the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: copyright

Find Me a Photo of Lindsay Lohan!

Since this is a post about stealing, I should be upfront right in the beginning, and say that I am stealing this post from myself — I already asked this question on Facebook.

It all started when I read Mom 101‘s post about some magazine titled Cook’s Source stealing a blogger’s written content because they considered it “public domain.”  If you don’t know about this story, Google it — it was the drama of the internet for a day or so.

I have respect for the written word, so I was pretty outraged by the entire subject.  I would never do such a thing.  OK, maybe in junior high, I swiped a few paragraphs from the World Book for my report on Cuba, but I TRY my best not to steal other people’s words.

But when I thought about the incident, I did feel a sense of guilt because apparently I DON’T have the same respect for photography as I do for writing.  My blog is chock full of “borrowed” images taken from Google Images, usually nothing very personal — an apple, a kitchen sink from a catalog — but stolen nonetheless.  In the past I used to credit every photo, but I got lazy — always throwing in the photo during the five seconds before I pressed publish.  I’m such a small time operator, so I figured it didn’t matter.

But after being scolded by Sarah on Facebook (she’s a photographer, natch), I promised to amend my ways.

From now on — I will be a good Citizen of the Month.  I will try to use material from Flickr, take my own photos, or to clearly give credit whenever I use a photo.  I can’t complain about assholes stealing my material if I am end up doing the same.

The question remains, what if you write an article about Obama, and want to use a photo of our good President.  Can I use one from the New York Times, given with proper credit?

Or let’s make believe I want to write a sensationalistic post about Lindsay Lohan.  Smart, right?  That will grab a lot of readers.   One problem.  The post is going to be dull as dishwater without a sleazy shot of the actress being drunk or not wearing her underwear.

So, how exactly WOULD I proceed to honestly get a photo of her.  Could I swipe it from say — the Entertainment Weekly site or The Superficial, and give them credit for the photo?  Don’t they buy it from stock footage companies like WireImage?  Can I find Lindsay Lohan on Flickr?  Are some of you members of a stock footage company where you get your photos?  Isn’t that expensive?  Can we still be small time blog operators, making no money –  and still make our blog posts dramatic with photos?

Can someone help me find a LEGAL photo of Lindsay Lohan?!

(first in a long imaginary series of “trying to act more professional online.”)

Update:  Just out of curiosity, I wanted to see how Babble Media handles their photos for their sites, and they have this posted, which gave me some insights into how it is done —

Babble Media Image Terms of Use

“Babble Media is committed to the presentation of online content that provides the best possible user experience, while also protecting the copyrights of the content producer as outlined in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Babble Media hosts a variety of blogs, articles and features that contain images posted by bloggers and editors. The types of images bloggers and editors are authorized to use on Babble Media sites include:

Images licensed from photographic archive vendors.
Images supplied to our editors or released into the public domain by public relations and marketing companies for press purposes.
Reader-submitted images, with the implied representation that the person submitting the image owns the copyright in the image and the right to give it to us for use on our site(s).
Images published on Flickr or other public photo sites with licenses granted under Creative Commons, with attribution in accordance with the CC license granted in each case.
Images commissioned by Babble Media.
Images that we believe to be covered by the Fair Use Doctrine, such as:

– Thumbnail images of 150×150 pixels or less, cropped or reduced in size from the original source.
– Images used to illustrate a newsworthy story, where the image itself is the story.
– Images used in a transformative manner, such as for parody.
– Images so widely distributed that they are deemed to have become part of the news.

If Babble Media receives notice that an image posted is not in keeping with these terms and conditions or the intended use of the Comments section where it is posted, we reserve to right to remove that image.

If you think we have published an image or text that infringes your copyright, and does not fall into the categories listed above, we will address your concerns. If it does not comply with our terms and conditions we may remove the image from our site.”

Interesting. Since the law is fairly general, I could say that a photo of a drunk Lindsay Lohan “illustrates a newsworthy story,” or that it is “so widely distributed” that it is part of the news. It sounds like I might have a bigger problem posting a photograph of an apple.

Stolen Photos, Stolen Lives


What better time than election day to write about stealing and illegal activitiy:  more specifically, stealing photos from websites.

I’ve been noticing on my stats that there is a tremendous amount of hotlinking of "celebrity" photos that are on my server — most notably the popular-for-some-unknown-reason Nicole Richie.  I don’t really care that "ana" sites use these photos  — after all, I stole them myself from other places.   But when I steal, I outrightly steal.  I right-click and press SAVE.  I don’t steal the person’s bandwidth.  Those who don’t steal the photos outright are just plain wimps.

