My good people, how tinz?
A ma de ku ti Linda yi o. A ni ri apada bo buruku, haters ati beebee lo mo ni Blogspot o. Ogun ti o ti she o tu ni gberi mo o. Aasheeee!!!!
I have my own take on the whole LindaGate/BlogspotGate/AyeDeeGate/whatevergate issue. No...I won't bore you with it. If you're on twitter, you've probably had your fill of legal experts, law enforcement officers, sympathisers, professional criers, professional sycophants, well wishers, fire and brimstones experts e.t.c giving you their take on what has happened and what should happen now that what has happened has happened. We also have the part two of what is now the most fantastic and fascinating home video in Nigeria! Anyway, the long and short of it is that I am on the side of the law, otherwise known in Naija parlance as the "Hater's circle" Go figure. Oshi, iranu, kati-kati of the highest order.
Anyways, this whole thing, for me, was a note of warning on how to behave online. We are linked to a wide community...wider than we can wrap our minds around, so it is important to know how to conduct oneself vis-a-vis one's online presence. In that regards, I am here to help.
You see, contrary to my secondary school report cards, I know small book. I have jumped up and down on this page a few times about how I am a lawyer...well, I am...In addition, I hold a Masters' degree in Commercial law with an emphasis on IT Law and Intellectual Property Law. So in a way, this whole brouhaha would have been my opportunity to shine, were I not a lazy toad. I am not here to bore you with a legal lesson...well I am...but I just want to point out something to you guys quickly and add my 10 kobo to the plagiarism/copyright infringement drama. This is information a lot of you may already know, but I think I should still harp on a bit. It is quite long but please read through. Not every time laugh, sometimes learn something!
I read a lot of blogs with 100% original content, prose wise. My blogfam are sabi pikins with better gist, so no fear there as plagiarism is not our issue. Plus y'all know 'I keeps it 100% err'time'. So how may we run foul of any laws if we are not straight up jacking content? I'll tell ya.
You see, I'm one of those who likes for my posts to be pleasing to the eye. I like a bit of aesthetics to go with the post. So what do I do? I write up my entire post, do a quick google search to look for a picture to match the sentiment of the post like "google, show me a crying black girl". Google goes: "right away, mistress" and hey, presto! I have thousands of crying black girls to pick form. I upload. Post looks good. Everyone is happy.
I should know better.
I DO know better.
You see, when I upload the pictures, I sometimes reference the source as google. This is just a lazy way of saying I got this off google. But google is a search engine. It does not have the power to licence photographs for my use or anyone else's use for that matter. When I jack pictures off google, the honourable thing to do is to look for the original source and pay for use or seek permission to use. If you've been doing this, STOP RIGHT NOW! You ARE infringing someone's copyright.
Should we perhaps start from what a copyright is?
It is the right derived from someone's creation of an original work. It is a protective right that covers such works as , literary, artistic, dramatic,audiovisual works. You infringe someone's copyright by reproducing , performing, distributing, publishing etc the work, without express permission of the copyright holder. There are a lot of interesting things about copyright, but I think two are worthy of specific mention; the first is that the right to your work is automatic. You don't have to register it. The second is that if there's an original work, and you modify it to the extent that it is discernible from the original work, it forms its own original work in which you hold a copyright and you've also not infringed on the original holder's copyright. Allow me explain.
When I was in F.G.G.C Shagamu (shalla!!!!), every year, the S.S.2 class of that year, would put on a production of Ola Rotimi's "The gods are not to blame". No matter how many times it was acted in F.G.G.C. Shagamu, it was never the school's work. They were permitted to use it under the copyright exception of fair use for educational purposes. The work, "the gods are not to blame' itself, is an adaptation of the Greek play; Oedipus Rex. Copyright inures for the duration of the author's life plus 70 years, but let's say, for argument sake that the playwright, Sophocles still held an existing copyright for Oedipus Rex, Ola Rotimi's work was sufficiently discernible and distinct from Sophocles' work that it formed an original work itself ergo, can hold its own copyright.
What your copyright does is to allow you to decide how your work is distributed and ensure you get credit for it.
So back to pictures. They are protected works of the owners. Sometimes, you go websites to check out the pictures and you see things like "stock pictures". Stock pictures are licensed by the owners for specific use. I interpret that as they are basically for sale, as the right to use them (i.e. the license) is granted for a fee. On some stock pictures, you may notice the phrase "royalty free". Do not start rejoicing yet. This does not mean free picture..no..no..it means you pay a one off fee for its use and following that payment, you may reproduce the picture as many times as you want THOUGH, you are specifically restricted from transferring the use of same to other people. The difference between royalty free and stock is that stock requires that you pay per use, while royalty free gives you a simple licence for unlimited use. If you've taken a stock or royalty free picture, it is not enough for you to just credit the source, you ACTUALLY have to pay for use. Please note that.
