoned up than usual. Please don't find me a snob.


For the first time ever in my blogging history, I am nervous to press "Publish". But this little pesky problem has been buzzing for the past few weeks. I tried to push it away because I am afraid to write about it, afraid that it might be read in an unkind light and that indirectly I'll leave another blogger feeling awful. But I keep discovering more and more of this. It's like an epidemic! Please know that this post comes from a place of warmth, of wanting us all to play fair. And that I'm not attempting to shame those who simply didn't know. And so I shall start by telling you a tale.
Once upon a time there were two bloggers.  
Although they did not know of each other, they were both beautiful, creative and inspired girls. They loved to sit at their desks, white desks with vintage pencil cups, to write beautiful things. Each girl connected with friends from worlds away and added something wonderful to their niche of the blogosphere. 
One afternoon, Blogger A spent the day setting up a photo scene outside. It was sweltering, but she was determined. She set up her camera and took a few test shots. Swapped out different props. She stood on wobbly stools to snap different angles. Waited for the sun to go down a little further. Took more photos. Then she uploaded all the photos to her computer, combed through them and meticulously edited them in Photoshop. She then uploaded the photos to her blog and wrote all about the images and her day.  
That same day, Blogger B finds these pictures on Pinterest. She loves the way Blogger A's photos pair with what she has to say that day, saves them to her computer and uploads them to blogger. She writes something desperately lovely about her world. She can't quite remember where she saw these photos...so she posts them without listing the original source.

Both girls provided content their readers enjoyed and checked off "Blog for the day!" from their To-Do list. Blogger B saved a lot of time by not shooting her own photos. (Way to go, smart girl!) But, contrary to how it might appear, her post wasn't just hers. Someone else collected all the vintage items for that photo. Someone else toted their camera around in 90 degree weather to make sure those moments were captured. Someone else spent their Friday night editing those photos. Someone else deserves to be mentioned for what they've lent to the post.

Ah, yes. Crediting sources. When I began blogging, I didn't quite grasp that it was legally necessary to list a credit. Especially one to the original source. I just thought it was "nice", and usually did so. But I'm sure I've flubbed a few times. There's a little learning curve when you join the blogosphere--right out the gate mandatory credits didn't come to mind. In time, by reading other blogs, I understood that it wasn't just "nice"...it was what you do. A thank you for using someone's creative baby. You just do it and it takes 10 seconds. Recently, when a blog with thousands of followers used several of my photos without mentioning or directly crediting me, I was so disappointed. Mostly because a well-established blog should have known better, should have set an example for their readers.

We all have rights in the blogosphere. The right to be inspired. The right to be treated kindly. The right to connect with others. And mostly, the right to be credited when we inspire others. Being credited opens new doors--new readers come your way and with that comes new friendships, new blogs to read and so much more inspiration. Sometimes even big, big opportunities come your way because one kind soul shares your name + link.

As Bloggers...no matter how big or small, how new or old...we are responsible for following the rules. For playing nice. If a blogger loves a photo enough to post it to her blog, she will love it enough to spend 10 seconds honoring the creative mind behind it by typing a credit + inserting a link. But if she's fully aware of the need to credit, and yet repeatedly ignores the need to play nice...she clearly don't love the photo enough. And who wants to read a blog full of lukewarm feelings? 

Not me, I've decided. Not anymore.

If you're unsure of when + how to credit an image (it's okay! not long ago, I was unsure...don't feel badly!), I suggest a quick pop over to this article at Frolic!, where Chelsea clarifies what is and is not okay. Additionally, here's a super fun chart for figuring out if you should post an image. Go forth and credit, my friends! :)

20 comments:

  1. I vote you start watermarking your pictures with your name or blog address, so then credit is built in! Another blogger would have no excuse as to who to give credit to.

    <3 <3

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  2. boo, i hate when people mess up a good thing by being insensitive. i would understand if it was a small/new blog, but a big one def should know better. i don't think anyone would think poorly of you for writing this post. you have so many beautiful photos on your blog, and it's clear you put much time and effort into creating and editing them. they are all beautiful! you deserve to get credit for them. absolutely.

    i know watermarking is a pain in the butt, but you could put the cute little rinse repeat cursive logo at the bottom of your photos, perhaps. it would probably just make them cuter! :)

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  3. I was slightly in the dark about when it was appropriate to cite another blogger's photo, so I'm glad you gave a little explanation, Thanks!! Also, I ADORE your shoes in your photo--where did you find those?!

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  4. So true! I hate that this even happens, and more often than not, it's not because someone wants to steal the image as their own - they just don't know any better. I know we've all made a similar mistake for the same reason, but it still doesn't make it okay.

    As a photographer, I'm {almost} always happy for someone to use my images if I'm credited correctly - it can help get me business! At the same time, I very much appreciate being asked, first. Then I can see for myself that it's properly credited AND thank the person for sharing!

