If There Isn’t Credit : Don’t Spread It

Copyright Symbol“If there isn’t credit, don’t spread it.”
— Brenda Johima

You wouldn’t think twice about walking into a retail store and stealing whatever you want and then saying that you created it? (unless you are a criminal or want to be one)

You wouldn’t think of walking into an art gallery and taking a piece of art off the wall, walking out the door and then proudly displaying it as your own, would you? (please say no)

I’m passionate about the arts, an advocate for artists, and the topic of intellectual copyright is about to get a lot HOTTER than it already is right now, and it is pretty HOT right now.

(p.s. When I say “arts” I mean art, photography, design, cartoons, images, graphics, writing, poetry, paintings, and any of the creative and expressive arts that we now use as marketing and sales tools online.)

What if you want an image that you see online?

  • Play safe. Ask permission. Get permission in writing. Pay for it. Feed an artist. Pay a Pro.
  • Read the T.O.S. (terms of service) as you may be able to use it, with some stipulations
  • Read and educate yourself on copyright law and creative commons and image licensing
  • On social networks, it’s simple. Before you click that “share” or “pin it” button, see if there is credit attached to the original content creator (artist/photographer) … if there isn’t and it’s still OK to share it and you want to … simply add it in. Re-pin and add credit, the full first and last name of the artist, and ideally, a link to their website. This is good karma, and keeps artists and photographers in business.
  • What if you don’t know who made it? Look it up. Find out. Be a research-aholic (like I am) … Google can be your friend to find out who the original creator of an image is. Or, ask on social networks. Ask a question in the comment threads, “who is the artist?” … or “who is the photographer?” … this enables you to add it into your post, and also wakes others up to be accountable in their image sharing as well.

Artists, Photographers, and Designers make for a more beautiful web. Can you imagine the internet filled with only text copy? (like it was in the olden days) … booooorrrinnngg.

Conscious and purposeful sharing of images online on social networks with credit to the original source gives credit where credit is due, and also is a reflection of you as a business owner. Make it a good one. Set an example for others. Do the right thing.

— Brenda Johima
JOHIMA Social Media + Marketing

Take Online, Offline. Call Me. 1.250.335.1195

I Spoke at WordCamp Victoria 2012

I'm Speaking at WordCamp Victoria 2012Whew! Now that was a LOT of FUN! (The speaking engagement, I mean. This blog post took some time to compile after the fact, but as they say, better late than never)

On Saturday, January 14th, 2012, I spoke at WordCamp Victoria 2012 in Victoria B.C., with my friend Janis LaCouvee. Our topic? Disclosures, Attribution, Copyright (and Moral Rights)

We had excellent feedback after our session, lots of Tweets and Retweets afterwards, and during the presentation there were many questions and a good deal of interaction with the audience, which for me, is always an indicator of success and safety within a large group. We simply ran out of time to engage fully and more deeply into what could have been a very lengthy and stimulating group discussion.

There was a fair amount of expertise and interest in the room. I do hope that this topic is discussed more at conferences.

Our audience included bloggers, web designers and web developers, WordPress experts and enthusiasts, photographers and individuals in a variety of industries, who were interested in the topic for their websites and blogging for business, personal and non-profit.

Brenda Johima is owner of JOHIMA Social Media + Marketing, based in the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island.

As promised, below are some notes from my part of the session, which was all about copyright and moral rights as it specifically relates to art, photography and images online for bloggers and WordPress enthusiasts.

I’m noting the key points only and as promised, the links to articles and videos that I mentioned in my session, where you can go to find more information. This is a HUGE topic, and this only scratches the surface, of an ever-changing and complex, legal issue. And a heads up, this is an unusually long blog post, as I am trying to share as much as possible from the in-person, live audience session.

Please note that many of my comments below are abbreviated or in point form. If you’d like to know more, and to bring me into your group for the full presentation, you’ll get the works … It’s only possible here, to share a snippet in a long blog post, of a live presentation. I’d love to come and speak with your group and I have a feeling that if we ask Janis LaCouvee nicely, if she is available she might even join me too 🙂

** I am not a lawyer, and am not providing legal advice or any advice here actually. I’m simply sharing what I have studied on my own and learned over the years about a topic that I am very passionate about, and fascinated with. ** I hope that my information is of help to you. If in doubt with anything you see online, simply don’t take it, and/or consult with a copyright lawyer. **

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So here we go :

Copyright SymbolCopy. RIGHT.

My bias is that artists, photographers and creatives deserve to be paid for their time and at minimum, credited for their work, with a written request for permission for usage.

“If there were no copyright laws, no artist, musician, writer or creative would make a living by creating revenue from their craft.” — Brenda Johima

Copyright and Moral Rights laws really are there to protect many industries. Creative works are how artists survive, feed their families, pay the bills.

