Copy This!

Aren’t these 1920s golfing girls great?  They arrived in the mail last week from etsy seller Primelias.  If you love vintage photos, you need to check out her store – fantastic images and very good prices.

I’d love to tell you more about these young women, but as is so often the case, there is no identification written on them.  What a shame to not even know their names.  But old photos like these are still valuable in that they show us how people actually were dressing, and so I love collecting them.  And I enjoy posting them here and on my website and on flickr, because I guess the teacher in me keeps wanting to share information.

I’ve noticed lately that more and more bloggers and website owners are watermarking their photos in an effort to protect their rights to their photos.  Unfortunately, blogging seems to have blurred the lines of what is acceptable use of photos and what is not.  People have gotten used to just taking images when they find them for use on their own site or for whatever else.  And so much blogging is of a commercial nature, and sellers are usually very open to bloggers singing the praises of their wares and in posting photos and links.

I get emails all the time from people asking if  they can use my images.  I appreciate that.  And I usually say yes if the image is mine.  But often the image is not mine; it belongs to another vintage site owner who has allowed me to use it, or it is from a news site that I have credited.  In that case, the rights are not mine to give.

You are probably wondering what brought this little lecture on copyright into being.  Yesterday I had the shock of reading my own words in an ebay ad.  Actually, that is not so unusual, as people lift things from the VFG Label Resource all the time.  Most times the seller credits the Resource, or me, and I’m cool with that.  But this was different.  It did not come from the Label Resource, and I was pretty sure it was not from my blog or website, and though I was not credited I was just as positive that I had written those two sentences. I knew the words were mine because the information was very specific and was given to me by the daughter of the designer.

Through the miracle that is Google, it took me all of three minutes to locate where I had made the original post.  It was on the blog of a friend in reply to a post about Key West Fabrics.

Which brings me to what has to be one of the great evils of the computer age – Copy and Paste.

You native-born computer users will not be able to relate to this, but I can distinctly remember the day I discovered C&P.  It was in a teacher workshop, and we were all amazed.  Here was a truly useful tool, one that eliminated hours of work.  But as any teacher who requires research will tell you, C&P has made it even easier for students to copy.  It’s the 21st century version of copying from the encyclopedia.

I guess what really worries me is that “research” has become too easy.  For every person who is willing to track down leads on a designer from the past, there are ten who seem to be content to sit and gather blurbs from the internet.  And while I freely admit to using the research of others, I also am quick to give credit where it is due.  Are you?


Posted by Tom Tuttle from Tacoma:

sorry to hear that. did you take up the matter with the ‘copier’? these days there’s really nothing new under the sun but it’s still hard to fathom it when people steal such rights. popular fashion blogger the glamourai was recently “thieved”, every letter of her entry, no less. the thief’s not a noob in blogosphere; she’s got a following.

Saturday, June 20th 2009 @ 4:42 AM

Posted by Tara:

I am an English teacher, so I’m a bit of a stickler about giving credit and citing sources when I use other people’s words. However, I will admit to a much looser attitude about images…I suppose my profession/interests makes me have this bias. Lovely photos, btw!

Tuesday, June 23rd 2009 @ 8:04 AM

Posted by Lizzie:

I think blogging has really blurred the lines between what is acceptable and what is not. So many people WANT their images spread around, especially if they are trying to sell the object photographed!

It just astounds me that people copy when there is such a good chance of getting caught!

Wednesday, July 1st 2009 @ 12:22 PM

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Filed under Viewpoint, Vintage Photographs

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