We think it’s high time to remind you the rules around copyright of images. With the world as it is currently, there have understandably been a few screen grabs or photographs of TV screens, which have had to be moderated because they breach copyright rules. These rules apply also to cinema screens, computer screens, etc. when they’re showing content.
The previous Blip Central post on this subject describes the rules pretty well – please take the time to re-read it. The really key point from the post is:
“Copyright law is complex and made more so by the international nature of Blipfoto users, but by publishing an image to which you don’t hold the copyright 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’.“
The rules are simple if the screen is the only thing in the image – it’s not allowed. It gets more complex if the screen is in the image with other context around – in this case the moderators will have to use their discretion and their decision is final.
There are still a number of recurring questions or comments each time a moderation like this happens, so here are some “FAQs”:
Are the moderation rules applied consistently?
Our moderators cannot actively monitor the site, and we would have legal issues if we were to do so. Instead, we respond to all moderation requests raised by the community. There is a “report” flag on each entry, which flags that entry to a moderator. The moderators will assess those entries fairly and objectively. We don’t “turn a blind eye” to some, have “double standards” and we’re not politically or in any other way filtering our responses. If you see something you think should be moderated, report it and we’ll make an assessment.
It’s your own TV, why can’t you photograph it?
Yes, it is, but the images shown on it are still subject to copyright.
If I contact the BBC (insert any other media name here), I could get permission for the image.
If you look at the rules for most media companies, their copyright FAQs boil down to “you can ask, but we’re unlikely to grant permission”. In any case Blipfoto is international, and many different laws apply. The rules on Blipfoto are clear: post only content that you have the right to post.
Does “the Blip police” enjoy moderating people’s pictures?
No, of course not. We would prefer to be spending our free time concentrating on our families, our hobbies, relaxing or even putting more time into changes for Blip. We take no pleasure in moderation, but it is necessary task we have to do for the reasons set out above and in the linked post.
Are you just applying rules for rules sake?
No. We would prefer to never have to spend our time moderating. However, we as a community can't afford to be taken to court over copyright. If we were implicated in copyright infringement, our web hosts could shut down the whole site immediately. It's not about rules for rules sake; this is about safeguarding Blipfoto for everyone.
The After Effect
We understand that the natural reaction to having an image moderated is to comment about it on the next journal entry. And that your followers may well want to support you. Remember: we’ve not moderated an image to victimise, and it’s nothing personal.
Please take a moment to consider how your reaction (journal entry or comment) will feel to those running the site, who are using up an enormous amount of their own free time and goodwill to do so. If you find yourself typing “BlipCentral should…” or “The Blip police have..” take a moment to mentally replace the words with “Annie should…” or “Graham has…” (as examples). If you’re still happy to post what you’re about to write at that point, then please do so – but remember the ethos of the site is “Be Excellent” and that applies towards us as well.
This community is known as one of the nicest places on the Internet – please, let’s keep it that way.