To be honest, I’m not proud of my stealing.  I do try to give credit to the photographer, but sometimes I forget in my race to get the post over to Sophia for checking.  I guess I’m such a small fry that nobody really cares yet about my stealing, but I have a feeling it will bite me in the ass at some point.  

In real life, I’m a very law-abiding citizen — a real goody-two-shoes.  Why do you think it is called "Citizen of the Month?"  I do not litter.  I have never shoplifted anything — even a piece of bubble gum.  So, my stealing of photos is very special to me.   It is probably one of the most "wild and dangerous" acts of my life.   It makes me feel like I’m on a Harley zooming down Route 66, sneering at the domesticated locals.   

Talk about being a rebel with a photographic cause!

Today, I happened to read David Simmer’s blog, Blogography.  He had a post about some "web thieves" that blew me away — and made me feel like an amateur:

Back in February, I got an email from my friend Dave++ telling me how somebody had taken photos and content from his web site and created a new fictional person based on his life (you can read the fascinating story here). Something similar had happened to me the previous summer, so I could relate… a reader had sent me an email telling me that somebody had stolen most of my travel photos (like these) and then blogged about the trips as if they were the one who had taken them. I was curious more than upset, and fired off an email telling them that they should either give me credit for my photos or remove them. Instead, they removed the entire blog, which was okay too.

But that was not the end of it. I still get emails from Blogography readers pointing me to other sites that have stolen my stuff. Sometimes it’s just a photo or two, which is no big deal (though I do wish they would give me credit, as specified by my Creative Commons license)… but other times it’s much worse. They steal entire entries. They steal cartoons and erase the copyright. The steal photos and claim to have taken them. They steal my site layout. They steal my web feed. They steal EVERYTHING.

What really burns my ass is that many times these thieves have money-generating ads on their blogs, meaning that they are PROFITING off of my work. Do you see any ads on MY site? No? That’s because THERE AREN’T ANY! If I am not making any money off of Blogography, why should anybody else get to??

I felt conflicting emotions after reading one.  First. I felt anger at those who were stealing from a fellow blogger, especially such a talented one.  But more importantly, I felt my image as the rebel photo-stealer quickly crumbling.  My Harley turned into a Schwinn bicycle and the locals on Route 66 were yelling at me to get off the road. 

These web thieves were way more devious than I was.  They didn’t just steal the photos.  They actually stole someone else’s travel experiences.  They stole other people’s lives!  How many times have I had nothing to blog about?  Think how easy it would be — I could steal some photos of the Eiffel Tower from someone else’s blog and write about "my trip" to Paris! 

Why didn’t I think of that first?

It’s an eye-opening experience to realize that there are those who are more committed to blog-stealing than yourself.  But I don’t give up easily.  I depend on my "bad-boy" image to keep many of my female readers returning. 

I had an idea.

Last week, I was jealous of many of you as you displayed your Halloween photos.  Some of you went trick or treating with your families, your cute costumed kids in tow.  Others went to wild Halloween parties. 

I sat home and did nothing.  I bought a package of "Hershey’s Assorted," but not one kid even rang my bell.  It was tedious and frankly, embarrassing. 

But do I really have to tell you the truth about my boring Halloween?  Not anymore!   Why — it’s just as easy to go onto Ashbloem’s site and steal her Halloween photos — and say that they are mine!  Who would ever find out?

So, here is my latest post on:

My Rockin’ Halloween


I got to the private Halloween party in Hollywood around 10PM.  It was wild.  Mucho celebrity action.  Drinking.  Drugs.  You name it. 


Here I am in my "Fidel Castro" costume with my pals Diego and Sara Lee.


The fun really began when the "Sushi Sisters" showed up.  They were totally wasted.  I flirted with them and asked them if they were "dunked" in soy sauce.  One of them said that I would need to "taste" them to find out.  All five of us went into the "private" back room for a little "private" sushi feast.


Tensions rose when Sophia showed up, without a costume, still wearing the business suit she wears as a Russian dialect coach.  She wanted to know if I was there.   My friends tried to cover for me, but Sophia heard the laughter in the "private" room.


All hell broke out at the party after Sophia entered the room.  The cops had to come to break it up. 

What a night!

(all photos stolen from Ashbloem, except the last one, which I don’t remember where I stole it from)

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