Dear Readers, I’d like some advice. I’ve been blogging for roughly 10 years, and have always followed what I thought to be standard practice in using images found on the internet. That is, I have felt pretty free to use images from online news sources – without permission – for purposes of blog commentary. The “fair use” code states the following:
“Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”
I admit that I never really looked into this, and only discovered the “fair use” provision this evening due to a threatening e-mail I just received. In all these years I’ve never received a single complaint, threat, or the slightest expression of disapproval concerning an image I have used. But maybe YOU have. I’d like to know what you think of this letter I just received and whether I should be worried. Here it is:
I work for Polaris Images a news photo agency in NYC. We represent the San Francisco Chronicle archives of images. Your blog is in violation of using a Chronicle image without copyright permission. Neither the San Francisco Chronicle or Polaris Images were made aware and asked for usage rights. Plase see the link below to see the image I am talking about.
The image is by Mike Kepka/Chronicle and is a photo of same sex marriages.
In violation the standard industry rate for copyright infringement is $1500- an image.
Please contact our office to discuss the usage of this image further and let me know where I should send the invoice for such use. I can be reached at 212-967-5656.