Theft of intellectual property includes photos!
This includes photos on Pinterest and Facebook! I think it criminal that people 'pin' photos on that site, the image is stored on the Pinterest main drives, or they post it on Facebook, where Facebook has its own invented rights to reproduction. I go to Facebook to see what my friends are up to, not photos that interest them.
Public domain, Fair Use, Fair Dealing (Canada, UK), does not mean you can use anything you find. I have written much about this since 1989, when I first encountered students printing out an entire CD Rom on their major project topic, and calling it their own.
Fair Use (US Law)
Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, unlicensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test.
Fair Dealing (Canada)
The Canadian concept of fair dealing is similar to that in the UK and Australia. The fair dealing clauses of the Canadian Copyright Act allow users to engage in certain activities relating to research, private study, criticism, review, or news reporting. With respect to criticism, review, and news reporting, the user must mention the source of the material, along with the name of the author, performer, maker, or broadcaster for the dealing to be fair.
Read more from a US lawyer: Nine Copyright Myths of the Online World.
There are many high-profile bloggers who run ads and take sponsors for their blogs, but most, like me, take photos for fun. I have sold a couple. It irks me to see photos stolen and used by someone else. We must take great pains to credit photographers and teach our readers that we have sought permission to post such photos.
I have had my photos stolen, as have my friends.
Read about Ed's issues:
I recently discovered my photos showing up on a promoting a local . How I ended up on that Facebook page is another story. They opted about 3500 people into their group without anyones knowledge or permission, very surreptitious. Anyhow, I am honored that people like my photos and share them with friends however in this case I noticed something rather peculiar. The watermarks I normally use to promote this blog were missing and replaced with someone else’s name. That’s odd I thought and started thinking maybe someone took a similar photo but as I continued to search I found additional photos of mine with someone else’s name.It takes substantial energy and cost to go after people who use photos without permission.
But some, with money and power can go to great lengths to do so. Have you read about BlogHer's issue? She was sued, and bitterly regrets her ignorance. Ignorance, however, is no excuse. She has come clean and writes a warning:
There is a service to help photographers who have been ripped off.