Kylie Potuznik, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2012 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the question: “You found a great picture on the Internet, should there be limits concerning how you can use the photo in a school paper? On your personal website? At work?”
I love pictures, I have always loved pictures and I will always love pictures. I grew up with a “picture pose” engrained in my body, my mother was the queen of documenting memories, and well everything else. I have always had pictures on my wall, in my locker, and on my planner. If I found a great picture on the internet, I honestly wouldn’t think of there being any limits concerning how I used the photo in a paper, at work or on let’s say Pinterest.
I believe that if someone uses an image from the Internet in a school paper or project, and they correctly cite the photo not claiming it to be their own there is no issue with using the photo. Now, if the student pretends that they took the picture, thereby lying and taking credit for something that isn’t theirs I do not think that is respectful or right.
I know there have been issues recently regarding Pinterest and the “repining” of photos and or ideas. I have a Pinterest account and I absolutely love it. To me it is a way of sharing and collecting ideas, of coming up with new activities, sharing recipes and finding inspiration. I don’t think there should be limits on how you use photos, save photos or share photos. Once again, I personally just don’t think it is the right thing to do to take credit for something that isn’t yours by deliberately saying a beautifully decorated kitchen is yours, but other than that I don’t see the harm. I am flattered when other people “repin” or share something that I have posted!
When I graduate and get a grown up girl job I am planning on posting pictures on my cubical wall to try and keep my spirits lifted and a smile on my face through out the day. I will have no issue finding pretty pictures I like, printing them off and then hanging them at my work. When I was in 7th grade my best friend and I were obsessed with Johnny Depp, we had picture on picture on picture taped to the inside AND outside of our lockers.
I wasn’t concerned about using pictures then and as long as I don’t take credit I’m not concerned about using them now.
Kylie Potuznik is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.