I seem to have a blogger’s block. And my main problem is copyright on digital images. Or is it my perfectionism? Well, I decided to call it ‘slow flamenco blogging’ and here is an insight in the process.
By: Hannet Engel ©
During my research for this blog there are obstacles that I can’t seem to overcome and that block my productivity. Like copyright on digital images. I have been reading freakin’ books about it and still don’t know how to use images on my blog without infringing someones rights, while at the same time writing at a faster pace than I do now. Let me give you an example.
Right now I am writing about flamenco fashion. Fashion icon Hubert de Givenchy used flamenco design in one of his first collections. His ‘Bettina blouse’ from 1952 has tiers of ruffles at the end of the sleeves, typical for flamenco. The picture of this blouse I made myself at an exhibition, so I can publish it freely. Now I need specific vintage pictures of Carmen Amaya, a famous flamenco dancer in a dress with tiers and ruffles at the sleeves.
But all the cool pictures of Carmen Amaya in frills that match Givenchy’s design are owned by Getty Images. Click here for a link to the picture (I don’t know if that is even allowed). And they charge 150 euros, even for the smallest size of the picture and even when it is not for commercial purposes. I do not earn anything with this blog, so I cannot afford this.
Of course I have been searching for alternatives. Like pictures of another famous dancer in a ruffled dress with ruffled sleeves called ‘La Argentina’. But her pictures are also either owned by Getty or I can’t find the source of the picture. This picture on the right for example I found on Pinterest. But the source that was mentioned doesn’t exist anymore. I have searched Google for the original photographer of the picture and a possible source, but haven’t found anything. So I do not know who owns the copyright. Can I use the photograph in that case? Probably not.
The worst is that I spent two hours looking for the right picture and the copyrights without satisfying results. It is really frustrating. And in the meanwhile I came across a lot of blogs that just use the pictures without citing the source and probably do not care about the copyrights. So am I being too nit-picky?
Selfie or selfish
A friend of mine half-jokingly suggested I take the following radical action. “Just photograph the picture on your screen,” he said. “Then you will have made your own picture and the copyright of that picture is yours! It is like photographing a work of art in a museum, right? That is allowed most of the time too. Or better yet! Make a selfie while casually passing by the picture in the background.” It sounds absurd, but it kind of illustrates the difficulty of defining what ownership of an image means. It cracks me up thinking about my blog full of pictures of my face appearing in front of a computerscreen. Lovely. That will make for a compelling blog. No, my idea is to use the coolest images and only the ones that fit my research perfectly. Maybe that is selfish, but hey, I dedicate my free time and my brains to this, right? Luckily there are also very cool free-to-use images, like the one featured at the top of my article.
Of course I have only just started blogging and still need to find my rhythm. But any tips about copyright and blogging are very welcome. And I will not give up! So for now I will simply call my blogging style ‘slow flamenco’. Maybe it will catch on.