It was my understanding when I joined hubpages that if we posted photos, they had to be our own. So I've been slogging along, using only photos I've taken myself, while people who have joined long after me zoom past in rankings by posting tons of celebrity photos. So what I want to know is just what are the rules anyway? Does Hubpages enforce this at all? I wrote to the admins about it over 2 months ago, and never heard back. I'm not even sure they got my emails.
I'm replying just because I'm interested in learning the answer to this question as well.
I refer you to the HubPages user agreement, in particular sections 3 and 6.
It's up to authors to make sure they have the rights to post content including photos. We do have a DMCA process for copyright holders to follow.
Whenever I've used an image from a web site or someone else holds the copyright, I always credit them. If there is a problem with using the image, the webmaster will generally contact you via e-mail and say so, but by providing a link, they also get exposure from your hub and most webmasters appreciate that.
It sounds like the honor system. People know the rules and break them anyway, and the odds seem pretty good that the actual copyright holders are unlikely to hire an attourney and go after a hub writer.
That's about it Moonmaiden. We've done some work to penalize hubs (by reducing the HubScore) where the text is duplicated from other sites. Unfortunately, it is considerably more difficult to do something similar with images.
I tend to prefer hubs with original content, like yours, but there will always be people looking to take shortcuts.
Upon reading your post my first thought was "That's about it" but then I saw that Paul said that exact same phrase so to avoid a possible copyright infringement I'll refrain from using it.
But indeed that is the way it goes. It depends on certain factors too. Whether it's big business or the little people.
I know that a couple of years ago the owners of the Star Trek franchise pursued relentlessly the owners of fan sites to shut down or face legal action.
Not a good way to keep your fans onside.
George Lucas on the other hand allows fans to express their love and appreciation. To an extent. If people were to profit from his creations (eg: selling bootleg copies, or making art to sell) then he has the legal arm (Lucas Licensing) to curb such activity, but if it's fans sharing and enjoying the world that he's created through fan fiction, fan made movies, fan costumes... he enjoys it and even actively encourages it.
So if a person was to use images from Star Wars for their hubs then it's not an issue with the copyright owner, in this instance.
I've been publishing a lens of free Royalty-Free images for people to use at Squidoo and Gather. Though if anyone wishes to use them at HubPages they are invited to do so.
Sometimes I use pictures from other places until I can replace them with my own.
I like giving credit though--will do so from now on.
All this sparks a doubt in my mind. If someone else manipulates my copyrighted image or uncopyrighted image and copyrighted it, will that be a copyright violation? and if so how can I go about proving it that I am the original owner of the picture?
Copyright is not something one has to apply for. It is automatic.
But the onus is on you to prove that you are the original owner of the picture.
Lets say it is a photo, you may have the original in a much higher resolution. Or it may be one of a series of photos you took. You could have taken two shots of a lake and one might have a bird flying in it and you didn't want that bird in the shot, so you took another. You can use that as evidence too.
But don't use the evidence to prove anything to the person who has used your image. Bring out the evidence later to prove it to the webhost.
Or if someone is making a career or a habit out of taking many of your images to build their website or reputation and you've asked them nicely to stop and they tell you they won't, or if they ignore you (give them 7 to 14 days to comply) and if their site is monetized by Google Adsense you can contact them with the transcripts of the email communication and prove to them that you are the copyright owner.
They may temporarily suspend the perpetrators account or even ban it outright.
Always make sure your communication is clear and civil. Depending on the seriousness of the violation you may need to seek legal advice. But never pretend to be a lawyer or a legal representative. You can represent yourself. Being honest throughout the process will mean less hassle later if it ends up going the distance.
What I've outlined above is one of many ways a person can go about enforcing your copyright ownership. Not the only way.
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