Blogger Beware!

199 laptops bill kurtis AT&Tby Joe Wallace

I literally just got off the phone with one of my writing pals who was filling me in on the latest gossip; she told me a story that should serve as a cautionary tale for new writers and bloggers, so I’m sharing it here (with all names and vital details changed, of course.)

Since I got this information second hand, regardless of the source I must relate it in a way that screams “fiction” instead of “reportage!” So bear with me.

And please note that I did NOT write “bare with me” as so many of the kids today seem wont to do.

Once upon a time in a magical kingdom far, far away I worked as managing editor for a rock and roll journalism that decided it wanted a blogger. Sadly, the company used a bit of the old nepotism to get this person on board–they didn’t go through the usual interviewing or screening procedures, they said “Let’s hire this friend of ours and it’ll be OK.”

That didn’t turn out to be too much of a problem, as the writer was competent and didn’t need a lot of babysitting. The friend was a bit of a challenge to work with, having never ever blogged before, but I found a magic potion that allowed the writer to become a blogger whenever he wanted.

For many months, the potion worked. But then one day the writer forgot to drink the potion, or drank from the bottle marked “Captain Morgan’s” and wrote up a blog post containing an image but no attribution to its source. It wasn’t a public domain image either, so danger was in the air.

The blog got posted live to the Internet without attribution or permission to use the copyrighted image. Unfortunately for our blogger, the owner of the original photo got very angry and managed to extract payment from the company. How much payment? I was told that it amounted to a full chest of gold, an enchanted scepter, and a goat.

Naturally, the managing editor–ME–would have been held responsible for this in part. Why didn’t I insure proper oversight of the posting process and make sure the rules were followed when it comes to attribution and proper use of public domain images?

But as luck would have it, by the time the incident happened, I had been lured away–a different rock and roll publication cast a spell on me, I had shuffled away like a zombie and I was no longer in charge in the old enchanted land! It was somebody else’s fault!

“Besides,” I told myself, “No employers of MINE would be forking over a chest of gold and a goat. I’d make damn sure there weren’t any copyright issues! Just use the magic words.” Those magic words are simple and easy to say. “Public Domain” is a chant that should be uttered every day when asking yourself, “Where do I find groovy pictures to add to this blog post?”

Thus endeth the tale.