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January 17, 2014

How You Should Decide Which Images to Use on Your Blog

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Because visuals can make or break a blog post, it is crucial that you choose the right images for each post. The photos’ subject, colors, size, and placement can positively impact your post’s success.

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The most important part of any image is logistical over visual. Only choose images that you have the rights to use. For larger blogs, it may be worthwhile to invest in a stock photo site membership, like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. If you’d rather go with royalty-free or creative commons photos, be sure you are using the right attribution and that you can use them. For example, some creative commons photos only let you use images for non-commercial use. If you use the image for a business blog, which counts as a commercial property, so you technically can’t use non-commercial creative commons images. read more

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January 14, 2014

5 More Free Image Sources For Your Blog

5 more free image sources for your blog

We have covered places to find free and legal images in the past, but with a new year comes even more reliable sources for finding free image sources for your blog. As with any creative work, even though it may be free to use, be sure to use correct attribution and make sure that you are crediting the author in all ways necessary. Not doing so may lead to legal issues, as some images are free as long as bloggers follow the proper guidelines. read more

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June 20, 2013

Is Blogging the New Short Story?

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books

Image by KristinNador

 

Edgar Allan Poe famously wrote about the short story in his essay, The Philosophy of Composition. He highlighted the importance of one idea and the ability to consume the text in one sitting.

What with modern time’s insistence that everything is immediate and the pressure to absorb information at lightning speed, the parallels between Poe’s thoughts in the 1900s and the blogging of today is remarkably clear.

Each of Poe’s commandments imposed upon the short story can be used to explore it with regard to the technological future of this type of writing, as I am going to explain: read more

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February 10, 2013

Blogger’s Guide to Creative Commons: In Pictures

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Bloggers are inevitably obsessed with the topic of creative commons, and if they aren’t yet, they will be soon. Why? Well, if you have ever seen the cost of subscriptions for stock photo sights, you wouldn’t have to ask that question. They are expensive, often offer nothing special and in general don’t cut it for most casual bloggers that don’t want to spend cash on what is essentially a place for their thoughts.

Using public domain or CC licensed content is the perfect way around that. You can use photos and videos as you like, not worrying about the cost or being sued for copyright. Which is ever bloggers wost nightmare, thanks to the many horror stories we are subjected to on the web. read more

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August 5, 2011

5 Legal Guides Every Blogger Should Read

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Image of Law BooksAs we’ve discussed previously on this site, being a blogger can be very risky legally. With a slew of potential legal issues including copyright, defamation, trademark, privacy and much more, there are many ways a well-meaning blogger can find themselves being sued.

To make matters worse, there’s a great deal of conflicting and confusing information on the Web and what good information there is, generally, is scattered across multiple pages and sites. This makes learning about the law difficult and means you can spend a great deal of time just trying to keep yourself out of court.

Fortunately, several bloggers and blogging-related organizations have worked hard to produce legal guides that give you a good breadth of information in a simple, single work that you can easily read or search through.

With that in mind, here are five of the best of those guides, what’s in them and how they can be useful in helping you protect yourself and your rights. read more

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May 6, 2011

3 Sites to Get Free News-Related Images

The social impact of Bin Laden’s recent death has been incredible and it also became an incredible force across blogs and other Web sites. Countless bloggers, even those who usually don’t cover news-related topics, felt the need to peak out on the breaking story and, along the way, dip their toes into news and political blogging.

But with so much attention being focused on how blogging and social media is changing journalism, there are still scant few resources that give bloggers and other webmasters access to the media used by mainstream outlets.

The problem is that, while there are countless great sites on the Web for stock photos and other images, they are more targeted at providing attractive, but generic images for a blog post. If you need a photo to indicate friendship or represent something being locked down, these sites are great. However, if you need a photo of a recent rally in Washington D.C. or of a particular celebrity, they are virtually useless as most of the photos they have are not timely and not related to current events.

However, there are a few sites that offer news-related images for free on your site. All you have to know is where to look and how to search them correctly.

Here are some of the options to consider. read more

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April 29, 2011

The 3 Most Common Copyright Mistakes Bloggers Make

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Do OverCopyright is a notoriously confusing and complicated area of law, but one that also impacts nearly every part of our daily lives. As such, it is pretty much inevitable that well-intended people are going to make mistakes.

However, with copyright law, blunders can be very costly. In addition to the threat of a lawsuit, one can have their site shut down, access to some of their favorite services revoked and lose a lot of credibility. Even if none of those things comes to pass, a copyright dispute is still a major headache and one that most, if given the choice, would prefer to avoid.

As such, it’s important for bloggers to be aware of some of the more common copyright pitfalls that come from blogging and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

With that in mind, here are three of the most common copyright blunders bloggers make and what can be done to prevent yourself from falling into them. Fortunately, all are easy mistakes to see and avoid, if you know to look for them. read more

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April 15, 2011

Content Licensing 101 for Bloggers

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As we talked about last week, whenever you post a blog entry, upload a photograph to your Flickr account or post a video to YouTube, you’re creating copyrighted work and sharing it with the Internet.

As the creator and copyright holder of that work, you have certain rights and protections over it, including the ability to bar others from making unauthorized copies or publicly display/perform the work.

However, you might not want to enforce all of those rights. For example, you might be perfectly happy to let others copy your work and post it on their sites provided they give attribution back. Or, you might be happy to have them print out copies for their personal use so long as they don’t attempt to sell them.

This is where content licensing comes into play. It’s the means by which you give someone (or everyone) a certain amount of rights to use your work even though that use, without your permission, would have been a copyright infringement.

As such, it’s important to understand the basics of copyright licensing and what some of the options are out there. This is so you can maximize what you get out of your writing and, equally importantly, prevent misunderstandings and accidental infringements by others.

With that in mind, here’s a basic rundown of what you need to know to be savvy about content licensing on the Web.
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November 16, 2009

5 Copyright Hazards to Avoid

Most bloggers understand the importance and the value in creating original content. Most would be at least somewhat upset to their own writing used on other sites without permission or attribution and many actively track their work for misuse.

However, there is more to being a good copyright citizen than just writing your own content, quoting only what you need to in your entries and attributing your sources. Your blog is much more than just text and there are many copyright “hazards” that even well-intended bloggers can step in.

That’s why last year, almost to the day, I wrote an article about holiday copyright hazards for bloggers to avoid, But while the holidays are an especially dangerous time for copyright issues, they are a potential thorn in the side year around.

So with that in mind, here are five copyright hazards to avoid, regardless of the time of year. read more

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April 14, 2009

Wikipedia Votes For Creative Commons License

There is a vote underway on wether or not Wikimedia should adapt the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license or not. The reason is that there are some possible issues with the current GNU Free Documentation License, which would be retained as well. Naturally, Creative Commons are thrilled about the prospect:

This migration would be a huge boost for the free culture movement, and for Wikipedia and Creative Commons — until the migration happens there is an unnecessary licensing barrier between the most important free culture project (Wikipedia of course, currently under the Free Documentation License, intended for software documentation) and most other free culture projects and individual creators, which use the aforementioned CC BY-SA license.

To vote you need to have at least 25 Wikipedia edits before March 15. The vote will be open until May 3, 2009.

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