Stop, Thief!


Photo credit elhombredenegro. License by Creative Commons.


Has this ever happened to you? You’ve spent hours creating the perfect blog post. You have the perfect picture, perfectly cropped, with the perfect lighting. Everything is perfect! You post it to your blog and *sigh* as you bask in the glow of the wonderfully glorious perfection that is your latest blog post.

Then, a few days later, while surfing Pinterest, you see your picture. “Cool!” you think, “Someone pinned my post!” However, when you check it out, you see that the pin is actually linked to a different blog, where your picture and your content have been posted without your permission and without even a link back or any acknowledgement whatsoever!

&!#$#% @#!&*@!# $#%@#!

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Name Calling For Fun and Profit!


I get a lot of questions about trademarks and, based on the type and quantity of questions I get, I suspect there is a need to clear up some basic issues that are common to trademarks in general. While this post is a bit longer and more detailed than some or my other posts, I hope you find it useful as you contemplate what a trademark might mean for you and your social media presence. Enjoy.

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Don’t Use My Picture! Or Else!


Like many of you, I enjoy going to Chipotle for a burrito every once in a while. It’s a fast casual restaurant and, if you ignore the occasional food borne illness, it’s a pretty good place to eat.

So, what exactly does eating at Chipotle have to do with taking pictures you ask? Good question. Here’s the answer. Last year I published a short post about using photographs in your social media.  Sadly, at least for one photographer, the information in my blog post was not available for review when he made a serious mistake.

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Copyright 101


In the past, I’ve provided some examples of what not to do in the world of copyright and exposed some common copyright myths. In this post, I’ll present a more proactive view of copyright law and help you understand a few of the basics so that you can better appreciate this important area of the law for the blogging community.

Here are some rules to live by.

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Posting Photos – Mother May I?


Photos are an important part of the social media experience. Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media sites are largely built on sharing photos with other members.

This past week I got a question from a blogger that I was introduced to. She wanted to know if there were any rules on posting pictures to her social media accounts. These were pictures that she had taken personally so this was not a case of trying to use photos that belong to someone else (that’s a post for another day).

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Copyright Myths That Refuse to Die.

I’ve been attending the Snap! conference this week and it looks like a bunch of scary copyright myths are walking among us. These copyright myths are like zombies that refuse to die.  While they may not eat your brains, they can certainly muddle your thinking and expose you to some serious danger. Personally, I believe all zombies deserve to die so here’s my attempt to put them in the grave, once and for all.
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Is the “DMCA” a Blogger’s Best Friend?


Help! Someone Stole my Pictures/Video/Blog Post/Logo!

Lately I’ve noticed a bunch of bloggers on Instagram and Facebook talking about the growing plague of competitors and other people taking blog posts, pictures, logos, etc. and re-posting them. This is usually done without permission and without linking back to the original blogger’s post or  providing any credit to the original blogger. Infuriating? Absolutely. Unethical? Certainly. Illegal? Possibly. It’s important to note that your material is protected by copyright law even if you’ve not registered it. In other words, the DMCA can be a great tool, if you know how to use it.
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Who’s Afraid of the FTC?

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FTC Rules and Affiliate/Sponsored Posts – Here’s what you need to know.

A bunch of bloggers that I met at SnapConf last week were very concerned about affiliate marketing and FTC compliance. It was obvious to me that there’s a ton of angst and confusion out there in the blogosphere. I hope this post will help you out.
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BLOGGER BEWARE! Facebook Changes Policies

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What the Heck is Facebook Graph API v2.1?

On August 7, 2014, Facebook updated some tools for developers to use when accessing certain features of Facebook. In addition, Facebook updated some policies that relate to how you use Facebook to build your audience and attract “likes” and followers. Although the announcement and the updates are pretty important for app developers who use Facebook, bloggers and other Facebook users who use Facebook login and other functions should pay attention to these changes as well.

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