Why I Was Threatened With Legal Action After Reblogging On WordPress – A True Story And Guest Post by Deborah Jay @DeborahJay2

If you’re a blogger who has ever used or still uses the reblog button to share other bloggers’ posts, I urge you to read this post.

Likewise, if you use photos or images in your own posts that are not your own or do not come from a genuine website that offers free images and photos, this post is a must-read.


Early 2021, during the lockdown, I had a nasty shock.

For me, the lockdown was terrific – I live in a farmhouse in the Scottish Highlands, with gorgeous gardens, have a horse and a pack of rescue dogs, and for once, I could legitimately stay at home and not travel for work. This also allowed me to sit and write without feeling like I was short-changing some other part of my life.

What I had not expected, however, was to receive an email from a law firm accusing me of copyright infringement on a photograph I’d displayed on my blog back in my earliest blogging days, somewhere around 2013.

To add insult to injury, it wasn’t even a blog post I’d put together myself, but a collection of inspirational photos on a friend’s blog, which I’d reblogged! 

I’d shared her post using the WordPress ‘Reblog’ button, and, as you may know, the start of the post appears on your own blog with a link to the original for anyone wanting to see more.

I had NO idea (this was quite early in my blogging career); this meant that ALL the photographs in that post were downloaded and stored in my own media library. The fact they were downloaded, even without my knowledge, became a potential legal problem.

If this happens to you, DO NOT ignore it.

The ‘Cease and Desist’ email came from an Italian law firm. Their client, the photographer, is based in the UK, as am I. It detailed the blog post and the specific photograph and demanded £1045.00 compensation for using the picture without obtaining a licence. This was justified as:

  • £195 financial loss (£39 per year for the licence)
  • £150 damages for flagrancy (putting the photographer at increased risk of having the photo stolen/used without obtaining a licence)
  • £100 damages for negative financial consequences
  • £150 for the absence of picture credit
  • £50 damages for moral prejudice
  • £100 damages for consequential losses
  • £100 damages for devaluing the image
  • £200 lawyers’ fees

Scary, huh?

This was what I did:

  • The first step was to check that the law firm existed, looking up their website and digging a little on Google. Sadly, for me, it was legit.
  • Then I took a look at the photographer’s site to find the photo. Yes, it was there, along with the price for an annual licence, as detailed in the legal letter.
  • So, having established that I had indeed violated copyright, although unwittingly, I checked my own post. Now, as a reblog, I could only see the first picture, which wasn’t the one in dispute. I replied to the lawyer, asking for a screenshot of the image displayed on my site. To my shock, an image came back of the entire post, with all the photos in evidence displayed on my blog. I still don’t know how this is possible, but I couldn’t argue because they had the screenshot. 
  • I removed the post from my site and also delved into my media library, which is when I discovered to my shock that all the pictures from the post were stored there. I deleted them all, just in case.
  • I contacted the original blogger and advised her to delete also, which she did. The last thing I wanted was for them to go after her too.
  • The next step was to contact the lawyer again and point out I was not the original poster, explaining it was a reblog of someone else’s post. 
  • Their reply was that while they would consider this, I was still to be held responsible because the image had been displayed on my site. They dropped the proposed settlement to £800 and gave me 10 days to pay up.
  • I contacted another lawyer for advice. This was her answer: ‘If you did not download it and post it on your site, then you did not copy it. I would argue that re-posting or embedding is not copying because the image is hosted elsewhere and therefore cannot be copyright infringement.’ Note that last bit? Unfortunately, the way WordPress works, the photo had been downloaded and hosted on my own site, even though I hadn’t known it, so this didn’t help me.
  • I went back to the Italian lawyer and again stressed that I was not the person who had chosen to use the image. I felt they were being unfair coming after me and not the original poster (which is why I’d given her the heads-up first and ensured she’d removed all traces from her site before typing this message). 
  • By now, this had gone on for 6 weeks, with me leaving it almost to the stipulated 10-day deadline when I replied to the lawyer. I never once refused to pay them, but I also did not offer to do so or haggle about the sum. I spent more time researching potential help from legal groups, but…
  • Nearly a year on, and I’ve not heard from them again! This sounds fairly simple, but believe me, it was time consuming and stressful experience.

