Copyright Violation

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  • #371765

    I’ve noticed more blogs increasingly lifting personal photos from social networking sites and marketing the subject as a target of assassination. Regardless of unfavorable opinion and jeers from the cowardly peanut gallery, when an individual comes a photo which was lifted without their permission, what action may one take? Both are members of WordPress.

    I’m under the assumption that photos fall under copyright, period.

    Please advise. Thank you.



    You did not specify a blog address or reason for posting when you created this topic.

    This support forum is for hosted blogs only. If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog you need to seek help at the forums, not here.

    If you don’t understand the difference, you may find this information helpful.



    Your assumption is correct.

    The photographer is the owner of every photo that they have taken. Even if 2 people take an identical photograph, each photographer will own their own photograph. This includes popular tourist attractions which have their pictures taken several thousand times per day, the photographs may not be terribly unique, but each photo taken is still the property of it’s photographer. The term of the copyright is from the time the photo was taken until the remainder of the year you die, plus 50 years.

    That’s Canadian law, I’m assuming there’s something similar in American law.

    If your photo is being used by a WordPress.COM user you should contact WordPress support staff. They’re generally very good at sorting out copyright claims, if the person abusing your photos is on a hosted site try contacting the host directly.

    “Character assassination” also counts as “defamation/libel”. You may want to collect screenshots of the site for any later legal action.

    If you’re not doing so already I’d suggest keeping future photos at a low resolution when posting them to the web, and a smaller “height/width” ratio. It’s also a really good idea to put some sort of watermark on them to identify your copyright claim.

    Doing both gives you the automatic proof the photo copyright belongs to you, in case you have to prove the photo is yours.

    This is the WP Copyright page:

    This is where you contact Support:

    And this is a free online watermark generator:

    And this is the Blogger’s Legal Guide regarding Intellectual Property:

    Hope some of this helps.



    Death threats are also illegal under US law, and does take those kinds of things quite seriously. The Kathy Sierra saga probably would have been shut down if it had happened on a blog. Report the blog:

    Or using your Admin Bar under Blog Info->Report Spam



    Digital Millennium Copyright Act Notice (retired)

    You can’t just say “That’s me take that photo down or I will sue you” (which we get every day).

    You need to follow the dmca procedure.
    You don’t need a lawyer, it isn’t that complicated. But you do need to do it.

    Bear in mind that if they have your image and a whole lot of negative stuff all we will probably do is ask for the image to be removed. Being nasty to someone is not something we will usually stop – it’s all part of freedom of speech.



    I did tell her via email. She’s quite savvy and wouldn’t cry wolf. For what that’s worth.

    But come on, death threats are illegal in the US. She could report it to the cops and then you’d have to deal with them.


    What if we take a picture but we write the source, for example I copied a picture to my post from another WordPress blog, but in the end of the post I wrote: pictures taken from: “”. Is it okay to do that??



    It is TOTALLY up to the person who took the picture. Legally, you have no protection. In my personal experience, as long as you make the credit a LINK to the file on their site, they’re generally (but not always) okay with it.



    Death threats are looked at individually.

    “I’m going to f***ing kill you” could be seen as a death threat.

    So yes they are but the blog will be reviewed. It is too subjective to have a one size fits all answer.



    I didn’t realize she was being literal with the assassination threat… “uttering a death threat” is illegal in Canada, but interpreting intent is the tricky part:

    To secure a conviction at trial, the Crown must prove that the person making the threat did so knowingly. That is, the prosecution must show that he was aware of the words used and the meaning they would convey. It also must show that he intended the threat to be taken seriously, that is, to intimidate or strike fear into the recipient. It is not necessary that the person making the threat intend to carry it out or be capable of doing so. The motive for making the threat is equally irrelevant.

    If someone is threatening your life, online or off, you should contact the police right away.

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