Here is what I covered: (in record time, 10 minutes! … plus Q&A)

  • Introduction
  • How do you copyright your own work? How do you protect your own work?
  • Why you can’t just take whatever you want from online. (Example of an expensive mistake) See below.
  • Moral Rights. Definition. (Examples)
  • Interesting stories. There is no guarantee if you put something online.
  • Resources and Links

It’s not rocket science. (Copyright is Actually Quite Simple if You Care About People)

  1. If it’s not yours, don’t take it.
  2. If you want it, as permission. (get it in writing)
  3. If you use it, put a note on it, crediting the author/content creator

I liken theft of images online to shoplifting. Would you go into a retail store, see something you like on a shelf, and go “I like that, I think I will take it” … Then you take it, walk out the door of the store, claim it as your own, and brag about it. ( do you not think you might be in trouble with the law? )

Why you can’t just take whatever you want from online : Here’s the example of a rather expensive mistake. I have to give this professional copywriting company credit for having the courage to publicly admit their error in order for others to learn from it, however … well … you fill in the blanks. These copywriters ended up paying $4000.00 for what could have been a $10.00 image. Will you think again before you lift an images from online?

The best and safest choice:

  1. Create Your Own.
  2. Ask Permission.
  3. Buy It. Pay For It. Purchase It. Feed an Artist. Pay a Pro.

T.O.S. (Terms of Service)

Every social network and image sharing site has a terms of service page. Read it. Believe it. Ask questions if in doubt.

How do I copyright my work? (presenter notes. hire me for the full explanation 🙂

  • You create it you own it. (with exceptions)
  • © Symbol
  • © = “Option” plus “G” on a MAC
  • Copyright plus © Symbol plus year plus artist name plus URL

How do I protect my work? (presenter notes. hire me for the full explanation 🙂

  • File names and categorizing your work so it is trackable /searchable online
  • TinEye.com (reverse image search)
  • Metadata (in Photoshop)
  • Watermark or not to watermark?
  • Deterrent vs. Protection

Why do people steal photos?

  • What do you think? I’m curious. There’s too much to put here in this blog post, plus I want to come and speak with your group 🙂

Moral Rights : What Are They?

  1. Examples of images were shown with permission of Fine Artist, Madeleine Wood‘s (M.F.A.) art works with manipulation of the images to demonstrate what possibly could be a breach of moral rights. My question to the audience was “What right do you have to take someone else’s work?” Madeleine estimated approximately a minimum of seven years training (52 weeks) x 60 hours per week = 21,840 hours of training to get her to the quality of work and calibre of gallery representations that she is at now.
  2. Consult a lawyer if you have questions. If in doubt, DON’T alter an artist/photographer’s work.
  3. Case Examples : Snow v. The Eaton Centre Ltd. : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_v._The_Eaton_Centre_Ltd.
    (by Gil Zvulony of Zvulony and Company, Toronto Lawyers)

These lawyers, Gil Zvulony of Zvulony and Company also write about:

  • Legal Rights in a Photograph (read this)
  • Copyright Law
  • Moral Rights
  • Rights of the Subject Privacy and Publicity Rights
  • The Right to Privacy
  • Publicity Rights
  • Rights of Models

Toronto Copyright Lawyer Discusses Author Rights and Moral Rights in Canada

(*not in my #wcv12 presentation, but this may be of interest to you as well : Publicity Rights in a Photograph, also by Zvulony and Co.)


“Netiquette Etiquette”

  1. Give credit where credit is due, for photos, cartoons, images, writing, music, graphics, anything you use or share online which is not yours
  2. Best: Take your own photos. If not : Credit photographers always by full name and with a link to their site (link to the page that the image is on)

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Resources and Links:

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Resources and Links : Associations in Canada:

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Canada’s Copyright Act:

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Two Tips to Take Away :

  • Create Your Own : Trust in your own creative abilities … You truly are unlimited in your own creativity and talent.
  • Stand Up For Yourself : You deserve acknowledgment and credit for your work.


This is a very basic synopsis of a very brief presentation I did on a very huge topic. Please contact me to come and speak to your group about this topic that I am so passionate about. The best way to get the most out of this is in person via group discussion and conversation. It’s a HOT topic, and I foresee that to be true for quite a few more years from here on.

Take Online, Offline. Call Me. 1.250.335.1195

Do The Right Thing : Say NO To Spreading Work Without Credit

Copyright SymbolHere’s one more TIP on intellectual copyright. I’m an advocate for the arts, and 100% believe that artists, creatives and photographers must receive credit (and pay) for their work.

What can YOU do online to help protect the careers of artists, creatives and photographers? It’s plain good karma. The right thing to do is to not steal images online.

Here’s one thing that I do. If I see something posted online on a social network that does not have a photographer credit, I post a friendly question “Who is the photographer?” … right in the comment thread or post. It’s a simple way to bring attention to the issue without a big fuss. Sometimes people are not aware, and then I suggest that they add the artist/photographers name and link to their website. Many will happily apologize and do that. Others, shockingly, do not care.

