I like a little visual interest on my blog posts. I usually add at least one graphic just to interrupt the huge block of my babbling underneath the title. I also like to use my own work if possible. If I have a photo even remotely related to the topic, I will use that. My Times Square Flag Still Flies post was mostly inspired by the fact that I did have a picture of the building that got bombed and it creeped me out a little bit that you never know when and where news will occur. For my Gary Gygax eulogy, I went and took a picture of my own D&D dice rather than find a stock image and I wove the distressing condition of the dice into the story.
Other posts of mine like where I mock celebrities I use commonly available publicity shots of my objects of scorn. I really have no qualms about using these photos which, while not in the public domain, are clearly in the public sphere. Since I’m usually snarking about something, I feel I can mount a pretty decent “review and comment” or “satire” defense. At least in my own mind. Nobody’s ever called me on it and Ces is actually impressed with my signs of
But some topics need a visual clue that I don’t have, so I go Googling. For my follow-up D&D post where, according to the quiz, I’m an elf wizard. I did a Google Image search and in the first page of results, was this terrific image (click on the link, it really is just perfect) which came from the blog of DPI Studios. I downloaded the image to my hard drive and then uploaded it to Blogger.com. Since Blogger (which is owned by Google) has nearly unlimited storage, I feel better and safer doing that rather than deep-linking to the original image. I have some scruples.
When you do that, the link on the image in the post goes to the full size source stored on the Blogger server. This can be easily edited to redirect wherever I want. What I did with the elf was link the image to the source blogpost of DPI. At the bottom of the post I also included a link to their main homepage. I don’t usually include explicit image credits, but I thought these guys merited it.
Having just been burned on the Rock Album Meme photo guy going ballistic, I decided to do the decent thing and send one of the image owners an alert that I had used their illustration that they had posted on the web where anybody could find it. I phrased the e-mail so that if they never responded, I could assume it was okay with them:
I have a blog and wrote about Dungeons and Dragons and needed an image of an elf wizard. I found your site through a Google search and downloaded to my own server (actually Blogger.com's) an image you recently created. I have credited DPI Studios and linked the image to your blog.But they did reply. And they seemed a little puzzled that I even bothered to ask, but they didn’t like the idea.
Please let me know if this is not an acceptable use of your artwork. Thanks for your cooperation.
Yeah, I really wish you would have contacted us before you put that up. Since that piece was done for Green Ronin Publishing we can't give you permission to use it. I feel bad having put it up with out a Green Ronin copyright notice, I'll have to change that.They were kind enough to suggest some other images, and I did replace the original one with one of the “permission granted” alternatives, but it wasn’t quite as perfect a match.
Thanks for your interest in our work and thanks for asking permission.
Most of the time when I “steal’ an image it’s from a website that clearly didn’t create it but got it from someplace else themselves (like the Google Search image I put on this post for purely prurient purposes). When, like the fine folks at DPI Studios, it’s clearly original artwork, I think it’s only right to link back to the source and credit the heck out of it.
I’m still not sure about the whole issue of whether it’s easier to beg forgiveness or ask permission. I do a blog post a day somewhere and to wait around for a reply granting permission for an image when I don’t even have an example of what I intend to do with it seems like a prescription for rejection. I think I will continue to figure this out on a case by case basis. And if I’ve used something of yours on my blog, just let me know and we can discuss it reasonably.
BlatantCommentWhoring™: Do you put images on your blog, and if you do, where do you get them?