Photo Attribution

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  1. Jean Bakula profile image93
    Jean Bakulaposted 7 years ago

    Has anyone at Hubpages ever received a bill for using an Artist's work or a Photographer's Photo on a  a hub? And if so, how much? I'm curious, because I've written to artists about twenty five times during my time writing here to ask permission to use a photo, and not one of them ever answered me. I took this to mean the Artist didn't care.

    The Administration once took down a photo of a Tarot Card I used, on the Revelation's Deck, but Tarot card images in the U.S.are mostly in the Public Domain, so I put it back up. The point I want to make is the threat as bad as the administration and some alarmists want us to believe? It's very hard to find photos for certain topics.

    I'm not looking for a lecture on using other people's work, my writing gets stolen left and right. But it's always on sites with about three other articles, and I don't care if they find what I'm trying to teach them useful to them in some way. I just would like to hear who got charged for using a photo and how much, as I constantly hear threats of people getting billed "hundreds" if not "thousands" of dollars.

    1. kenneth avery profile image79
      kenneth averyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I haven't and yes, I HAVE written, phoned contact numbers, left email address, phone numbers and NO response. And just yesterday, I did get permission from a digital photo website who was happy to have me on their  website, so that is a plus for me.
      I did call the website for a once-famous college football coach to get permission to use his image to match the one I did get from Wiki Media Commons for a hub I am researching for sometime in my future writing for HP.
      But no bill yet. Thank God.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image93
        Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Kenneth,
        OK, so you have tried to contact artists and photographers too. If they don't bother to answer when they were asked, maybe HP is small potatoes to them and they don't care.

        1. kenneth avery profile image79
          kenneth averyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          From Oct. 27, my return to HP, until the writing no longer fills my mind to stop grieving for my daughter, I am going to take some time to call the studios; ad agencies, etc., and get written permission to use whatever photo(s) I plan on using on my works--depending on the topic, my works will not contain that many photos.
          But I am grateful that you and I reconnected and now can communicate more than we used to.
          I am going to bed soon. Time for my night-time medications.
          Love You Dear Friend.

          1. Jean Bakula profile image93
            Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            Sweet Dreams, Kenneth

            Marisa. I didn't read them all, were any of the fined people from HP?  That was my point, it's not such a huge business that people would be checking here.

            I agree that pictures taken by others should not be used without permission. But the way it's explained only makes sense to people who are very computer literate. For instance, I need pictures of people for many hubs, and well known people. I can stand on a supermarket line and see the same photo 10 times in 10 publications. These people want publicity. Say, like Donald Trump in my last hub.

            If those can't be used, where do you get them? I feel a lot of the TOS should be updated so the average to beginning computer user can understand it better. I have hubs that were moved to niches, and my pics were kept. But they added a lot of other information I don't know where to find. I can see where MOST, not all sites, say the photos are OK for commercial use without attribution, but some of the sites are very hard to navigate.

            1. Marisa Wright profile image87
              Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              It has nothing to do with how big the business is.  They are more likely to be checking Google results than individual websites.  So if Hubs are not popular they won't be noticed, if they are popular and doing really well on Google, they might be. 

              Of course the people want publicity, but the people IN the photos aren't the ones who complain.  It's the photographers and the paparazzi who want to make a living by selling those photos.   If people can get the photos for free then they won't be willing to pay the photographers so that's why they want to stop the abuse.

              1. Jean Bakula profile image93
                Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                OK, that's true when a hub does well. I have tried many times to contact people to ask if I can use a photo, but they don't answer. But then is there a site where you can get a picture of people in the news?

                I've been experimenting with Astrological fiction, and find a lot of good photos on But those people aren't famous.

                I don't know why the administration put my hubs in such odd categories. I changed some back. Someone like Bob Marley died in his 30's, his estate was very rich, but he wasn't in his lifetime. I use a lot of musicians and writers in my hubs, since they interest me. But I like history too and it's easier to find pictures of anthropologists and historians.

                I would try to make better Astroloy pictures, but have no gift for drawing. Perhaps I can think of a way I can accomplish that. They don't have to be fancy. I've changed most of my pictures to legal ones, little by little. The staff always picks an ugly black and white one which won't catch anyone's eye. I think some people who aren't readers need bright pictures to attract them.

