Digital Photo Credits
There are legal and copyright reasons why Hubpages discourages the use of photos with names of the photographers or photo agencies embedded on them.
Cellphones, all electronic devices and the internet have blurred many disciplines, especially copyright law as it pertains to photography and the use of photos by third parties.
Hubpages and Copyright
It might be time however to review the policy for a variety of reasons. Most Hubpages writers use online photos to enhance their hubs. They have no intention of defrauding photographers of their copyright.
Yes, there are bad apples out there using computer imagery and all kinds of electronic tricks that can change the composition of the original photo you took. This is cause for concern for professional photographers.
Therefore, we cannot overlook the fact that copyright theft exists on the internet. You post anything at your own peril, this includes photos. It is an occupational hazard, but writers and photographers do not have protective gear, like firemen and women.
Photo Credit Protection
Pixelated images are one way photographers use to protect themselves from photo gangsters. I do not want to assume that every person reading this piece knows what a pixelated image is.
My Columbia University Journalism School professors will never forgive me if I do. Their advice was that writers should not assume that everybody knows who the president of the United States is.
Why pixelated images? Two photographers cover the West Edmonton Mall bungee jumping competition in Alberta Canada.
One works for ABC Photography, the other one for XYZ Studios. When the photos appear online, one has the name ABC Photography on the bottom left hand corner. XYZ Studios does the same for its photo.
Bonda, who has a hub on Hubpages goes online and sources the ideal image to complement her piece on bungee jumping as an Olympic sport.
Bonda knows from the Hubpages Learning Center that it is much better to use your own photos. Online images should be the last resort. It is easier said than done.
Hubs as Magazine Pages
The decision to use a pixelated image is subjective.
I do not use a particular image because it is pixelated. It is because it is the best one to complement the words on the page. People with hubs are both writers and layout and design artists. They have something to say and use photos or videos to illustrate their written opinion and also make the page attractive.
I use a particular image after exhausting all other possible options. There is no point in using a photo of a woman carrying plastic bags from dollar stores when the written piece is about power shopping, as in indulgence shopping. I will therefore choose a woman carrying Chanel or Gucci shopping paper bags.
I am comfortable with using a photo of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy with the photographer’s name on it because it is giving Caesar what belongs to Caesar. You do not know who shot the original film, when it is used a hundred times by French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Indonesian print and online media. A pixelated image gives credit to the person who captured the original image. I do not have a problem with that, Hubpages does but I agree with Hubpages on Google being the middleman.
Many people search on Google Images and just credit "Google Images" for their photos. This is incorrect. Google Images did not create that image, nor does it host it. Google Images helps you find images, but it is not the best tool for finding images to use, as not all of those images are licensed to be used by other people. Source: Hubpages Learning Center.
Pixelated images come from the old thing called a photo credit. Tamara wrote the article about shoplifters in business suits, Lewis took the photographs. A photo credit was then, pixelrated images are now. I can live with that and still maintain my credibility as a writer. Hubpages does not think so.
Watermarks or pixelated images detract from the aesthetic appeal of a Hub and may damage your credibility as an online content creator. Source: e-mail from Hubpages.
I think it might be a problem if a hub is full of pixelated images from hamburger joints, furniture shops, grocery shops and other entities that are looking for customers.
The Cell Phone Camera
Writers using Hubpages as a platform have no choice but to adhere to its policy and guidelines, especially because Hubpages also has a symbiotic relationship with other online players such as Google.
Maybe this is a blessing in guise to force writers to re-visit their cellphones, they largely use for family use: shoot the kids at play, pets and weddings. We forget its potential as a business tool.
I am on Hubpages because I am hoping that my musings might turn profitable somewhere down the line, a hit or miss situation.
It is therefore important to use my mobile phone more creatively, since Hubpages discourages pixelated images.
Watermarks detract from a Hub's overall appearance. If you own the photo, we recommend attributing your photo to yourself in the attribution box. All photos are legally copyrighted to the owner even if they are not watermarked or attributed. Source: Hubpages Learning Center.
Bearing in mind the legal and financial implications of using online photos, my phone is going to work extra hard taking random photos of situations I might use in future hubs.
This is wishful thinking because a story idea comes first. I do not remember a hub that was inspired by a photograph or an image.
Anyway, I will try and put my cellphone to good use.
I will work like mad, taking photos of everything because I do not know when I will need them for hubs.
I will take photos of dead objects like trees felled down before their prime to make way for condo development.
I will stand outside the MTS Centre in Winnipeg during a Rihanna concert and hope to snap a photo of her with Canadian rapper Drake or a Drake look-a-like.
I will try and get a media pass to catch a glimpse of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen when they come to Winnipeg to officially open some infrastructure.
I will spend time in a jungle and hope to take a photo of a tiger mauling a man. Ko possible (not possible) as they say in Yoruba movies. Just not possible.
Pixelated Images The Future
The mobile phone has pushed professional photographers to a corner. Anybody can take a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama buying a milk shake for baby Sasha in some part of America.
Many photographers camped in London in 2013 waiting for Kate Middleton to have her first child. More cameras means more conflicting creative ownership, which is why we should expect more pixelated images.
What platforms like Hubpages can do is to accept the inevitable and work around that, not against it.