I understand from years ago, mainly when posting paper letters, that sometimes the answer to such events is to continue corresponding. Never offer anything, but keep querying small details and spread it out as long as you can. If nothing else, you may well get a reduction (as I did) in the sum they demand.

I was lucky; I know others who have had to pay up. In this case, it appears they wrote me off as too much bother to pursue. 

If you should be unfortunate enough to have this happen to you, the most important things are: 

  1. Don’t ignore it – that has the potential to be very expensive.
  2. Don’t pay up straight away – always investigate your options.

Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate enough to live not far from Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

Her first published novel, epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Council award and debuted as an Amazon Hot 100 New Release.

Photo of author, writer and blogger Deborah Jay

Connect With Deborah

Blog: Deborah Jay

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THE PRINCE’S MAN

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Books by Deborah Jay

Important Reminders About Reblogging from Hugh

Reblogging saves many bloggers time. It’s quick to do and can result in more visits and comments to the reblogged post.

It’s also a safe option but only when used correctly. Here are several points to consider and note if you intend to reblog another blogger’s post or have ever reblogged another blogger’s post.

  • If you reblog or have reblogged the blog posts of other bloggers, any images, videos or photos in those posts will have been downloaded into your WordPress media library. You could, therefore, have downloaded illegal images or photos and images that are copyrighted.
  • Check the small print – Some photos, images and pictures may have a limited time that they’re free to use. After that, if they remain on your blog or in your media library, you could face a fine.
  • Consider other options of sharing blog posts where images and photos are not downloaded to your blog. The ‘Press This’ sharing button is a good option, as no images and photos are downloaded to your media library.
  • Another option instead of reblogging is to write and publish a post that includes pingback links to blog posts you want to share. Blogger Sally Cronin does this with her ‘Blogger Weekly‘ feature.
  • If you run a blogging challenge where you reblog posts from participants, consider adding links to those posts in your blog post or in a new blog post rather than reblogging them. Blogger Terri Webster Schrandt does this in her Sunday Stills photography challenge.
  • If you’re unsure any contenet in a blog post you want to share are not free to download or use, don’t reblog the post.
  • Don’t think that what happened to Deborah won’t happen to you. It can!
  • If you believe you may have reblogged posts that have images or photos that are copyrighted or not free to download and use, delete the posts immediately.
  • After deleting posts, remember to remove any images and photos that appeared on the reblog from your WordPress media library, as deleting the post does not delete them.
  • Remember that copyright laws can also apply to lyrics, artwork, drawings and text.

WordPress offers users hundreds of free images and photos. Click here for full details.

If you’re not convinced by Deborah’s experience of copyright infringement, then read Debby Kaye’s post here about a copyright experience she had where she was fined for reblogging a post that contained an image that was copyright protected.

If you have any questions about Deborah’s experience or about reblogging, leave them in the comments section. Deborah and I will try and answer them, although we cannot offer any legal advice.

Follow Hugh on Social Media. Click the buttons below.

Not sure it’s free? Then don’t reblog, copy or download it.

I thank Deborah for sharing her true story about the perils of reblogging with us and for allowing me to publish it on my blog.

Do you have any experience of being fined for copyright infringement?

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Reblog Of The Month: How To Create An Outstanding ‘About Me’ Page For Your Blog

Do you have an ‘About Me‘ page on your blog?

No?

If I told you that the ‘About Me’ page on most blogs is one of the most-visited parts of a blog, would I convince you to have one?

Are you struggling with what to put on your blog’s ‘About Me’ page?

Then head over to Perfectmanifesto.Com, where James M. Lane gives lots of help and advice about creating an ‘About Me’ page and what to put on it.

