Hi, everyone! As @Bakerloo Station mentioned in today's Practice Bakes Perfect challenge recap, we unfortunately had to delete an entry from the challenge due to lack of compliance with our "no copying copyrighted work without permission" rule (which mirrors US copyright law). In the course of last week, I also asked at least five others to either seek permissions or delete work that was not in compliance. It upsets members when this happens, but it also upsets me to have to check and enforce the rule, and to upset you in the process - I want everyone here to be happy, of course!
Goals of Rule
This rule may seem extreme to some, but it mirrors US copyright law, and it is designed to protect YOU from possible legal consequences that can result from copying copyrighted work. Most photo-sharing and social media sites (including Facebook and YouTube) have similar rules in their fine print, but they enforce them to varying degrees and/or in different ways. But, most importantly, we have this rule because I want to instill a culture here on Cookie Connection of doing the right thing and giving credit where credit is due. My hope is to uplift the entire community by encouraging people to celebrate those whose work has delighted and inspired them to do similar things.
Clarification of "No Copying Copyrighted Work without Permission" Rule
(3) You remain solely responsible for your content posted to Cookie Connection. By submitting content to Cookie Connection, you agree to indemnify Cookie Connection, its related businesses and sites, owners, and administrators/employees from all claims, costs, and expenses (including legal expenses) arising out of any content posted by you to this site.
Clarification of Point (1) Above
Rule #8 in our Site Posting Guidelines, which you can read in full here (and in links at the top and top right of every Clips page), clarifies in lay terms what is meant by point (1) above. I have copied Rule #8 in its entirety here:
8. Always give proper credit for your work where credit is due, and don't post copies of others' work without first getting permission. If you have copied someone else's work in any medium (illustration, photo, painting, character or cartoon, another cookie, etc.) in any way (tracing or freehand drawing or painting), or have drawn on it heavily as source inspiration, you should not be posting your version of it to this site unless you have secured necessary permissions to copy it first (which, in some cases, can involve paying a licensing fee to the artist). Copying others' work may very well be a copyright infringement, which is why we have this rule - it is to ensure that you do not get into legal trouble. It is also the right thing to do. Think about how you would feel if someone copied your work without asking or crediting.
If you have secured necessary permissions, you should credit the original artist ("with permission from creator . . .") in both your caption (photo subtitle) and tags, and provide a link to the source art in the first comment under your photo. Please note: Disney characters and many other cartoon characters are copyrighted, so what I said above applies to them as well - you shouldn't be copying them and posting them here without permission from Disney or the creator to do so!
If you have only drawn inspiration from someone else (i.e., borrowed a technique or a minor design feature), but the design is largely your own, then it is sufficient to say "inspired by . . ." But please do not use the words "inspired by" if your cookie is a close facsimile of any other person's artwork, of any kind. Please review this forum, which includes comments from several lawyers about the legalities of copying others' work. The general consensus is: When in doubt about how you are using someone else's work, it is ALWAYS best to get permission from that person first.
Of course, if you are copying an image that is officially in the public domain and not copyrighted, then you are in the clear. To learn more about finding images for use in the public domain, check out this article.
IMPORTANT Changes to the Site
To create a stronger culture of "doing the right thing", I am making the following changes to the site immediately:
(2) For the next month, all members will automatically receive a reminder of the above policy every time they post an image to the site. (The message will come after posting.) After a month (or longer, depending on compliance on the site), only new members of the site will receive this message, and they will cease receiving it after they have reached a certain activity level on the site. I apologize in advance to the many members who are religiously posting with permissions and attribution, as I realize this may be an inconvenience for you, but this is the only way I have of broadcasting this message consistently.
(3) Deleting the Characters clip set, so it can't be construed as okay to post copyrighted characters without first receiving permission. Any photos that have been posted to this clip set in the past will still remain on the site; the category though will cease to exist. Of course, if you have sought permissions to copy characters, you can still post character images to the site, but we ask that you place the words "with permission from . . . " in the caption of your photo, so we don't have to ask. Please also tag them as "characters".
I will continue to ask members about permissions in public view, if and when I happen to notice work that I think is copied. I do this in public view, because I have found over time that this is the best way to ensure a response. It also reminds others who may be viewing the post of our rules. I sincerely try to do this in a polite and respectful way that gives members the benefit of the doubt.
IMPORTANT Items I'm Asking Everyone to Do
Again, since I am the sole moderator of this site, and it's impossible for me to catch every non-compliant image for various reasons (i.e., not enough time in the day, not enough resources to hire a full-time moderator, people sometimes copy art work I don't know or recognize, people may have received permission to copy and have not said, etc.), there are some things that I expect every member to do to keep this community operating in a healthy and productive way:
(1) If you have copied someone else's copyrighted work without permission and posted it here, at any time in the past, then please seek permissions (and add "with permission from . . ." in the caption of the image) OR delete the image from the site.
(2) If you notice a copyright infringement or lack of attribution, please don't hesitate to politely point out our rules to the member who made the error. It helps me when everyone reinforces our rules, and not just me. If you are uncomfortable doing this, then report the image or content that you believe is at issue by sending me a private message or clicking the "report" button next to the content. Please also provide links to both the source work and the work that you think infringes upon it, as this will make it faster and easier for me to investigate the report. Whereas I cannot reasonably be expected to review every image posted to the site, I do investigate and respond to every report in a way that I think is appropriate. IMPORTANT: My goal here is NOT to create a culture of ratting out others or tattling; the goal is to make sure people are given credit where credit is due. So please be sure you have a strong basis for reporting before you report.
(3) Please do not assume that, if I ask you to delete copied work, you have been singled out or I am being unfair. Remember, it is your responsibility to follow the rules spelled out here; otherwise, you run the risk of having content deleted. If you see other content that is in clear violation of the rules, then chances are good that I have not seen it, so please report it.
(4) If you have copied work AND gotten permission to do so and post it here, then GREAT! Please post it, but please cite "with permission from . . . " in the caption field and follow the other attribution rules outlined in Rule #8 of the posting guidelines.
Thanks for reading to the very end of this post. Again, my aim here is to enhance communication about this very important issue and to avoid future misunderstandings of it, so we have a happier and healthier site! If there are any questions about any of this, please leave them below.