Many new bloggers aren’t aware of what the Internet laws are in the blogosphere. They may not understand how to properly give credit when and where is due, what hot-linking is, or even if you can republish recipes they have found elsewhere. I tweeted about hot linking and a few bloggers asked, “What’s hot-linking?” Others asked, “Am I guilty of that?”, and others asked, “What is copyright and what is not?” Kudos to you if you’re wanting to get educated to protect your blog and respect the content of others!
A hot-link, also known as Inline Linking, is when you use the code from another person’s server to put into your blog post. The most common occurrence of this being done among new bloggers is when they highlight a photo, right click to copy, and paste into their blog. That photo appears in your blog post, but the person whose site you got it from is paying for your blog to have that photo appear. Not only is this hot-linking, but it’s called bandwidth theft. It’s the same as walking into a store and taking a photo off their wall.
When you are looking for photos for blog posts you’ll want to be sure you’re getting a photo that is free for use on your blog. You’ll want to get acquainted with Creative Commons Licenses. I don’t recommend using image search engines for your photo search. There are too many pitfalls in that. Find a site that allows for photo sharing and abide by their terms. We happen to have free photo sharing here at Pix-O-Sphere, but no matter which site you use, make sure you are in compliance with their terms.
When you do use a shared photo, you’ll want to be sure to give proper credit for the photo and the photo source with the link.
For ex: Photo Credit: Jane Doe at “Jane Doe’s Site” and add the link to the source where the image was found. See below:
If you find a photo on a site and you want to use it on your blog, go to the footer of the site and look for their TERMS. There will be a notice in their terms to let you know if you can use their images or not. Most sites don’t allow this at all. Some sites have no disclaimer. That does not mean you can take the photo. If you’re in doubt, don’t use it.
An additional tip for you to remember is professional photographers add their copyright information to the files in their photos. They do this in their photo editing program. This means if someone takes their photo, they can still find out if the photo is theirs. This information is invisible to you, but if they see it on your blog they will be able to find out if it’s their photo.
I know copyright law is somewhat overwhelming to understand for someone new to blogging, but it’s well worth it to take the time to get educated.
Teaching Copyright (To educate your teens)
Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright (Library of Congress)
Do you have any questions or additional thoughts to share?
Lisa (Sisterlisa) blogs at The HomeSpun Life and is a contributor at The Homeschool Post. She enjoys blogging, photography, and cooking. Her homeschooling family is active in their community and enjoys traveling with friends and family.