                And I can barely find what I need on many of the stock sites that have a few free usage photos. I just get spammed from their site when all I did was browse to not find what I needed. I also found a lot of my own pictures of beach sunsets that were taken from my hubs in all sorts of places, some of my family. So I took them off HP. I didn't know when I came online that any little thing you say or photo could end up anywhere on the web. I often wish I could start over again.

    2. theraggededge profile image96
      theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Jean, tarot card images aren't in the Public Domain, though there is one version of the Rider Waite - the Pamela A deck from 1909 that is free to use. You have to be careful because Stuart Kaplan holds the copyright to the other versions. However, it is usual to be able to display a few images from any deck under 'fair use'. I always try to link back to the creator or seller's website.

      This is interesting too: … tudy-deck/ Benebel has created three decks from the copyright-free deck and all the images are in the Public Domain.

      Hope that is useful.

      Edit: I sent a bill to a UK charity (National Trust - looks after historic land and buildings) for using one of my hubs (originally a Squidoo lens) for £250 and they paid up.

      Second edit smile I have had many successes with DMCAs but it's disheartening - as soon as you knock one down, more pop up.

    3. Alessio Ganci profile image97
      Alessio Ganciposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      In general, I solve my problems by using only photos clearly published on the web as "public domain", free for commercial uses without need of attribution (even if it is not attribution that interests me, I have no problem to quote a photo's author if someone asks me to do it)... the same for movie clips under "fair use" in case of movie reviews (but only 1-2)... public domain photos and photos taken by me are the way, for me

    4. Sherry Hewins profile image93
      Sherry Hewinsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I would not assume that people don't care, just because they didn't answer you. No answer means "no." I have, in fact gotten permission to use a few photos by contacting the owner, if it appears it is their own photo. It seems to be more likely if it's on a small blog or website. The people are happy to let me use their photo, as long as I link it back to their site.

      You can often find photos of famous people on flickr. You have to make sure it has a creative commons license to use it, and link back as instructed. They will not usually be the quality of a professional photographer though.

      Just because you see a photo used in many places does not mean that you can use it too. Those publications probably purchased the right to use it. If not, they may not be using it legally, that does not mean it's OK for you to do the same.

      In the end, it's up to you whether you think it's right, or whether you want to take the chance.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image93
        Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks Sherry,
        I'll do some research on Flicker. I have so much trouble finding People pictures, unless they were important in an historical way, not a current, popular one. Thanks for the idea.

        1. Sherry Hewins profile image93
          Sherry Hewinsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Here is a pretty decent photo of Tom Cruise
 … 819635644/

      2. Marisa Wright profile image87
        Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this


    5. profile image0
      Snakesmumposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, I have occasionally asked for permission to use photographs on my website and on HP. 

      To date, I have always received responses giving the permission, and have not been charged.

      1. Jean Bakula profile image93
        Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, I've found that if I can find the person, they usually will allow me to use the photo. Thanks for writing back.

  2. Jodah profile image92
    Jodahposted 7 years ago

    No, have never been charged. I once asked permission to use a poem from another site in one of my hubs and they were only too pleased to give me permission. Never had a reply from any photographer etc regarding photos though.

    1. Jean Bakula profile image93
      Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks Jodah,
      So many people are happy to find somebody wants to use their work for something. Most writers want more recognition. Thanks for answering.

  3. Marisa Wright profile image87
    Marisa Wrightposted 7 years ago
  4. john000 profile image91
    john000posted 7 years ago

    NO, never charged. But I too have had so many articles fingered that I stopped counting and stopping reporting.

    1. Jean Bakula profile image93
      Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I only got results with a DMCA once. I did write to the person's site if I could find it, and sometimes they will just take down your work if you nicely ask.

      But the thread is about whether our Hubbers got fined, and still I have heard of none.

  5. EricDockett profile image96
    EricDockettposted 7 years ago

    A few years back a Hubber came to the forums complaining that a photographer had billed him for a photo he had used. The Hubber was stunned, because of course he had never bothered to understand proper image usage on HP and had just been snagging images from around the web. One of the photographers he stole from found out and billed him for the use of his image.

    The photographer showed up in the forum too, and stated his case. Not surprisingly, most Hubbers were on the side of the photographer.

