This is a true story.

Three years ago, an eleven-year-old blogger here on Edublogs wrote a post about his favorite lunch food – salami.

As part of his post, he used Google Images to find a quick photo of salami that he then uploaded to his blog.

Fast forward to now.

Our Edublogs support team just received a lengthy cease and desist letter from a large law firm that represents the photographer of the salami photo. The formal letter describes all sorts of legal problems for Edublogs and the author of the blog should we not immediately remove the photo in question.

We get these letters daily, but what stood out about this one is that the photo was several years old and not particularly interesting or unique. Most of the complaints we get come from the use of things like maps and curriculum documents.

This tasty looking photo looked a lot like this one:

photo of salami

*For the record, we have permission to share this photo from a stock image site that we pay for.

What does this mean for teachers and students?

It is important to know that even the most innocent of actions can lead to bigger problems down the road.

Using Google Images or copying a photo from most websites is much like plagiarism. Hopefully, by educating each other, we can avoid mistakes like this one and promote fair use of photos and other media on the web.

If you are looking to learn more about copyright, creative commons, and where to find images you can actually use, check out this recent Teacher Challenge post here.

At any rate, we thought this might be a funny example to share.

P.S. When researching for this post, I discovered that when you search for ‘Edublogs Salami’ on Google, you get over 42,000 results. What are our users writing about!? :)

Happy blogging!