Click the link below to be taken to James’ post.

How To Write The Perfect About Me Page For Your WordPress Blog.

Are you’re wondering why the title of this post is different to James’ post? SEOs such as Google dislike duplicate information and rank duplicate posts lower, hence a different title.

As with all reblogs, I’m closing off comments here so you can leave them on James’ post with all the other comments his post has received.

Banner for Reblog From Hugh's Views And News - Sharing the blog posts of other bloggers
Reblog of the month

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

6 Recent Blogging Tips Posts That You May Have Missed

Did you miss any of these? Click on the blog post titles to go to each post.

  • Do you have a secure way for visitors to contact you on your website or blog? Are you missing out on opportunities because you don’t have a way for them to contact you? Here’s what to do.

How To Create And Add A Contact Me Form To Your WordPress Blog

  • Do you know how many more people read the titles of your blog posts than read the contents of your posts? Once you know, you’ll want to write better titles for all your blog posts. Let me show you how.

How To Write The Perfect Titles For All Your Blog Posts

  • Short comments and lazy responses. How do you deal with them? Join my discussion.

How Do You Respond To The Comments Left On Your Blog?

  • This is how to fix these 7 simple blogging mistakes many bloggers are making.

Are You Masking Any Of These 7 Simple Blogging Mistakes?

  • Are you following the correct procedure when reblogging on WordPress?

How To Reblog A Blog Post Correctly On WordPress

  • Have you ever had one of your blog posts reblogged? Did you do anything to return the favour?

Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged?

Hugh’s Views And News

Comments are closed on this post. Please leave your comments on the original posts.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged?

Many bloggers agree that having their blog posts shared is one of the best things that can happen in the blogging world. After all, whoever is sharing the post is putting your work in front of a new audience. 

I remember when, for the first time, another blogger reblogged one of my posts. As a new blogger, it was one of the most exciting moments of my blogging journey. Even today, I still get a lift whenever one of my blog posts gets reblogged.

But is there anything you should do when one of your blog posts is reblogged?

Yes!

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Do You Know What To Do When One Of Your Blog Posts Gets Reblogged?

Unless you’ve switched off your WordPress notifications, you will get an email notification from WordPress when one of your posts gets reblogged. It gives the following information –

  • which post got reblogged
  • who has reblogged it
  • the number of followers it’s been reblogged to

Here’s an example of a recent reblog notification I received after Sally at Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, reblogged one of my posts.

#WordPress #bloggingtips #blogging #reblog #reblogging
WordPress Reblog Notification

WordPress also notifies users of reblogs in the notifications area (the bell symbol in the top right-hand corner of a WordPress blog).

What should I do when one of my blog posts gets reblogged?

The first thing to do is to thank the blogger who has reblogged your post. 

The easiest way to do this is to reply with a ‘thank you’ to the reblog notification in your post’s comments section. 

If the person who has reblogged your post has not closed off comments on the reblog they have done, you can also leave a ‘thank you’ in the comments section of their post. Not only is this polite and seen as friendly to do, but you will also get notifications from WordPress of any further comments left on the reblog.

You can then respond to those comments. However, don’t forget to tick the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box to ensure you get the notifications.

#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress #reblog #reblogging
Don’t forget to tick the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box

However, some bloggers, Including myself, choose to disable comments on posts they have reblogged.

Why do some bloggers disable comments on the posts they’ve reblogged?

Because they prefer comments to be left on the original post where they can get seen by everyone reading or leaving comments.

Should I follow the blog of somebody who reblogs one of my blog posts?

If the blogger who reblogged your post is new to you, you may like to look at their blog and consider whether to follow them. However, you should never feel under any obligation to do this.

For example, a beauty blogger once reblogged one of my posts. As I don’t have any interest in beauty products, I chose not to follow her blog, but I did thank her for the reblog.

Should you return the favour and reblog a post of the blogger who has reblogged one of your posts? 

