Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I was doing a bad thing!!!

I am so confused about this, I don't know where to begin. I'm not confused about the need to apologize -- if you do as many dumb things in your life as I have, you become a bit of an expert in the art of saying, "I am very, very sorry." My confusion is that I can't wrap my head around why what I did was wrong. And I'm also kind of freaked out that I've been doing this for some time without knowing that I was being a thief.

Maybe someone reading this can help me.

The issue that I'm writing about is posting pictures here on my blog. It came to my attention through a scathing comment on my Chicken-Broccoli-Rice Casserole recipe post that I was stealing. Stealing! I copied an image from Google Images of a beautiful bunch of broccoli onto that recipe post -- I didn't pay attention to where it came from, some recipe site, I believe -- and the person who writes that site left a comment saying that I should feel shame for stealing bandwidth and that I had a lot of nerve for quoting the Ten Commandments in my post titled Come Again? farther down the page.

Well, I deleted the comment because it hurt my feelings, being accused of "bandwidth theft," which I don't even know what it is, as Aisling would put it. I learned how to search for images and transfer them to my blog when I still had my toiletries catalog here at Blogger; an internet friend at a political chat room I used to frequent taught me how to write the HTML code to do that, but he never mentioned that it was stealing. I happily searched through Google images to find pictures of, say, the Dead Sea, to put on the catalog page devoted to Dead Sea foot soaks and bath salts. Gulp.

I know that there are photos that are copyrighted, but I always thought that you knew not to use those because they all came from places like iStockPhoto and other sites like that -- those images have a kind of watermark over them, so they can't be used. And I knew that news services always give credit to their photographers, so those photos were off limits. But photos on other people's blogs and stuff like that? I didn't know it was wrong to use those photos.

Like using an innocent picture of broccoli. I'm not sure still if I understand why using it was wrong, even after I googled "What is bandwidth theft?" to see if I could get a clue. Here's what I came up with: "So You Have Decided to Hotlink and Steal Bandwidth" . I read it and I can feel the vague stirrings of comprehension, which is that somehow, taking an image from a website and posting it on my website uses up bandwidth (whatever that is) which costs....money? I'm thinking it must be money on a site like Typepad, which Kayte uses and pays an annual fee for, or even a website that was created by a professional web designer. So I'm thinking that the owners of those sites get charged money by the number of....bands in their width? I am so totally lost, I can't even begin to tell you. So that article didn't answer all my questions, most of which are probably stupid.

Here's my main one, though: If a person can steal bandwidth by linking to someone else's image, isn't it stealing bandwidth when I post here at Blogger? I mean, Blogger is free, but why is it free? I am using their bandwidth, after all, and they're getting absolutely nothing out of it. Why is it okay to post on my blog, but not okay to use images from someplace else on the Web? I thought that's what Google Images was for; like a catalog of all kinds of interesting photographic images and clip art that were just there to be used, unless you wanted something to actually print out, in which case, you would purchase such from iStockPhoto.

And here's another thing I can't understand: How do I get the pictures that I've taken with Nicki off my hard drive -- or, more to the point, Pat's hard drive -- and post them on my blog? I have ruled out rubbing the monitor screen with Nicki to see if that will make the pictures come out of her and attach themselves to my blog, but I don't know what to do next.

If I can figure that out, I'll take my own picture of broccoli and put it here with my recipe. Because I truly didn't mean to be an idiot: I am more of an innocent fool than a person who trolls through Google Images stealing images of hapless vegetables with malice aforethought.

Does anyone else understand what this is all about?

1 comment:

Kbg said...

Oh, my oh my oh my...the life of crime you lead...LOL. I don't know about bandwidth either but I think that we aren't supposed to use other people's photos without permission...or at least without feeling guilty. Frankly, there are so darn many photos out there, who can keep track?

I have Typepad because that's the one used by the first blog I came to know...I trusted that and went with that and have been very happy. It is $5 a month and incredibly easy to use. Cheaper than a movie or monthly postage.
You can up your service and it is more, but I do fine with the basic.

Matt can come over and show you anything you want to do with a camera and a computer. Seriously, he is very good at figuring it all out and showing me how to do things...you want him to come over someday and show you how to get Nik and the computer to play nicely together? You might want to post your Whisk photos...just say the word.

Better speak fast, as he leaves for Arizona on Wednesday.