For those of you who are on my friends list on Facebook, this may seem like a continuation of a long-standing bitch session I've been going on about. I apologize in advance for that. I've recently been given some information and posting it in a status update is just too long.
Sometimes I have a very difficult time with some of the things I see posted or shared on Facebook. Mostly it is things that can be found anywhere on the internet, and as long as attribution is given if known, or asking for notification if someone else knows who the piece belongs to, I keep my mouth shut and let people play. However, when I see a picture posted that I know wasn't taken by the person or page that has posted it and it has their name or page name on it, it sets my teeth on edge. No, I'm not trying to be the *copyright police* that position is already taken and I don't want to be part of that crew. What I am upset about is seeing a beautiful picture with some awe-inspiring words or verse written on it and then seeing a page name added to the picture. OR a picture I used here in this blog when it was Aoibheal's Lair that someone has downloaded and then been creative with their Paint.pro program to crop and switch the picture around and then add their name to the picture before they share it to FB. That just totally ruins the picture for me and, as a result, I've stopped sharing from these pages and have even unliked many of them.
So why am I still bitching? Because it is becoming more prevalent. More pages are taking something they see on another page or profile, adding their name or page name to it, posting it to their page and then raising all kinds of bloody hell when someone else does exactly the same thing they just did. I guess they thought they were being sneaky or creative or IDK. And sadly, it is becoming the norm for pages belonging to people in the Pagan community. People who should know the difference should know that if it isn't theirs, they have no reason to add their name to it.
A few weeks ago, I saw a page I'd been following for quite a while that hadn't posted in a couple months. Or at least I hadn't seen them in my pages feed for some time. I used to LOVE the things they posted, so upbeat and motivating. Now, the pictures they are posting are still upbeat and motivating, but also have the page name added to it in an obvious location. I'm thinking this just doesn't feel right to me, so I send off a report to FB, and I wait and wait and wait. Until just yesterday, I find a reply in my *Support Dashboard* letting me know the things I've been seeing are called *memes* and do not violate Facebook's copyright policy. And in fact "Even if the page does not own the copyright to the artwork, once they have added their words to said picture, it is considered to be their intellectual work and, therefore, does not violate our copyright terms."
So, I post this information on my Timeline for others who I've been talking about this issue with may see the response I got from FB support. By this time, I am pretty frustrated. And have decided to just share the pictures I like without bitching about them. Honestly? Some of them are simply gorgeous and the thoughts or verse that has been added can really brighten someone's day, mine included. Many of those in the discussion feel the way I do, it's not right to post artwork or verse that does not belong to the person posting it. Before I go any further, I have been guilty of the same thing, I DO try to let people know I don't have any idea who the artist is and ask for any information there is. Currently, my cover picture is one I have no idea who drew it and I've stated artist unknown. While I don't know the artist, the words are mine, so in order to protect my thoughts, I added my watermark to the picture. Am I wrong? I don't know. The only part of the picture I take credit for is the words...
This brings me to my point, and for some could be considered petty and not worth the effort to bitch about. However, when someone does the exact same thing they raise a hue and cry over someone else doing, AND refuse to see what they are doing, my teeth begin hurting and I bring it out. Last week Boho Beach Gipsy was upset that a different page on Facebook had taken *her* graphics, removed her name and then posted them to their page. So she says she sent them a message and made a public declaration about the situation on her page calling them out and even encouraging her followers to contact the page and let them know that they were *stealing* her graphics. The page is Lottery Hub and if you look at their Timeline you can see where they have used similar graphics, but for the life of me I can't see where they took the time to remove her name before posting. Let me add right here that if you do a google search for vacation pictures, most all of the pictures in question can be found on numerous travel sites.
After reading the poor pity me and veiled threats posted by Boho Beach Gipsy, on Monday, I posted a message to her page asking her to give me the links backing up her claim of copyright theft. She promptly removed my comment and has not answered my request either by private message or public declaration. And upon further reading of her page about me section I find this:
The posts are for the sole purpose of raising awareness and spreading love, joy, and peace.......
(All photos & Information used under the "Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 17, 106,106A, + of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance made for "fair use" for purposes such as reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research for nonprofit educational use.)
I'm pretty sure her comments and veiled threats regarding *her* graphics being used by another page do not constitute "fair use for purposes of reporting, teaching, scholarship and research for nonprofit educational use". So, why is this so important to me? Why am I spending any time writing about something that many would consider non-important? Because, some of the graphics she is using and claiming as her own are ones I used 2 years ago here on this blog. The graphics are googled, but the sentiments added to the graphic are my intellectual property.
So, now what do I do? Do I just let it roll off my back, continue on as if nothing happened and consider this to be normal and acceptable behavior? I can't do that, you know that. For now, I have unliked and stopped following Boho Beach Gipsy and her sister page Rivers of Lotus Blossoms of Love. I have also unlike and stopped following a few more Pagan pages that are also using someone's artwork and adding their page name or alias to it. My gut tells me this behavior is not right and I can't support those pages that participate in this type of thing. Is my not following their page going to make a difference in the things they post? Probably not. In my mind I don't need to keep asking myself *Is it Right or Is it Wrong*?