    I believe the photographer eventually showed some mercy and let the Hubber off with a warning. It was a lesson learned the hard way, but it could have been much, much worse. And it could have been avoided altogether had the Hubber taken then time to read the Learning Center or research copyright law before stealing images.

    Unfortunately, this happens all too often on HP. Usually it is newbies who don't read the Learning Center. There are also many veteran Hubbers who steal photos and really ought to know better. One Hubber has even stated he will continue to do it as he never gets caught. I'm sure the same Hubber would immediately file a DMCA if someone stole his written work.

    1. sallybea profile image94
      sallybeaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I just checked a few of my images on Google to see if people were using them and the first one I found was being used by a Veterinary Site in Germany and there is no link to me.
      I feel tempted to charge them and see what happens?  That is looking at it from the other side of course.  I feel annoyed and have contacted them via their facebook page but what would you do in my situation?

      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Send an invoice smile

        1. sallybea profile image94
          sallybeaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Not sure that I would have much luck.  I have found one in German and one in Chinese, the latter is using one of my photos to advertise Health Products in a Pharmacy.  Some people really do have a nerve.  There appears to be no way I can contact them unless I register with their site.  Wonder how much they would be willing to pay for my photographs!

          1. Jean Bakula profile image93
            Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            Hi The Ragged Edge,
            Tarot decks (many of them) became available in the public domain in the U.S. years before they were in the UK, the Rider Waite Smith, Motherpeace, and many others.

            They are also allowed to be used for teaching purposes, I teach tarot classes, but in that case I just copy them for my students to explain certain readings, they aren't in a commercial setting. Or maybe they are, I get paid for teaching the courses. Hmmm...This public domain issue came up when I used to write for Wizzley.

            1. theraggededge profile image96
              theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              Hi Jean, could you post a link to a site that categorically states that tarot decks are in the public domain? As far as I am aware every deck, bar those that have entered PD due to age or the artist's generosity are copyrighted to their creators just like any other artwork and intellectual property.

    2. Jean Bakula profile image93
      Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I've never gotten any results with a DMCA anyway.

      One question I asked never got answered, "Where DO you get pictures of famous people that are legal to use?" I see them on here all the time.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image87
        Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Probably because you're not approaching the DMCA the right way.  If the sites are obvious thieves and not just innocently copying something, then they'll ignore you - you have to report them to their host.  Then you'll get results.

        1. Jean Bakula profile image93
          Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Maybe. Sometimes HP gives us the right host, some are trickier to find. I've had the best luck finding the blog myself and writing to the person, just asking them to take it down. But as soon as one is down, another one is stolen. It's a battle to keep abreast of it.

          I know how to file a DMCA, but have rarely got an answer, and HP or myself can not usually find where the host is, so in that case you have not chance of getting your stolen hub back. In my case, I wrote the hubs about 4-5 years ago, and am not emotionally attached to them anymore.

          Marisa, thanks for your input, as usual.

          1. Marisa Wright profile image87
            Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            HubPages often doesn't know who the host is, that doesn't mean it's impossible. If it's in China or India it's hard, but if it's anywhere else it's perfectly possible. If you don't care, that's fine, but in that case don't complain. It just takes a little effort.

      2. EricDockett profile image96
        EricDockettposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        When you say you see them on here all the time, do you mean used legally? Because that's the trick, right? smile As we've discussed, there are many Hubbers who use photos illegally and ought to know better.

        For legal options check out Flickr and Wikimedia Commons. Sometimes professional and semi-photographers will upload photos with a CC licence. I always investigate them with Google Image Search to make sure the uploader is who they say they are, and that the image really appears to be theirs.

        Sometimes it may be the case that there simply isn't an available photo of a certain celebrity (or whatever)  you can use legally.

        1. Jean Bakula profile image93
          Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          HI Eric,
          Yes, I guess that's true, it may be impossible to get a legal photo of a celebrity. The rules are lax here, Some of my hubs on niches have been moved with photos with celebrities. Do those have dates after which they finally become part of the public domain?

          I'm not complaining about DMCA's, I just find them to be useless a large percentage of the time. It was easier when we first began doing them on HP.  It's getting harder to find the host site, and it's usually a site in China or another country where there are only a few items on the site, so you know it won't take away from your payment. Also, I don't want to give them my email address or any personal info to write to them personally and get hacked over it.