Many do, and it can lead to the blogger reblogging more of your posts. However, never feel under any obligation to reblog a post because somebody has shared one of your posts. By all means, please share one of their posts on one or more of your social media accounts but, providing you have thanked them, there is nothing else you need to do.

If they publish content you’re interested in reading, then by all means read some of their posts and leave them some comments. However, don’t fall into the trap of following a blog that does not publish content you’re interested in reading.

Why Do Some Bloggers Reblog Their Own Posts?

Mainly to update and promote older posts that some new followers may not have read.

I use blogging features such as Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday to promote my older posts.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • If you have email notifications switched on, WordPress will email you whenever one of your blog posts gets reblogged.
  • Reblog notifications also appear in the notifications centre of your blog.
  • Always thank bloggers who reblog any of your blog posts.
  • Thank them by responding to the reblog notification in the comments section of the post they have reblogged .
  • If they have left comments open on the post they have reblogged, you can also thank them there.
  • Don’t feel under any obligation to return the favour and reblog one of their posts, especially if they blog about a subject you’re not interested in.
  • Don’t feel under any obligation to follow the blog of somebody who reblogs one of your blog posts. Only follow the blogs you’re interested in reading.

Any questions?

Leave them in the comments section.

Is there anything I’ve not mentioned that you do when one of your posts gets reblogged? Do you reblog the posts of other bloggers and, if so, do you expect anything in return?

Not sure how to reblog a blog post? My post How To Reblog A Blog Post Correctly On WordPress gives full details.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Reblog A Blog Post Correctly On WordPress

Today, not only will I take you through a step by step guide on how to reblog a post on WordPress, but I’ll also cover some of the pitfalls of reblogging.

For the purpose of this post, and because I use WordPress, some of this information will only be relevant to WordPress.Com users.

There’s a way to correctly reblog on WordPress

The first thing you need to do is find a blog post that you want to reblog.

Usually, this will be a post that you have thoroughly enjoyed reading and/or will have left a comment on. However, some bloggers use reblogging as a way to promote other bloggers, authors, writers, books, etc.

Let’s get started

  • At the bottom of a post are the sharing buttons.
  • In some cases (depending on the WordPress theme) the sharing buttons can be found elsewhere such as towards the top and just to the left of a post.
  • The screenshot below shows the sharing buttons I have chosen to appear under my blog posts.
WordPress Sharing Buttons
  • Beneath the sharing buttons is where you will find the ‘Reblog‘ button.
The Reblog Button
  • Click on the reblog button, and a mini-window will open.
A new mini-window opens when clicking on the reblog button
  • The next step is optional, but I recommend you tell your readers why you are reblogging the post. After all, you wouldn’t recommend a book, movie, product or hotel to your readers without saying why. 
  • Tell them what it was that you liked about the post and why you’re reblogging it.
Inform your readers why you’re reblogging the post
  • Just below the text box you’ve filled in, is a list of your blogs. If you have more than one blog or are an author of more than one blog, this will show a list of blogs you can access. Select the blog you want to reblog the post too.
Select which of your blogs you’re reblogging the post on
  • Click on the ‘Reblog Post’ button.
Click on the ‘Reblog Post’ button
  • The post will now be reblogged to all your followers.

For some bloggers, this is all they do after reblogging a post. However, there is still more important work to do if you want the reblog to be found by more visitors to your blog.

  • Go to your blog’s dashboard navigation bar and click on ‘Posts’.
#blogging #bloggingtips #WordPress
Posts
  • Find the post you’ve just reblogged, and click on the edit button.
Click on the ‘Edit’ button
  • Add categories and tags to the reblog.
Don’t forget to add categories and tags to reblogs

Why do you need to add categories and tags to posts you’ve reblogged?

It helps more readers and visitors find it.

You can have a category called ‘Reblogs’ if you like. However, try and categorise the reblog to whatever it is relevant to – e.g. recipes, books, blogging tips, social media, book reviews, etc.

