[Food for thought]: A little common courtesy won’t hurt…

I recently experienced first-hand, what it was like to stumble up on your work (a photograph in this instance) over at another website without any proper accreditation. I’ve heard numerous stories from other people but it isn’t until you’re in the same boat yourself, you realise the real impact of it – and thankfully mine wasn’t too severe, nevertheless, I felt the need to highlight the issue.

I was busy scouring online for some inspiration when a thumbnail image caught my eye. It looked so familiar that I just had to click into it  to realise it wasn’t only similar but it was actually a photograph I had taken for the blog! At first (naively!!), I was quite flattered seeing one of my photos on a relatively well-known site but in that split-second, the penny dropped………I don’t ever recall being asked if my photos could be used nor was I given and credit for the image and after carefully scrutinizing it (to double-check if it was indeed my photo) spotted that my watermark had been cropped out too! I actually had to open up my blog post that contained the photo, put both browser windows side by side to inspect – I just had to be 100% sure! So yea, understandably I was a bit disheartened (followed by a little annoyed) in learning this and although a quiet email was sent to the people in question to deal with the issue, it brings me to the subject of ‘copying and sharing’ which you find is an ongoing debate within the creative industry.

The internet gives us unlimited access to so much inspirational content where with the help of social media platforms like personal blogs, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook (you get the gist!) it is very easy to lose ourselves sourcing stuff for personal use – I’m just as guilty! Heck, before the internet, we had magazines and newspapers we cut images and articles out from which we excitedly stuck into our scrapbooks or pinned to the wall. Inspiration is what we feed on to help us grow and develop ourselves – I get that! While that is all perfectly fine (i.e. for personal use), what I don’t agree is using that piece of information you’ve sourced (be it text, graphics, or imagery) to be published elsewhere without any accreditation to the original content/owner/ author. And if it’s for commercial purposes, then it is even more important that permission is sought first! Surely, you’d think twice about providing references if you were writing up a paper or doctoral dissertation because you know how serious plagiarism is. Unfortunately this concept seems to have been lost in translation when applying to the virtual world but we really need to do just the same especially with social media is at its height! Besides, don’t you agree it’s just good etiquette and common courtesy to do so? I find it quite hard to digest when people lack that!

There are so many levels of copying out there – some outrageously intentional while others are naive and harmless, but either way, giving accreditation should be good practice and come as second nature to us all! If I’m consciously taking the time to do that myself then I would MASSIVELY appreciate the act in return. And FYI – please know that the photographs we bloggers / crafters / designer-makers etc put up on our blogs (professional or not!) are painstakingly captured ourselves (unless otherwise stated) so do bear that in mind before you copy, download or pin away too lightly! ALL I ASK is to give us some credit (or get permission depending on the type of content) and everyone’s happy! It also saves you from ruffling any feathers and further embarrassment! So do think about it…

If you’ve experienced anything similar or worse and have any thoughts on how to go about taking action (should things get stickier!) then I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

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