For those of us that blog mainly for fun, we cannot afford to pay for the use of pictures. So what are our options? I hear you ask. Glad you asked amigos. The options aren't that many; actually, I know of just two right now, other than buying the pictures or just taking them from google, but I think they should be considered to save us from potential grief; a la Linda.
Option one is to look out for pictures with reproduction information clearly highlighted. This is common with cartoons and comics. It is usually the email address of who to contact for permission to use the image. I know TallNCurly for instance, is very sweet with allowing people use her comics, so long as you link back to her page.
Option two is to use a myraid of free tools online to create your own visual aids and graphics. It doesn't provide you with a lot of options, picture-wise, but you can make up cool banners and such. Some examples are Recite , LiveLuvCreate , Canva to name a few. I personally love Canva and my graphics today is from Canva. It has a number of free options and its paid options are a dollar a-piece, if you roll like that. Like I said, it is limited options but it helps you stay on the up and up.
As a step in the lawful direction, I have begun to review all my posts and credit picture sources. Any source I can't find, I take the picture down. You people are not in Nursery school; surely you can read a picture-less post! Hian!!. I am sticking to my stance moreso because of a cursory look at Bloggers T&C.
When we all signed up to Blogger, we all clicked "accept" on the terms of service before we were even allowed in to write a single word. This is known in law as a click through or clickwrap agreement, where we've all agreed to be bound by the terms of a contract by clicking "I agree". Yes people, it IS a contract. A lot of us do not even bother to read the small print (guilty!) Anyways, in addition to other terms and condition, this is Blogger's stance on copyright infringement:
- Blogger respects the rights of copyright holders and complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws. When we receive proper notice as required by the DMCA, we will work to promptly remove content that has been identified as copyright infringement. Repeat infringers' blogs are removed, and in appropriate instances Blogger accounts will be terminated.
- ...The most common reason we take down content from blogs for copyright infringement is that they have republished unauthorized copies of copyrighted content, and the owners of the copyrighted content have alerted us that their content is being used without their permission. Once we become aware of an unauthorized use, we will remove the content promptly.
- ...Anytime Blogger is properly notified that a blog or any part of a blog on our site infringes the copyrights of a third party, we will take it down from the site as required by law. [A]ccounts determined to be repeat infringers may be subject to termination.
- Our current repeat infringer policy counts strikes by 24-hour periods. For example, if 5 blog posts were removed under the DMCA today, those removals would count as 1 strike. If 3 more posts were removed on the following day, those would count as 1 additional strike, totaling 2 strikes against that blogger's account. Multiple strikes will be evaluated and may result in further remedial action, including deletion of the blog and/or terminating the account.
Blogger's tone of voice is the same tone used by other server host from website hosts to online gaming hosts. It essentially means "we brought you in, we can take you out!" We spend hours and hours writing our posts and one day, we would try to log on, and the site has been removed. Blogger owns the platform, what we have is a series of 1s and 0s we can basically do nothing with if it is not up on a server. I checked godaddy.com, just to see what their T&Cs were like, for those whose blogs are hosted outside of Blogger. It was essentially, the same thing but more threatening, see below:
You will not use this Site or the Services in a manner (as determined by Go Daddy in its sole and absolute discretion) that:
- Is illegal, or promotes or encourages illegal activity; (Cherrywine side note: copyright infringement IS illegal activity)
- Go Daddy generally does not pre-screen User Content (whether posted to a website hosted by Go Daddy or posted to this Site). However, Go Daddy reserves the right (but undertakes no duty) to do so and decide whether any item of User Content is appropriate and/or complies with this Agreement. Go Daddy may remove any item of User Content (whether posted to a website hosted by Go Daddy or posted to this Site) and/or terminate a User’s access to this Site or the Services found at this Site for posting or publishing any material in violation of this Agreement, or for otherwise violating this Agreement (as determined by Go Daddy in its sole and absolute discretion), at any time and without prior notice. Go Daddy may also terminate a User’s access to this Site or the Services found at this Site if Go Daddy has reason to believe the User is a repeat offender. If Go Daddy terminates your access to this Site or the Services found at this Site, Go Daddy may, in its sole and absolute discretion, remove and destroy any data and files stored by you on its server
Sole and absolute discretion...that's the stuff!!!!
Anyway, what's the long jibber-jabber about? We have agreed to and are therefore bound by these terms, as such, we must tread lightly. I know it was long, but I hope you learnt something and that this has helped someone somehow.