nicpel: (serious)
I'll just give my answers here because I'm tired of head-desking in frustration.

"If I took a quick picture of my kid's toy, why am I crediting?"

Because it adds credibility that you actually have personal experience with the item you're reviewing, writing about, promoting, etc.

"If I draw something, why am I crediting?"

Um, because it's YOUR HARD WORK and I should think you'd want to take credit for that. I sure as heck don't put any of my art or drawings out there without stating that it's my work. I honestly don't understand NOT DOING THIS.

"If I paid out cash to use a stock photo that didn't require credit slapped all over it, why am I crediting?"

Because a lot of people abuse stock image sites. Fact of internet life these days. They don't pay, yet they use an image (even just a thumbnail if they can't download the full-size version without watermarks) and there's no way to tell if they bought it or are stealing it. Perhaps they're even stealing the full-size version from someone ELSE who paid for the rights to use that image on ANOTHER website.

"If an image is absolutely positively in the public domain or cannot be copyrighted for various reasons, why am I crediting?"

Because not everyone KNOWS it's "absolutely positively" in the public domain - I mean, how precisely do YOU even know? There are a lot of images on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons claimed to be Public Domain that aren't or have dubious rights. I've seen a lot of publicity photos for actors and rock bands scanned in and uploaded to Flickr and called "Public domain" when they sure as hell aren't.

Once more, I fail to comprehend WHY PROVIDING IMAGE CREDITS IS SO AWFUL AND TERRIBLE A BURDEN. I see nothing but benefits in doing so...and a lot of potential negative in not crediting.

*sigh*
nicpel: (Default)
Okay, so the debate, whining and arguments about proper image usage on Squidoo rages on (and probably will forever until HQ cleans up and clarifies its policies). Today's latest entry into the kerfluffle: If an image is free and clear for use (public domain, your own work, or from a free image source like morguefile), why "waste valuable space" on a lens including image credits if you don't have to?

Let me tell you why.

1. HQ is at least starting to ask for image credits to be included on Quests for front page placement. Certainly this is the result of several recent Lenses of the Day coming in to question because of their dubious image sourcing (one was flat out taken down last week before the day was out). I'm not thrilled that they're only requiring credits, not checking that the images are free and legal to use, but it's a start. So if you want to see your lens get extra traffic from being on the Squidoo entry page? Credit your photos.

2. Credits are a way to easily get click-outs. Click-outs are good. Click-outs boost your lens rank. If you're using a photo from morguefile, wikimedia commons, or any other site, why not include a small image credit with a link out to the source file? Some people might want to see the image in original/full resolution, or check out more of the photographer's other work.

3. Credits prove you are working with the system. Many Squid Angels (like myself) are diligent about only blessing lenses if we can see clear, hard evidence that any/all images on the lens are legally allowed. And sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between a great personal photo, a great photo from morguefile, or a completely copyrighted photo that isn't supposed to be used on a commercial site like Squidoo. So why not make it easier for us, if you want the lens rank boost of a blessing? Even non-Angels may only "Like" lenses or share them around if they are sure the lens is following legal image usage.

4. If a photo is your own work, why not brag about it! If you're using your own photography on a lens, tell the world! Who knows, someone might like your work well enough to commission you or pay you to use your photography on another website or for other purposes.

5. Ease of future editing. Say you've uploaded an image to a module after grabbing it (legally I hope) somewhere on line. A few months later you want to reformat the image/crop it/enhance it/answer a question about its origin and original photographer. Or maybe there's a system bug/crash that loses your original image upload. By including a credit/link when originally adding it to a lens, you save yourself the trouble of having to hunt down the source of that image again in the future.

6. It's just good etiquette and polite. Whenever I see or hear someone whining about having to provide image credits on a lens, I wonder if they aren't protesting too much. Yes, it takes a few seconds extra work. But even if you don't HAVE to credit someone for using their photography, isn't it a nice thing to do? Good karma, people.
nicpel: (Default)
This started out as a forum response, but I decided I was getting too long-winded and would rather blog about it :)

I keep hearing about how hard it is to find legal images you can use on your Squidoo lenses and that's why there's so much trademark and copyright abuse. I disagree. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort (which is why the scammers won't do it), but there are plenty of great ways to find attractive images for your pages without doing so in a questionable or downright violating fashion.

