Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blogging and Internet Etiquette

Recently (just this past weekend), I happened upon a website of an upcoming major doll show and noticed an image of two of my dolls... not dolls like my dolls, but my dolls, a copyrighted image. The photo was originally taken for and appears on page 53 of my book, Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion. Shocked, horrified, bewildered are just a few emotions I felt after seeing the image on this reputable website. I went back to examine the image to be certain it was mine (knowing the first time that it was, because no one else could possibly have two exact early-1900s dolls dressed and photographed identically).

The first thought was the image was scanned from my book, but it was too clear. Then I remembered my "Black Doll Collecting: Moments in Black Doll History" series in February of this year. I used the image on one of the blogs in that series. Aha! (I thought) that's how it was copied and obviously submitted to the website!

Of course the website is not totally at fault. They unknowingly used the image under the assumption that the person or person(s) submitting it were the rightful owners. I immediately sent an email through the website’s contact link requesting removal of the image, but have not received a reply.

The image, initially used to advertise the show's black doll exhibit, is now part of the website's image gallery and is still visible on its home page. The website was obviously modified after my email request, removing my image as the headliner for the black doll exhibit. However, a formal apology or acknowledgement of their error has not been offered.

Had I been asked permission to use my image (taken by me with my camera), I would have been honored and of course requested a photo credit for its use.

As a result, I have replaced the former black text color of this blog's copyright notice with red text. Each subsequent blog, including this one, will contain a reminder that copying images and text is prohibited without prior permission.

The moral of the story: Before you right click and copy someone else's image or copy and paste their written words and use them as your own, ask for permission. It's the right thing to do!


Please do not copy images or text without my permission.


  1. Professionals should know this! Sorry your photos were STOLEN!

  2. I'm sorry that this happened to you Debbie! I'm glad that they removed the image (as a headliner) immediately. Maybe the site admin will apologize after they've had a chance to communicate with the individual who submitted the photo. If I found out that someone used one of my images as their own, I'd be shocked - then I imagine I'd be pretty pissed off.

  3. If you are computer savvy then "watermark" all of your pictures with your blog or website name on them. Or you can do it the old-fashioned way. Print the name of your website or blog on paper and place it in front of your doll(s) prior to snapping the picture. This way, all of your doll pictures will have a trail back to you (the originator) and also become less desireable for copying by others.

  4. That is quite rude. Minimum should be an email requesting permission and caption noting source of image.

    I'm pretty sloppy with my own images, I don't mind who ends up using them... except for maybe that horrid hackeyed chop and paste job I did with the Japanese Ken & Barbie that's floating around everywhere *embarrassed* nobody takes my good images, they only take the messy ones... hmmm

  5. Sorry this happened to you Debbie! They should have sent you an apology.
    And Re: watermarks on photos ,well they can be removed if one has the right soft ware.


  6. Sad, that. No one could write that you were unclear about NOT borrowing photos without your permission first.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. Hugs, I do know how to watermark images, but I think I will try your second suggestion. That seems less taxing than adding watermarks to each image, which as Bonnie mentioned, can be removed if a person is determined to copy. Your suggestion and true watermarks are a deterrent to image copying and misrepresentation.

    Thanks again.

  8. This is has been happening a lot on the web lately, I always see my photos on other people websites and I'm like "Wow, where did I see that before" I'm kind of slow so it takes me a week to rememeber! Sorry this happen to you! :(


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