Blip Central Blog

By BlipCentral

Protecting Copyright

Blipfoto started back in 2004 as a personal journal of one man who wanted to record his life by taking just one photograph each day to record his journey through life.  The idea was so engaging that soon his friends wanted to join him in doing the same thing.  It turned into a worldwide phenomenon and his legacy has been shared by people across the world, in more than 150 countries.
Since that time, as people have joined they have re-interpreted that idea, while remaining true to the original concept.  It has been an opportunity to reflect personal life, your community’s activities and a tool for social commentary, at all times being mindful of the original concept and the need to ‘be excellent’ and keeping to the rules of the site.  It has made Blipfoto a unique space for people to come and enjoy.
We here at Blip Central are very fortunate; we need to do very little moderation of the site.  The rules are generally accepted and observed.  We are sometimes involved in dealing with a new journal starting up with blatant advertising and they are swiftly dealt with, usually after you have reported the journal to us.  If you aren’t aware, you can report an entry by clicking on the ‘Report’ button, which can be found through the entry’s ‘More Info” button.
We want to draw your attention to one area of the rules where we have seen an increase in incidence.  We are seeing more and more images which were not taken by the journal owner.  In these circumstances, they are typically images downloaded from the web, probably from stock imagery found through a web image search, and they are frequently being used to illustrate a view or opinion.
Copyright law is complex and made more so by the international nature of Blipfoto users, but by publishing this kind of image on Blipfoto anyone who does so puts the company at risk of breach of copyright.  That is why one of the rules of Blipfoto  is that you ‘only post content to which you own the copyright’. 
There may be occasions where such posts have not been moderated and we are not asking anyone to go back over past content to report images.  It would be an almost impossible task, given the millions of images on the site.  We are asking everyone to observe this rule from now on and so limit any risk to Blipfoto of a charge of breach of copyright.  The best way of keeping to the rule is only ever use a photograph from the day and that you have taken yourself.   
To safeguard Blipfoto for everyone we’re going to have to be more careful about this in the future, so we’ll be suspending entries where we have reason to believe there has been a breach of copyright.  If we’re wrong, and you really were the official photographer at Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, an astronaut on the international space station, or were there when Elvis ate his last burger, let us know via the helpdesk and we can re-instate the entry! 
Also, bear in mind if you’re taking photos of other people’s photos or paintings, other design work, or images on TV this can be a grey area in terms of copyright – it may be OK if your photo genuinely adds something to the original, or where the copyrighted image is incidental to your photo.   We’re asking you to err on the side of caution so please don’t post these unless you’re sure your image will be on the right side of the law!

** Postscript**

We've already started to get questions around what is or isn't acceptable.  We aren't experts in this subject so we can't give definitive responses.  We've had a quick look and there is plenty of guidance on the web if you search for either 'copyright of images' or 'fair use of images' and we have come across this article on 'Fair Use: copyright differences in the UK and the US'.  Please remember to read these in conjunction with our rules.

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