Americans Don't Know Sports Cars - Trying to Fix That
Hi guys, As a subscriber I'm always suprised at how much the English know about vintage sports cars. I've got a 57 MGA and I get the impression that most my friends over here (USA) have no idea why I'd waste my time with such a thing. I wrote up a blog to try and get them to understand some of my passion, but I thought it'd be fun to throw to you guys to double check the facts as I wrote a lot and I'm likely wrong on some of it. Check it out at www.vintageandclassiccar.blogspot.com
I just had a quick look through and the page about the history of racing looks good. This is of course an area of expertise covered very well by Classic & Sports Car over the years, but some of it may still be new to your American target audience. The main problem with any blogs these days is getting people to read it first, and then keep them interested enough to come back again, but this link is a good start.
One word of warning though. You state quite clearly "I've decided to steal period photos from the internet".
This can get you into trouble.
These days it is too easy for anyone to set up a blog that can reach a worldwide audience with no knowledge of copyright laws. Publishing online is subject to the same laws and regulations as publishing in print, and remember 'ignorance of the law is no defence'.
I have had cause to investigate at great length the copyright laws regarding such use and it gets very complicated not helped by there being different laws in different countries. For example here in Australia, any photograph taken or published before January 1st 1955 is in 'public domain'; but that does not apply elsewhere, and Australia is a signatory to the Berne Convention which is designed to guarantee protection worldwide. Now it gets complicated. For the most part, pre-war images, certainly pre 1930, would be out of copyright in most countries despite what some photo libraries may claim - they may try to bluff it out, or try to charge a 'research fee' but if it came to a court case it would very hard for them to prove copyright. Ownership of an original photograph, negative or publication does not automatically confer copyright.
It is maybe better to try another approach. If you have access to several photos that might illustrate a story, try to find out who 'owns' each one, or copyright thereof, and ask permission to use, stating exactly what it is for. Often, particularly if it is for no financial gain, you can get permission to use with just an aknowledgement noted. If you go this route, only use those you have permission to, and keep permanent records of all correspondence for future reference.
Where you are based makes no difference too, just because you are in the USA does not mean you only need to comply with American law; the spread of the internet, which by default is worldwide, means you have to comply with every country's law (unless of course, you are in China).
As for later periods, there are a couple of well known photo libraries and collections who do own copyright on many fifties and later racing and sports car photos and they do actively look for, and chase up, anyone using copied images. They will send an invoice for the use of - whether or not it was for a free blog and not for financial gain, they will pursue it.
Of course, all of the same applies to images scanned from printed publications.
Before you get too involved in this blog, or any other publishing venture, it would be advisable to do some research so you understand the basics of copyright law. It can be very complicated but patience and a logical mind will give you a fair idea of how it works, although nothing short of employing a specialist legal advisor will guarantee your complete immunity from prosecution.
Apart from that warning - good luck !
Well, that is creepy. Thanks for the heads up Chris. yeah, blogging is just something I do for fun so I thought that because I didn't make a profit it was all free game to use since posted on the internet. I don't understand how they can charge me for using something if I didn't make anything on it? It's like reading?
I'm sure you could explain but no need... I'll try and watch it. Perhaps it's good that my blogs don't seem to get much traffic.
I've updated with some more careful language - "I've decided to use period photos available from the internet because, well, they're better. If someone owns these photos and wants me to take them down, I will. I understand all of these pieces to be free to use because they are freely available online. I make no money on this blog, it is a hobby."
Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, or spoil your fun, but "I understand all of these pieces to be free to use because they are freely available online" does not make legal sense either. So if library books can be borrowed freely are they also out of copyright?
As I said, if any of the 'owners' of the photos you have used, or worse still the legal copyright holders, find you have posted these it will make little difference to them if you are making profit or not.
Consider this too; many people today start blogs as a way into publishing, and if they can get the numbers to prove they are attracting a significant number of viewers, they can then sell advertising on their pages. ebay, facebook or prewarcar.com all started small and a publicly available blog could be seen as a commercial (or potentially so) enterprise, so even if you are making no profit from their photos now, they could argue that legally you are trying to establish an online business.
Just a warning - look into it a.s.a.p. You would not be the first to be caught unawares.
Aa, Chris, you can't really spoil my fun. I think if you ask my friends and family they'd say I've never been perfectly safe or been nervous for being there. Probably why I ride motorcycles and play with sports cars. But, it's good to consider. I don't really need to look it up. Wikipedia pictures are open, and google images dropdown has a selection pane for open photos. I'll try and abide, play the game. Afteer all, I would prefer fun feedback on the autos potion of my blogs, not legalise responses. This isn't that fun nor what I was thinking of when I posted. Best avoid these discussions in the future if I want to have any fun. And if anybody ever hires me I can do a scrub of my blogs to bring them up to snuff to my employers standards. That's quite a pipe dream but... hey maybe someday.