A new copyright style

Years ago, friends told me “If you really want to deter people from stealing your photos, you’re going to have to put a big ugly watermark in the center of the image, making the image far less desirable to anyone browsing the Web for photos they want.” I balked at that idea, as it is a very ugly solution to the problem. However, years have passed and still nothing meaningful has been done to protect creative works, and in fact – things have gotten much, much worse. Yes Pinterest – I’m looking at YOU.

So I have given in and done it. This is how images on my blog will appear from now on:

you suck.

This is Nepenthes muluensis X lowii, an upper pitcher.

If you take copies of any of my photos, it is STEALING!

It comes as no surprise that as my library of photos here on WordPress grows, I find stolen copies of my photos all over the Internet. I knew this was happening so last year I decided I wouldn’t post nearly as many of my DSLR-generated images, since those were of higher quality and therefore more likely targets for theft. Now I see that many of the less virtuous iPhone pics are being routinely stolen as well – eBay being the most conspicuous place to encounter them*. Sadly, I’ve found that watermarking the images with a bold, blatant COPYRIGHT in the middle of the image is no longer a deterrent of any kind, so it seems that in the fight to protect my photos from theft on the web, the battle has been lost, once and for all.

The golden rule of publishing online and using photos for any purpose other than the publisher intended is: If you didn’t create the work, then its not yours to take! Period! Please respect the creative content that illustrators, writers and photographer post online. If you take copies to use for your own purposes, its stealing.

*I’ve found eBay sellers to be a particularly toxic breed of creature; 9 times out of 10, when I contact these people to state that they are violating my copyright by taking my photos to sell their wares, they write back to accuse me of being rude – often using foul language, and conclude their message by stating that if I don’t want my photos used by people why do I put them on the internet! (implying that by sharing them online, I am inviting ANYONE to do ANYTHING they please with them) I find it impossible to fight this attitude, which seems pervasive in the eBay culture, although not exclusive to it.

Pinterest ruins it.

I have discovered that WordPress does not allow me to use the nopin = “nopin” image tag in my blog postings. If I insert that code in the image display code and publish it, WordPress strips that snippet of code from my post. The “nopin” code is designed to block people from “pinning” my photos on Pinterest, a practice I do not approve of, since it involves a copy of my photo(s) being saved to Pinterest’s servers, effectively stripping away all attribution. I cannot allow that.

So, until I resolve this issue and find a way to stop my work ending up on Pinterest’s servers, this blog will not be updated. If this issue cannot be resolved, this blog and all its content will be deleted from WordPress. I may search for other options, or I may just quit publishing my photos. The internet is an increasingly hostile environment to anyone who wishes to exercise any control over their creative property and choose how it can/cannot be distributed.

I encourage WordPress admin to contact me to discuss options.

Mark Irons

Today, our friend Mark Irons left this world. He succumbed to the cumulative effects of forty-six years of living with Cystic Fibrosis. Mark has the dubious honor of providing me with the nickname I give my Nepenthes house: “The Geinhouse”, a name he almost immediately regretted the moment he spoke it. I suspect he knew I was going to use/abuse it, which of course, I did. Thanks for that, Mark.

20121005-082651.jpg

Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that Mark left us on the one year anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs. I’m certain Mark would be suitably annoyed (but somewhat amused) with me for pointing this out.

Cephalotus follicularis

This astonishing species never fails to attract the attention of visitors to my greenhouse. It’s not difficult to see why:

20120725-213718.jpg

If you find yourself seduced by the idea of cultivating this plant, then it would be a good idea to first read the growing instructions on the following page: http://www.carnivorousplantnursery.com/info/growingcephalotus.htm