Saturday, September 20, 2014

Copyright on a Creative Blog - 30 Lessons in Blogging

When I first started blogging and producing my own tutorials, I read a lot about copyright and how important is was to protect your work.  There are plenty of stories out there of people finding their work on other people's blogs and websites with no credit given and even sometimes claimed as other people's work.  
I signed up for MyFreeCopyright and still have their small button on the bottom of my blog. I've since read varying reports about this service and am not convinced it really does anything.

Perhaps having a kind of copyright logo on your blog may act as a deterrent to someone thinking of 'stealing' your work. But in the end, I think if someone really wants to take something off your blog, then they'll find a way.

Does it all really matter?

A couple of years ago I read a brilliant article from Zen habits:

This article really made me thing about the whole copyright issue - and what I felt about my own creative works.
As I mentioned in my post about writing tutorials, my ideas are always inspired by other people or things. There are so many variations in ideas out there - who really knows where the idea originated?

Take for example, my most popular ever tutorial:
Super simple, made in just 15 mins from an old kid's t-shirt.
It's been pinned and featured heaps since it was published in 2011, and there are now countless other similar tutorial out there - including this ingenious one - even simpler than mine that just uses a sock!!
Was I the first one to come up with the idea? Absolutely not! In fact my Mum made me something similar when I went travelling to wear on my ankle under a long skirt to keep cash, keys and a credit card when I went for an evening out dancing, so I didn't need to carry a bag! I wonder where she got the idea from?

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is - that creative ideas get copied, improved upon, added to and replicated all the time. The fact that I'm choosing to post my work on my blog for free, for anyone to see and use, means I'm happy for others to build upon it too - adapt, change and get creative with it.

I love that Zen article and would definitely recommend reading it!

But having said that - Everyone wants their work recognised and appreciated. So here are some steps you can take to protect it a little! Nobody wants someone else taking credit for their hard work.

How to protect your work

Although once you publish things in your name on your blog, they are supposed to automatically 'belong' to you, the internet is a huge place and there are some steps you can take to protect your work, 'just in case'!

  • Watermark your photos with your blog url.  I have tried to do this with a lot of my tutorials, although I must admit to being lazy sometimes and not bothering.  You see an example here of a tutorial I did this with (Fabric Origami Bag). Each photo has my logo in small letters in the middle of the photo. I put it in the middle because it can't then be cropped out, as someone could easily do if it's at the bottom.  Simply by doing this to the photos in your posts, it means that if someone tried to copy and paste an entire post and claim it as their own, they'd be stuck with all the photos clearly marked as someone elses!

  • Disable Right Click on your blog.  I have no idea how you do this, but I've found some websites that don't allow you to right click and copy even one photo.  Whilst this does protect your work to an extent, there are ways around this - like using 'snipping tool' on your computer.  It also means you can't benefit from the sharing and featuring that goes on all over the internet - with a link back, that helps drive traffic back to your blog.

  • Have a copyright message in your sidebar.  It's a good idea to let your visitors know what is acceptable to take from your blog without your permission. For example - 'please feel free to use one or two photos from my blog with a link back if you would like to feature something I have made on your own blog.'(having said this - I'm yet to add this to my blog! Must do that!!)

How About You?

Do you do anything to protect your work?
What are your views on copyright of your creative blog work?


  1. Jill, thank you for this post. I know there are "pirates" out there. The only thing I know to do is watermark my photos like you mentioned. But, anyone could photoshop that, too. So, since I love blogging I'll just keep posting. I always enjoy reading your blog. Lynda

    1. Thanks Lynda! I guess you could look at it as, if my work is so good someone wants to 'steal' it, then I must be doing something right!! :)


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