Great images bring tremendous traffic to websites and Facebook pages and social networks.

Artists and photographers work hard to create that work.

Others do not have the right to use that work without permission, or to receive pay or credit from that work without going through the proper channels. Even if a business is “only” receiving extra traffic as a result of images used without permission, they are receiving profit from someone else’s hard work. (and livelihood)

Not OK.

Ask permission to use images, pay for images, and at minimum, credit the original source of the content creator with their full name and a link back to their website, and let them know that you did so.

Stand up for each other online. Let’s work together on this. Stand up for other artists and photographers. Demand that business owners and bloggers give credit where credit is due.

Do the right thing. Be An Advocate for the Arts.

Say NO to spreading work online which does not have credit included.

P.S. And that includes Pinterest. Say NO to spreading and creating pins and boards that do not credit the artist/photographer/designer who created the original work.

— Brenda Johima
JOHIMA Social Media + Marketing

Take Online, Offline. Call Me. 1.250.335.1195

Intellectual Copyright is a HOT Topic Right Now and it Should Be

Copyright SymbolIntellectual copyright is a HOT topic right now and it should be. The very livelihood of artists and content creators is at risk. If you jumped into Pinterest (as I did) or onto any social network which may not be crediting the original source (artist/photographer) I’m asking you to login and delete any images that are without credit to the original source.

I personally AM Double-Checking everything and will delete any pins or posts that are not crediting the artist. Here’s another option that has been around for awhile : Link With Love

— Brenda Johima
JOHIMA Social Media + Marketing

Take Online, Offline. Call Me. 1.250.335.1195

I’m Speaking at WordCamp Victoria 2012

I'm Speaking at WordCamp Victoria 2012Hi there, thanks for popping by. Brenda Johima here, and I’ve got a teeny-tiny 10 minute speaking engagement ( plus a Q&A afterwards with Janis La Couvée ) to speak on a topic near and dear to my heart … copyright and moral rights, as it relates to photography, art and images online for bloggers, and in this case, for those who are using the WordPress platform for publishing content online.

The target market for my session is basic beginners, and although my time is brief, I know that 10 minutes can make as big a difference as 5 minutes or 60 minutes … it’s simply that one must to choose less words, but more purposefully, and put them together in an organized fashion.

This session is geared to the basics for beginners and bloggers (as it is a legal issue and we are not lawyers) however we welcome participants from all levels from intermediate to advanced to join us for the Question and Answer Period. We value and want you to share your input and ideas. This is a legal issue, and with constantly changing laws in so many different countries … we simply aim to at least increase awareness on this topic so that more and more, we see people giving credit where credit is due, and to the original content creators online.

Janis Couvée and I are sharing the stage for this one session. I will contribute my content as it relates to photos, images and art online. Janis will speak right before me on disclosures, attribution and also copyright, and afterwards we will have a Question and Answer Period, in order to stimulate some great discussion and conversation on this complex and ever-changing topic.

Janis La Couvée is a financial services professional with a keen interest in community building and the arts.  She is a member of the Social Media Club Victoria leadership team, and was the lead organizer for Twestival Victoria. Her blog is an extension of her Twitter, social media and community experience. Janis is passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive social change. Find out more about Janis’s topic at WordCamp on disclosures, attribution and copyright as it relates to content sharing online.

Janis writes on her website, a description of her session on attribution, copyright and disclosures : 

“In the ever evolving realm of social media and the internet, content is created and shared. Now that we’re blogging, how do we credit the original creator? Do we have the right to use the image or written copy? Does our audience really need to know if we are paid to write a post, or received free tickets to an event? We’ll examine some of the best practices and standards for disclosing, consider the importance of attribution, and discuss the sometimes thorny issue of copyright. Giving credit where credit is due, while remaining transparent – is it possible?”

See you there See you at WordCamp Victoria 2012 … this Saturday the 14th of January, 2012.
— Brenda Johima

P.S. Also, please do come and Say Hello to Me in the Happiness Bar … I’m volunteering some time with Jon Valade of IdeaZone.ca 🙂

P.S.P.S. If you are new here? I’m Brenda Johima and here’s the little blurb about me:

Brenda Johima IS Art, Creativity, Design and Social Media combined under one roof. Her own roof. Since 2002 Brenda Johima has operated her home based business, JOHIMA Designs, now rebranded as simply, JOHIMA, which provides graphic design for print and web. In order to provide clients with a one-stop shop for success, she also jumped into SEO, Internet Marketing, and Social Media. During the entire time Brenda has also been very active as an artist and photographer creating images for personal and artistic expression and also for client advertising, marketing and promotional materials.

Take Online, Offline. Call Me. 1.250.335.1195


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