Monday, March 4, 2013

Copyright Rules

I've already written a long post about the issue of copyright infringement on Tumblr and other blogs. So, I'll keep it short this time, but I would like to give some update after a few new experiences which I have made in the meantime.

First of all, a while ago I had a very interesting discussion with Abel on his blog about the issue of copyright infringement on Tumblr. Unfortunately, I have come across a few even worse examples than I had seen when I wrote my first post about it.

For instance, there was one Tumblr blogger who posted about fifteen or twenty of our pictures, one after another. It was obvious that he had screened through our blog and saved every picture he liked. Instead of mentioning the source, though, he cropped the watermarks out and added new captures describing what was going on in the pictures from his point of view, using made-up names.

The second extreme example was another Tumblr blogger who reposted one of our private pictures, but linked it to an affiliate link to a professional spanking video producer. In other words, that person tried to make money, using our free private pictures!

These experiences led Ludwig and me to the decision to set up clear rules for the use of our pictures:

You are welcome to use them, but only when giving proper credit (in case of Tumblr that means linking the picture to our original blog post, so that the viewers can see what the pictures really are all about), no altering of the pictures (especially no cropping out the watermark) and no use on blogs which are in any way commercial, for example through affiliate links, except for special cases in which our explicit permission has been given.

Unfortunately, the "do not alter" rule also applies to our fellow kinky bloggers who give proper credit. I know that some of you prefer pictures without watermarks, but unfortunately those get reposted without giving proper credit very quickly. Our friend Stan/E. was the first one who some weeks ago kindly exchanged the pictures he had used in one of his posts for properly watermarked ones.

The rules are quite similar for excerpts from our written posts:

You are of course also welcome to quote from our posts, but again, you have to make sure that you don't change the meaning (quotes have to be verbatim) and there must be a link to the original post, so that the readers can see in which context the quoted statements were made. We generally don't allow that any of our posts are used in a commercial context, except where we have given our explicit permission.

There are also good news as well, though! A Tumblr blog called Captain Posterior reposted two of our hotel room pictures. Not only was the watermark left where it belonged, the Tumblr blogger in question also linked the pictures to our original post and credited us as the original source, just like I expect everyone to do from now on. The result: One picture has already 90 like / reblogged notes and the other one as to date 322 ones! And, since the link is there, not only in the original post but in all the reblogged ones as well, many viewers pop over to see what the pictures are really all about (which also makes it easier to deal with some of the strange comments that are added to pictures by some Tumblr bloggers). So, thank you very much, Captain Posterior, it is wonderful to know that there are Tumblr bloggers out there who care about copyrights and take the time to post a link!

In our next post, we will publish our new hotel room pictures from Budapest, this time also with proper marks. I just hope that whoever might repost them on another blog will take the time to credit us as the source and post a link.


Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that you have said in your post. I have shown photos on my blog of a good bondage friend, but only after receiving written permission from her,the rigger and the photographer. And, I gave all of them credit in my post. It is the right thing to do.



Mostly, when crediting pictures, I tend to link to the blog in question as a whole, rather than the individual post, to try to get the clickers to see the whole thing rather than a single post. Is that OK with you, if I use your images again in the future?


Kaelah said...

@ Joey:
It's obvious that your are very careful about copyright issues, Joey! Apart from our own pictures, I sometimes use stills from video producers whom I like in my posts, of course including the watermark and accompanied by a link to their site. That way I can underline some of the things I want to say with fitting pictures and the producers whose pictures I am using don't mind, either, since the pictures are freely available on their sites, anyway, and they get some free advertisement.

@ Spankedhortic:
I know that you are very careful about crediting the sources of the pictures which you post on your blog, Prefectdt! And I think it is okay when you post a link to our blog as a whole in those cases in which you usually do that. The request for a direct link to the post in question only applies to those cases in which a picture or excerpt is set into a new context or embedded into a broader discussion. This is usually the case on Tumblr, because sooner or later Tumblr bloggers add their own (sometimes quite disturbing ;-) ) captures to the pictures which they reblog. In those cases I just want to make sure that the readers / viewers of the blogs have a chance to take a look at the original context of a picture or post excerpt.

Lea said...

I don't personally browse Tumblr. It so often seems to be the same stuff reposted over and over and over. I agree with you that people should credit pics properly and link back, if not asking permission in the first place before even taking it. I'd be really upset if I found something of mine out there being used by somebody pretending it was them.

Kaelah said...

@ Lea:
Thank you very much for your comment! It's not only the fact that some people use pictures without giving proper credit and without asking for permission that is sometimes hard for me to bear, the comments can be difficult to deal with, too. Not that they are necessarily unfriendly, but some set a picture in a completely different context, some are quite demanding and therefore rather disturbing (at least if you are the person who is shown in the picture) and sometimes the commenters simply make completely false assumptions pretending to be specialists (for instance, one commenter insisted that the marks shown in one of my pictures which was taken directly after a scene must at least be one day old).

