Several years ago I attended a funeral in a tiny village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Priest read out a poem that struck a chord with me. I asked him where it came from and he told me it was an ancient poem and the author was unknown.
A few months later I created a small 16 page magazine and printed less than 50 copies. This poem was included as it was so relevant to the topic of the magazine. I placed the pdf of the magazine on our website. We did not charge for the magazine as it was a trial run to see if there was a market for it.
I thought no more about it until about 6 months later I received a lawyer's letter from America. Apparently the author was very much alive and well and would I please pay USD 15 000.00 as compensation for infringing her copyright.
Devastated at my naivety and knowing that I didn't have a hope in hell of paying that kind of money, I grovelled, begged, offered free advertising, even a public apology all to no avail. Eventually I told them to do their worst as I had no money and it would cost them a lot in legal fees to get nothing. The correspondence finally ceased.
Perhaps the lawyers were chancers? I don't know.
But, it was a lesson well learned. I now either pay for images I use or ask the creator what procedure they want followed in order to credit them appropriately or I create my own. The same goes for content.
For the images on my websites I use the following:
- I take or use one of my existing photos from my collection
- Http://www.morguefile.com has a huge selection of free images - make sure you select from the Free Tab
- I have recently discovered http://canva.com/ which is a really simple way of creating images and graphics. You can select from their free images, upload your own, or pay $1 per image and then add backgrounds, texts, shapes and colours. You can choose different sizes so it is really easy. You can download them as high quality .png files or .pdf files.
$1 might not seem a lot to pay for an image but being in South Africa where our currency is very weak against the US currency it quickly adds up. You also have to be aware of credit card fees and foreign exchange charges. So I prefer to create my own images as much as possible.
Don't make the mistake I did.
Many people are quite happy to let you use their content as long as it is acknowledged. Get their permission in writing.
Check before you post!
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This is Day 17 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge