We are finding out the hard way about the power of the web. As site/blog/twit owners we need learn and relearn the ethics of posting media that does not belong to us. It’s all too easy to google an image and treat the search results as a clip art gallery. Of course Google simply trawls all content for relevant media; it does not distinguish Copyright material from CreativeCommons.
But as individuals we also need to seriously consider the wisdom of posting media which *does* belong to us.
Some friends constantly post images of themselves and their children on Facebook, believing them safe from the Google robots. Well they might be, but they haven’t fixed their privacy settings to prevent a distant acquaintance like me from witnessing every visit to grandparents, every bout of sickness, each momentous first step.
It only takes one person to borrow your Selfie to illustrate an article on the web for the process of Google dissemination to begin. Combined with popular keywords – african american, hijab, Muslim, niqab – it will soon appear on multiple sites, reused and reused, and out of control.
We have learned the hard way about the dangers of publishing to public media sites like Flickr. Realising our errors, as we notice others cataloguing, favouriting, reusing our images, we attempt to back track, only to discover that it is too late. We no longer seem to own our images – or our text, artwork, videos – they have taken on a life of their own, sometimes landing in the hands of the most despicable.
Here again ample illustration that we need a legal and ethical guide to navigating the great world wide web. May we all take heed.