I'm wondering about the treasure trove of photos and graphics available online. When I want something to illustrate my blog, I check out Google Images. I can waste a lot of time wandering through all the tantalizing things offered there conveniently lined up in tidy little squares free for the taking.
But wait! How do I know that there are no strings attached? Maybe there are some kind of online police who stand guard over those things. I might be placing myself--and my blog--at some kind of risk. Sometimes when I click on a likely candidate for pilfering, the original source will come up. This gives me pause. Does that mean that the posting was taken without that person's permission? How does all of this figure into the scheme of Google Images? And, more importantly, my right to do more than look at them.
I have been working on a posting about my childhood and in the course of my research, I was trying to find pictures of old country churches. I found a picture that had been taken inside the very church that I was writing about. I promptly right-clicked on it only to learn it was protected. There was no way I could get a copy of it.
Now this raises the question, if that picture could be rendered incapable of being copied, wouldn't that indicate that all those unprotected photos on Google (and Yahoo, Flickr, et al) aren't protected because nobody really cares if others use them?
You may ask why I don't just take my own darn pictures and not bother about appropriating other folks' stuff. Well, it's because photography is one of the many things that I really (momentary interruption while I check the Thesaurus for synonyms for "suck at") am not very good at. I won't go into all the details except to say, I'm an embarrassment to my kids who all take better pictures than I do.