This is basically my 10-step "Elimination Process" when I'm personally looking for images to use on one of my lenses:

1. Take my own damn photos. Nothing is more personal and unique than photos you take yourself! When I cook something I might want to write about, I photograph it step by step. Go to a concert? Take photos. Travel somewhere? I take photos. Eat at a great restaurant? Photograph the food. I have a library of easily about 10,000 photos now on just about any topic I want to write about. Sure I'm not a professional photographer, but quite often a simple iphone snapshot can do the job just fine. That's all I used on my How to Make Pizza lens.

2. AllPosters. As an AllPosters affiliate, I can use poster images of all kinds on my lenses - provided they link back to the product for sale. Plus I can earn money if someone buys the poster! AllPosters have everything from celebrity pics to movie posters to classical art and much more. When I can, I like to mix together AllPosters images with my own photos, like I did for my Duran Duran survey. It's hard NOT to be able to find something appropriate at AllPosters, so why not become an affiliate yourself?

Webmasters Make $$$
Webmasters Make $$$

3. Amazon. Selling Amazon products is a great way to make money with Squidoo, whether you have your own affiliate account or use the Squidoo Amazon affiliate program. And if you're selling an Amazon product on your lens, you can use their photos of it (like I did when I was trying to find a legal MasterChef image to use...)

4. Morguefile. Don't let the name turn you off. Morguefile is absolutely my FAVORITE place to search for general-type images of people, food, places, ideas...just about anything that's not celebrity-related. Morguefile photos are free to use commercially (as long as you're not just repackaging them without modification) so they're absolutely perfect for a lot of lenses. If you look at my Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012 lens, all of those photos are from morguefile and showcase some of the variety that's available.

5. Ask a friend. I have a few friends who are awesome photographers. And if I explained exactly how I was going to use their photos (yes, commercially), with full credit, I've been lucky to be given permission to do so. So if you see photos on Flickr or elsewhere by someone that would be perfect for your lens, but you're not sure about the usage rights? Why not ask them? Yes, they might say no. But they could say yes as well and everyone goes home happy. My Foo Fighters Survey lens wouldn't be the same without the awesome photos used by permission from [personal profile] cat_wolf.

6. Check for digital press kits/allowed for commercial use images. Some artists, bands, celebrities and events will have digital press kits on their websites where its clearly stated the images can be used for promotion, reviews, news reports, etc. Just be very careful to read the fine print. For my Dragon*Con Guide I downloaded the logo direct from their media center/press kit.

7. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia can be a good source for things like classical art images, nature photography, animals and more. However, I still try to be careful about using Wikimedia images because since they are user-uploaded, there sometimes can be questions about their legality and usage rights. But it can be impressive what you can find here.

8. Other commercial websites if you're reviewing their products/selling them. This I try to be careful with, but it is generally considered acceptable to use product images if you are reviewing them. I always try to find the product first via Amazon (so I can get a sales commission!) but in a few cases I'll go this route with no other option available. Certainly if you're promoting items for sale in your own CafePress store, you can use images of them - and you should!

9. Flickr public domain and Creative Commons (with commercial use) images. In a near last resort, I'll search Flickr for photos that allow for commercial use elsewhere. However, just like with Wikimedia Commons, you have to be careful that the person who uploaded the image really had the rights to do so. I've seen album covers, posters, publicity photos and similar clearly copyright protected images labeled incorrectly as "public domain" on Flickr before. So user beware.

10. ClipArt collections on-line. This is sort of a last-resort for me but one I'll sometimes use, like on my Garlic Intolerance lens. Finding GOOD clip art can be difficult - and being sure the clip art is truly public domain even harder. So I only use one or two clip art sites and collections that I believe I can trust.

Now, if I get past #10 on the above list and STILL can't find the type of images I think I need for a lens? Then I start to question whether it's really a good subject to build a lens ABOUT - at least not until I can find, create or photograph the right kind of images to use for it.

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nicpel: (Default)
Nicole ("sockii") Pellegrini

January 2013

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