          OK, I'm, signing off from this forum. I still didn't get the answer to my original question, if anyone from Hubpages got fined. I got more info from Eric about "famous people photos." It may be impossible to get them, but there are thousands of hubs about famous people on HP, and many on niche sites. So HP does look the other way when they need material for their sites. Thanks for your participation.

  6. theraggededge profile image96
    theraggededgeposted 7 years ago

    Got one today!

    "Thank you for the information you provided regarding your intellectual property.

    Although ****.com provides users with the ability to upload, share and discuss their writings, we take the rights of intellectual property owners very seriously and comply as a service provider with all applicable provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA").

    We have successfully removed the infringing content from the ***** platform."

    1. Jean Bakula profile image93
      Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Ragged Edge,
      I only use Rider Waite for online, and it was in the public domain 5 years ago when I was writing on Wizzley. It was NOT in the public domain in the UK. It depends on the deck. OH, I've used another deck, go to, they let you use the images for teaching purposes. It's hard to learn 78 card meanings when they are different in reverse and that just doesn't change the meaning to opposite what it is upright.

      It is OK to take your own picture of the card in a deck, it you buy it. I published a book on the Rider Waite in 2011 and didn't have to get all kinds of permissions, the publisher as well as I checked.. But the rules are different in different countries. Thanks for your input. I use one Moon photo from the Revelations Deck, but knew the artists and got his permission to use it, we travel in the same circles.

      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Hi Jean,

        Only the 1909 version of the coloured Rider Waite is in the PD. There is also a black and white version that was taken from the Pictorial Key to the Tarot 1911.

        Universal Games/Stewart Kaplan owns the copyright on the others. He acquired the rights in 1972. The copyright symbol + Universal Games will be on the box. I'm sorry to disagree with you about this but it's important. Also, you can't take photos of cards in order to by-pass the copyright laws. Just because you've purchased it doesn't mean you can republish the images. It's just as applicable in the the US as the UK. I write for US publications so I need to know this info.

        Arguably, the copyright for the RWS ran out in 2012. The trouble is that Universal Games reprinted the images and claimed a new copyright:

        //There are three entries in the US Trademark Office online database by US Games Systems pertaining to the Tarot:
        INDX/V3075 P115 :
              The Rider Tarot deck VA 101-718 (1982)
              The Rider Tarot deck; trademark No. 1-644-495 (1991)
              The Rider-Waite tarot deck; trademark No. 1-640-623 (1991)//

        So while several people have challenged the UG claim of copyright, as far as I am aware, it still stands. Universal Games is one of the strictest enforcers of copyright.

        However, with most decks you can, as I said earlier, use a few cards under Fair Use as long as you link to the creator or the sales page for the deck. A deck of tarot cards is no different to a book.

        The PD 1909 images are here: I use them on most of my tarot hubs.

        If the creators of Motherpeace allow people to use them for study purposes that's fine. Any deck can be used for that purpose. The problems arise in republishing the images.

        I tend to use a few images to illustrate my articles and am prepared to remove them anytime I am requested to do so. I always make sure there is a link to the relevant sites plus an Amazon ad as well. I think that most creators would prefer to have the publicity than not.

    2. Jean Bakula profile image93
      Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Wikipedia states regarding the Rider Waite Smith deck (and you have to remember there are several versions I can think of:  The Universal Rider Waite, The plain Rider Waite, and one with just symbols that I can't find in my stash right now:

      Copyright status
      In the United Kingdom, and by extension the rest of the European Union, copyright in the artwork for the deck will expire 70 years after the end of the year in which Smith died,[2] hence they will not fall into the public domain until 1 January 2022.

      In the United States, the deck fell into the public domain in 1966 (publication + 28 years + renewed 28 years), and thus has been available for use by American artists in numerous different media projects. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. has a copyright claim on their updated version of the deck published in 1971, but this only covers new material added to the pre-existing work (e.g. designs on the card backs and the box).


      1. theraggededge profile image96
        theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        And this from Kaplan, "Although U.S. Games publishes the only version authorized by Waite’s heirs and the Rider Company’s successors, there is some controversy over the rights to Waite’s deck. Some authors claim the deck is in the public domain in the United States, because works published in 1909 can only retain their U.S. copyrights until 1984, and subsequent U.S. laws extending copyright were not retroactive to cover works that old. Some also claim that the artwork on the deck will enter the public domain in the UK in 2012, seventy years after Waite’s death, because although Waite was not the artist, the artwork was done “for hire.” Because Waite was the employer, this would theoretically make Waite the author of the deck, and copyright in the U.K. runs until seventy years after the death of the author.

