Lost ManCandy: How Copyright Protects Us All

Lost ManCandy: How Copyright Protects Us All

© 2012 – by Kat Bastion

(DISCLAIMER: None of the following is legal advice. The following is merely food for thought from your new favorite shoe.)

Where did all the tasty blog ManCandy go?

Sadness had filled my Twitter timeline. Sobs and moans were heard as bloggers deleted photo after photo of their favorite celebrity’s abs and pecs. Many changed their hard-body avatars. People pulled down a black veil over their face in mourning.

It came to light, that a court case had been settled regarding copyright infringement. A photographer took an author and fellow blogger to task when she, like so many others have, unknowingly violated copyright law by using photos others had posted on the internet.

Ripples of panic and sorrow were felt throughout the Twittersphere…and still are.

Everyone who’s heard the news has been deleting or replacing photos on their blog sites. Many closed down their Pinterest and Tumblr accounts. The one who went to court? She paid money she didn’t have for her unknowing infringement on the artist’s copyright. A difficult lesson learned by one of us should be heeded by all.

I jumped on Google to see what kinds of photos you can use without permission. The muck I had to wade through was astonishing. Just in the last decade, organizations have attempted to clarify what is and isn’t fair use with regard to an artist’s work. I found guidelines posted from entities (for their users) ranging from Wikipedia to Stanford (for their reporters.)

Why all the gray area? Fair use has some ambiguity. It’s left up to a judge to decide.

Today, on my Twitter feed, someone posted a super hot photo of Channing Tatum on Pinterest. {fans self}

Hmmmmm… Could she have found a loophole in the rules? Did her post fall under “fair use”? Or maybe she hadn’t heard. The photo had a GQ watermark on it. Maybe that’s okay, then. Right?

Wrong.

My brief research revealed that if the use of a photo falls under the “fair use” portion of copyright law, it may be okay to use a celebrity’s photo without the celebrity’s permission, however it is not okay to use without the photographer’s permission. In this particular case, it would be GQ’s permission. Go to GQ’s website and read their disclaimer at the bottom. You cannot use any material without written permission.

There are other issues at stake besides just copyright that I came across. Anyone in a photograph, celebrity, or otherwise, could sue for privacy violation if they didn’t give you written permission to post a photo publicly. If you took a photograph with your favorite celebrity, and there were twenty fans in the picture, technically the celebrity and the twenty fans would have to give you written permission to have their face plastered onto the internet.

What a bummer. Photos are such a beautiful compliment to our writing. In an 800 word blog, your picture gets to also say a thousand.

So what do we do?

  • We take and post our own beautiful photos. If there are other people in that photo, make sure you have their written permission to make the photo public. Watch out for minors! Make sure you have their parents’ or guardians’ permission.
  • We get permission from photographers and periodicals when they have a photo we absolutely have to use. And we prepare ourselves to pay for that use.
  • We use photos that give us express permission to do so, with the type of licensing granted (like creative commons on Flickr), and make sure we follow their licensing guidelines.

Seem like too much work?

I’ve heard violators have paid $4,000.00 for a copyright infringement and can pay upwards to $25,000.00. So, we have to ask ourselves, how much is posting that photo properly worth.

Copyright Protects Us All

There is a silver lining in all this rapid education. I hope that with all the blogging and re-educating, we realize that as writers and authors, we want our work to be protected just as much as the photographer. The moment our words are inked, they belong to us.

Copyright empowers the artist to say how their work is used and who has the right to do so. The law enables us to stop the piracy of our carefully crafted work of art. After months and years we spend to get that one story out there, perhaps we can appreciate how the photographer feels.

Every time I think of the ManCandy we’ve all lost, I’m going to take heart in the protections we’ve gained. And…watch the DVD I will have purchased of Magic Mike any time I need a good dose of my paid for ManCandy. {laughs}

Happy safe blogging!

Kat

© 2012 – by Kat Bastion

2 thoughts on “Lost ManCandy: How Copyright Protects Us All

  1. twimom227 says:

    Thank you for such a detailed account of the case. I haven’t made any changes to my site, yet. I guess I won’t be posting photos from my upcoming AAD trip, though. :-(

    • You’re welcome, Jen. What a bummer. I think if it were me, I’d carry a short release in my purse where anyone I take a photo of allows me to post their photo on my blog or website. Or…take a photo of food. We all love food. LMAO! ;)

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