Disclaimer

Yesterday’s post to this blog inadvertently included a well-known, copyrighted image of Charles Bukowski and Georgia Peckham, which has since been removed.  Photo credit should have been given to Joan Levine Gannij.  Because the blog where I found the image didn’t list a credit, I didn’t either, a lazy and careless oversight that I truly regret.

There’s an old proverb, which I have to admit that I only heard recently in the movie-version of Doubt — teacher brings a pillow up to the roof and tells the student to tear it open and scatter the feathers to the wind.  A gust picks up and blows them across the countryside.  “Now I want you to gather every feather and put it back in the pillowcase,” the teachers says.  “But I can’t,” says the student, “that’s impossible, there are thousands of feathers everywhere.”

In the  proverb that’s gossip.  But it might also be copyright infringement.  Every time we use art that is unsourced, we encourage other people to do the same, in an exponentially expanding chain.  And the artist is left scrambling to put her work back in the bag — a frustrating and impossible task.  I feel awful for contributing to that, and foolish for not realizing it sooner.

There were a few other images I’ve used in the past without knowing who to credit; I’ve removed those as well, and would also like to apologize to those unnamed artists who will probably never know that I helped kick their can a little farther down the road.

11 thoughts on “Disclaimer

  1. How refreshing.

    If I use images on my blog that come from photobucket or google images and there’s no way to attribute, is it okay to just note the resource which hosted the image (photobucket/google/etc.)?

  2. I don’t think so, unfortunately. In my case, if I’d linked back to the blog that originally hosted the picture, I don’t think that would make Joan any happier. In a lot of cases, of course, no one is going to care that you use images — particularly when it’s not artistic work. But from now on, unless I know the artist or know that the photo is in the public domain, I’m just not going to use them. The more I think about it, the less I feel like posts need images anyway…

  3. Doubt — teacher brings a pillow up to the roof and tells the student to tear it open and scatter the feathers to the wind. A gust picks up and blows them across the countryside. “Now I want you to gather every feather and put it back in the pillowcase,” the teachers says. “But I can’t,” says the student, “that’s impossible, there are thousands of feathers everywhere.”

    That left an indelible impression in my mind. It really was the pivot point of the film and so powerfully rendered by Hoffman who kept me guessing until the end and then questionning my own judgments. This is an entire line for discussion in and of itself. But to the point, did Joan say something or ? what caused the modification other than a raised consciousness in ethical propriety? If one uses a photo and offers credit don’t we actually aid the artist through all the “feathers” one leaves to disburse through the ethers of internet heaven…?

    Lois

  4. Good point. I will often have the well-known poets I interview ask me to google an image of them. That photographer really should be credited.

  5. Yeah, I loved that scene. A very good movie until the worst last line in cinematic history! I can only hope it’s not in the play version, but I have to assume it was. Ugh.

    Yes, Joan happened to read my blog and notified me. If I’d credited her, she might not have been upset, but I don’t know that for a fact. As is, it was like posting a poem and not including the author — an interesting comparison in itself, which I’m going to blog about later this week, I think.

    By law you’re not supposed to reproduce any images without written permission, even if you credit the author. In practice, I think most artists would probably be happy to have a properly credited image reproduced, as long as its low-resolution, so that no one can steal it and make prints or something. But it’s probably not safe to assume that.

  6. Of course I wasn’t considering the fact that you slammed the Big B…that might have something to do with Joan’s reaction ;) At the risk of sounding condescending…you might appreciate him when you’re older. I don’t mean you’ll accept his debauched lifestyle or abberant philosophies but…you may come to admire his undercurrent of humility–he was really self critical and probably a frustrated philosopher. After I read his “Bluebird” poem I saw him for who he really was and the duende which he inhabited.

  7. It’s not his poetry that I don’t like, though. It’s that his fame is derived from that debauched lifestyle, and that his existence justifies the behavior for like-minded contemptible wastes of human DNA.

    My post was called the “Bukowski Myth,” and the myth is exactly the same as what he talks about in “Bluebird,” one of his legitimately honest moments. And I think that’s why “Bluebird” is one of his most-read poems among actual poetry readers. But he really does only let it out at night when everyone’s asleep, because it really would effect his book sales in Europe. That’s my only complaint with Bukowski as a writer (other than that he could have published less, but I don’t really care about that).

  8. Yeah, that’s the poem that reminds me of my Daddy. Would have served him well to let the bluebird out more often…

  9. That’s a GREAT suggestion, Angie! I knew about that at one time, and then completely forgot. Guess I won’t have to go image-less after all!

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