A few must-reads

Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog by Roni Loren

You are violating copyright if you have not gotten express PERMISSION from the copyright holder OR are using pics that are public domain, Creative Commons, etc. I didn’t know better and I had to learn the hard way. So I want to let you all know now so that you don’t have to be a cautionary tale as well.

Plus, beyond not wanting to be sued, most of you who are reading this are writers. Our livelihood depends on the rights to our work.

A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It by John Scalzi

I know what I have been given and what I have taken. I know to whom I owe. I know that what work I have done and what I have achieved doesn’t exist in a vacuum or outside of a larger context, or without the work and investment of other people, both within the immediate scope of my life and outside of it. I like the idea that I pay it forward, both with the people I can help personally and with those who will never know that some small portion of their own hopefully good fortune is made possible by me.

“Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert (via my friend Rose)

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Like this:



Sing it, Cincinnati


On parents in young people’s literature


  1. The poem was beautiful. It will stick with me for a while. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have been linking to Roni’s post, because it’s important that bloggers read it, especially because of the second paragraph in your excerpt. :)

  3. I’ve always been skeptical of using other peoples photos on my blog (even with a link back) which is why i try to take my own photos for everything. i just deleted a post i wrote yesterday after reading that (and may change the photos on a couple more). thanks for posting that! better safe than sorry.

  4. That first one is a very good point. Plus, from what I’ve heard, some of the pictures that have been uploaded to Wiki Commons and places like that were uploaded by people who don’t exactly have the right to do so.

    So, there’s the chance that you can get in trouble (which is probably slim, as Roni says), but also there’s just not using things that don’t belong to you.

  5. I think it’s important to note that a blogger is much more likely to run into legal trouble if s/he is profiting from images owned by others. Not the case for most bloggers.

  6. Mandy-
    Honestly, I never thought *too* much about it, but after reading that post, I looked through my archives and was pleased to find that I rarely did it. (Book covers and promotional movie images notwithstanding.) But yes, better safe than sorry, and I’ll definitely stay mindful moving forward.

    Yeah, that’s the risk: How can you be sure you’re not violating copyright? Well, as you said, the safest way is to use your own stuff. (Flickr Creative Commons is a good resource too, though.)

    More likely, for sure. I mean, MOST bloggers are probably not going to face this issue, thankfully. (And MOST photographers would have been happy for the blogger simply to take down the image, or pay them a small fee.) But being not-for-profit is not a guarantee that you won’t be sued, nor a valid defense in a court of law.

  7. RE: John Scalzi quote. I always like it when people acknowledge that they had help and/or some good luck. One of the most annoying posts I ever read by a writer had the message that she got where she was by hard work exclusively, and she was annoyed whenever anyone suggest luck had some part to play in her success. What an idiot!

  8. Sonje: One problem is that books don’t come with credits (unlike, for example, movies or CDs). No “who did what” credits, and usually no “thanks” credits. So people, including writers, get the idea that writers do it all alone. I wrote a post about that a while ago:

  9. Anthony-
    Well most books nowadays include an Acknowledgements section (which I ADORE reading). Writers usually thank their agent, editor, friends, and family, as well as other people who help them along the way (with research, for example).

  10. Well, that’s good. I guess I’m not reading a lot of contemporary books. As far as I can remember, Sue Grafton is the only mystery writer I’ve read who credits the people who helped her with the technical details of each book — but of course I’ve only read a tiny fraction of all the mysteries in the world.

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