jump to navigation

What “public domain” means June 30, 2014

Posted by Jenny in Internet images, photography, public domain, publishing.
Rosebay rhododendron.

Rosebay rhododendron.

I am going to put this message up maybe twice a year. It’s kind of a lost cause, and I don’t want to annoy my blog followers, so I’ll leave it up for a day or so and take it back down.

I’m not such a great photographer, so it amazes me when I see through my blog stats that someone is searching for something like “public domain rosebay rhododendron” and comes to my site. Sometimes people click on every single photo with a post I’ve done, and I know then that they are doing some sort of copying of my information.

Public domain is complicated, but generally right now in the U.S. any image or text published after 1924 is not in the public domain. (I’m not quite that old, thank you.) Here’s the idea behind it: Someone who creates text or image deserves a certain amount of credit and unique use of it for quite a while. How would you feel if you drew a picture and then other people started immediately using it for their own purposes?

I met a woman not long ago who said, “Anything that’s put up on the Internet is up for grabs. I mean, why else would you put it there?”

I was sitting with her in a room with a group of people and I had to really restrain myself from getting angry.  So, if I take my own photo and post it on the Internet, someone else can take it and use it on their own site without attribution?

The Internet is complicated as far as sharing info is concerned. I don’t know what the story is with Facebook sharing of text or photos, because I decided a long time ago I was never going to get on Facebook (or other social media). All I know is, I pay very close attention to the OWNERSHIP of photos and text, and I do my best to respect it. I never use photos on this site other than my own, ones in public domain (mainly from Wikimedia Commons), and ones that I have specially obtained permission to use.

Thank you for listening.





1. Kent Hackendy - June 30, 2014

You might want to consider watermarking all your photos. Here’s a good article on About.com on the topic, and it even lists software you can purchase for that purpose.


Jenny - June 30, 2014

Thank you, Kent, I may start watermarking at least some of my photos. I think the particular problem I have is not that any single one of my photos is that great (which they definitely aren’t), but more often people capture a whole series of photos from one of my posts. for instance, just today someone clicked on every single one of my photos about a hike I did way back in summer 2009 up Mt. Washington via Boot Spur Link. Yes, it’s possible they just wanted to look at every one of my photos close up, but I think it’s more likely they were capturing those photos for some purpose of their own. So my problem is not so much individual photos (which are not top-notch photography) but a series of my photos that tells a story. This has happened with for instance Mt. Washington via Boot Spur Link, Mt. Adams via Great Gully,Mt. Jefferson via Caps Ridge, Woolly Tops off-trail via Big Laurel Branch, and USGS Bunion via First Tributary of Lester Prong.

norman medford - June 30, 2014

Jenny, i like all your pictures and some times will click on one for wall paper for a few days. Sorry if i should not be doing that. I will stop it. Norman

2. Jenny - July 1, 2014

Norman, thanks for your concern. I don’t have a problem with your using any of my pictures for wallpaper on your home computer. It’s if you used one of mine in your own website or blog that would be bad. Or to take a less likely example, if you used it in a book or a magazine. Or… and this actually happened to a friend of mine…you entered a photo of mine in a photography contest under your own name!

norman medford - July 1, 2014

Jenny, I would not do any of the above (don’t have a website or blog). Can’t get out like i once did, so i depend on people like you for pictures & reads for places i dream of! Will wallpaper some times. Thanks, Norman

norman medford - July 3, 2014

Thanks for the infomation on the elk, i did’t know that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s