LIVE BLOG: Who owns your content?

By Nubia Mejia of Nubia's Nonsense

I'm sitting here excited for the “Who owns your blog content?” to start.

The Guest speakers are:
Richard Tong: Fashion director of Tumblr.
Leandra Medine: Leandra is a freelance writer and founder of the fashion blog Man Repeller.
Geri Hirsch: Geri is the creator of the blog Because I'm addicted: A blog follow the life of a 20 something year old running in LA.
Evelyn Tollinche: Evelyn is senior counsel in Business and legal affairs group at MTV networks in NYC.
Karen Blanchard: Blog owner of Where Did U Get That.
Eddie Newton: The face behind Mr Newton.

This Panel has been very interesting, resourceful and scary at the same time. Protecting content can be a very difficult and tricky task. Blogging has been becoming more powerful as time passes and it's important we get credited for our hard work. After all, us bloggers have very similar content to magazines and our blogs are starting to look more like traditional media.

Below please find some notes I took and found helpful from this panel.

-As blogging goes more into looking like traditional media it's important you learn how to own and protect your content. (Mr Newton)




-Most people think they're protecting their content when they put a copy right on it but that's not necessarily true. When you have a situation that someone is taking your content that court has the right to see if it's fair use. (Evelyn)


-Protect your art: (this is something that I own and it has artistic value always do everything you can to protect your work)

-In the early stages you should protect your content: Protect photos. prevent people from taking them but locking the photo or putting your logo on the photo. (Evelyn)

-Too tightly trying to protect your content could be counter productive. There is a fine line and you should try your best find it. (Mr Newton)

(Mr Newton talking about Geri and Leandra) Takes photos and makes her own stories. Links and credits where photos come from. Important that every blogger takes it upon themselves to properly credit. For example the Man Repeller people love her and they spread the word and link her.

-Protecting and copy writing written content: Leandra trademarked Man Repeller. Mr Newton knew exactly what her blog was about when he read the title. Liandra wanted to make sure she legally owned her title. It's hard to to copyright all your content. Trademarking everything would be outrageously expensive. You have to find out whats valuable to you.

-Leandra do you get mad when your terms are used? (Leandra) No I get excited for the most part, I only get upset when it's not credited to me it's nerve wrecking.

-You can't protect everything or most things you put on your blog BUT you have to decide whats very valuable to you and what battles are worth fighting. (Mr Newton)

(Mr Newton asking Rich) Tumblr is all about re-blogging: When copyright becomes more strict do you think it will affect Tumblr?
*Rich: we take copy-righting very seriously. We encourage people to do best practices and we link on the bottom of every post to make sure every-one gets credit. Credit is very important.

*When people see they get traffic from your blog they like you a lot more*

(Karen asking Mr Newton): Whats the difference between a magazine taking a streetstyle's photographer's photos and paying them than taking a fashion bloggers photo who get shot by a boyfriend and not paying them? Why do they feel they don't have to pay?

(Mr Newton's answer to Karen)There is no difference. Practically speaking if magazines think they're giving you promotion they don't feel the need to pay you, they think exposure is payment. A woman can't live on exposure alone.

-I think this is only OK depending on the exposure you get. (Karen)

-People take photos of bloggers and turn them into illustration. For example Zara took a photo from “Le Blog de Betty” and sold it without her permission. Most likely she could probably go to court and make them stop selling it if all the proof is provided.

We all have to be very cautious with what we think the law will do. At this point things can be very tricky. We will figure more out as more issues come about and we'll learn how the courts handle it. That's why it's important to copyright your name and protect your work as best as you could.

Options to solve copy rights issues are: You can always try to email the company and try to get them to credit you or make them take it down for not crediting you without taking it to court.

A big problem is finding the time to see who might be taking your stuff. It can be a difficult task to keep up with.

*Give credit where credit is due*

-It's cool you used this today but it would be cooler if you linked it (Mr Newton)

My final thoughts on this topic: I think there is a HUGE gray area when it comes to protecting your work and copyrighting it. My advice to people starting there blog would be to reach out to a blogger they admire and asking for advice. I agree with the comment that was made about how this is still very unclear. I believe as time passes we will learn to see how these situations are handled and feel more comfortable with our content.

Also I think everyone should DO THE RIGHT THING! Credit photos if they are taking.

I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the panel but I hope you found this helpful. Do your research and reach out to anyone you think might help (Bloggers/Lawyers) If you work hard on somethings for years I would hope it's important enough to you that you'll take good care of it.

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6 Responses

  1. Lucy

    Will there be video of the conference, because I missed it all, and I really wanted to take some notes on it for my blog.

  2. AL

    “People take photos of bloggers and turn them into illustration.”

    Do you mean take a photo from a blog and sell it as your own? Or draw/paint a picture using the photo from the blog as reference?

    If the former, yes Betty should get her to stop selling it immediately. Basic copyright law covers this.

    If the latter: there is probably nothing you can do about it. As long as they aren’t selling the original image, as long as the image they provide is “their own work in their own hand”, then I think you would have a lot of trouble pursuing that legally. The most you could hope for is a accreditation somewhere (“based on a photo by Betty” for instance)

  3. Lou Jones

    In terms of photos:
    I think if you are on someone’s website and want to use their photos you should simply ask – not just steal the images and put a link or credit on it. That’s not cutting the mustard. It’s not even saying “thanks”. It’s like taking someone’s last Rolo and leaving a note on your own blog saying “that tasted good, provided by”. That’s their photo, they might want it exclusively on their own blog.

    Whatever happened to basic manners? They were replaced by the “fair use” philosophy which cannot be defined as it’s down to each individual case on both sides – “fair use” encourages people to just take the photos from the source – which could result in massive legal implications to the blogger. Some photographers are relying on their work to pay their bills at the end of the day. It might be their only source of income. Anyone standing in the way of exclusivity of someone’s images is gonna get sued.
    Yes, the photographer probably wouldn’t mind the extra promotion for their work on your blog, but not if it means it could prospectively affect another project they are working on & can earn money from – e.g. they may be putting a book of their photos together with a publisher. If you have 20 of their images in high res on your site, that may be the equivalent of 20 pages of the book available for free.

    So yes, people need to think before stealing – especially in the case of someone’s personal blog who is not a famous photographer who is way too busy to bother with people stealing their shots. Asking never did any harm. You might also get offered an interview or extra pics for your site. 🙂