        Kaplan is firm in discounting both these claims. “The copyright protection on the Rider-Waite Tarot runs to 2021, which is seventy years after the date of death of the artist, [Pamela Colman Smith],” he said. The only way to test this understanding would be in court, but Kaplan doesn’t recommend this approach: “In the past several years, U.S. Games Systems has had to sue two large companies for copyright infringement,” he said. “In both instances we were successful, and received full reimbursement of substantial legal costs. U.S. Games Systems and its partners actively monitor and seek to protect all of its intellectual property rights.” If you want to use the artwork from the Rider-Waite Tarot, the simplest approach is to contact U.S. Games Systems and discuss licensing possibilities."

        1. Jean Bakula profile image93
          Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Hi theraggededge,
          Good detective work! I recall that when US Games came into the picture they made these claims and it caused a lot of confusion, they didn't only buy up many Tarot decks, they bought up old board games that have been around since my Grandparent's generations.. Most people in the US just use the Rider Waite anyway, it seems like the "allowed" version. As I said, The Universal Waite is colored differently and the colors are not as nice. Then there is another Universal Waite deck that just has symbols to meditate with. Nobody knows what to do with it. and US Games only added different backing and packaging, they didn't change any images.

          Pamela Coleman Smith drew and colored the original pictures, and I use that deck, though I think it should be called the Rider-Waite-Smith Deck. The colors are more vivid and the fonts at the bottom that name the cards are different too. She died penniless after all her artwork, she was a studied artist who went to the Pratt Institute. Nobody goes after individuals in the US for just using the images in books written to teach people how to read tarot, or to learn a few basic layouts. And nobody gave me trouble when I published my tarot poetry book. The deck must be the only authorized version, mine has the old fonts on it.

          I knew it was complicated, but not this complicated. I just get paid for readings with my old deck, and do some teaching. My original deck is about 40 years old, and I've been reading with it for years. I'm not expecting any trouble.

          1. Jean Bakula profile image93
            Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            HI ragged edge,
            US Games only owns the updated versions, and there are versions of Rider Waite, as I said. They own the different design they put on the backs of the cards, and new material used in the packaging.. They made a Universal Waite with dulled down colors and new fonts, like I told you. It's an ugly deck compared to what Pixie made, and in the US most readers use her original version. It's much prettier. My publisher didn't have an issue using the images, but again, they were the old ones. God, this gets complicated!

            Plus Arthur Waite was the only member of the Order of the Golden Dawn who could afford to publish a deck. Pamela did all the work and died penniless, although she was a college educated college artist who came from a wealthy family who had homes in Jamaica, London and New York, where she went to the Pratt Institute.

            Thanks for your enlightening information. I don't think the cops will be knocking on my door any time soon. Take care.

            1. theraggededge profile image96
              theraggededgeposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              It's a fascinating story - have you read the Marcus Katz book about the RWS? It's really good, although I forget the title now. OK, just looked on my Kindle app - The Secrets of the Waite Smith Tarot. Well worth a look.

              1. Jean Bakula profile image93
                Jean Bakulaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                Hi raggededge,
                No, I didn't read that one, but will definitely do so. I read around 3 books a week and it sounds interesting. Thanks for all your research, it's amazing how many twists and turns this story of tarot has taken! I'm also happy to see Pamela Smith's name in there.

  7. Amanda J Rose profile image81
    Amanda J Roseposted 6 years ago

    I'm responding here for those reading this thread in the future, as it came up while I was searching for something related.There is at least one attorney's office who focuses on suing people for using images that don't belong to them. I worked in an office where one of my co-workers was being sued. She had no idea that the blog design company she'd hired had used an image the didn't have rights to as the header image. It was thousands of dollars. And if someone doesn't reply, it definitely doesn't mean yes. No reply means no usage. There are many sites where you can find stock photos, or learn to take your own. It's gambling to use the images without permission. And although others get away with swiping online content, it doesn't make it okay for us to do the same. Or mean that we'll get away with it.


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