What happens if you don’t categorise a post that you’ve reblogged?

It will show under ‘Uncategorised’, which is of no help to anyone. Did you read my blog post, Are You Making Any Of These 7 Simple Blogging Mistakes? Then you may recall that I compared not categorising blog posts to walking into a library and finding none of the books has been sorted into categories.

Many visitors won’t stay long if they can’t find what they are looking for or your posts are not categorised.

What about adding tags?

You can use some or all of the same tags as the blogger who wrote the post, or you can use your own.

Like categorising, tagging your posts correctly will help visitors quickly find what they are looking for.

If you do not use tags, then it makes finding your post and/or reblog harder to find, and the reblog is less likely to get seen by new visitors.

  • Press the ‘Update’ button.
Click the ‘update’ button

Should I disable comments on posts I’ve reblogged?

Yes. Why? Because readers then have to leave comments over on the original post. It’s far better to have comments all in one place rather than being scattered across varies reblogs.

Untick the ‘Allow Comments‘ box (which you’ll find under Discussion). You can do this after pressing ‘Update’, but remember to press the ‘Update’ button again.

Turn off ‘comments’ on your reblog
  • Finally, check your reblogged post to ensure that it looks good, is easy to read, and that any pingbacks you’ve included also work. If you’re happy with everything, then you’re done.

Are there any pitfalls to reblogging?

Yes.

There are a few I am going to list below, but don’t allow these to put you off using the reblogging feature. If you reblog sensibly, then you’ve nothing to worry about.

Media Space

When you reblog a post, any images on that post are added to the media library of your WordPress blog.

This takes up valuable free media space. The more images in a blog post, the more space they will take up. You can buy more media space from WordPress, but not everyone has the funds to do this.

Copyright

We all know that we should never use images and photos that are not ours or free to use.

Before you reblog a post, check any images included in the post and ask yourself if they are free to use.

My blogging friend, Debby Kaye, was fined for having a copyrighted image on her blog from a reblog that she did.

It didn’t matter that Debby never wrote the original blog post because, by reblogging and downloading the image to her blog, she was fined for copyright infringement.

You can read Debby’s post about it by clicking here. If you reblog posts, I recommend you read it.

If you’re not sure if images are free to use, ask the blogger whose post you’re reblogging where they got the images from and if they are free to use.

If you’re not convinced or are still not sure, then don’t reblog the post.

Permission

As crazy as it may seem, some bloggers get upset if you reblog one of their posts without asking their permission to do so first.

It’s very rare that this happens, but I wanted to mention it because it can happen. They may have a reblog button on their posts, but it doesn’t mean they want their posts shared.

If you’ve not reblogged one of their posts before, ask for permission to do so.

However, the majority of bloggers will be delighted that you’ve reblogged and shared their post. You’re less likely to come across someone who does not like any of their content being shared.

Just for the record, I welcome my posts being reblogged.

Any questions?

Leave them in the comments box.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share about reblogging? Share them in the comments section.

Originally written and published in 2017. Updated to take account of new procedures on WordPress.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Reblog: The People Under The Stairs

Those of you who have been following Hugh’s Views And News for more than a few months will know of my love for short stories and pieces of flash fiction that come with a twist.

Image credit: Marsha Ingrao

When blogger and writer Marsha Ingrao invited me to write a guest post or short story for publication on her blog, I decided to share a new short story that I had only shown to one other person.

Click on the link below to visit Marsha’s blog and read my short story The People Under The Stairs.

The People Under The Stairs

Just a word of warning – you may like to read the story during daylight hours.

Marsha is looking at doing a follow-up discussion post about what readers’ think is happening in my story. After you’ve read it, leave her a comment and let her know what you think is really happening.

My thanks to Marsha for inviting me to share one of my new stories with her readers.

While there, check out some of Marsha’s other posts too.

Comments are closed here. Please leave any comments on Marsha’s blog.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.