I try to accept the fact that once you put a picture out there, someone will steal it. People will set it in different contexts and sometimes they will make false assumptions or write disturbing comments. I try to calm myself down about that by telling myself that this has nothing to do with me as a person. For those people it's just another spanking picture, and it shows just another anonymous woman / female body or maybe bottom or maybe just interesting marks. Taking into account how many dozen pictures some Tumblr bloggers reblog every single day only makes that more obvious. While some of them surely just enjoy sharing pictures which they like, I almost feel sorry for others who seem to be almost obsessed with collecting and sharing pictures, seemingly not having much fun otherwise in their lives. But, while I know all this rationally, it is sometimes still hard for me not to feel angry and hurt when I come across the next case of copyright infringement or the next strange comment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kaelah,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings, and wishes about copyright issues involving your blog.

I’m sorry to learn that others have not respected your guidelines, and how frustrating and angry you must feel in response to unauthorized use of your blog content in which you invest so much of your heart and soul.

If I wish to quote or borrow an idea from your blog, I will contact you first to discuss my intentions, and then show you a draft of what I would like to publish. For now, I don’t plan to request the use of your lovely images.

While surfing other websites about spanking, BDSM, fetish interests, glamor, and eroticism, I have noticed a fair amount of image borrowing, even on websites that appear to be legitimate businesses. This borrowing seems especially common among spanking bloggers. Only in a few instances, such as your own fascinating blog, have I encountered original artwork, including drawings, paintings, photographs, and stories. But for the most part, there is considerable plagiarism and little-to-no acknowledgement of the originator of the borrowed content.

In my own case, I will try to acknowledge all sources of information and graphic content. There will be instances, however, in which I will not know the creator of a specific image. I will publish the image anyway under the Fair Use Act of the United States as it applies to non-profit entities engaged in educational pursuits. But if the originator requests that I give him or her credit or asks that I remove the image entirely, I will do so.

Take care,


Abel1234 said...

Well done on making your 'rule' explicit, and on phrasing it so well and so clearly.

It's as important to be very clear on the ownership of your images as it is for those of us whose original output is purely written to be clear on our copyright over our words - and, as I do, to protect that, whilst being generous in allowing not-for-profit sites to reproduce reasonable quantities of my work provided my ownership of it is acknowledged.

On my Tumblr, I do still abide by the principle of not linking to anything that is clearly marked as being (c) - and certainly not editing / amending any images to delete copyright marks. And my predilection is for more 'amateur' photos than 'professional' ones anyway, and I continue to try very hard not to link to photos of people I actually know!

(Interesting debate: to me it is a matter of 'linking' to images, rather than actually posting / 'publishing' - unless one is actually uploading images, that's all one's actually doing on Tumblr. I view my site there as an aggregation of nice images already posted, and wouldn't publish new images).

It is a controversial area, though. And your earlier comments on my blog did make me think and check I felt personally comfortable with what I'm doing there. Good to see you continuing the positive discussion.

Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
I try not to be too frustrated about all the copyright infringement that takes place everywhere. That's just how things are. But it is nice to see that some people take the time to give credit and share a link.

By the way, in case you come across a picture that you like and want to use on your blog, but which hasn't got a watermark (maybe because it has been cropped out) and no information about the original source, using Google Image Search might help you. You can enter the URL of the picture and the search engine shows you where this image has been posted (it also finds postings of the original picture when you use a cropped one). It only takes a few seconds and quite often one really finds the original source that way.

@ Abel:
Thank you very much for your comment. I think the debate about copyrights is indeed an important one. I would prefer to post my pictures without all the potentially distracting watermarks like at did in the beginning when I was still naïve and didn't expect people to repost my photos without giving credit. Not watermarking the pictures increases the risk of copyright infringement, though, which is why I have decided to use watermarks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kaelah,

Your suggestion to use Google Picture Search is great! I simply upload the desired image, and then Google Picture Search does all the work. Amazing! Thank you so very much for your timely advice!

When I do post a picture that’s not my own, my desire is to 1) list the model’s name if possible, 2) identify the photographer, 3) include the name of the person who owns the image if the image is not owned by the photographer, and 4) provide a URL link, if possible, so my readers may enjoy other fine photos by the photographer or of the model.

Take care,


Kaelah said...

@ Annapurna:
I'm glad that my advice was helpful! Of course it doesn't always work, but the chances aren't too bad. :-)

sigano said...

I remember working with a german in africa in 1972 who had been in the hitler youth with his 2 sisters as teens. They were all caned frequently on bare bottoms up to 25 strokes, are there any original pics or account available please.

Kaelah said...

@ sigano:
The age of the Nazi regime was a horrible era in German history, so my focus has always been on the historical facts and the lessons that can be learned from them. That's why I don't know anything about punishment practices used in those days. Furthermore, Ludwig and I don't feel comfortable with images depicting real non-consensual acts of spanking. That's why we don't feature them here on our blog and why I can't give you any links.