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  5. First of all, I see Sar's comment on the side and totally agree! You should definitely watermark because yours are beautiful enough that you really should claim them as your own!

    Second, as I said on your facebook page, I don't think I've ever missed citing a photograph - I've aways been very aware of copyrights. However, I cite improperly from sites like "WeHeartIt". It's not for lack of wanting but when they don't include the original link I don't know how to find where the photo came from which means I just do my 'best' and link it to the page I found it on. Now that you shared with me how to backlink I'll be doing that! Fortunately I use a lot of my own photos (whether they look fantastic or are just from my ipod) because they're real and whenever I CAN use mine I do.

    I think you're doing absolutely the right thing and not stepping on toes! Maybe others were like me who just didn't know how from certain sites. If others DO know how and aren't doing it properly then they should be told.

    I'm sorry about the big blog. Maybe you should contact them directly? I think you deserve your credit and it's a good reminder to them for in the future when they steal other innocent girl's work! :\

    I'm glad you shared and hope that you've helped educate. Love you Bethany and hope you have a fantastic weekend girl!

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  6. i love your posts, as well as your photos. you should be getting the credit you deserve.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this!

    And you're absolutely right. Not only is it rude to use a photo without asking, it's usually a violation of copyright law and therefore downright illegal.

    For what it's worth, you don't sound like a snob. You're just someone who's proud of the hard work she does, who simply wants fair credit where credit is due. Contact the blogger who "borrowed" your work and set him/her straight. You deserve it; your photos are pure art.

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  8. What a well written post - you tackled a sticky subject with grace and poise.

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  9. I completely agree. It's not just polite to credit a source but basically it's just the right thing to do. You didn't come off pretensious or puffy at all!

    Enter my giveaway from My Memories!

    http://smileyius.blogspot.com

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  10. I think I know the blog you are referring to. I saw a recent post that contained one of your beautiful pictures of a project you obviously put energy and time into... but no credit to you. And I can completely understand your disappointment and frustration!

    I can see how a blogger would occasionally neglect to ask someone to use his or her pictures (especially if someone borrows from Pinterest), but there really is NO excuse not to have a link or credit of some kind.

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  11. I completely understand. I'm trying to not use photos if I don't have the original source now because I can understand how much effort it takes for those photos.

    Yours are gorgeous and I can see why lots of people like them, but I hope this doesn't happen to you again. x

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  12. I think you should watermark, too. Your photos are just so lovely and you deserve every ounce of credit for them. So disappointing to read this, but you did the right thing by posting about it.

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  13. oh girl, i am so so sorry to hear about this. no one wants to get burned ever, or to lose blog friends over it. boo. it is amazing how people can seem to overlook the credit-where-credit-is-due rule. i think you hit the nail on the head when you said that these are not the ones slaving over getting the perfect, breathtakingly gorgeous beth wuerch shot.

    i for one do not watermark images knowing full well that someone could use/and or take credit for my images any day now...i'm thanking my lucky stars that this hasn't happened to me yet on a broad scale, but i have to accept that it COULD happen. it's just plain a battle i chose not to choose. plus i feel like watermarks take something away from the original image and can be a bit distracting.

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  14. This is your bedroom? Is so cute!!!! I love it. Great blog. Kisses

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  15. Sorry you had to deal with photo-theft, Bethany. I get it sometimes with my videos on YouTube. The worse thing though is that it is way easier to steal photos than videos so you must get it a lot (I mean gosh! Your photography is breath taking).

    Not to sound petty, but I would love a link to the blog that slighted you. Show them a thing or two. ;)

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  16. Blech, always makes my stomach drop. Since I mostly share my own photos on my blog, I alos worry that someone else is using them without proper attribution. I suppose I'll never know fully, at the very least, it makes me super aware about the importance of properly crediting anyone else's work when I chose to share it.

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  17. Credit is deserved. As bloggers, or writers, or photographers, or creative purveyors, we work hard. We spend minutes, and days, and time plucking away our heart strings. Instead of eating dessert, we labor through photographs and constructing our creative outlets. I am always flabbergasted when people don't give credit. It's a bit shocking. Giving credit is easy , I wish more understood it's neediness.

    Love your blog...x

    sweetness xx
    hope to hear from you*!
    amyflyingakite.com

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  18. Not a snob at all.

    If it's your work you deserve to be credited.

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  19. Oh no, how horrible. I'd hate to find out someone had been stealing my photos.

    The silver lining is that someone finds your photos wonderful enough to do so. Imitation is the best form of flattery ... even if it's the most annoying!

    I had a friend this happened too as well - except it was copying her products on her etsy store. Not cool.

    I hope they read this post and learn to credit properly :)

    x Jasmine

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  20. great job Doll. you are Absolutely right. Your blog is lovely and should be credited for all that it is worth.

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