Tuesday, September 28, 2010

But I found it on Google...

I know that I had semi-retired this blog, but I need to say a few things, business related, so this seemed like the best place to put them. Call this my public service announcement about copyrights, intellectual property and just plain common sense (with a bit of conducting business with integrity thrown in). I assume most people already know what I am about to say, but every time I see someone commit this type of theft, they always say the same thing:

"Oh, I didn't know that I couldn't use that image, I found it on Google"

Just because you find an image on Google or elsewhere on the Internet does not mean you are automatically able to use it. Google has even released a new tool that allows you to search specifically for images that are cleared for commercial use. Go to Google Images and use the drop down menu corresponding to "Usage Rights" to select "labeled for commercial re-use". Then enter your search term.

When you find an image on Google, it tells you where the image came from! So the idea that "you didn't know" is insulting. As an example, every single one of my images that appear on Google also include my website:

See, right there in GREEN, plain as day:


And if you go to heroonmyarm.com, you'll find this:

The name HERO ON MY ARM, stylized cartoon logo, all text and images appearing on this website are property of Polka dot Door Boutique, LLC. They may not be used elsewhere without permission.

(Funny thing is, the image in question is outdated, I know. Its missing several camo patterns! I'm in the middle of a major website update, and this image was on its way out the door anyway, lol.)

As business owners, we all work very hard at what we do. Putting together a website is tedious, and time consuming. The shortcut of stealing work others have already done is just plain wrong. Feigning ignorance about it is just as wrong. Its YOUR responsibility as a business owner to educate yourself and not infringe on the rights of others. That you didn't know isn't an excuse. Neither is that you are a really nice person (which, by the way, the Facebook message I received this morning wasn't nice at all, it was condescending and rude).

So there it is, I'm putting it out there. I'm not a bully, and I'm not a bitch. I am military spouse, wife to a wounded warrior, mom to three beautiful kiddos, and small business owner who believes in playing fair and by the rules, and who runs her business with integrity and expects others to do the same.

{Steps down off soapbox, and washes hands of this whole frustrating ordeal, new day, lots of productive things to get done!}


BillyCravens said...

First off, I sometimes checkout my HS compatriots when I see their posts on FB, then in the normal tangle that is the Internet, I saw yours, clicked on your business website, and then ended up here... soo...

Since I'm a professional web developer these days, this post caught my eye, and I wanted to let you know you can keep Google from showing your images on their search:


Basically, you edit your robots.txt (a file on your website that tells search engines how to behave) and tell it to ignore your images.

Seneca said...

Thanks, that's good to know!